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My ideal garden

My ideal garden

The ideal garden for me is my very own, the one in which I've worked, planted, sown, watered, in which I can pause, relax in peace and welcome my friends, allow my pets to run around in, etc …

My ideal garden is a happy mixture of evergreens, pruned to provide a clear structure all year round, of flowering plants in every colour, of small fruits for picking, and of delicious vegetables. For this purpose, what I enjoy the very most is thinking everything through before rolling up my sleeves. Then, everything's ready: the seeds and plants have arrived and the tools are at hand.

After all the long hours working the earth, enriching it, keeping it "clean", the magical moment arrives where I entrust all the new arrivals to my cherished garden. Yes, I know, not all of them will be entirely happy in this environment, despite me having selected the species according to the climate, soil and exposure. Some won't do too well and I'll have to be disciplined in order to find exactly the right place for each one. I use my shears to cut back the growth the most unruly plants, I pep up the languishing ones and encourage the development of fruit buds …

I aerate the soil with a hoe, scratching open its crust so that water can penetrate more easily (one hoeing session is always worth two watering ones) and I get rid of the emerging weeds, which would otherwise compete fiercely with my seedlings. I trim the lawn edges because I like that neat look which provides the ideal backdrop for the future luxuriant plants and enhances the attractiveness of the lawn.

I would add a water feature, perfectly integrated as if it were a natural pond; not too large, but big enough to plant its banks with flowers and attract a little ecosystem of wild fauna, including birds to come and live there. Basically, it would be a little corner of nature hidden in my flower garden, not far from the vegetable patch …

So, there it is, my ideal garden, on a little plot of land where I'll succeed in making all my favourite plants cohabit, whether they're there for their scent, their colour or their flavour, achieving a certain sense of harmony and making me feel like gardening on a daily basis. Because, of course, my ideal garden of today isn't necessarily my ideal garden of tomorrow!

Caroline Géneau