To own a garden is to possess a piece of heaven on earth, in my case a very small bit. But small can be beautiful as I know from the pleasure my modest suburban garden gives me and whether I’m working physically or simply sitting around I feel peaceful.

Work takes me away a lot but as the song goes “It’s very nice to go trav’ling – but it’s oh so nice to come home”. Arriving back and even before opening the door I find myself dead-heading plants growing in pots, or tumbling out of hanging baskets. Pansies, one of my favourite flowers with their cheeky faces, greet me on return like a member of a colourful, happy family. My well-nurtured brood respond to care and attention and regularly produce even more cheery faces to amuse me!

In my small north facing back plot I’ve created my own secret garden, the design based on circles. Circles of green grass, paved circles of warm stone, and a circular shaped gazebo, the latter proving to be a major success. This dark mysterious cavern has finally taken shape after 20 years, as winter jasmine, with its dark shiny foliage and exquisite fragrant white flowers in Spring has slowly and methodically twisted its way up and around supports.

Poor soil and strong winds make gardening by the river difficult but the sun rose, halimiocistus, is my success story. In early spring this hardy shrub produces endless cream and pink saucer shaped flowers replacing them daily with fresh ones. Accepting poor soil and my erratic work schedule has led me to conclude that assorted pots, troughs, hanging baskets and containers are my horticultural solution. Container gardening is practical, and many of the tubs and pots can be easily moved to facilitate people or occasions.

Weather permitting I’m to be found in my garden, scratching around like an early bird after the worm, happily lost in a world of my own. I find gardening very therapeutic and love being out in the fresh air whatever the weather in my green wellies and wrapped up against the winds and cold. I enjoy being physically active, digging the soil, and pitting my strength against robust plants or objects. But most of all I love the peace and tranquillity I experience on a balmy summers night, sitting quietly, drink in hand, communing with the sights, sounds and smells of nature. It’s my idea of heaven!

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