I felt a brief surge of panic as King of the Hill mentioned settling our garden bench in the newly cleared area at the feet of the horse chestnut and beech trees.
“But that is going to be our woodland area!”, I exclaimed, pointing out the sinuous curve of the planted border that would continue across the front of this bare earth to seamlessly join the strawberry bed. King of the Hill pointed out that in his mind we had always intended to put the bench here.
“Perhaps we could pull the bench forwards so that it sits on the grass just in front of that border…”, I continued hopefully, but I already knew that I had lost this debate, for no better reason than that I could see just what a good spot it would indeed be for the old wooden seat.
We carried the bench to this contentious spot, and I couldn’t fail to agree that it was a perfect position. Snug under the trees, there was some shelter from the winds that was lost just a foot or two further forward. And it gave a lovely view along the adjoining border, and across the lawn to the far plantings and up to the house.
We agreed that I could have free rein planting around and beneath the bench; and even in front of it, with the addition of a few stepping stones to give access to the seat – being mindful that anything planted here had a good chance of being trodden on despite such stones.
So here the seat has remained, looking as though it has always been there: a perfect place to perch with a cup of tea and survey the garden; shady in the heat of the day and catching the last of the evening sun before it sinks in front of the house. We planted a vigorous rambling rose, Paul’s Himalayan Musk, just to the side of the bench where it should scramble up into the trees above to give a burst of scent and colour mid-summer.
And so the bench that has been restlessly shuffling around the garden finally has a home, and I am revising the half-formed plans in my head to incorporate this seat. I shall plant the area up slowly in the months to come as I raise or obtain suitable plants. A sweet scented sarcococca whispering over our shoulders in the crisp cool air, a carpet of creeping phlox around our feet in summer… not to mention the tumbling rose above us. A change in direction, but there is promise here.