Four Doors Away
No prizes for guessing who visited the back garden at Shenstone on Sunday.
Those have to be muntjac footprints in the snow. As you can see, what used to be a vegetable patch at the bottom of the garden has become overgrown with brambles. They have become so dense that only wildlife can penetrate, ideal cover for a munching muntjac. Last autumn I cleared the brambles from the southern half of the vegetable garden to stop them spreading into the flower bed in front. They had also formed a thicket around the flowering cherry in the foreground. In the autumn I cleared the brambles below the tree’s branches and made a bed there instead. The tree was planted by my neighbour to mark the last resting place of Samantha,his first pyrennean mountain dog. It is a double white flowering cherry so in the Spring it is a ball of fluffy white, just as Samantha had been. Paul and I agreed that it would be fitting to plant the bed with white flowering plants. I started with a Christmas rose, a white heather and a white polyanthus.They have been in flower all winter. To these I added white crocuses, tulips with a hint of pink, paper-white narcissus and scilla bulbs. Unfortunately the muntjac have decapitated most of them before they have had a chance to bloom. More recently I have augmented the evergreen plants with a white hebe, a pieris and Hutchinsia ( Chamois Cress). Being young plants they are all quite small and looking a bit lost at the moment but I hope in due course they will thrive and grow to be joined by other suitable white flowering plants to make it a feature of the garden all year round.
Paul’s workshop is at the bottom of the garden and a well worn path meanders its way there from the kitchen door, it can be made out by the solar lights edging it.
In the flower bed half way across the garden are three or four very old red rose bushes. A few polyanthus have survived there as well, but everything else that may have grown there seems to have been smothered by white comfrey.
Shenstone was originally a farmhouse, my house was built on what used to be the orchard. The front hedge is primarily hazel with a bit of holly in it. Paul’s passion for automobiles dominates the front garden now, he has an interesting collection of cars originating from such far flung places as the States and Checkoslovakia. Sunbeam Alpines are his first love, he completed the Pirelli Classic Car Marathon around Europe in the little red one in 1991. It may look as though only vehicles feature in the front garden, but Paul is very proud of his wisteria which we planted two years ago. Judging by the buds on it this year it should be just dripping with flowers. He was also keen to have a pampas grass, so three years ago I gave him one which has gone from strength to strength opposite the front door.
- 10 Apr, 2008
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