Although I truly love describing the garden, sharing with you what my senses perceive when I am in the garden is not easy because descriptive writing is not my forte. Bringing the smells, the sights and the sounds alive on paper is – in fact – very difficult.
How do you accurately describe the wonderful, translucent way a rose looks and the changes in color that take effect when the sun is shining through the petals in a way that makes it glow?
Below is my attempt at describing my garden. There are also links to products I recommend from companies I have a referral relationship with. I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
I can see it with my eyes when I am gardening or even walking through the garden, but I can’t quite capture the effect with a photo – then again, I am not a photographer. These days, even though I have a Canon EOS Rebel T3i digital camera, it is my iPhone that I take most pictures with, after all, it is always with me and you can’t get more convienent than that.
Add in the delightful smells that waft through the summer air, the sound of birds and the tinkling of wind chimes and you will begin to understand that my garden is truly a delightful mix of fragrance that is brought alive by the sounds of nature and enhanced with colors that only Mother Nature herself can create.
Fragrance – That’s Where It All Began
From the beginning I knew I wanted a highly fragrant garden. It’s been nine years in the making, but I can say this year has made it all worth it.
This year is a time when I wish there was a scratch and sniff button on my website so you could smell the flowers as I begin describing the garden scents.
The fragrance from the garden gently drifts through the open doors and windows creating an array of heady, floral scents in my house that changes as often as the wind does.
The smell of honeysuckle rules most of the time – it’s heavy, overpowering fragrance conquers all the other scents in the garden – except the old fashion mock orange whose citrus notes compete and at times, overpower or combine so well with the honeysuckle that it’s hard to tell which is which.
Roses abound in my garden, as those of you who look at the photos know. Each one of the roses has a different scent – and this was a deliberate choice.
Some smell like pure old fashion roses, some have citrus notes, some are not scented at all and to confuse the nose even more, the sweet briar rose has apple scented leaves that adds its own dimension of fragrance to the garden.
Combine these fragrances with the dame’s rocket, peonies, sweet shrub plus some of the other scented plants that are flowering at this time (the plants change from day to day) and you truly have the makings of a highly fragrant floral perfume.
I love the sound of windchimes, birds, waterfalls and plants gently rustling in the wind. When these sounds combine, it’s really amazing.
Throughout the garden there are wind chimes of different sizes and shapes. Every one makes a different sound. Some are barely noticeable, others are very loud – but it generally takes a pretty strong wind to get the larger chimes to move.
Sometimes a chipmunk or squirrel set them off, but not very often.
I add new windchimes every year. I tend to choose cheaper ones because they don’t last. I don’t bring them in when summer is over. They are bought for the garden and that is where they remain until the fall apart. I then collect the pieces of the wind chimes and hope someday to put them back together.
This year my garden is filled with the sounds of birds chirping. It wasn’t always like this.
In fact, in the beginning, the bird feeders would sit for days untouched. Sometimes I would have to toss the bird seed because it rained and ruint it. Those days are long gone.
This year there are bird nests – filled with baby birds – all over the property. I have lots of bird houses, but some birds choose to build their nests in trees, shrubs or among the plants. I am glad. All types of birds are welcome here. Nothing says good morning quite like the cheery sound of happy birds.
The other thing that I am noticing for the first time this year is the gentle rustle of the plants – specifically some of the ornamental grasses.
The sounds of the plants rustling are not prominent, but when you walk past an area – or are sitting in an area – where the wind is gently moving the plants, you do notice. The rustling is soothing in a way – not harsh or irritating. In fact, were it not for the occassional vehicle driving by or sound of voices, I could easily forget I was right at the edge of the city.
My other love is the sound of moving water – which may seem strange given the fact that I am afraid of water. I have always been afraid of water since I was a young child, but when my ex-husband tried to drown me in the bathtub, that fear became greater.
There are three ponds currently on the property and there are plans to add a fourth one. The new pond is going to be large enough to raise catfish in – the other three are strictly ornamental.
I have an array of fountains, waterfalls, colored lights and even a fogger in the ponds. I truly find the sound of falling water soothing.
The birds, butterflies and other small animals are also attracted to the sounds of water and every year there are numerous frogs and toads that come here to live. I love seeing tiny frogs and toads in and around the pond areas.
Oh – the lovely sights of the garden – are truly a sight to behold.
There is color everywhere – bright color, subtle color – pinks, reds, yellows, oranges, purples, greens – you name it. I have contrasting colors and harmonizing colors side by side. Red and purple. Green and red. Pink and red. Grey and yellow-green. Orange and purple.
The garden is simply a riot of color – and the colors change on a regular basis as some flowers on certain plants fade and new plants with different colored flowers burst into bloom.
The grouping that spoke to me today was a mix of a ground cover with yellow-green flowers that was planted in between a vibrant red rose and a patch of soft, grey lamb’s ears. The three colors together looked really good.
