"Earth laughs in flowers."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
If you were to ask me what style is my garden, I would be very, very tempted to reply, "willy-nilly". To be honest I would need to say, no one style, but rather, an attempt for a mixture of 'cottage' and 'naturalized' - depending on which direction you are looking.
And, further, it is primarily a spring garden. We are gradually adding more plants that flower in summer and autumn, but spring is the best time to visit. For that is when the Earth laughs the most at Crocker Croft.
The illusion of naturalistic gardens is: it looks simple and easy.
If you ever hear anyone say that it is, tell them to just try it! The naturalistic is probably the most difficult to attempt and have it come off successfully. One who understands is Amy Stewart who wrote, "A garden is a human creation. It has to be thought of first, wished into being, planned for like a child."- Amy Stewart, FROM THE GROUND UP (Algonquin Books)
Without that vision and plan, plus tremendous effort especially in June, Nature would take over. I do not know what would happen in your garden, but here we would have a reverting to total exotics and the most vigorous of North American vines such as poison ivy. It would soon become a garden of Chinese honeysuckle shrubs and Japanese honeysuckle vines with an under growth of European garlic mustard and dandelions. So, yes, the naturalistic garden MUST have a plan, which this one does, but it is yet to be completely successful due to not enough strength and vigor on the part of the gardeners.
A successful example and my favorite naturalistic garden is that of Winterthur Estate in Delaware's beautiful Brandywine Valley, halfway between New York City and Washington, D.C., U.S.A. You can find a link to their website in my list of links: "More Links/Blog Roll". (see sidebar of this home page)
Am I a real gardener? I do not think so. I do very little hands-on myself these days, and each year of age means progressively less I do. I plan. I make beautiful plans. But, for major progress, I mostly point and talk. I am certainly not the Master Gardener. The Creator is the Master Gardener; I fancy myself just the humble garden "manager" for the Master Gardener.
I like to weed. Don't laugh! I like sitting on the ground on my old chair cushion and touching and seeing what is going on down at that level. I like checking out the plants, roots, soil, bugs, worms, and anything else down there. The neighborhood cats like it when I sit on the ground; they think I'm being friendly.
Strange as it sounds, yes, I do like to weed. I have heard others say, "I am a slave to my weeds." -- I'm not. -- I agree with Michael P. Garofalo who wrote:
"Beauty is the Mistress, the Gardener her slave."
Ah, yes....here's to Beauty! I am her slave.