Garden Wishes

It's the season of 'Lists and Yellow Bootfulness' * which means the practical work here at VP Gardens is grinding to a halt owing to a surfeit of sticky clay and the mad preparation that is Christmas. Not to mention the dreams of the best ever garden and plot next year, which in turn mean there's further lists to compile - of things to do, seeds to buy, possible plants to add to the groaning area next to the cold frames etc etc.

Then I awoke one morning last week with another list to add to the growing pile: the absolutely no holds barred one. Forget the ones containing the attainable and achievable, this list is the mother of them all and has the things I would love to have in my garden if money, time and space were no object:
  1. A swimming pool. I've always dreamed of having one - in fact it was top of the list of things I would have when I grew up. That's before practicalities like 'buy a house to live in' crept in.
  2. An ancient oak tree. One with all those 100's of insect species it can support and lots of birds perched in its branches, which are dripping with lichen because the air's so clean. It's also got one of those garden benches encircling it, so the tree forms your back rest.
  3. A greenhouse. Not just any greenhouse you understand. One of the really large old fashioned kind found in restored Victorian kitchen gardens. The garden is walled of course and there's also a row of matching cold frames outside the greenhouse for good measure.
  4. Some sculpture. I loved the work of Neil Wilkin when it was shown at the International Garden Festivals at Westonbirt and I'd like to commission a piece by him. A gate like the one at the Pound Arts Centre would be good too.
  5. A grand driveway complete with either pleached (aka 'hedge on stilts') or topiarised trees to sweep you towards the door. I suppose I'd need something like Lytes Cary Manor as well to do them justice (and house the oak tree too). Then I could have both pleached and topiarised trees, or is that being too greedy?
  6. An orchard - especially if I could have the entire Adam's Apples catalogue of 130 varieties with a few of his pears, peaches and a quince to add a little variety.
  7. At least 2 more acres of land, or perhaps Lucy's suggestion she left in my Comments last week - earth you could pull out of a packet. That way I could have an unlimited amount of land and always just the right amount for all the things I'd like to grow.
  8. An oak adirondack chair - this one's achievable, but I'd also like lots of time so I could admire my garden from it whilst sipping a cold, crisp glass of wine. Although I do find time to relax and enjoy my garden, it's always nice to have some more. And I suppose the presence of that glass of wine means the weather's got to be a whole lot better than our past couple of summers doesn't it?
  9. A hedgehog or two. We've had them in all our other gardens and I've seen them around our estate too, but at VP Gardens not one has appeared in ten years. We have heaps of other wildlife, but hedgie's always been my favourite.
If you could have your ultimate garden, what would be on your list? Do you think if I was very, very, very good, Santa might grant me at least one of my garden wishes?

* = with sincere apologies to Keats.


  1. Ah VP, dreams and wishes are so important. Without them we would never aspire and strive and consequently never achieve anything. I wish you all your dreams.

    Deborah x

  2. I would have like you a Victorian greenhouse - one of those with the brick lower half and beautiful Gothic upper half.

    I would like an orchard too but not necessarily as large as your wished for one - and I would have ducks, geese and chickens roaming in it.

    I would have a large wildlife pond with an island in the middle for the ducks like the one I used to visit as a child

    and most importantly I would have a nursery. Not one that I had to rely on for financial reasons but a hobby nursery so I had an excuse to grow lots of plants and nice like minded people would come and visit and chat about plants.

    Oh and maybe a small bbut perfectly formed folly of some sort - my son would like the wooden hobbit house we saw at Tatton park earlier this year.

    Stopping now before I think of more

  3. Hi VP, A great list, most of which would be on mine along with some of patiengardner's.

    With regards to the hedgehogs, you can actually re home them from some of the rescue centres, great slug control.


  4. DND - hello again and those are very wise words :)

    PG - you've described the greenhouse exactly. I love your other choices too. I'd like to hear more if you think of any others.

    Gary - glad you like the choices. I think the reason we don't get them is because most of the garden's perched up higher than the surounding land, but I'll see what St Tiggywinkles says about our suitability for rehoming one or two.

  5. Let's see, what would I like? Hmmmm, Great Dixter would be nice, or Ascog Hall, and Mount Stuart is not too shabby either. And, at a pinch, Sissinghurst would do me very nicely too. ;-)

    A gardener is allowed to dream, isn't s/he?

  6. Swimming pool. Swimming pool!

  7. Don't forget the gardener(s) to go with it or is does your wish include being superwomen!

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  8. VP ... I think your list is GREAT ! I would echo much of it but not a swimming pool .. I couldn't bare to lose the ground to it .. I want a massive garden that is divided into theme gardens a true Potager .. a rose garden, a wildflower garden, a wooded garden .. well you get the idea .. And also that green house so I can keep herbs growing all year round with some flowers.
    In any case .. I think we all have our dream gardens tucked away in our imaginations don't we ? : )
    P.S. My girlfriend near Shropshire has hedgehogs visit in her garden .. she feeds them a bit of cat food !

  9. Hi VP, this is so fun, I love all of your wishes and think I will just borrow them except for one, the swimming pool. Three houses ago we bought a house with a large pool, our kids were just the right ages for it and we used it everyday in the warmer weather. But there's the rub, it had to be winterized for six months out of the year, a big pain, so add to your wish for it to be heated and perhaps a retractable covering. Now you're talkin'!

