From the number of people I see gazing into estate agents' windows, who like me are probably not in the market for another house move, I guess I'm not alone in being nosy about other people's homes. But I wonder how many are as interested as I am in the gardens surrounding them. It's rare to find the garden mentioned as a particular selling point and even rarer to see 'beautiful south facing garden' as I did recently. I think that the orientation of the garden is very important, but not long ago I saw a new client for the first time who had no idea which way her back garden faced and on showing her with a compass she was horrified to find it was north east, so surrounded by very tall buildings, only in mid summer would the sun shine directly into her garden.
For a sun worshipper or lavender lover this would have been a disaster but as it turned out that she didn't like to sit in the sun and her favourite plant was Alchemilla mollis then thankfully my visit ended well.
In most gardens, as the sun moves around it, we can move our spots to sit and benches strategically placed in a few locations not only give us different views but also the choice to be in light or shade.
Our plants unfortunately have to put up with what they've been given and all too often planting is a case of looking for a gap and sticking it in which at best only gives the poor plant a fifty/ fifty chance of survival. It's good for plant sales of course when we buy a replacement but it's entirely possible to avoid the guesswork and buy appropriate plants for the conditions we have and embrace the philosophy of putting the right plant in the right place.
The first rule of green fingers is to make an honest appraisal of our garden and consider which plant's tastes we might best accommodate, like lavender, thyme and sage from dry and sunny Provence, rhododenrons and camellias from the misty forests of Asia, grasses from the open prairies of America or should it be bluebells, wood anemones and wild garlic from under the opening canopy of a British woodland.
Although impulse buying plants is very tempting, for just a bit of consideration they really will repay our thoughtfulness and just as we do, they settle best, grow well and thrive where they feel most at home.