Guest blog by David Domoney
The 2018 Rose of the Year winner, “Lovestruck”, has beautiful double blooms in a vibrant, valentine’s red. Red roses have been linked to passion and love for centuries, and seeing this perfectly formed beauty for the first time reminded me why I fell in love with the garden in the first place. Your garden is your own personal little slice of paradise – if you make it. In case yours is feeling a little lacklustre this Valentine’s day, here are a few sure-fire ways to reignite that old flame:
Start with a clean slate
After any argument with a loved one, the best way forward is to move on to a fresh start and leave the past behind you. Get out into your garden and start cleaning out your borders, hanging baskets and containers, making sure to remove anything that is dead, damaged or overgrown. Don’t hang on to anything that is past it’s best, and trim back your shrubs and trees to breathe new life into the garden.
Buy some flowers
The giving and receiving of flowers between you and your loved one on Valentine’s Day is de rigueur, so spread the love a little and buy some for your garden too. Treat your garden to a variety of colours with plants that flower at different times of the year to add visual interest all the way through. Philadelphus brings wonderful summer fragrance, and Daphnes are great for earlier in the year. Choose romantic and nostalgic plants that you associate with feelings of love and happiness – such as Roses and Chrysanthemums – or any plants that put a smile on your face. Whilst the beautiful ‘Lovestruck’ won’t be on sale for a while yet, I’m sure a rose by any other name would smell as sweet! Seeing these plants, even at a glance out the window, can help to boost your mood, just like seeing a loved one after a long day.
Don’t just admire your garden from afar! The senses have such an impact in your garden, and touch, smell and sound all have a role to play. There’s nothing quite like the sensual buzzing and fluttering of the spring garden waking up, or the heady fragrance of freshly cut grass. Scents are not just about flowers though; herbs like mints, lavenders, thyme and rosemary have a strong fragrance and just need a sunny spot on your patio, or even inside your conservatory to bring those wonderful garden scents indoors. Tactile plants like Begenia are fabulous for variety, as well as Convolvulas which has wonderfully soft foliage. Stachys or ‘Lamb’s Ear’ is well-known for its fuzzy leaves with a woolly texture. And don’t forget your taste buds! Juicy strawberries, crisp apples, tangy raspberries – there’s nothing quite as flavoursome as food you’ve grown yourself.
Date nights to romantic restaurants with your partner are a chance to re-ignite that spark, and the same can be said for dining outdoors in your garden. BBQs, pizza ovens, outdoor kitchens or bars, and even table top fire pits are all perfect for outdoor living and all bring opportunities to engage not just with your garden, but with your friends and family too. There’s so many options now, even tiny BBQs for the smallest of spaces – so there’s no excuse not to throw those doors open and start entertaining.
Make quality time
Making time for your garden is perhaps the most important piece of advice here. So many people slave away at their lawns and borders and leave precious little time to sit back and enjoy it. Why not try moving your garden furniture to a different place in the garden? It’s like moving a painting that you see every day into a new light, and suddenly you’ll start to see it differently. Get out there on a Saturday morning with your newspaper and orange juice, rather than staying indoors on the sofa. Take a short walk around your garden in the morning or evening, to really take the time to engage and appreciate your garden.
Finally, just make a quick list of all the good things about your garden.Is it the fact that there’s a tree that’s been there for years? A plant brought back from holiday or planted in memory of somebody?For me it’s wonderous autumn colour, the way some plants hold the snow, and the beauty of daffodils coming up in Spring.Your list will show all the things you need to reacquaint yourself with the love for your garden once more.