  10. Good list VP, mine own is humungous.... One day eh ? Now where did I put my Euromillions ticket?

    ::: wistful sigh :::

  11. Love your list VP...this is certainly the time of year to dream and wish! I want an assistant gardener...with a strong back, a good disposition and an eye for design!


  12. No, I don't think that if you are an angel that you could get these great items on your list. But wish you luck anyhow! My dream garden would be an estate in England. Surrounded by impenetrable hedges, filled with bright and colorful borders, with a reflecting pool and outside art.

  13. Some good choices. I'd forego the swimming pool - my Dad had one (now covered over and he has a billiard table, we call it the pool room) and it cost a fortune to run. Mind you I've just thought - surely the appropriate income is part of the package?

    The thing I would add is a soil transplant. I don't want to move location particularly but I would prefer not to have sticky heavy clay.

  14. Your list would be much like mine but I'd swap the swimming pool for a large lake with a little island in the middle, a row boat, 2 swans and 6 ducks. A hammock on the island would be nice too!

  15. Dream on, what a great list!
    Fingers crossed that at the very least you'll get some hedgehogs in your garden! xx

  16. VP - is it all right if I come and live with you when you get your new garden?

    I'd only need the walled kitchen garden... and maybe the orchard... and definitely the greenhouse. You can have the rest :D

    Actually I'd also add several hundred acres of emerald green paddocks filled with Anglo Arab horses, but I guess that doesn't count as gardening (though I'd have fun maintaining all that pasture to absolute perfection).

    I could leave the swimming pool but give me a swimming pond... with ducks (only visiting occasionally on account of the muckiness) and an island.

    I'd have a proper potager complete with brick paths and geometric patterns.

    And a view somewhere... a really spectacular one... the Pyrenees was always a favourite at the bottom of my mum's garden when she lived down there.

    Now look what you've started!

  17. Top of my list is a new garden! Preferably one which is much wider than current one, so we're much further away from neighbours. And also a bit longer so I have plenty of room for the stream, woodland area, orchard, wildflower meadow, fruit & veg patch, wildlife pond, bog garden, rock garden, and potting shed which are also (but not all quite so realistically) on my list. We have hedgehogs here, but hope for some more there, wherever it is. R would also like dormice.

    You're not in the right area for this hedgehog site, but there is a lot of useful information on it about providing homes for hedgehogs (including a database of hedgehog centres in different areas) - top of the list for gardeners is probably that slugs are not a major part of their natural diet, and not actually very good for them. They eat a lot of beetles though, so they might be good for keeping down vine weevils, red lily beetles et al.

  18. Oh food for thought VP indeed. Will you need any undergardeners when you get that garden - count me in as a volunteer as long as I can sit on that circular garden bench occasionally. For me I think it would be a cottage garden, probably an acre or so which would be full of scent and colour in the summer but also have a good backbone of shrubs and trees for all year round interest. There would have to be space for growing fruit and vegetables and for a large cedarwood greenhouse. It would be secluded and have a view of open unspoilt countryside. There would be a babbling brook (that never flooded) running through the garden. Mmmmmmm - it's good to dream :)

  19. Good question! I like your list. I've had an in-ground pool and I'd have another one, for certain. A moving water feature would be fine...something with sound. Lots of cedar trees, mixed with maple and birch for fall color...a winding brick or stone paths with lots of big rocks...roses, rhododendrons of every color, a shady place to read. :)

  20. What a fun list! I would wish for a really deluxe glass greenhouse, like the old Victorian ones that are so gorgeous. And inside it I good grow all sorts of amazing things that you never could grow in the north. I'd have a banana tree, and orange and lemon trees, and all sorts of gorgeous flowers for making the most stunning floral arrangements for my home!


  21. OK, here we go. Walled kitchen garden, complete with peach and fig, and asparagus bed. Orchard underplanted with pheasant's eye narcissus, as at Sissinghurst and Great Dixter. Large lawned area hedged with yew, where you can rest your eyes on a vista of calm green grass broken only by a Henry Moore sculpture. Or possibly an Antony Gormley. Or an Andy Goldsworthy. (No, on second thoughts, Mr Goldsworthy's work can go in the bluebell wood). Rose garden a la Nymans. Spectacular herbaceous border(s) of course. One of those vast Cedars of Lebanon under which all the people commenting here would magically be able to convene for afternoon tea and gardening gossip on hot summer days. Chickens, lots of chickens, as at Denmans, John Brookes's garden. Perhaps a donkey and a couple of retired racehorses grazing gracefully beneath ancient chestnut trees that have never heard of leaf miner or bleeding canker. Er, I think that's it.

  22. Hi everyone - we all love to dream don't we? And I'm so glad you've shared your dreams with me. It's the perfect thing to do now the wintry nights have really closed in.

    As far as my own dreams go, it looks like a hedgehog's the most achievable, though I wouldn't be surprised if they were there all the time!

    Perhaps we need to club together and buy our own mansion which has all of our dreams combined? Sissinghurst or Hidcote anyone?

    :D ;)


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