gardening with Anne McKeon

Though plants should form the backbone of our gardens, including features and decorative objects can add the finishing touches and give an insight to the personality of the gardener.

My garden is just an extension of my own personality with plants as reminders of places visited and people met, with patio furniture made by my father from materials collected by me or gifted to me, pots, ornaments acquired over time, and so on. Every piece in the garden tells a story. What does your garden say about you?

The garden room nearest to the house is usually the patio area.

As with your kitchen, sitting room, etc, your patio will require furniture, lighting, potted plants, and possibly a garden ornament or two. Thinking for a moment only of garden ornaments, the selection is vast. Pots, churns, statues, chimney pots, and of course garden gnomes. Remember at all times that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.

I love gates, particularly old forged farm gates. I feel that they create a sense of mystery. Where does this gateway lead? What is behind the gate? The gates of the modern day do not appeal to me in the same way as the old types do. I have many gates in my garden, rescued from yards and old buildings. Though I do not have many walls to support these gates (as my garden is quite literally an open field ), I have fitted them into gaps in the fence, fixed them to posts, and left them free standing, placed them at entrances to different parts of the garden and so on.

Onto these gates I have trained climbers such as Clematis montana, Lonicera halliana, and Rosa New Dawn. There are so many good climbers available. Think about where you could include a gate in your garden scheme, besides the obvious places of course. Use your imagination!

Gazebos, pergolas, obelisks, and wicker fencing are all structures worthy of inclusion in your garden layout. Gazebos for example create a sanctuary in the garden. My gazebo was constructed using rustic timbers purchased from a sawmill. Not expensive but effective nonetheless. If you have no ‘handyman’ in your life you can always buy a pre constructed gazebo.

Garden furniture is an important part of the landscape of your ‘outdoor garden room’. Again choose furnishings that reflect the taste of the occupants and style of the house. Mismatched tables and chairs and brightly painted benches can look well in some settings and untidy in others, while coordinated furniture might look classy in one home and out of place in another.

Subtle lighting can be very effective. Avoid over lighting. If your garden is not wired for power there is no need to worry. Consider using solar lights.

We all know how well pots look in the garden, but have you considered painting your old plastic pots and planting them with plants of co-ordinating colours.? Wooden planters also look warm and less harsh than some of the concrete types, and more expensive looking than the plastic planters.

Take time when decorating your garden and add features that reflect your own personality. Do not be afraid to be a little bold with your ideas. Give the neighbours something to talk about.

Happy gardening!

Anne.

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