We Made A Garden, Part 2

Here’s more on the house and garden we bought in 2005 (and – spoiler alert – left in 2010).

Beware – Grumpy Terrier

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…

Jim sowing vegetable seeds under close terrier supervision

… and, in time, Jim and I grew into gardeners.

Beware, moderately grumpy terrier

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.

21 thoughts on “We Made A Garden, Part 2

  1. I’m sometimes followed by ‘gardeners’ on Instagram with pictures of how they start by stripping down to nothing then making a lovely (usually very bland) garden. It is horrible!
    I love that you left things, changed things, added things, recycled things… And I also love the story of how you became gardeners – by gardening!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful story in words and pictures. Beauty! Oh those clusters of sunflowers, I never saw the like of them before. I agree with another comment. Your successor made a garden? Or stripped away yours, took away the biodiversity and eco-systems. Shame.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The gardens are lovely, but I mostly wish I could have met both those dogs and given them a scritch under the chin. (Unless the terrier was too grumpy to be amenable. Obviously.) xS

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am quite depressed reading the last bit! Some people have lost their souls. A person once advised me never to look back at a garden you established (they were right!). I recently saw on ‘GW’ that Adam Frost sold his stunningly beautiful garden. I don’t know about Adam, but that news distressed me! Happy Gardening!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s very good advice re never looking back and mostly something I’ve stuck to. Unfortunately/fortunately our old neighbours had a grandstand view into our old rear garden from their bathroom window – and I never could resist a peek. Thankfully, probably, our friends have now moved away too, so I can no longer do that. Happy gardening to you too, David


  5. Great to see what can be done. The imagination comes first, then the plants and it all gets put together with a lot of hard work…and time. I just wish I had had the imagination when we first started the garden. Amelia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Amelia, it’s tough isn’t it? Having a blank canvas and not knowing where to start. We just wanted veg and chickens and bees! When we moved into this cottage, we had no intention of leaving and so spent much more effort on the garden than we would otherwise have done. It’s a mistake we didn’t make again with houses we knew we wouldn’t stay long in. D


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