Friday, 12 June 2009

Gardening with abandon: the Belgian Waffle guide




I am often asked by noone at all how I get the Waffle garden looking so marvellously lush and elegant. Given that we all need a little escapism, something aspirational now and then, I thought a spot of learned gardening advice would be just the ticket. You too can achieve this look, with a little savoir faire and a light smattering of Happy Meal toys.


To be a successful gardener, you need a little daring. Not everyone would think that a large grey doormat, some wet dog cleaning rags, a sock, a variety of discarded receptacles, a sword and a Pokemon card would make a charming tableaux with this iconic green plastic bench, but taken as an ensemble, I feel they really work.






If we drill down to the detail here, you'll see that by combining that dead leaf, sock and playdoh container on the dark background, the colours of those highligh objects really pop.







I've also found that an inexplicable pile of rotting wood makes for a good focal point, drawing the eye to the dog shit strewn pebbles.



Gardeners with dogs would do well to follow our example. Firstly, painstakingly construct a fenced off corner for your dog.





(If by some mysterious alchemy this causes your new tree to die, do not despair. Dead trees are very this season. )

When your dog whimpers with terror whenever you approach the fenced off area and refuses to enter it, give up entirely and allow it to pee all over the lawn, creating a delightful chiaroscura effect comme ceci:



(yes, these are my gardening shoes. Suede and satin ChloƩ flats are ideal, I find).

You will also need to have easy access to a utensil for removing dog crap before the tortoises eat it. We display ours whimsically in the lilac tree, in this, er, thing made from a paper Quick cup, sellotape, plastic piping and small discs of Batman themed plastic.




I am often asked how I choose my plants. It's hard to explain something that is so utterly instinctive. It's almost as if I don't choose the plants, but they choose me.




Again, I couldn't tell you quite what inspired me to place that Marsupilami in exactly that spot. It's instinctive.



Of course, it's a little unfair to hope that you might be able to achieve this kind of mature beauty immediately. After all, how many of you have the great good fortune to have a large wooden tortoise house made from a child's sandpit in your gardens? Sadly few, I feel. Poor dears.







But take heart! The tortoises themselves do not even use it, and can be found attractively displayed all across the garden chewing discarded bones and dog turds.




So, to summarise, instinct, daring, plastic. I do hope that by following these simple precepts, you too can have a fragment of waffle in your own green space.

19 comments:

Liberty London Girl said...

Looks much like my last London garden. Without the Playdoh obv. LLGxx

haptree said...

Inspiring stuff, will you be on the great london garden trail again this year?

haptree said...

do they have similar in Brussels?

@eloh said...

Hey, I think I might be able to pull off some of your gardening instructions here...I will of course have to start out "shoe shopping". I'm sure that is one of the key elements.

Are all those windows we see in the first photo yours?? It looks lovely and bright and very difficult to clean.

Sinda said...

I think I need a total makeover. Are you available for in-person consultations?

Metropolitan Mum said...

So I see you at Chelsea Flower show then? I wish I was chosen by flowers, too. I am only ever chosen by snails.

pinklea said...

I think the coin de caca et pipi is absolutely brilliant. I don't even have a dog, but I'm going to add that to my garden. I will be the envy of my neighbours and I will simply smile mysteriously and say, "It's a European design by Jaywalker."

Welsh Girl said...

I am inspired. Despite having no children I shall start collecting playroom detritus and scattering it artfully through the garden. I wonder if I will get a lego tree sprouting next year?

As my father has just run over a box of toys on my drive, I feel I have made a good start with shattered plastic in a variety of colours everywhere.....

Lucy Fishwife said...

You can tell it's Friday - I looked at your post title and could only think "mantle with aplomb". Which will only be funny if you ever watched The Fast Show.
Sorry.

reen said...

Now I know what I've been doing wrong vis a vis the random dead spots all over my lawn - I am lacking a weepette to arrange them more artfully. Thank you for that!

WV "rehemph." It's the noise I make when I look out at my back yard with contempt and disgust.

rainsinger said...

I wish I could post a picture of the jungle that is my garden and then we can have a Garden Off.

I wish my lawn was chosen by grass instead of Unkillable Weed, but who I am to argue with the forces of fate?

CFO said...

Emma, I guess you just need to click. I know you are here since I am in next room

screamish said...

oh my god does the CFO have his own blog? its like finally meeting Elvis..must investigate...

bevchen said...

The CFO has a blog?? OMG, This has to be checked out...

CFO said...

Hi Screamish, the "Elvis" effect will run out very quickly... Wait for me to sing

Sahara said...

I love you. If you ever want anyone taken out, just give me a wink and I'll do it. No questions asked.

Persephone said...

I am very envious of your yard. To understand why, I will have to screw up the courage to send you a snap of the weed-infested postage stamp that is our front yard. (We don't have a back yard; our neighbour got it --- we're a semi-detached, albeit wholly detached from the backyard...) The salt required to keep our front walk from being a chute-directly-to-death in the wintertime effectively kills any grass that tries to grow, although a recent switch to ecologically friendly "salt" that is in fact fertilizer has proven very friendly to weeds. I would attempt to turn the whole front yard into a garden if I had any inclination. Which I don't. And with a six-month frozen winter, what's the point?
Just came over from CFO's new blog. How afraid should we be?

tragicanon said...

i love you... you are my inspiration!!!

Lisa said...

I love an eclectic garden. That one has the added charm of, um, eccentricity! If you can't break the rules, why bother?