16 June 2011

'It must be lovely working here'

It is lovely but it is lovelier with visitors to remind you. I have been pruning wisteria at Brooke Hall this afternoon, a pleasant enough sunny-with-showers day, standing on the top rung of a stout Japanese ladder. I survey the place as I count five to six buds then snip.

Houses like Brooke Hall were built for entertaining and they do need people. An empty Pleasure Garden is... a list of jobs. Today I am surrounded by Penelope roses and Lady's Mantle so questions are easy, and visitors almost always want to talk. Several say, 'That's a job and a half!' and I agree. There are so many wisteria and this one is not small. Then follows the inevitable 'It's like the Forth Bridge...' Boom boom.

Some professional gardeners are bored to death by visitors with their comments and questions and they put on an 'I'm so busy' air, to put people off. But those walking around, and bringing the garden to life, want to believe in the fable of the garden and the house, who used to live there and what they used to do. The visitors understand that you don't need to go fox hunting four times a week and order your rugs in Paris to take home some of the glamour. And anybody can garden in pearls.

Before and after (top).

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