Design ideas for late spring

This is the hardest thing one does in the full on growing season.  Actually stop and look at the design of the garden. FullSizeRender

Mad I know. In fact this shot was taken at 7pm while I was sitting on the steps leading down to the potager and I only paused because Artur wanted a sit on my lap and I grudgingly obliged.

I was actually heading down to plant a few more tomato seedlings.  But he forced me to stop and rest and look. Well, actually snap photos and tell myself I’ll make time to sort photos and write later.

But I realized that actually sitting and looking critically at this time of year is a valuable exercise.

calabertpotager1If I look at my garden right now it’s usually just to spot rampant weeds. Everything takes place at knee level. Or in the case of grab grass, chest level as they can throw up such long tendrils in the space of weeks.

But with all the iris out in the barn garden I can finally see that the design needs tweaking.

calabertlowerI can take endless close ups of fabulous colour. But actually what I can see when I really look is that I have too blocky a colour mass at the top of the garden. And the plants need sorting.


So actually staring at the sloping garden I can look beyond the santolinas which are about to flower (the weight of the growth will collapse the plants so I will have to move fast and deftly up the tricky slope to cut them back) or the annoying yellow irises which poke out everywhere. And try and build some height and create different shapes.

Plant even more allium purple sensations for a start. God I love these bulbs.

santolinapreflowerThe ones I have are out now and I can’t help patting them on the head as I pass.

So already I have ideas.  All for next  year.

Because this is the delayed gratification you have to think about.  The design will only be better next year if you really look while it is flowering like mad and diverting your attention.

calaberthorizNow that I really look at this particular part of the garden I can see masses of lovely colour at the very top, and the bottom. But the irises should also be in the middle layer in among the santolinas.

I can see why I haven’t planted any yet – it’s so damn tricky climbing up there and trying to find some bare soil. The plummet potential is rather high.


But I will rectify this design in summer when I can lift and divide the huge clump of happy irises that are doing too well at the top of the bank. And put them to work elsewhere.

And the strappy irises across the path under the walnut tree. What was I thinking? They aren’t going to flower well under there.

So I will lift that entire row of plants and move them down to the orchard bank where the ones I transplanted last autumn are throwing up some delightful colour.


So yes, it means add more things to the hilariously long list of chores. But I won’t remember later. And this is the fun part of gardening. Not hoiking weeds. But actually shaping the landscape.