When we first moved here the garden was full of top soil with plenty of builders rubble underneath. The first thing we did was to sow some grass seed and wait for the rabbits to graze it! Then I shaped the flower borders and planted a few things - the rabbits were delighted - they had some late night snacks! Those rabbits gave me such a headache in the early years of the front garden while the ducks just made a bit of a mess. If the rabbits didn't like the top growth then they would dig up the plant and eat its roots instead. Eventually as more neighbours arrived they brought their pet cats and after a few years we finally had the rabbit situation under control - the ducks are still with us though fewer in number!
|front garden 2001/2002|
|Spring & Summer|
|Spring & Summer|
|Spring & Summer|
|The huge white Cistus and the Halmiocistus were some of the winter casulaties from 2009/2010|
Commencing the blog also coincided with our two worst winters in about 50 years. So many of the larger plants that were not as hardy were killed and I've been reconstructing the garden ever since.
This part of the over all garden doesn't feature very often in the blog as I prefer to spend my time in the back garden. The front garden is full of evergreens and many colours of conifers. Even during the winter months it has so much form, structure, colour and texture which is relatively easy to maintain.
Here are some of the highlights from over the years of blogging:
|May 2011 in the driveway part of the garden|
- In 2011 I featured the driveway garden for the May Garden Bloggers Bloom Day
- I added a Fothergilla 'Blue Shadow' to the garden in the area next to the Silver Weeping tree.
- I blogged about the 'duck egg blue' coloured Iris reticulata 'Katharine Hodgkin' coming into flower in April 2003.
- The Silver Weeping Pear tree became very unruly and needed a good prune and I featured a new prunning technique that I'd read about - la taille de transparence. I've since used this technique successfully in the garden with other shrubs too and hopefully in 2014 I'll share my photos in another blog post.
- I discovered that I had the perfect home for the native Northern Marsh Orchid in one of the scree borders and it's been self seeding ever since!
- Finally if you want to learn a little more about the scented orange tulips that are featured in some of the photos above they called Ballerina Tulips.
My back garden is a modest sized plot but I make sure that every inch of space is used as much as possible. The garden is south westerly facing though the north facing corner is heavy clay with a high water table and run off from the neighbouring garden which is on a higher elevation. I've had many gardens over the years but this one has been the toughest yet. It was quite a while before I accepted that I couldn't grow what I wanted and had to grow what could survive!
We started off with a blank canvas back in late spring and within 2 months of moving in the patio was laid, the lawn was sown, the blue arches were put up and a circular pea gravel bed was created to cover a large unsightly manhole (drain) cover. I'd always wanted a lavender hedge and this was the perfect opportunity to attempt to grow one. It didn't grow very much in the first year or so as it was constantly being razed to the ground by the local rabbit population.
- You can read more about the creation of this part of the garden here - My Autumnal Alternative to the Jpegs.
|Spring & Summer 2009|
I only started to blog in the Autumn of 2009 after all of the photos above had been taken. Then the dreadful winters of 2009 and 2010 arrived and many of my larger shrubs were killed in the back garden like: Mahonia 'Charity' (7ft tall), Nandina, Weigela florida, Ceanothus 'Skylark', Lavatera 'Barnsley', large standard yellow rose, clumps of bronze fennel, Phormium, Echinacea, Hesperis and unusual alliums to name just a few.
The garden has slowly recovered though I still miss shrubs like the Mahonia, the yellow standard rose and Nandina but have never risked planting them again. More paths have been created with a seating area in one corner and two of the blue arches were removed due to rot.
In August 2013 in the blog post 'What's beyond the garden gate' the garden looked like this with foliage having a bigger role now rather than the herbaceous plants.
Here are some of the highlights from this part of the garden since I started to blog:
- We've all heard of Sweet Peas but these are the pretty little flowers from the Spring Peas - Lathyrus vernus and in 2013 I managed to source a pink one too.
- Primula japonica 'Millers Crimson' and other primula's thrive in Muddy Boots Corner.
- I grow 4 different colours of witchhazel shrubs for winter colour and two of them grow in the back garden. Would you like to go on a witch hunt today?
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