I know a lot of people love the gardens of stately homes. Many find ideas and make plans for their own gardens whilst exploring the well-tended borders. I tend to wander round them, rolling my eyes. They're not my world.
But the other week we dropped in to Chatsworth - a place for which we still have a great deal of affection - to wander round the gardens on a sunny day. And it was in the sensory garden where I saw a plant that stopped me in my tracks.
You might recognise it, or even have it in your garden. I know I have. It's a gardenius forkus, and it grows where work has started in a garden and then stopped. Just as in my garden, it grew in Chatsworth next to a half-buried plastic trug containing a handful of weeds.
It is the single most inspiring thing I have ever seen in the garden of a stately home. Manicured lawns, weed-free beds, plants untouched by a single slug - you can keep them. What I can manage is a half-finished task; abandoned because of rain or idleness or a child coming home from lunch with its grandmother. When you hear someone saying, 'My garden has got a bit out of hand,' I take it to a whole new level. For example, today I trimmed my overgrown flowerbeds with an electric hedgecutter.
So here's to imperfection in the garden - to weeds, to rot, to perennials so wild you have to push them out of the way at shoulder level whilst walking down the path. Here's to bamboo pushing up your coping stones; to a dead frog under a tarpaulin. Here's to nature in all its insanity.