This all started with a book - the scariest gardening book I've ever held in my hand. Why on earth is this? Because of the title - 'Dream Gardens' - and the fact that the book is thick, with lots of pictures on every page.
'Dream' and 'garden' - what power those two words have when they come together! They are spine-tingling, spiritual words, though in my case they can involve the physical.
My early morning garden dreams often include helpful other people. These cheerful volunteers spend all day building me beautiful structures and cleaning up all my rubbish.
We gardeners are always dreaming, changing the seasons in a blink of an eye, filling our dream garden with mature, colourful plants in a wriggle of a nose. We can dream huge, gargantuan epics, and humble little potterings. Our garden dreams keep us going though the meanest winter weather, and in the most serious summer slumps.
My Dream Perennial Garden?
Dream gardens can be like private and personal miniatures, or reach to the distant horizon, way past any borrowed vista. And that's why this book was scary, and why I had to choose the right moment to open it and read it properly.
My Dream Tree?
What if these dream gardens made me lose hope? What if all the pictures just looked silly, or boring, or designer-trendy?
Dare to Dream
Or would they put my own modest dreams completely to shame? I might never dare to dream again about that new pond or rustic waterwheel...
I'd been saving the book all day. At dusk, fresh out of the shower with clean jeans and hair, having liberally applied my strawberry-scented hand cream, with the delightful fragrance of a nearly-cooked drunken chicken filling the room, and the log burner glowing (all these details are important)...
I grabbed 'Dream Gardens' and opened the pages. Aargh! Eek! What great expectations! A winter gardener, desperately cherishing her own personal dream garden, ready to have all the leaves on her dream plants burnt by designer frost...
Ten Minutes Later...
I guess that real dreams may only last for thirty seconds or so, but I read for ten minutes, in a quick-flick style. I'd know my dream garden immediately if I saw it. Hee hee. Well, well, well. I saw a dream shed, perched on the edge of some water - the perfect look accessory for my new dream pond.
My Dream Pond?
I saw some dream lavender - completely purple and ankle-height, the lowest growing lavender I've ever seen a picture of. Rationalising - sheds can be built with plans, wood, and nails. And lavender? Simply a matter of buying lots of the right variety - dwarf? And planting them?
My Dream Lavender Garden?
So was I disappointed, after ten minutes? No way! The book's photographs were great, and yes - that shed could come and live at my place anytime! There are no dreams like your own dreams, if you're a gardener. And possibly one day just a tiny piece of the smallest dream will come true. Like the new pond, complete with dream shed!
Dream Gardens - The Book
And what about the book that started all this, with exactly one hundred dream gardens on show? A surfeit of spherical concrete balls and prairie-like grasses, a smattering of stately English homes, and thirty eight different garden designers. Ha! It's a great book! Go on - dare to be inspired! Read it!