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A Year Of Hard Work And Much Enjoyment!

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These days I seem to go to bed every night feeling stiff and tired, and wake up every morning feeling stiff but ready to start work again (well, most days anyway).

I think I have worked harder this past year than I’ve ever worked in my life, but enjoyed (almost) every second of it. Lifting turf does get tiring and dull after a while.

Tomorrow it will be a year to the day since we moved in to our new home, and although the time has flown by, it also feels like we have been here for a very long time because we have done SO much!

So, it’s time to recap on what has happened, and our achievements so far.

Everything we have done has been pretty much documented in my blog during the year, so instead of going through all of it over again, I am just going to give you some before and after shots and a few notes. That way, you have a chance of getting through it before nodding off! :))

So here we go…..

When we moved here, there were no gates at the entrance, although there had clearly been a gate at some time….many years ago, as there were old wall foundations and huge stones with holed drilled in them around the place.

Scott spent a whole week cleaning the drive with a powerwasher and broom. There was about a centimetre of compacted mud and debris on top of the old tarmac.

Now we have a gate, and a nice clean drive way!

Most of my garden is at the front of the house, but as I have nobody overlooking me, that’s not really an issue. At the back, we had a tall hedge, a decent deck with only a couple of holes in it, and an old border with a lot of rubbish in it and a bird feeder.

Behind that was just an area covered with bits and pieces of old broken paving slabs and mud where the Septic Tank and the Oil Tank sit behind the garage.

A year on, we have lowered the hedge to let the light and the view in, repaired the deck, dug out a border to match the one on the other side of the deck, lifted all the old paving and laid gravel over membrane, build a woodstore to hide the bins and added a home-made raised planted to increase the barrier to the Septic Tank area.

The West Facing end of the garden was ‘grassed’ or more accurately ‘mossed’. I scarified it until it was virtually a muddy mess, then reseeded and waited. Later I put weed and feed down….

and now….incredibly, considering the mess…..I have a lawn.

I took out the grass from around the patio which was covered in algae and planted a herb garden.

And of course, being the most private part of the garden and the best for all day sunshine in summer…we added a summerhouse for shelter from the winds…

When we arrived, we thought we had inherited an ancient patio. It was rickety and covered in moss and algae. There were roots of the wild rose bush growing between the slabs and weeds galore. Scott set to with the power washer and lo and behold…a patio not more than 10 years old, of very expensive (so we discovered when we bought more to match) Marshalls Old York paving slabs!

The overgrown plants and roots had to come out, and lots of new goodies went in to create a scented sunny garden.

Roses, herbs, dianthus, phlox and various shrubs etc. went in. It’s been absolutely beautiful all summer. You could smell it as soon as you opened the patio doors (now replaced!) and I’m thrilled to bits with it.

One of the first things we did was to add the arch way to define the separation of patio garden from the main lawned area which forms the main part of the front garden.

And so to the raised central border. built from the logs that used to form a huge Leylandii hedge blocking the view, and created by the last owner. It contained some beautiful but huge shrubs, an Acer ad dead Hawthorne tree and a struggling Rowan underplanted with a contorted Hazel! The soil was solid slimy clay. Goodness knows where he got that lot from!

Almost every shrub and tree came out, Celmisias went off to every corner of the Goy World, Stipa tenuissimas too. Now, with 20 bags of sand added to the soil and lots of new plants, the central border is looking like it belongs to Cottage Karen at last!

More roses next year..Rosa Glauca and Scented Carpet are on order for this area.

And at the very bottom of the garden…or the top depending which way you look….there was not very much at all. A very narrow border with a jutting out old rockery full of overgrown rubbish and weeds. In the corner, an old overgrown plum tree and a few dwarf Rhodys. The worst bit of the garden really…a bit sad.

But I had two ideas. One was to transform the corner in to a Heuchera garden, and the other was a Golden Border to run the entire width of the garden with yellow flowers in summer and golden evergreens for the winter. Up came the turf, and in went the plants.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, the entire perimeter of the garden had to be ‘chicken wire fenced’ for the puppies’ security. Not pretty, but essential, and very hard work for OH. He’s a grafter! And that was after he had removed 2 feet of overgrowth from the inside of the hedge, reclaiming a lot of extra planting and parking space all around the garden. :)

Of all the ‘projects’ in the garden, the Golden Border and Heuchera Corner are the ones I am most proud of!

