This was the year that I finally received the diagnosis that would change my life. In June, 2017, I was finally diagnosed with Parkinson’s. For most people, such news is a horror. For me, although the illness is a horror to me, after knowing for so long that this was the illness that had plagued me for at least twenty years I was simply relieved and eager to at last receive treatment that would help me. This came in the form of levodopa; the primary medication for Parkinson’s. It was upon taking that medication, on 8th July 2017, that I started to regain so much of the ability that evaded me every day. I was ecstatic. Not least of all, because I could once again truly experience the joy of gardening. I was told that I may have this benefit for around 3-6 years before it would wear off, forever.
In 2017, the hedgerow thickened greatly and became home to many tiny Wren. Such pretty little birds. All of the planting started to fill out in a way that it had not done, previosuly. The garden was developing a maturity. To the right of the patio; toward the centre of the cottage garden, I had planted a small cherry tree and this was now gaining in height. By our garden gate, to the left of the cottage, viewed from the garden, a hornbeam I had planted shot up and so I decided not to keep this cut to a hedge, but instead to let it grow tall and into a thriving tree. The Japanese Shirota, which offers the most stunning white blossom in spring, also grew rapidly and broadly; offering the end of the garden some shelter and coverage over, as planned, the roof tiles of our garages.
Yet, when you allow for trees to fill out and grow high, when you add height and depth to a garden and when you find that you start to walk among the plants, rather than towering over them, you start to gain a sense of a much bigger garden than is truly there. You find yourself drawn in more and you start to see the garden as a place to explore. It is this that adds a dimension of space far more than stripping the garden almost bare to literally see open space. The brain needs to feel curioius, it needs to not know what is in every nook and that makes a garden become a bigger space; for the brain sees the spaces as separate, explorable areas or even rooms. Well, that is my opinion, though I am sure many of you will disagree and will feel that small gardens must have thin perimeter based planting to maximise the open space. What is your view? Please do comment, below. In truth, there’s no right or wrong as long as you do what you love.
Wildlife continued to be part of the garden. From little newts to mice and even, at our fence, red deer and muntjac deer would appear, to eat from the hedge itself. I had also made a point of planting for late autmn / early winter. This is a time when orange coloured flowers appear, along with those of purple. This is why Hallowe’em/ Somhain are associated with the colours purple and orange.
(c) Deano Parsons. 2020.