Just back again from the deliciously juicy, turgid gardens of Marlborough, NZ, and while I’ve been ranting about the joys and the unrealized potential of dry gardening for years, I still find that I can have the wind punched from my guts by gardens so hydrated – so pumped with H2O – that I feel like some desiccated, no-longer-functional part of my physiology or psychology is being revivified by osmosis alone.
To enter a garden like Hortensia House (above), that is run through with a deep stream of spring-sourced water, is like being spontaneously connected to an intravenous drip. You can hear every cell sighing in relief.
The mental image I have is of me crawling on my hands and knees through desert sands, and finding myself, semi-dazed, in a dripping green oasis. Lying on my back after a long drink, I gingerly scan my convictions about dry gardening and detect a sneaking suspicion that my enthusiasm has been little more than a mental survival strategy.
But it’s a suspicion I can’t entertain. I live in a location with an average rainfall of 800ish mm, which is yet to break 500mm this year. While the average total isn’t too bad, I’m on tank water only, and five adult-sized users of these tanks will run them near-dry by the end of summer. So I don’t water the garden at all. I don’t even attempt to grow veggies in summer. A few pots in important positions survive on the cold water we collect while we wait for the hot water to reach our bathroom (about 6l each time).
So I’ve got to fill my head with highly desirable dry gardens. In my super-hydrated stupor, I could only think of one. I had to keep chanting to myself – ‘Remember Nicole de Vesian. Remember Nicole de Vesian. Think only on Nicole de Vesian’. Her undeniably desirable La Louve alone kept me on track. I couldn’t, in the moment, think of any others.
Please – for the sake of my rapidly dehydrating sanity – remind me of more!