The lamb’s ears beckoned to me to gently caress them. Their leaves are so soft – they remind me of petting a small kitten.
The red rose towered above the yellow-green flowers of the groundcover really brought the other two plants together and made the red of the roses stand out even more. There are numerous groupings like this all along the garden path.
Some just seem to stand out more than others on different days possibly because of how the sunlight plays off the petals and leaves of the plants at different times of the day.
So, I hope you have enjoyed my attempt at describing the garden. It has not been an easy task.
The good news is there are lots of videos on my YouTube Channel of the garden if you wish to see parts of the garden for yourself.
I highly recommend the following articles:
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Filed Under: Flower GardeningTagged With: descriptive narrative of my garden, my garden ramblings
The Enchanted Garden
There are 3 levels of ability catered for in this ‘The Enchanted Garden’ post: levels 1, 2 and 4. Level one is basic, level 2 is medium and level 4 is advanced. Hopefully, people reading the post will enjoy it and gain ideas for themselves.
For much more of these types of posts, please check out my new book Writing with Stardust by clicking the book title or by clicking the book images at the bottom of the post.
The Enchanted Garden
Birds Flowers Animals Signs of spring Others
|cooing pigeon||daffodils burst up||bees buzzing||lawnmowers spluttering||baked-apple smell in the air|
|warbling wrens||bluebells erupt||dozy hedgehogs||lambs bleating||vernal equinox|
|flute-throated thrushes||lipstick-pink peonies||bouncing bunnies||fresh spring showers||salmon torpedo up rivers|
|trilling blackbirds||snowdrops sprout up||frog spawn glistening||buds flowering||Versace-purple sunsets|
|cheeping sparrow||Lily of the Valley||open beaked chicks||pollen floating like pixie dust||arcipluvian rainbows|
|lilting robin||buttercups pop up||yolk-yellow ducklings||blustery winds||spearmint waft hangs in the air|
|saucy starlings||lady-like tulips||butterflies fluttering||whispering grasses||grass grows at 6 degrees +|
|carolling chaffinch||crocuses flower||yipping fox cubs||snipping shears of gardeners||mountain snowmelt|
|chattering magpie||daisies peep through||open beaked chicks||cobwebs shimmering||lens clear ponds|
|dawn chorus erupts||honeysuckle festoons hedges||pheasants clucking||St. Patricks Day||midges hanging like moon dust|
Level 1- Spring in the garden
1. Spring brings the sounds of cooing pigeons in the garden.
2. The land heats up and daisies peep through the pea-green grass.
3. Bunnies bounce through the garden like frogs with fur.
4. Buds begin to flower on the trees, adding a splash of colour.
5. The lawnmower splutters to life like the start of a Formula One race.
6. The daffodils look as yolk-yellow as the ducklings in the pond.
7. There is a baked-apple smell in the air. It is the smell of plants growing.
8. The gardener snips the hedge with his shears for the first time this year.
9. The grass finally begins to grow as the temperature hits 6 degrees Celsius.
10. Cheeping sparrows invade the garden looking for juicy grubs and shiny seeds.
Level 2- Looking out my window
Note: The dark spots on the moon were called ‘Marias’ by ancient astronomers who thought they were caused by seas. Now we know that they are dried up lava beds and they are grey, which causes us to see them as dark spots. It’s only relevant because…….well, you will see…
I love looking out the window in springtime. The sun washes the garden with a golden glow and the sugar-frosted coating of winter melts from the grass. Birdsong filters in through the glass. The dawn chorus erupts at daybreak as flute-throated thrushes sing their joy. Bobbing robins usually join in, lilting in an age old melody. We have a garden pond and I can see the frog spawn glistening like mini moons. They even have the dark spots, as if to suggest they are as old and alien as the moon itself. At the end of the garden, there is a small grove of trees. Every year, bluebells burst from the earth with their azure gongs attached. Buzzing bees surf the open spaces from flower to flower, desperately seeking pollen. The pollen looks like floating grains of pixie dust, scattered by the blustery wind.
The grass always seems to whisper in the spring, like a church full of people all saying ssssh together. The stalks sway with a salsa rhythm, nodding their heads in delight. At night, the wind dies down and a newly-minted moon appears, drenching shady glades with silver light. Yipping fox cubs can be heard in the distance and the lonely hoot of an owl sounds like a phantom lost in the darkness.
When the morning comes, the sun will once again peep through the clouds and inject life into the winter-stunned garden. It becomes lush and bountiful for another year, an oasis for life in a shrinking world.
Level 4-The enchanted garden
Some of the words are difficult to find in certain dictionaries. Therefore, I have put their simplest meaning in brackets after them. It should save time for people reading the passage, which is my intent. For example, the word ‘geosmine’ was alien to me until relatively recently, but it is a word I would have used many times in different contexts had I known it. It is a very alluring and powerful word, but yet none of my dictionaries have its definition. Hopefully, readers will get comfortable with using these wonderful words in their writing. Thanks and I hope you enjoy the Level 4 sample.