The area to the left of the gate looking from the house was just a pile of old rocks, an old wild rose shrub, and an overgrown and very neglected Hydrangea. It was one of the biggest challenges. We used the rocks to make a sort of low ‘wall’ to keep the soil back, and planted a new plum tree, some strawberries and three Blueberries with some wild flower seed and native perennials.

In front of that we installed the new greenhouse. So this is now my ‘edibles’ garden.

And so to the front door, where the garage and entrance doors were repainted. Then we decided to extend the patio slabs under the door to make it look a bit prettier and not just the end of the drive. It also levelled it off so I could more easily add planters for colour. That was when we found out just how expensive that patio had been in the first place! But it was worth the outlay I think.

Well, that’s about it. Think yourselves lucky you’re not getting pictures of all the redecorating and kitchen renovations!! lol! Seriously though, I hope you enjoyed all the before and after shots :))

More blog posts by cottagekaren

Previous post: October Roses

Next post: Another Dreich Day...No Real Daylight. Thank Heavens for Flowers!



Comments

 

What you have achieved is quite staggering, Karen. I'd like to believe that you will spend a lot of time next year sitting at your leisure with your cuppa and enjoying the fabulous garden that you've made . . . but I bet you'll still be finding plenty to do!!

Of course you're proud of yourself - quite rightly - and your family must be incredibly proud of you too - and all of us GoYers would no doubt like to give you a gold star :)) x

23 Oct, 2014

 

It looks stunning now Karen, I love all of it, even the 'tardis' looks stunning. In particular I really like the edging you have now put around the raised the border. It all looks fabulous - cannot believe it is a year already, doesn't time fly by. :O)

23 Oct, 2014

 

Thank you very much everyone. And thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Snoop, the Hawthorne hedge at the roadside also has chicken wire fencing. The whole perimeter is fenced now.

23 Oct, 2014

 

Really good to see the garden as a whole as it is looking truly lovely and reflects all the hours of work and planning you have put into it. It has so much variety and so much to offer.
Next year should be a real stunner when everything has become established.

23 Oct, 2014

 

What a brilliant transformation, you and your OH must be exhausted but very happy :)

23 Oct, 2014

 

Wow Karen what a fabulous garden you have made its a credit to both you and Scot, you will reap the befits of all your hard work for years to come, hope you both enjoy many happy years to come and although Im sure that you will be inspired to add further features in the years ahead also take time off to relax and enjoy you deserve it!!

23 Oct, 2014

 

I think it's harder work renovating a garden than starting with a blank canvas. It's looking superb and next year when it has matured you can relax and say to yourselves "we did that" lol

23 Oct, 2014

 

Incredible in just one year!

23 Oct, 2014

 

Good grief Karen, I can't believe you've been there a year already. The amount of work you've completed is amazing! It all looks wonderful now. I've put your Blog into my favourites. Oh and I still envy you lol!

23 Oct, 2014

 

Lol Steve! I can too! ;) when I'm sober ;)

You're all right. We will enjoy it, hopefully for a good few more years yet. :))

I really will try to rest a bit more this year. I'm not in a hurry to lift any more turf just yet, and I want a garden that I can manage on my own in the future.

Chris, you are so right and I can't wait to see it all put on some real growth next year, especially the herbaceous perennials. And I am so looking forward to all the spring bulbs. Mind you, I still have quite a few of those to plant yet!

23 Oct, 2014

 

That's k d of you Julia. You still envy me? I still can't believe I'm lucky enough to live here! :))

23 Oct, 2014

 

Hi Karen, what a difference a day makes!!! { plus another 364 } , Derek.

23 Oct, 2014

 

I am amazed at what you have achieved in a year, get the rest of the bulbs in, then relax and just enjoy your beautiful garden, you and OH have done a wonderful job in a very short space of time.....impressive K. :-)

23 Oct, 2014

 

Holy Smoke! You did all that in only one year!? amazing. You really have done a wonderful job. put the bulbs in the ground and take a rest, girl! I think I'll take a nap now.

24 Oct, 2014

 

Thank you all. I'm taking Rachel out for lunch to the Danish X--s Fayre today, and might get the bulbs in later. But I've been reading books....and they're not gardening books either! Definitely going to take a rest for the next few months. :))

24 Oct, 2014

 

You would have been an ideal candidate for Monty Don Karen :o))

24 Oct, 2014

 

ha ha......not a small enough space! I could have done those gardens in a month! ;))

24 Oct, 2014

 

Its gone by so quickly Karen, hope you are happy with it and not already planning changes, lovely photo's, I do envy you the views...
BTW. I have only noticed today but you already had Hobbit Houses when you moved in, right near your gates, lol.....

