My Dream Garden
by Jarad Johnson
I’ve been home all week on spring break, and I’ve known that I would be writing this post the whole time, so I’ve had the opportunity to give this some thought. Naturally, I’ve been doing some preparatory work for my garden this year, and as I was doing that, I was thinking about this question. What is my dream garden?
Firstly, I have to have room. Lots of room, at least three acres. I’d like to have different styles of gardens in different areas. I was recently reading about something called a Chinese pleasure garden, which is sort of closed off and secluded, and has water, fragrant herbs and lots of other relaxing elements, so I’d like to have that be a section of the garden, maybe in the back where I could go read under a pergola or willow tree.
I also love cottage style gardens, with their haphazard planting. I like to plant huge drifts of the same plant (daisies, irises, lavender, delphiniums, etc.) so this style of garden really suits me. I also like plants to look a little more naturalized with less structure, and the wilder looking cottage garden seems really peaceful to me. I recently bought seeds for a plant called Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, and every picture I’ve seen of it has it planted near a fence, so of course it would make an appearance, as it’s the perfect addition to this style of garden.
I also love the idea of a secret garden. Similar to the pleasure garden I mentioned, it’s closed off and a place of reflection and privacy, two things few people ever get enough of. This would most likely have all my favorite plants, which is actually hard to narrow down, because really every plant is my favorite plant.
In the same vein, I often wonder what to plant in shadier areas, and I think a shade garden filled with white and silver plants would be gorgeous. Moonflower, white delphiniums, white echinacea and daisies, artemisia and lamb’s ear would look great in shadier areas. Of course, no section of a garden is complete without a bench or sitting area to enjoy it.
An essential for me is a vegetable garden, with a few fruit trees and perhaps a grape vine or blackberry bush. I also recently developed an interest in medicinal plants, so herbs for teas, tinctures, and salves would also be there.
The environment is a huge issue for me, and one of greater and greater concern, and as such I’m a big believer in saving the bees. An area of the garden designated for pollinators is of course a must. Salvia, milkweed, borage, calendula, and zinnias would be planted, like a meadow.
I can also say that vines would be everywhere. Morning glory, black eyed Susan vine, pole beans, clematis, Carolina jessamine, wisteria, melons, Cyprus and jasmine vine. You could probably look in any direction and find a vine. My favorite vines, though, are iceberg climbing roses, and I’d probably have a couple of arbors covered with them. Speaking of roses, a formal rose garden is essential. Fountains, hedges, and every color of rose imaginable (especially white ones) would be relegated to at least one part of my garden.
This blog is named Sacred Chickens, and what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t tell you that I need chickens? I used to look after chickens every now and then (or rather, I was tolerated because I gave them food, then summarily dismissed and ignored) and oddly I kind of miss it, although me and the chickens will never be overly fond of each other. I remember once leaving the chicken coop unlocked and chasing chickens for two hours, and their ridiculous little lizard legs are faster than you might think. I definitely don’t miss that, but it does make me laugh. Chickens, then, will definitely be there, along with a few black cats.
I also need a glass greenhouse, mostly because they’re really pretty. Practically, I can overwinter plants there, start seeds, and store more exotic plants that wouldn’t survive elsewhere. Mostly, it’s really pretty.
Statues and fountains are essential in my mind. Statues of Greek gods and goddesses really enhance a garden, I think. In particular, I’d like to have statues of Artemis and Hecate, the Greek goddess of witchcraft. I’m not religious, but I do love to mess with my neighbors. I even have the cauldron to go with it!
I can think of so many other possibilities, but instead of rambling on I’d like to talk about specific plants that would make an appearance. First and foremost, Hyacinths. I don’t really have a favorite plant, but this one is definitely up there, and while I do love the plant itself, I love the mythology behind it a little more. It involves the god Apollo, and his lover Hyacinthus, who the west wind Zephyrus was jealous of, and had killed. Apollo was so distraught over the death of Hyacinthus that he created the flower and placed little bits of his lover’s soul in each one. Some others include red bud trees, wisteria, and again iceberg climbing roses. Also, tulips, mint, lambs’ ear, hostas, buttercups, kniphofia, and hydrangeas. Many of those plants I grew up around, and my own garden probably wouldn’t feel complete without them.
Jarad is the co-administrator and writer for Sacred Chickens, attends college at MTSU, loves tea, and tries to spend every spare second reading. Jarad is an English major. Bless his heart! Let's all light a candle for him and send him happy thoughts!