I never tire of seeing how other people garden. I’m curious about their perception of beauty, whether they care about gardening beyond having a tidy yard or indeed, whether they love the process of creating something beautiful. I learn from their ideas and ways of doing things; about gardens … and about myself.
One of my favourite walks takes me around the boat harbour at The Anchorage Islands. Houses encircle the harbour overlooking the stunning water views. Between the rather informal path which skirts the harbour’s edge and the homes, there’s a narrow strip of garden in front of each residence.
It’s here that I glean some insight into the owner’s gardening DNA. I suppose I must make some allowance for the predominant focus for most of them. Many people seem to have boats moored next to their properties or at least jetties ready to entertain them, so perhaps their gardens aren’t much more than window dressing for them. For others, I see it’s much more. The love shines through.
Depending on the time of the year, there is always something in bloom along this pathway. Swamp Spider Lilies (hymenocallis) were a picture this morning with their delicate white blooms and halos of fine orange tipped stamens.
Strelitzias and delicate pink frangipanis took my breath away while neatly trimmed hedges of purple lantana defined public spaces from private ones.
There is one garden here that always has me scratching my head with puzzlement because it has very few plants! And yet of all the gardens along this strip, the owner of this one is the person I most frequently see out tending, rearranging and enjoying her garden.
I guess, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, since try as I might I can’t find it in that garden. Nevertheless, the owner always bids me ‘good morning’ with a smile and serene countenance, leaving no doubt she would rather be nowhere else.
So, what was I missing?
I decided that as the ‘beholder’ I was looking in the wrong place for beauty. For me, it was not to be found in the garden but rather in the garden’s creator. She was making something she thought beautiful and it showed – and that is where the beauty lies.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye. – Miss Piggy, The Muppets