Warts and All

Welcome to anyone visiting for the first time through links on patientgardener and thanks to Helen for hosting this end-of-month gardenfest. Being very much a novice I am approaching this undressing of my as yet largely unseen garden with a certain amount of trepidation – be gentle with me! I am trying not to go over the top with photographs, but because of the garden’s shape (L) and nature it is hard to give this first overview without doing so, as you will see. Here goes:

This is what we see from the see back of the house and has been unaffected by this year’s major revamp, which also means it has been rather neglected, hence the motley collection of pots, many of which are empty. We built the ‘sitooterie’ three years ago, renaming it when the orange tree I had bought to justify calling it ‘the orangery’ died – I don’t do a lot of ‘sitting oot’, but try to remember to eat my breakfast in there occasionally and I have also use it to host my meditation evenings sometimes. We put underfloor heating in, so intend to overwinter tender plants there as well. The small square of grass is to practise tai chi on, but the grass suffers from the shade of the magnolia and holly hedge to the left. Taken to the right of the last picture this shows work in progress on the stream (see earlier posts); we have been testing the water levels with the new pump in action before these rocks go back. Beyond the stream are a couple of mature apple trees, remnants of the few plants in the garden when we bought the property. Both sides of the path and under the     apple trees were underplanted with daffodils at one time but these gradually declined and I have ordered some more to plant up this year.

Walk to the left of the sitooterie and you reach The Woodland – this was planted up in 2000 with silver birch, field maple and small leaved lime (all native UK trees), and underplanted with primroses, wood anemones and bluebells, with ferns and a few rhododendrons too – definitely a success, particularly in spring, and more noticeably so since I waged war on the lamium. Previously this was just an area of grass (as was most of the garden) but there is evidence of some sort of structure there previously, possibly outbuildings. Our own original sheds are to the right of the picture – potting shed (no potting) and workshop for when The Golfer has a different hat on.

Turn right past the sheds and the compost area and you look down the garden through the ‘woodland edge’ border …. then walk through and look from the other end …. This is another area which has proved successful and is largely unchanged – snowdrops and hellebores in the spring, with geraniums, persicaria, ferns, comfrey, rhododendron later. We removed 2 large self(or squirrel)-seeded hazels from here earlier in the year which increased light levels substantially. If you twizzle to your left from the first of these 2 pictures you will see the revised herbaceous borders and the clematis colonnade (and the location of the rose garden and ‘bus shelter’ to their left):

If you are interested enough to look back through earlier posts you will see how the area has been transformed this year. The herbaceous borders are still a bit of a mish-mash as they are basically the previous ones realigned, and I was concerned mostly with trying to fill them up this year – geraniums, heucheras and astrantias are my old faithfuls here. The clematis have generally been moved from other places and are still in a state of shock as most were in pots for some time during the revamp, but I am sure they will survive to tell the tale next year. They are underplanted with geraniums. The triangular bed has an acer griseum and some of the more autumnal shades of heucheras.

If we now head to the far end of the woodland edge border we reach the ‘hot borders’ in front of the wall, on either side of the gate leading to the fruit cage, greenhouse and token vegetable area:

The right side is the original but truncated border, the plants being the ones left in situ as there was no above-ground evidence of their presence at the time, but it looked surprisingly acceptable later in the year so I kept it as it is but need to add more plants at the back. It is past its best now, whereas the bed on the left has improved as the completely new plants have begun bulking up nicely – still too much green, but the crococosmia and geums in particularly have been lovely. Through the gate now for a quick overview of the edible end of the garden:

Couldn’t insert the pictures properly here, so just a hint of the decent tomatoes, barely productive courgettes, half-decent climbing French beans, blackfly infested broad beans, overgrown rhubarb, potatoes that need digging up, the shredded cabbage and broccoli, healthy pumpkin plants (but only one pumpkin) and a fairly productive fruit cage.

I am worn out from my tour, and I am sure you are too, so let’s turn and head back  through the new blue and white border, the rose garden, the clematis colonnade (all documented in  previous posts) and back towards the house:


I could show you the dry and shady border next to the paved area, where I have my species snowdrops and half-heartedly try to grow essentially white flowers, or the side of the house where the chickens are or the side that has been dominated by tiles and guttering most of this year, but that is more than enough for this visit. It gives you a flavour of the  garden and may help put other posts into the wider perspective – and it is a record for ME to see what was happening at the beginning of September 2012. I have enjoyed peeking into other people’s gardens and I hope you feel the same about peeking into mine. Thank you for visiting – now have a virtual cup of tea and slice of cake!