24 Oct, 2014

 

Incredible before and after shots, I knew you had worked your socks off but hadn't realised how much 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

24 Oct, 2014

 

Yes! The Hobbit houses are already here! :)) Pam, thank you! five Stars......wow! :))) xx

24 Oct, 2014

 

Hi Karen, just popped on to see what's happening on GOYer and saw your blog, its great to see all of your garden and gives me a better idea of your lovely new surroundings.
Its all beautiful and it must make you feel so alive and happy, love the summer house, its fab.
I can almost smell all that countryside ummmm xxx

24 Oct, 2014

 

Pam is right Karen, you have worked your socks off both of you and its amazing....

24 Oct, 2014

 

Thanks San. I'm glad you liked the blog. It's somehow very relaxing now that it's over that one year milestone. We do love it very much. Even R&C love it. :)

24 Oct, 2014

 

Thanks LL! :)

24 Oct, 2014

 

This has been an absolute pleasure to scroll through (twice!) Karen ... you have every right to feel so proud of how much you have achieved in a year. Installing so much chicken wire must have been so boring for Scott ... but a necessity for the dogs. I love it all! Here's to many happy years ahead in those lovely surroundings. :o)x

28 Oct, 2014

 

Thank you Shirley, you are so lovely, you really are! Xx

28 Oct, 2014

 

Lol Karen, those words have made me blush! :o)

29 Oct, 2014

 

:) x

29 Oct, 2014

 

Amazing transformation and replanting. Love the golden border and the fantastic summer house too. Hope the winter is not too bad and the garden can really thrive.

29 Oct, 2014

 

Thank you Dorjac. Rachel has just said that she had to de-ice the car at 7am this morning, and Scott has just told us that it will be 20C in London on Friday! It's that time of year when you never know what to wear!

29 Oct, 2014

 

Fabulous Karen. I really admire you both for all that you have managed in the year you have been there. Like Shirley, I have been through it a couple of times, its beautiful. I am sure you will enjoy it now for a while, but if you are anything like me as soon as you sit in the garden you see something else that needs doing !!!!

31 Oct, 2014

 

Well, there is that cinders isn't there?! I think we are all a bit like that. I think the 'trick' is to have a book or a magazine, or a friend to chat with so you are distracted from the weeds and the deadheading that always calls to us. :) thank you very much. lovely compliments. X

31 Oct, 2014

 

Everything has already been said, what more to add....fantastic, feeling nackered just looking at all of that work. You have given me inspiration for my garden nxt spring, i am still at the clearing everything out stage. It will be so interesting to see how all your planting will mature next year.

3 Nov, 2014

 

Resi...you have said the best thing...that I've inspired you! If my blogs can inspire someone to improve their own plot, what could be better than that?! ..looking forward to see what you get up to next year! Thank you very much! :))

3 Nov, 2014

 

;-))

4 Nov, 2014

 

you've done a damn sight more with yours than I have with mine! inspirational blog, thanks so much for sharing. what are your future plans?

6 Nov, 2014

 

Thanks Fran....future plans? Well, veggie growing will be a priority next year, and digging a border between hedge and lawn all around the garden. The passage from Bramley Apple to other Apple trees (behind the raised border) needs to be gravelled for easy access for hedge trimming. That should do for next year.....until I am inspired to dig out a pond! The labrador is putting me off doing that at the moment, but in a couple of years, when she's calmed down a bit.....perhaps.

6 Nov, 2014

 

lol train her right and she'll be your assitant!

6 Nov, 2014

 

Oh, she's a good digger alright!

6 Nov, 2014

 

so long as she digs in the right places ...

7 Nov, 2014

 

If only. Today I found another hole where she'd dug up more of my spring bulbs. And I know who's nor supervising her in the garden...and it's definitely not me, or son, or daughter!! Lol!

7 Nov, 2014

 

is there any kind o fmild dog repellent you could bury with the bulbs to keep her from places you dont' want her to dig?

9 Nov, 2014

 

I don't think it would work if there was Fran. She's high energy, low obedience!! Typical lab puppy. I think she'll be fine in a couple of years. I am working very hard on training at the moment, and she is quick to learn, but far too excite able to obey sometimes! Just wants to play, play and bounce bounce. In fact, we should have called her Tigger for sure! ;)

10 Nov, 2014

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