On Friday, as part of the Isle of Arts Festival, I went to see Monty Don speak.
Monty (can I call him that?) was as relaxed and charming as he appears on television and spoke, without any notes, for over an hour. He told the story of his arrival at Longmeadow and some of the significant events in the creation of the garden we are now familiar with from Gardeners World. And, although some of the stories were familiar from his books, the delivery was so warm and his enthusiasm (apparently) so genuine, it was a lovely evening.
Of course I forgot to take any kind of notebook, so a couple of snippets I thoughts were interesting have, of course been forgotten, but one thing which did stick was his comment about evoking a ‘feel’ with a planting area. He commented that while some people will buy a plant and then try to work out where it should go, he tends to have a ‘feel’ in mind, and then selects plants accordingly.
I thought this was really interesting as I think I probably do a bit of both, and yet think I should be doing more of the latter. In his example he was talking about his new ‘writing garden’ where he wanted to evoke the effect of cow parsley in late spring. To achieve this he has planted a very limited variety of plants to achieve a simple, ‘airy’ look. He’s stuck largely to white, although there is a little pink early in the year which picks up on the tree blossom.
This has got me thinking about what I’m trying to evoke with my different beds, and although some are fairly clear (the shady bed, being largely white flowered and including classic shady plants like ferns and hostas), other beds, like the ones in front of the greenhouse, are much harder to define, and (probably consequently) less successful. So, definitely food for thought.
At the end were some questions but my favourite –
Q: Is it true Nigel gets more fan mail than you? A: Nigel gets more fan mail than everyone
To finish, a terrible photo taken on my phone, showing Monty, with Nigel in the photo on the slide. And if you’re wondering why there was a drum kit, Clint Eastwood’s son, Kyle, was playing on the same stage later that evening, but I didn’t think he had much to offer my garden, so I left.