The Leavesnbloom Garden

How the leavesnbloom Perthshire garden has developed over the years
We had a bit of a Rabbit problem!

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!
new front garden
front garden 2001/2002
Being on a building site meant that it was easy to find large boulders to create some feature stone work in the scree beds.  
newly planted scree borders
Spring 2002
Very often I'd have the digger bring the big boulders from elsewhere on the building site to my garden.
pea gravel and river pebbles added to both scree borders
June 2002
Once the rabbit population dwindled I started to plant up more of the area under the Weeping Silver pear tree and added gravel to the scree areas.  While parts of the lawn next to the driveway were shaped and a potentilla hedge was planted.
late spring in the garden
Late Spring
spring and summer flowering borders
Spring & Summer

The Driveway Garden
spring and summer flowering borders
Spring & Summer
Eventually more and more of the lawn next to the driveway disappeared until I was left with just one lawn ...which is now in the shape of a kidney bean.  
spring and summer flowering borders
Spring & Summer
cistus and halmiocistus in the scree borders
The huge white Cistus and the Halmiocistus were some of the winter casulaties from 2009/2010
It was only after this stage in 2009 that I started to write about the garden here on the blog.  I now regret not doing it earlier as there was so much planning and excitement in the earlier years as the garden started to flourish.  

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:

colourful May blooms
May 2011 in the driveway part of the garden

  • 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.
The Blank Canvas in the Back Garden

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.  
leavesnbloom new garden Summer 2001
Summer 2001
My first pond was built at the side of the house but l later regretted this and eventually it's location was moved.
the garden in 2002
Cottage garden plants like Centranthus, Monarda and Lychnis were great fillers in the borders while the shrubs were slowly maturing. They lasted only a few years as the soil was just to heavy and wet for them.  I aptly named this corner  'Muddy Boots Corner' and it's been the most challenging area of the whole garden.
Summer in the back garden 2003
Summer 2004
Summer 2005
Herbaceous plantings in 2006
Summer in the back garden 2007
In 2007 the excavated soil from the new pond went into the old one.  Ideally the pond should have been placed down in the 'Muddy Boots Corner' but my fear was that the water table was just too high down there and that the fibre glass pond liner could move and get damaged.  So it went next to the washing line instead.
Japanese style garden created in 2008
The side garden was eventually made into a Japanese garden. The inspiration behind this was the large stone that had been unearthed while increasing the size of the circle of the old lavender gravel bed.  The stone took hours to dig out of the soil and then carefully rolled to its new home.  I then made bamboo trellis, added a bamboo border edge with white gravel stones and added some more Japanese style plants.  
Spring and Summer 2009
Spring & Summer 2009
Many of the lavender hedge plants had died or had become quite woody ...boys and footballs had taken their toil over the years.   So rather than replace them I removed the gravel and extended the circle to a much larger semi-circle.  Then a new pathway was created through the middle of the semi circle.   

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.  
back garden view in August 2014
August 2014

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. 

There are lots more pages of archives and photos:

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is a passionate wildlife gardener in Scotland, a Perthshire / Tayside photographer and writer.  She enjoys soaking up nature in her own garden and is easily distracted from doing the gardening by anything that buzzes, creeps, crawls or flutters.  Connect with her on Google plus and Facebook.

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Really enjoyable - love seeing how your garden has changed and matured over the years. I hadn't even seen your front garden before! I can see you have done a lot of work on your blog and will look through the other pages when I get a mo'. Well done!

Many thanks Mandy. The front garden is much bigger than the back and is full of evergreens - it doesn't feature that much on the blog as I much prefer to spend my time in the more 'private' backgarden.