(Revised 25 Nov 2016)
When I go for a stroll in my garden, ideally, I would like to come across many spots where I can linger, sit and relax; perhaps have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine while I enjoy the garden surrounding. I refer to such little hang out areas as ‘sanctuaries’. Ideally, the environment of such hang out places should be conducive to the reflection/refreshment of your thought, or at least stress relieving.
By sanctuaries, I don’t mean expensive or imposing hardscape. In my garden, only very simple and minimal hardscape elements are implemented; just enough to allow us to visit all the plants in our garden. Many of the so called ‘benches’ in my garden are really just casually constructed ‘rustic’ boxes that house my irrigation piping manifolds, control valves and watering hoses. The gardens around these ‘sanctuaries’ seem to be always under various stages of active ‘doodling’. Visitors can easily walk past these so called ‘sanctuaries’ without noticing any ‘garden attractions’ (unless they have imagination similar to mine). The objective of preparing the pages here is primarily to force me to review the status of my progress (or lack of it) in the compositions for each area, since, as you know, gardeners can bury their heads in the dirt or plants, and forget about time and progress indefinitely.
Currently I have the following spots in the garden that I called my ‘sanctuaries’:
A deck just outside the sunroom. Shaded most part of the day by a big Dawn Redwood tree, ‘Canadale’ maple tree and a flowering cherry tree, it has an expansive view (full sun to heavy shade) of the garden adjacent to the back of the house (with outdoor sofa and dining facilities). (See here)
A minimalist pergola by the Pool. Shaded by a mature Cercis canadensis. a Dawn Redwood, ‘Gold Finch’ maple, and an ornamental pear tree. It has a full view of the pool area garden and a small rockery garden. (see here)
A simple bench under the Hawthorn tree facing the symbolic ‘fernery’, a small collection of maples and other shade garden perennials such as Corydalis, Hostas and Heucheras etc. (see here)
A simple bistro table/chair under a Cercis canadensis, a few Pinus strobus, and a flowering cherry tree, over looking a short woodland step path, rhododendrons and dwarf conifers. (see here)
A simple bench surrounded by a few mature conifers by Lake Shaukou across from the gazebo. (see here)