In the middle of the spring, nearly summer, the garden is in full blossom creating stunning spots of colour: the Spring Garden is enhanced by all the azaleas, the flower garden is ready for the summer planting, the East Garden is also erupting with colour with all the rhododendrons…
But, sight is the first sense which grabs us when visiting a garden and some times it is good to close the eyes to stimulate other senses. What I want to show in this post, is that there are many ways to enjoy a garden.
Scent is so powerful and often quite subversive. It is quite a primeval scent, which can evoke long lost memories. Just enjoying the fresh fragrance of the Wisteria walking through the pergola, or wandering around in the Flower Garden, breathing the mixture of all the flowers perfume. During a wet day, you can enjoy the scent of fresh rain dripping from the vegetation…Perhaps if you’re near the hotel, in the little garden you get wafts of coffee and fine wine drifting from the bar!
The sense of touch is also an important pleasure in enjoying a garden, touching the contrast between sharp and soft plants… hairy or tough plants… between plant and rock ? Have you ever noticed the difference of walking on gravel path or grass path in your feet?
Most importantly for me however are the sounds of a garden. On a quiet day, silence is broken by the chorus of songbirds at Gravetye. Or, just listening to the wind between the trees in the East or Wild Garden is a pleasure. After a little practice it is quite possible to identify some trees, such as the aspin, just by the sound they make in the breeze. Over these beautiful noises you can often over hear the other gardeneers talking about plants somewhere : “how to prune that ? Can we grow this ?”. The cockrel in the kitchen garden may be singing Cock-a-doodle-doo!
There is no better place for the sense of taste than our Kitchen Garden with all this berries and vegetables! But, you would be surprised all around the garden how many wild edible flower can be found : borage, wild fennel, mint!
So, just close your eye and come to enjoy the garden… I think it is a good exercise to do, you’ll never visit a garden in the same way again.
Words and photograph by Martin
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