Here’s more on the house and garden we bought in 2005 (and – spoiler alert – left in 2010).
The front garden of the cottage was, as you can see, overgrown when we arrived and clearing the undergrowth was a major task. But hey, I didn’t care. I had my first greenhouse.
As well as weeds, we inherited plenty of mature plants too; some good, some… well, not so much. There was a red camellia (liked it enough, wouldn’t have planted it), a Kerria japonica (liked it enough, wouldn’t have planted it) and a winter jasmine (liked it enough, wouldn’t have planted it). And, oddly, I added a red cordyline to the mix. I don’t know why, I don’t even like cordylines but then, that’s the beauty of gardening, isn’t it? You buy plants, try them out and if you don’t like them, you give them away.
So, what else? Well… Jim built a coal bunker for the kitchen Rayburn (see part 1) and I planted and shaped an established bay tree (left). (The tulips were planted by the previous tenant, bless her. They flowered every year we were there).
I also planted black bamboo to screen off the little greenhouse from the house.
In went Verbena bonariensis, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, and to the consternation of Hobbes, my Weimaraner, an olive tree.
In went my pompously named ‘Fern Walk’, with a clematis amongst the ferns:
C. ‘Broughton Bride’. I loved this clematis so much, I was sure to plant two more at the Priory.
And so, through the Fern Walk, to the rear garden. After clearing and burning waist-high grass and weeds, I dug a couple of ponds and Jim built a chicken hutch (and hung out the washing).
Then I rolled out turf, and laid all those bricks I carried out from the cellar to create paths (left). I planted box balls and a large Acer (right) we’d had in a pot for over ten years.
And a large fig we’d had in a pot for over ten years (top right).
I even made a rose arch from scratch. Yes, I did. Impressive, huh?
We bought a 2nd hand shed, dismantled it, loaded it into a rental van, brought it home, erected it and added a wood store. And we put in half a dozen raised veg beds too.
I told you we worked hard.
I grew the biggest sunflowers that I ever did grow
and I slipped newts and frog spawn into the ponds.
We grew currants and onions and potatoes and chard and beans and I don’t know what else.
I planted a Rosa Dublin Bay on one side of the rose arch and R. Iceberg on the other. The Iceberg died – I don’t know why. The Dublin Bay flourished.
On a shoestring budget, our garden burgeoned…
… and, in time, Jim and I grew into gardeners.
I suspect we always were gardeners, deep down – we just hadn’t known it. And though we didn’t make an amazing garden, we made one that suited us just fine.
The woman who bought the cottage in 2010, told us how much she adored what we had done and how she wouldn’t change a thing. Ha! Within a year she’d ripped out the raised vegetable beds, the brick paving, the box balls, the rose arch, filled in the ponds and laid the whole of the rear garden to grass.
I guess she too made a garden.