Blank canvas and the Prickly Quad

Photo of bare earth prepared bed, trees to the back, grass path to the front

Bare earth, blank mind

The sheet mulch is up, the soil is bare and my mind is blank

The idea of a blank canvas fills me with an odd sense of dread. Yes, there’s hope and the new and the unexplored. But there is also the weight of expectation. I have a couple of hundred square metres of bare earth out there waiting for me to get planting. The pressure is on.

Which is why I’ve decided to start a new trend called Garden Design On a Whim. Essentially, you take a group of plants that you want and organise them by some arbitary measure. I have chosen prickliness. Other people choose the colour white.

The new area to fill the blank canvas is called Prickly Quad. It will have prickly plants in it. Already, I have planted a Crataegus ellwangeriana (scarlet hawthorn) and a Zanthoxylum simulans (Szechuan pepper). So, it is only natural to keep on the prickly tip and plant a Berberis darwinii (Darwin’s barberry), a spikey scattering of Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon grape) and to crown it all, a Ribes uva-crispa (gooseberry) ‘Hinnonmaki Red’. For some strange reason, I ❤️ gooseberries.

But. I have reached the end of the prickly forest garden road. I wanted a Viburnum trilobum (American cranberry) and it isn’t prickly. And my mind is now blank on the prickle front. Time to dip in to another whimsical theme… 🙂