The last time I received feedback in verse was in the form of a poem in praise of the Victoria sponge in one of the cafes at Kew Gardens! That was several years ago so it was a delight to hear from the client for whom I completed a new front garden planting scheme a couple of weeks ago that her husband had celebrated the new garden by writing a poem. They have given me permission to reproduce the poem. To set the context, the garden was a birthday gift to my client. The brief was to come up with a scheme that would be magical, as one might imagine The Hobbit’s garden, with something of the traditional style of a National Trust garden and a Farrow & Ball influenced colour palette.
The L-shaped plot included a generously proportioned corner section into which I planted a multi-stemmed birch: Betula pendula ‘Jacquemontii’, under-planted with pastel shaded Digitalis purpurea ‘Excelsior’, blue flowered Geranium ‘Philippe Vapelle’ and the silvery foliage of Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’. Along the front and side of the already beautifully laid out driveway with its variety of complementary surfaces, I planted Philadelphus ‘Manteau d’Hermine’ for its summer scent and white petalled flowers, a fluffy headed Pennisetum villosum and in the shadier section of the beds, the Hard Shield Fern, Polystichum aculeatum. Evergreen structure is provided by blue-flowering Hebes and Skimmia japonica ‘Kew White’. Verbena bonarienis will sway above the low wall surrounding the border and the cottage garden feel will, I hope, be enhanced with the blue bell-shaped flowers of Campanula persicifolia.
I also planted two hanging baskets for the front door porch with trailing ivies, Helleborus niger, Periwinkle and Grape hyacinths.
As for the form of the poem, my client’s husband is an admirer of the musical ‘Hamilton’ with its hip-hop style lyrics composed by Lin Manuel-Miranda. So with grateful thanks to my client for the commission and for allowing me to reproduce the poem and to its author Dan Coles, here it is:
Birthday Garden poem
Every garden has its beauty and its contradictions
Katrina gave us one that takes our favourite floral mixings
With borders brick the trick is truck the soil and toil the peat on
Then hanging baskets mask the house with colour schemes repeat em
We wanted Hobbit themes with trees and plants and teeming grasses
National Trust we must or Farrow flavours in their masses
Upkeep must be low and crucial parking unaffected
With blues and purples purposely procured and pre-selected
It’s for a birthday so the cost it cost was not an issue.
Just hand the invoice over with a smile and box of tissues.
So thankfully Weeds Roots and Leaves delivered to the letter
Even the Virgin TV cable looks a damn sight better
Birds can now perch on a new Silver birch
And a fern at the turn and the lavender works
And the weeds will recede for the seeds we decreed that we need and stampede into bloom.
This one’s for you!