How I loathe psycho-babble.

‘She’s in a really dark place’ said my friend about a mutual acquaintance. It was said in the hushed tone and with the certain knowing expression which always accompany that banal cliché.

‘No, actually!’  I thought, ‘SHE’S  just a bit hacked off. THIS is a really dark place’:

We put ourselves in the way of fear in life. God knows driving is bad enough, and watching horror movies at night is a deliberate attempt to feel fear.

But do we do it enough in the garden?

The unfathomable well.

The footpath above the long drop.

Do we have enough opportunities to be sucked into a whirling vortex?

Design wise, in the garden, fear has the drama of bungee jumping and the stomach pitting quality of the Rollercoaster at Alton Towers.

Sure there are health and safety aspects and it’s installation would come with some ‘backside covering’ paperwork!  But according to the office of statistics it’s a bit of a risk stepping into your jeans in the morning.

And it can in any case be merely a palpable but harmless atmosphere. Darkness and closeness might be enough:

A doorway in a hedge at Rodmarton has mystery, but leads merely to a rather decrepit nursery area.

The sombre yew walk at Sissinghurst – its harmless enough but it gives me the heebie  jeebies. I bet if VSW stalks around as a bad tempered ghost, full of vengeance for the lost romance of Sissinghurst, its there.

And as for Andy Sturgeon’s Black Holes you can’t even get near them, but they are fearful.

Unease in the garden draws on or perhaps even feeds our innermost, primal fears. The darkness is of the coffin, death itself, or the bogeyman coming out to get you.

If all this seems a bit too dark for you, think of it as a change of pace:

 The contrast of light and shade.

A bit of mystery.

A frisson.

We know there’s nothing behind it, but we still have that ‘Psycho’ moment: