My primary aim for the back garden is for it to have lots of places to sit surrounded by flowers. Although it is tiny I have four different areas which accommodate all needs and weathers: the bench by back door that catches the sun at elevenses time, two sets of tables and chairs (sun/shade, eating/sewing/reading/making, friends/alone) and the summer house which catches the last rays of sun in the evening and is perfect for times when it’s too chilly or too wet to sit outside. By November the sun is too low in the sky to do much other than fleetingly appear over the tops of the surrounding buildings and even the summer house (no heating, a draughty window and a bit damp) is too cold to sit in. The garden gets an autumn tidy but that’s about it.
The front garden is different as I go through it every day and look out onto it from the table in the bay window where I supposedly work. The grasses here last well into autumn, the rose flowers, albeit intermittently, till Christmas and there are more flowers but even so I do little actual gardening as everything starts to close down. An unexpected bonus this year is the jasmine which I planted in the summer to twine along the front fence. This is the third time it’s been moved; in its two previous homes in the back garden it was very unhappy, the first because of too much shade and the second because of a very dominant ivy. Now it gets the afternoon sun, seems much happier and this year, for the first time, has beautiful autumn colour. In the past it’s always just given up in October, dropped its leaves and sulked.
When I was in Edinburgh I walked through Inverleith Park and the Botanic Garden but, if I’m honest I went mostly for the amazing views of the city’s skyline. The bare branches silhouetted against the blue sky were an unexpected bonus.