Our garden is an enchanted garden.
It is wide and open, sloping gently down to a cosmic-blue river. A copse (grove) of cypress pines flanks us on one side, with a thicket (grove) of peaceful beeches standing guard on the other. Apple trees run through the centre of the garden, casting a lake of claw shadows onto the grass. In autumn, the fiery brilliance of their leaves is a sight: scorching-oranges, burning-browns and molten-reds. Then they drift to the ground as silently and carelessly as an ash cloud, settling in to their eternal rest.
Past the river there is a plush-green meadow which stretches away into vastness and a dragon-backed mountain. In winter, the stricken (overwhelming) loneliness of its peak sends shivers down my spine, wondering how anything could survive up there. The fog that coils around it seems as old and fey (unearthly) and grey as the mountain itself, an alien presence that can dampen any mood. I call it Cimmerian Mountain, the ancient name for the land of perpetual mist. When spring finally comes, arcipluvian (multi coloured) rainbows drench the mountain with coloured fire and the light leaks into the garden.
And that is why I love spring in the garden so much. After January, there is stained glass clarity to the sunbeams. It starts with panes of light poking the shadows and making the earth steam. Midges rise with the grass mist, hanging like moon dust in the glassy haze. Daffodils detonate from the ground overnight as if some necromancer (warlock) had put a spell of banishment on the winter. Hey presto and it’s gone. Lipstick-pink peonies adorn the fringes of the garden and honeysuckle festoons (wraps around) the hedges with its ladylike perfume. The aroma of geosmine (earth smell) percolates through the air. If you inhale deep enough, the potpourri of scents registers as a sweet mix of jasmine, grass vapour and blossoms.
As if on cue, the herald of spring arrives after taking a sabbatical for the winter. The blackbird is the main player in the dawn chorus, his song as clear and fresh as the garden he will later raid. Warbling wrens and carolling chaffinches join him, creating an orchestra of sound. It cascades into the open spaces, ghosts through windows and onto the smiling lips of the sleepers within. This earth song of nature rouses the rest of the animals from their slumber. Dozy hedgehogs totter like zombies as they get drunk on the last of the rotten apples. Butterflies flutter through the air with their velvet wings. Above them, a murmuration (flock) of starling’s loop and reel like wind-tossed gunpowder. As the grass in the garden grows to Jurassic heights, pheasants cluck like cockerels and sprint like roadrunners, celebrating the arrival of spring.
The river I told you about earlier has a magical quality to it that I haven’t seen elsewhere. After the mountain snowmelt has purged it of its brandy-brown hue, usually in February, I love to take pre-breakfast walks down to it. The full glory of the garden is revealed as I idle past the suede soft flowers. They are tingling my fingers with nature’s electricity as I touch them. Jewel-green grasshoppers bounce off the flowers like leggy trampolines. Above me, the vault of sky seems to grow wider and higher as the morning wears on. It increases the acoustics and magnifies the richness of colour. I can hear the lullaby of the breeze swishing through the trees much clearer now and little animals scurry and shuffle in the undergrowth. Versace-purple crocuses peep shyly at me and I am lost in the marvel of springtime.
I can see cobwebs in the grass, glistering in the littoral (of a sea/lake) light that the river reflects. They look like fishermen’s nets of finely meshed steel. There’s the most welcoming of scents in the air, a spearmint aroma that hangs and loiters above the wild garlic. I sit on the bench we made some time back and engage in my favourite past time; river gazing. The water is lens clear and it is easy to spot the speckled trout at the bottom. Every so often, they explode up through the crystal water and soar into the air. Their hang time would do credit to Michael Jordan and like Nike, the Greek god of victory, they must have wings to stay up so long. Iridescent (brilliant of colour) kingfishers flash by in a flurry of blue and gold, using the river as a super highway. Apart from the plunking of trout and the thrumming of wings, it is convent quiet at the bottom of the garden, a haven of peace and solitude.
I sit on the bench, watching the sun slowly rise over the Cimmerian mountain. At first, the lonely peak seems to hinder its ascent and it looks like a torc (crescent necklace) of gloriole-gold (halo of asaint). Then its full splendour reveals itself and it soaks the garden with the effulgence (brightness) of its smile. I can see the sunlight chasing the crab-shadows of the apple trees across the steaming grass. A blackbird alights onto a nearby branch and launches into an avian aria (solo song). Within moments, a fusillade of bird song follows him, rupturing the silence of the morn. It is a welcome invasion of the peace, but I sigh as I get up from the bench. As I wend (wind) my way back through the enchanted garden and towards the house, I have only one wish; that those in slumber land within wear the same, easy smile that plays across my lips.
For much more of these types of posts, please check out my new book Writing with Stardust by clicking the book title or by clicking any of the images below..