The purpose of this manual is to provide information on the plants and other structures/features in the garden and how best to maintain them. There are some plants that are spectacular if properly maintained but can become problematic if maintenance is neglected. In some cases, standard maintenance techniques are ignored or modified in order to give the effect desired in the garden, or because I prefer an alternative, more efficient and just as effective, but perhaps unconventional, approach (see Philosophies section later in the manual) . Lists of chores to be done at various times of year are included at the end of the manual.
This manual is intended to be useful for ourselves, for a subsequent homeowner, or for any landscape service company that we might hire in the future. If this manual is being read by a subsequent homeowner, I suggest that you:
- not be intimidated by the size/complexity of the garden – it’s much easier to take care of than you might think;
- live with it for a year, attempting to maintain it as per this manual;
- after one full garden season, assess what parts you liked – or didn’t like – and what was too difficult for you to maintain.
Having made that assessment, then modify the garden to suit your taste and ability. Everybody needs to make their own garden but it will look more mature and ‘finished’ if, wherever possible, you can retain good quality existing plantings, particularly trees and shrubs.
For assistance in identifying specific plants in the garden, consult the binders of plant tags. While not all plants had tags that have been kept (some were seed-grown and have no tags; some tags were lost, or not kept) the majority of the plants are recorded there, including ones which may no longer exist in the garden because they died or were otherwise removed. Such removal is usually noted on the information behind the tag. For the most part, I have not been overly concerned about variety names. Plants in the garden were largely selected on the basis of their features – e.g. size, color, bloom-time etc. Any variety that has the necessary features would suit equally as well as any existing variety with those same features.