(Guest correspondent Zoe Kovacs tells us about the ‘How to Make a Beautiful Garden’ Study Day held yesterday at Trereife.)
We started off the morning with coffee and a lot of talk about plants and our interest in gardening. Study Day leader Dr Laura de Beden showed us an amazing slide show which started with a photo of a rough garden which we all knew to be a ‘before’ photo.
Throughout the day we saw many examples of the progress of different gardens that Laura has designed, which made our own projects certainly less daunting as we could see how things can be transformed. She showed us vistas, space and light within even the smallest of gardens.
She also commented on how and why we buy plants – it was hilarious and true. We buy plants on sunny days when we are feeling good. We buy them for their unusual names and odd looks and for the ‘wow’ factor. We then keep them in pots for a while, before plonking them anywhere there is a space in our overcrowded garden! We plonk them everywhere, which makes most of us plonkers – Laura’s very words and oh how true!
During the day we were shown how to place plants to draw the eye to different things in order to create harmony, how to choose the structure of our gardens before planting and how to keep them fun and full of surprises.
After lunch we split into small groups and were let loose on the garden at Trereife to see what we would pull, tweak or demolish in order to create our own masterpieces. Liz Le Grice took this very well and thank goodness the plans for a circus weren’t implemented. It was an interesting project and we had some good discussions about our ideas.
We then settled into the last lot of slides and saw examples of how painting, sculpture and even rugs can influence planting through both colour and design. One of the gardens made by Laura was influenced directly by the palette and brush strokes of a close-up of a painting by Degas (I think). It was predominantly yellow, purple and green, and it was amazing how similar the feel of the garden was to the painting. Laura also showed us photos of sculptures in gardens and told us how to place them, which we all know about but very rarely do.
It was a brilliant day, full of laughter, interest and even a bit of danger as the easel kept on trying to throw itself at Laura. She was a great speaker and an inspiration to all of us.