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14 Responses to Warts and All

  1. croftgarden says:

    This is a real sleeping beauty – so much potential (and work). You have so many great features to work with, what a great project. I will be following the developments and thank you for the invitation to watch the emergence of a great garden.

  2. Cathy says:

    Thanks for your comments and support Chris. As we started with a completely blank canvas in about 1999 (all grass and trees – I will post a picture of the original ‘before’ sometime) this is really like a phoenix rising, a rebirth, as I am taking out all my original ad hoc work and recreating something which I trust will be satisfy my soul more. Although not actually working to an overall plan, because the redevelopment is taking place continuously there should be greater element of cohesion to it. As always, I am just grateful to be where I am in my life and to have had the opportunities to create this garden.

  3. paulinemulligan says:

    Thank you for taking us round your garden, your woodland sounds delightful, so glad you mention snowdrops and hellebores, two of my favourites! Will look forward to seeing your alterations and how your garden progresses. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog, its good to hear from someone new.

  4. Cathy says:

    Thanks for dropping in. My hellebores were stunning this year (see earlier posts) – not just the flowers, but the structure of the foliage that followed on. I was intrigued by your ‘avatar’ as I am always on the look out for anything sculptural for the garden, the quirkier the better. I will do a post on the ‘art’ in our garden one of these days.

  5. carole195 says:

    I’ve not got a blog going as yet, but am delighted to be able to look around all the different gardens via blogs, yours is truly an exciting work in progress, so thank you for allowing me to be nosey, I will certainly pop back again!

  6. candi052781 says:

    I am in love with your garden…the different rooms….the space. I have been allocated a little whidgety bit on the side of our lawn. But its still pretty good. (i think;) I also miss the UK. maybe not the weather so much, but I’ve defiantly got gooseberries going and currants. I make preserves and hardly any one even knows what they (gooseberries) are.
    Thanks for sharing..I hope you will check out my little space:)

  7. kate says:

    My first visit to an overview – and I’m really impressed and especially in love with your woodland – those birches are absolutely beautiful…. sigh….

    I love the sense of shelter and considered thought that I get from your garden. Very interesting indeed!

    • Cathy says:

      Hi Kate! Thanks for your interest – we were clearly both avoiding doing other things as our comments have been overlapping! The woodland was flash of inspiration after I had visited a local open garden which had a strip of woodland down the side and I thought ‘hmm….. wouldn’t it be lovely to have space for a woodland….’ and then I realised I DID! And yes, the shelter is good but it also brings SHADE, hence this year’s attack on self-seeded trees and those getting too big for their boots. I also had to take this into consideration with the internal boundaries in the current recreation, although it is too early to say how successful that has been. I have recently added the tag ‘…and nurturing my soul’ to the blog title, and I certainly consider the garden to be a spiritual shelter as well.

  8. Cathy says:

    Hi Candi052781 – thanks for visiting and for your approbation.I shall have a look at your space shortly – good luck with your currants! I hadn’t realised that gooseberries were so quintessentially British until something I read recently. If there are no other gooseberries to be seen where you are I wonder if you will avoid gooseberry sawfly….? Mine were virtually destroyed by sawfly this year and yet I had a bumper crop the year before – in fact it seems to be alternate years that it’s a problem, but I don’t know if other people find that or if it’s just coincedence.

    • candi052781 says:

      eii, I didn’t even know about such a fly. As of yet I haven’t seen it, although the bushes are still small. I get the gooseberries for my company through a friends parents and I don’t think I have ever heard her mention the saw fly. I will have to ask next time we talk.

      • Cathy says:

        Hi – what you see are actually tiny caterpillars, which hide on the underside of the leaves and gradually nibble them away, weakening the bush and usually preventing the fruit from maturing. I did have to look up to sheck what the caterpillars hatched from, and apparently the sawfly is an insect that resembles a flying ant, but of course you never to get to see them – you just notice the bushes being stripped. The advice (if you don’t use pesticides) is to handpick the caterpillars, but I am sure I have recently read of an alternative method and will need to read through my magazines to find out.

  9. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a
    comment is added I get three emails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove people from that
    service? Thank you!

    • Cathy says:

      Hi – I am so sorry that this has happened. It’s all set up automatically within the WordPress system, and I don’t have a hand in it at all. I know when I have signed up for comments on someone’s WordPress blog it soon irks me but I can cancel that within my settings – I don’t know how it could be done for non WordPress users.

      Which post was it you commented on? Do you get comments from all posts or just that one? I wonder what happens if you click back on your original comment – worth a try? If it is just comments from one particular post I can change the settings to stop further comments on that post, which would then stop the emails of course.

      Hopefully we can find a way to stop them!

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