Practice what you preach…

There’s an old saying that the shoemaker’s children are never shod, and looking around my garden this week I have started to suspect that it is suffering from Shoemaker’s Children syndrome. It isn’t a particularly large space, so there’s really no room for plants that don’t pull their weight, but somehow they seem to creep in anyway.

For a start, there’s that terracotta pot filled with diascia and chives. I have far too many chives in my garden as it is (oh, the joys of self-seeding plants!), and the diascia is starting to look very straggly, but it’s kept going for so many years that I just don’t have the heart to get rid of it.

Then there’s the yellow patio rose that I moved and potted up ‘temporarily’ about five years ago. There’s nothing wrong with the rose, except that it’s completely the wrong colour for everything else on the patio. All summer long I’ve been pretending that I’ve created an innovative Great Dixteresque colour combination, rather than admitting that it just doesn’t fit.

It’s so much easier to be ruthless about someone else’s garden. I have no problem ripping out a client’s unsuitable or unhealthy plants and replacing them with better choices, but when I’ve spent time pruning and nurturing a plant, it seems brutal to just throw it away without a backward glance. However, the time has come to harden my heart. The rose is destined for a new home in a friend’s garden. The diascia will finally move on to the Great Compost Heap in the Sky, (aka my local recycling centre), and next year, I will have a beautifully balanced planting scheme, with every plant perfectly chosen to complement its neighbour. Now all I have to do is steel myself to dig up that diascia…

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