Summer in the garden. What could be better… winter, perhaps?
The long days of summer bring a relaxed air of warmth that settles over homes like a drift of the most delicate silk organza. Outdoor life is woven into daily routine, charming all but the most ardent winter-type of personality. Is there such a thing? Indeed there is – in fact a surprisingly high number of people prefer the colder seasons. Love the brightness of summer? Some people can't bear it.
Psychologists recognise that experiences affect moods via the subconscious mind. A winter-type of person likes the doors and windows to be firmly shut. Maybe the curtains drawn. The heaters are on and the outdoor world is closed for business. This is all down to the sense of security that enclosure brings.
Then there’s the reduced feeling of guilt that cold days bring. The weather provides the perfect excuse not to go out and about. Jobs that involve an element of outdoor-ness can easily be delayed. Most winter-lovers are introverts rather than extroverts and they prefer not to go out to mingle and meet people. They experience less stress by choosing not to do this. These people might not even realise that they don’t relish the thought of mixing with other people.
Do you have a winter person living near you?
How do you recognise a winter-person? There’s a simple clue and it relates to the tidiness of a front garden. Tending an outdoor space that adjoins a public place generally involves speaking to people, especially if it’s located in a residential street rather than a rural idyll. Introvert people will prefer to concentrate on their back garden if it’s more private than the front.
Of course, there’s more to it than this. Some people prefer not to look after any garden, not just the front!
You can be sure that the majority of people will be outdoors during their leisure time in summer, relishing every moment that the long, warm days provide. Many extroverts or even middle-of-the-road people in terms of sociability, will happily work in their front gardens and welcome every interaction with passers-by. It’s what happens at this time of year. The warmth brings an air of relaxation which promotes conversation and friendship.
How to make summer more bearable
If you’re a winter person or an introvert who likes privacy, there are always changes you can make to your outdoor space which will help to provide screening between you and the world beyond your comfort zone.
Hedging is an efficient way to create a boundary. Even a low hedge can give you an almost invisible barrier that tells people to stay the other side. Lavender, rosemary and shrub roses will all give you an opportunity to plant an aromatic, low barrier. Or a line of larger shrubs such as Cornus (pictured below) can be trained upwards to provide a hazy disruption to sight lines, thus achieving partial privacy.
Clumps of (non-running) bamboo (pictured below) provide an excellent screening opportunity and large pots filled with evergreens will also define your space. What you don’t want to plant is a fast-growing conifer hedge (such as leylandii) that will involve regular trimming. If you want a more traditional or formal hedge, you can plant native tree species or evergreens such as yew, that will be happy with a gentle trim every year.
Choose plants to suit your personality – they can be friends that work to make your life more pleasurable. All you winter-lovers out there can then enjoy summer too!