(The latest Wormwood column from Horsley's Over the Wall magazine)
As far as the garden is concerned, Mrs Wormwood and I are keen proponents of what is known as the Natural Look.
Let me stress right away however that the creation of a truly natural garden entails hours of research, planning and execution. Not everyone will have the time or interest to explore this highly-specialised activity.
Take the lawn for example. While most people content themselves with a flat, tightly-cropped surface comprising a single species such as a fine-bladed fescue, we opted instead for a more sophisticated, distressed finish in which a rich diversity of grasses and small flowering plants are interspersed with patches of bare earth. Starting with a conventional lawn, that in essence served as our blank canvas, transformation to the present mature state called for patient attention over a period of several years.
A similar degree of care has been lavished on the boundary wall of our property which is just nearing completion and in which we have explored a different set of ideas. Here the underlying theme is a crumbling stone wall over which a delicate filigree of ivy, brambles and goosegrass has been skillfully woven into a single rich mat. The effect we were striving for and which, without undue modesty, I believe we can claim some success in achieving, is reminiscent of the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites and in particular that great masterpiece of William Holman Hunt: Our English Coasts.
As far as the beds are concerned, we really let ourselves go here - playing with the idea of paired plants, in which individuals of one variety are set-off against a denser companion serving as a backdrop. Thus: foxgloves in a sea of nettles, comfrey bedded in ground elder and rose bay willow herb swaying gracefully over a cushion of chickweed.
As is the case with so many other areas of life, goals that are worth attaining don't come for free. To become a natural gardening expert calls for clarity of purpose and a willingness to let go of cherished patterns of behaviour.
'I think the idea sounds great' I hear you say, 'but I don't know how to take the first step.'
Well I've got great news for you and thousands of others like you: the Wormwood Wildgarden Workshop (www.www.com) - an intensive, hands-on tutorial that will teach you all you need to know about converting your own garden to the Natural Look.
Cost £50, Chairs provided. Bring a bottle.