What makes a garden a good garden? Plants of course , that is a given for me. But apart from that? You’d say this is highly personal, according to personal preferences. I think there is more to it than that. I have seen a lot of different gardens, in all styles, shapes and sizes when I did the garden maintenance. In some gardens you immediately feel welcome and comfortable, others are chilly, inhospitable places. It has little to do with my own taste, or even the level of maintenance. Even the shabbiest gardens can still be a welcoming space.
A couple of years ago there was an article in Dutch gardening magazine Groei en Bloei which explained some basic principles in the layout of a succesful garden. In a Dutch garden park they have literally built the same garden a couple of times to illustrate this principle. I have studied a little garden design but I don´t think I have the spatial visualisation ability to determine what makes a space work or not. That is probably the gift of a good designer, to visualise a space where other people feel comfortable, without them truly knowing why. My appreciation for a place comes exclusively from the feel I get at a certain place. I like it when a garden has an sense of intimacy. That is actually the origin of the word “garden”, an enclosed, safe place to be. A home around your home.
I do know that there is no better way to achieve this feeling than by planting shrubs and trees, and of course a hedge. Although I’m still working on the hedge list, it is on the site now and I’ll add and translate along the way.