It is New Years eve and I am the only sole in the garden today. It’s just 8 am and its still quite dark as I take a quiet stroll through the woodland. Last nights fresh gale has strewn the debris of dead twigs and leaves all over the paths, the branches creak overhead and cock pheasants are about their business scratching through the undergrowth or promenading to the hen birds near by. Standing close to the top pond something moves slowly through the bushes to my left, I drop to crouch position and shield my face with my cap to blend in. A young doe appears like a grey ghost through the early light and has not seen me as she approaches the pond. Standing still now, looking, listening, she leans forward and take’s a drink from the stream. Then without warning shes off through the shrubbery as silently as she came. How many times have I cursed the Roe Deer when they’ve grazed the Geraniums down to stumps, or shredded the Roses and torn at the Camellias. But on reflection this beautiful animal has every right to be here as we have, so a little tolerance goes a long way. Then again there are the rabbits and that’s another story say’s I with my shot gun at the ready!!
The trouble with managing a garden over many years is that I have seen the changes and enjoyed the new plantings having seen them grow to maturity.I have seen vistas come and go at a blink of an eye, and yet I have never reach fulfillment to see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak, as maybe a Chef would having completed a magnificent meal. It is because it is a living art that is constantly changing and becoming ever more demanding to manage. Storm damage brings more weeks of clearing up to do and natural disasters like flooding threatens more and more. Un-predictable cold winters can kill so many plants as can summer drought. I started working at Abbotsbury in 1990 after the biggest storm to hit this coast in decades had smashed down fences and root-balled over hundreds of trees. What will the next year bring us? There are so many gardening jobs to be done, so many maintenance issues, so little time to execute all on the ever growing list of chores. Does this sound familiar – I guess we all have ambitions to fulfill. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans I say.
Happy New Year