Saturday, 17 April 2010
There are many uninvited visitors to my garden. Most of them are welcome; only a few are not.
I like to let things happen, to create an environment and stand back and watch.
These primroses crept in quietly last year; just a couple of tentative leaves in a sunny spot at the foot of a bamboo clump. A year later and they have really got their roots down and claimed their territory. By next year I hope their offspring will be settling in.
There are no other primroses anywhere near, so how did they arrive?
The opportunism and tenacity of many plants fills me with admiration. Some travel around the garden, from one side to another, from top to bottom, without any help at all from me. They grow in places that the gardening books tell me are wrong for them - too dry, too wet, wrong soil. No one told the plants, and they don't seem to mind one bit.
This happy combination of violets and cyclamen has tucked itself into the gravel beside the back doorstep. These violets (viola Labradorica) have a reputation for clumping, but have instead arranged themselves into scattered groupings with cyclamen hederifolium, which in turn have travelled around the garden, appearing in all sorts of unexpected places.
I couldn't have done better myself. Indeed, if I had tried to transplant and arrange them they would probably have died on me.
I admire the rampant sexualtity of geraniums (the perennials, not those half-hardy bright red pelargoniums at their best in public parks). They have wonderful mechanisms like medieval sling-shots, which catapult the seeds across the garden, making sure they reproduce themselves a hundred-fold. They are understandable, but I cannot understand how Solomon's Seal (polygonatum multiflorum) travelled from the back garden to the front, and having settled at the front, also moved across the garden from side to side. I'm delighted. I love the plant, but it comes in a big pot from the garden centre. It's a big plant. How does it saunter about like this?
Last year a wild orchid appeared in a patch of decorative grasses. An orchid! I don't know if it has survived the harsh winter, but I'm hoping. I'm hoping there may even be more than one.
We constructed a pond many years ago and watched as within a matter of days there were pond-skaters all over the surface. Within two months there were frogs, damsel flies, dragonflies, and a grass snake, and within three months the heron had found it.
Clever, opportunistic wild creatures as well as plants, watching our activities, biding their time, staking out their claims, and creating the sort of garden I could never make by myself.