Usually when thinking about stunningly landscaped backyards one tends to imagine them attached to some fancy estate in a rural area, with masses of space and mature gardens that have never been affected by any form of pollution – because that’s what you’re most likely to find if browsing through the pages of a garden design magazine. My folks live in an urban area, on a quiet road that is nonetheless in the center of a large city, so when looking at such magazines nowadays I to picture the designs they display in a built-up area.
The thing is, when I think of my parents’ garden in relation to their characters I am rather amused by the paradox: they’re regular working people who enjoy gardening, not the tender and calm earth-loving couple one could imagine by stepping into their stunning backyard. For them gardening is a like a dare, and they don’t shy away from the hard, physical work required to keep their green oasis looking like it’s ready for a magazine photo shoot. The resulting atmosphere is so peaceful that you feel you could stay in their garden forever.
Those gardening magazines do not tend to feature gardens designed and maintained by regular working people: you’d be excused to believe that in order to be successful at gardening your need to be a total nature-lover or retired! I think their writers would get a bit of a shock if they ever were to talk to my folks and realize how small a part nature plays in their whole scheme. For them it’s a very logical and almost clinical process that involves finding the right scientific balance between watering and sun exposure in order for their chosen plants to thrive and mesh together like well-oiled cogs that just turn out to be of the vegetal kind.