Is the Moosey Garden too big? Or too small? How does an obsessive gardener know if her garden is really too big? How does a Goldilocks (aka Greylocks) Gardener know when it's 'just right'?
Play Has Resumed...
Appropriateness of garden size could be 'measured' by the garden areas that are out of sight and don't get visited enough. Trouble with this is the effect of the seasons.
A Garden for Each Season
Summer makes me much more aware of my shady areas, and I'm likely to visit these more to weed - or read. I also roam much further from the house with my cup of coffee and/or reading book. There is more music in the summer garden.
The Resident Garden Guitarist
In winter the open areas of garden which get the low winter sun are visited much more. And I'm more likely to stay around the immediate house gardens. The heat-loss from a morning coffee cup is serious if one trudges off for five minutes looking for sun. How much visiting, on average per week, is required for a summer-only garden area (like the back of the pond) to earn its keep?
If the planting scheme in a garden area is 'sensible' and shrubby, and the ground mulched, it can last for weeks without any garden-care. Perennials are the time-consuming plants - I discovered perennials about twelve years ago, and I'm still enjoying their contributions to my garden. Perhaps a garden is too big when one doesn't have time to look after the perennials? But then, of course, one could just change the planting scheme...
Perennials in the Glass-House Garden
Large gardens can have, for example, strictly iris beds - and strictly lavender areas - and paths can go through wilderness areas and arrive at seats in the middle of nowhere. Large gardens can actually have a rational garden planting plan (oops!) and grow masses of harsh red dahlias without shame... Where shall I have my morning tea? - In the Tussock Room? In the Lavender Lounge?
Cat on a Garden Bench
Seats = Size
Perhaps the size of a garden has something to do with the number of garden seats and benches in it? For example, if the gardener can make time to sit on each seat once per week, then the garden area is just right? There's a serious flaw in this argument...
The Ambience Factor
Lastly there's the 'Ambience Factor'. Take the back of the pond - it feels like another world, messy in a grand, rustic sort of way. The tree trunks are ungroomed, an old children's playhouse has collapsed under rampant honeysuckle, and the neighbour's nosy cattle in the next-door paddock peer through the low tree branches.
I've planted strictly New Zealand natives underneath the towering Australian gums, and started cleared some weeds. How much more ground should I clear? Is it already too big?
Behind the Pond
The back of the pond is an area of messy magic. It's not too big at all! I remember once writing that gardens are allowed to have areas with a wilderness feel. One doesn't have to control everything to enjoy it. Too big? Too small? Who knows!