BORROWED SCENERY: A dragon fruit growing over and another through a neighbouring fence is adding to the ambience of my garden.
BORROWED SCENERY: A dragon fruit growing over and another through a neighbouring fence is adding to the ambience of my garden.

The absolute joy of sharing your garden

EARLY last Tuesday morning I was enjoying a cup of coffee while watering my front garden (in line with current water restrictions) when I came across a glorious sight.

My neighbour (who has thumbs so green I’m sure it must extend to her toes), is growing dragonfruit on her side of our shared fence - while it extends over the fence top, a slip of the plant has grown through a gap and a magnificent white flower had blossomed overnight.

Of course I whipped out my phone, took a photo and sent it to her.

When you enjoy a plant that someone else is tending outside your own garden, it’s like receiving a gift.

I’m fortunate to enjoy views of a magnificent gum tree across the road and a tall hedge of a neighbouring murraya add to my garden’s ambience.

Which led me to thinking about how we all have an impact on our neighbourhood with every single thing we plant.

Known as ‘borrowed scenery’, shakkei in Japan or jièjǐng in China, it’s the principle of “incorporating background landscape into the composition of a garden”, found in traditional east Asian garden design.

Which means if your neighbour has a hanging basket, window box or a frangipani tree you can glimpse from your home, then it is adding to the background of your garden - and hopefully your garden is adding to someone else and so on.

Currently I have several passionfruit vines rambling over my fences and my neighbours are welcome to help themselves to any fruit growing on their side of the fence.

For me it is much more relaxing to looking out over greenery as opposed to buildings and I’m lucky that where I live there are plenty of established trees and shrubs.

A few years ago when I lived elsewhere, a woman down my street stopped one day to introduce herself and told me she could see my sunflowers from her laundry window and they gave her such pleasure.

Tell me about your borrowed scenery - alison.paterson@northernstar.com.au


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