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Pursuit of Perfection — 40 Comments

  1. Oh Alistair what magnificent gardens you have. I can’t help but think of all the hours spent working in them. The first photos were eye popping with colour – wow. I hope this year you and your wife will remember to sit and enjoy the garden without a tool in hand.

  2. Your garden is really an awesome sight to behold. I can see why you have been reaping awards. The perfection you were aiming for is reflected in it. Do enjoy your garden, its really beautiful.

  3. aloha

    what a series of transformations, boy those first entries are quite intense, it is so much more fulfilliing when you have the time to work and enjoy the garden without the pressure to make sure everything is spot perfect which in this world is too difficult nowadays…enjoy the real deal!

    thanks for sharing that and showing us your garden today

  4. Hi Alistair, You deserve awards for your lawn alone. I gave up on perfection pretty quickly, after I spent my spare time over two weeks deweeding my patios and paths only to find that the weeds had started growing again where I started. Enjoy taking things easier – but I have a feeling your lawns will still look like velvet.

  5. Alistair, I really enjoyed the photos of your garden then and now. You could probably predict that I am more for the restrained garden, but I take great pleasure from visiting gardens full of the over-the-top bright colors that only annuals can provide. In fact, in the summer, I really enjoy the colorful containers of annuals (and vegetables) that I grow on the deck at my family’s home in Maine. Gardening would be so boring if there was only one approved style as some gardeners seem to want.

  6. Wow, you have a truly beautiful garden! It must have taken an enormous amount of effort to keep the garden so neat and tidy, and a lot of talent to plan what to plant and where. No wonder you won the competition!

  7. Your blooms look absolutely amazing! no wonder you won so many times.
    I cant imagine all the hard work you must have put on it. But it all definitely pay off.
    It is so interesting to see how we evolve as gardeners little by little and how we learn.
    I wish you the best for this starting year.
    Your house looks beautiful too by the way

  8. My gosh Alistair, What a riot of color! It is a tonic for me right now as all here is under a foot of snow or more with icy weather promised in coming days. I agree that to take it easy and let perfection be someone else’s goal. You tend your garden well. It is a lot of work and your garden looks fabulous! It is find to say you think it looks good. Too often we go the other way and find all the fault with our gardens. Lovely post!

  9. Cup of tea, yes thank you! Have one with me? BTW now I feel silly, I like to write blog posts as I read books. One to think about, and one for light relief. Tomorrow is a fluffy, feathered post ;>)

  10. You have a perfect looking garden, serious! No wonder you won all those competitions, just look at those gorgeous multi-coloured blooms, perfect lawn and trees! But I guess it was a really really really hard work to achieve that, Im amazed at you and your wife! Since you are taking it easy this year, just enjoy your garden more and give yourself a thumb up everyday..Happy gardening!

  11. Alistair, I was looking at your older photos before and have always admired the colour scheme (and perfection!) of your summer displays! It’s not a surprise you’ve been winning and placing in those competitions.

    Seeking perfection is addictive, there’s so much beauty in gardening that it’s easy to lose sight of the essence of the hobby and focus on attaining perfection. I find that in a well cared for garden, perfection is there already, it’s just that often some gardeners failt to see it as they focus intensely on flaws and attaining ‘perfection’ on specific things only.

    Looking forward to your spring and summer shots! Based on your last set of photos, it will be really lovely 🙂

  12. Man oh man, Alistair… did you nail that one…In Wisconsin, garden walks are hugely popular and we get asked often. I would about have fits trying to perfect every little detail on two acres. With my congestive heart failure it’s a wonder I lived through it. I realized this one year when all the gardeners were visiting each others gardens the day before the actual walk… I thought we had it perfected to the last detail… not a weed in sight, not a fallen leaf on the grass! As we all toured my gardens, I suddenly noticed a 5′ bull thistle growing out of the center of a rheingold arborvitae… I must have spent hours within a few feet of it during preparations… the purple blooms were beautiful with the golden conifer… if I would have been with anyone other than gardeners, I would have bragged about the combination! LOL. Another time 50 yards of a very light weight pine bark mulch shredded at a log home construction business were entirely spread… the night before the walk, a very strong wind came up… you can imagine the mess. I nearly killed myself getting things back in order before people started arriving. That’s it for me… it’s now visit as people will, in groups or otherwise, all are welcome… but no more formal affairs… my heart just won’t take the stress.

    Now on to the pictures on this latest post of yours… wow, wow, wow… absolutely fantastic! I’m so glad you posted them and I am hungry for more… your gardens are spectacular… too bad you live so many thousands of miles away… i’d love to see them in person!

    Take care, Larry

  13. Alistair you certainly loved growing annuals over the years. I can just imagine the hours and hours of deadheading, watering and feeding those plants all needed. Plus that lawn of yours looks like a bowling green and I’m sure it need alot of maintenance aswell. I’m more of the informal gardener these days too and I try to keep my annuals mostly in containers though sometimes I’m not too good at the deadheading or watering. I have made a mental note this year to myself that I will take more care of them.

  14. I actually prefer the later pictures. To me, too many flowers can sometimes be a bit “too much”, and I love the calm of more foliage and structure, highlighting the flowers that will almost invariably be the stars of a garden.

    On another note, I’m just back from a weekend in Aberdeen and I’m quite jealous of how mild it is there now. This afternoon was just glorious! Hope you enjoyed the weather and your garden.

  15. Your gardens are stunning. I will be visiting Aberdeen and Edinburgh in June, my first overseas trip. I hope to see many of Scotland’s gardens.

  16. Wow your garden looks amazing. If mine looked half that good I would be pleased although I’m not personally a fan of the in your face bedding approach. I can see that it would take over and presumably that means you aren’t relaxing and enjoying your garden.

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