Three wishes for my garden in 2018

2018 will be a year of burgeoning for my young garden after having initially been planted in the autumn of 2013. It's often said that it takes at least five years before the overall structure of a garden starts to become visible. But then, there was no accounting for the generous harvest from the vegetable patch, which was a source of great joy in the first year. So, what to ask for in 2018? Well, firstly, I wish that it continues in the same vein...

  1. ... that the fragile balance between the native species and those I'm trying to acclimatise against the desiccating and spray-bearing winds is maintained. This will allow me to combine a good resistance to the local climatic conditions with the aesthetic qualities I delight in. By starting with planting the local varieties, I favoured a common-sense approach, which allowed for a durable ecosystem to establish itself. I scattered a generous amount of annual and perennial plant seed, allowing those which are adapted to the soil and exposure conditions to take root naturally. Now, I'm placing some perennials I find attractive, unusual bulbs and small evergreen shrubs in the sheltered spots to reinforce the garden's structure throughout the four seasons. After all, I visit the garden all year round and find something to amaze me every day as it evolves. This must continue. It's a wonderful tonic to start – and end – the day in the best possible manner!
  2. ... that the vegetable patch is always be a source of pleasure, both for the taste buds and the eyes. Here again, I've tried out numerous regional varieties of salads, carrots, cabbages, leeks, etc. I've added herbs to these (several types of thyme and basil, coriander, rosemary, absinthe, various sages…). If this summer is favourable, with very mild temperatures like the last, I'll plant tomatoes from grafted plants again. They're a little more expensive, but really resistant to disease. And I'll be adding flowers: marigolds, nasturtiums, borage, gladioli, sunflowers... so that the whole thing forms a colourful array from April to November.
  3. ... that the rustic hedge, which is now at the desired height, will continue to maintain the same harmonious diversity of species, providing board and lodging to the insects and birds. I make sure of this with a few discerning cuts with the secateurs to contain the most vigorous shoots and curtail weed growth. Wild clematis and hops are two lovely creepers, but they tend to take over the hedge, as do brambles, which despite providing a bounty of delicious blackberries are far too suffocating for their neighbours… Because above all, a garden is a space in need of happy cohabitation, where everything can find a comfortable spot and the gardener must always act as an orchestra conductor.


Caroline Géneau
VIKING garden-expert

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