Secret Garden Sanctuary

Secret Garden Sanctuary

Visualize an almost-secret space in your garden, a secluded sanctuary, even spiritual, where you can sit, stare, sleep, think, read, or sip tea. Everyone deserves such a secluded spot. And it must be a separate place where you cannot see the garden chores staring at you, but one which gives you a stunning view of your flowers, the ocean, a stream, or the woods.

Seriously consider a small place, surrounded by something substantial: a lattice-covered wall behind you with climbing honeysuckle or jasmine or sweet peas to stir your olfactory senses. Or use the side of your potting shed or barn or other outbuilding away from snoopy visitors or silly kids and then enclose with trellis or lean-to. You want to feel cosy, enclosed, surrounded, safe.

Add a simple bench with plumped up pillows, a soft throw for breezy days or chilly evenings; a little table or chest for your tea or for storing your book or journal. On either side plant some shrubs with fragrant and soothing blue blooms, such as lavender, upright rosemary, or butterfly bush, to inspire serenity.

Leading to your special space but partially hidden by other blue, lavender, gray, and white flowers, perhaps install a slate stepping stone pathway, inter-planted with low-growing thymes or chamomile. On each side, place screening plants, such as butterfly bush, tall verbena, catmint, oregano, and lavender. They will attract beautiful butterflies and bees which are efficient pollinators and wonderful to sit quietly and watch in your solitude. Sneak in your digital camera and capture them at work. If your growing conditions are such, plant a pair of dwarf citrus trees whose fragrant blooms will send your senses soaring.

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As for additional plants, try a range of grays such as artemesia, licorice plant, fescue, blue oat grass or other ornamental grasses. Add some blues like low-growing myrtle, veronica, forget-me-nots, and the re-seeding annual love-in-a-mist. For white highlights, include Shasta daisies or alyssum.

Consider adding several shepherd hooks from which to suspend candleholders or lanterns to spread a bit of diffused light when you wish to sit in the evening after the sun has set, the crickets have begun their song, and the fireflies are dotting the dark. The sweet scents of the lavender, salvia, and jasmine infuse the still air, stirring your soul to say thanks for one more glorious day.

I have seen and dreamed and desired and designed such a space. I confess that I do not yet have one completed; but I will, as soon as the vines grow up over the heavy wire trellis. Beneath it is a pillow-covered antique bed-bench and a little table for my coffee mug. It is not too much to wish for. You deserve a special, secluded space for sitting and staring and thinking and sipping coffee, a place for inspired writing, inspired gardening.

A� 2010 Sandy P. Baker