A Garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!

An English cottage garden with a Spanish twist. Here are some photographs of my parents’ back garden in England. After I visited them in Spain on my recent trip to Europe, I went on to England and stayed at the family home in Cheshire. They had asked me to tidy up the garden. What a relief it was for me that there was virtually nothing to do. Even though only a few years old, the perennials grow and dominate the space, shutting out weeds. The only weeding that was needed was on the paved area; and the pots which were to be planted with annuals. The first photo is taken after that extra work was done, the rest were taken of the garden that had not been tended for two months.

I have written before about how their garden in Spain uses local plants but in an English design. Here we have the reverse influence. A garden in England with English planting, but the design influenced by Spanish design. They have often remarked on how the Spanish create lovely courtyards with pot plants. Usually these have high walls and create shady areas that a cool places to retreat to in the sun. My parents decided to remove the old central lawn and make it a planted bed so that the main space, where the seats and the pots are, is now paved and surrounded by plants on all sides, creating a courtyard effect. This is the ‘Spanish twist’ I referred to. To see pictures of their English garden in Spain, and the how this garden in England looked before they removed the lawn, go here.

When they sent me these photos, my mum, who had just read a previous post about the garden poem of Ben Jonson, referred me also to a 19th century English poem about gardens. So here it is - My Garden, by Thomas Edward Brown (1830-97). For those who like me didn’t know, ‘wot’ is an archaic term meaning ‘knows’ and ‘grot’ is a poetic form of ‘grotto’. This post is the second garden-and-poetry column I’ve done in a short space of time. I ask readers please don’t tell anyone I’ve been doing this – it will destroy the image I like to portray of myself as a poetry hating curmudgeon. So, on to the poem…

David Clayton

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David is an Englishman living in New Hampshire, USA. He is an artist, teacher, published writer and broadcaster who holds a permanent post as Artist-in-Residence and Lecturer in Liberal Arts at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. The Way of Beauty program, which is offered at TMC, focuses on the link between Catholic culture, with a special emphasis on art, and the liturgy. David was received into the Church in London in 1993. Visit the Way of Beauty blog at thewayofbeauty.org.

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