Working on our garden (Autumn 2005-Spring 2008)
We moved into our house in September 2005. It’s not a very large garden and there wasn’t much in terms of planting but what was there was very overgrown. And so began our garden project. Not as big a task as our previous garden which had been part of a new-build house so was just a large patch of mud. At least the hard landscaping here was done, it just needed some major tidying up.
Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the original state of the garden. The grass was in poor condition where there had been a climbing frame. There was an old shed which was ready to fall down and which had about 3-4 feet of spare space behind it just filled with wood and rubble. And the fences were just covered with overgrown climbers and creepers.
Over the autumn and winter of 2005/2006 I spent what time I could in the garden cutting back the climbers and creepers. I was pregnant with baby #2 at the time so I couldn’t overdo it, but by spring 2006 things were looking much better. I started cutting things back with a view to keeping as much as I could. But in the end most of what was there was so old and wild that we just removed it all and started again.
Now it was time for my husband Ben to step in and do the demolition and re-building work. First it was the shed, the old trellis in front of it and all the rubble behind. There was so much stuff that we practically filled a giant skip with it all.
Once we got rid of everything the new shed was the first thing to go up.
Closely followed by the deck and the greenhouse.
On the planting side (or should I say removal of plants) we got down to the last creeper. A very old, and very large Ivy, which it turned out our neighbours hated and were also glad to see the back of!
Unfortunately, what we did not foresee was that the Ivy was acting as a fence post and a few days after removing it the wind blew the fence over! On arrival back on the “red-eye” from a business trip to the US, Ben, who is very handy at these things, had to carry out some emergency repair work involving a new fence post. I’m glad to say that 2 years on the fence is still standing strong.
We have 2 small children so we wanted to keep a large area of grass for them to play on while still allowing large enough planting areas for me to indulge my hobby. To add some interest in the garden, and given that all the other shapes in the garden such as the deck and the little wall were very angular I decided to cut out some triangular-shaped beds. These have worked well because their shape makes it easy to access all areas of the beds with out trampling on other plants. Along the little wall I decided to make my herb garden, which has been a big success and well utilised.
The grass was given a lot of TLC with feeding and some seed to cover the bare patches. By the summer (2007) it was showing signs of improvement as was the large conifer hedge at the back of the garden which has benefited from regular trimming and even the bare patches left behind when we took out some neighbouring plants are starting to fill in again.
Our final “remodelling” task last year was taking out the path. We felt it was too boring and was splitting the garden up the middle making it look smaller than it was. Enter Ben again and a lot of hard graft to get rid of the slabs and the 6 inches of concrete underneath! After backfilling with plenty of soil improver and top soil he laid a few “random”-shaped stepping stone and then filled the rest of the space with turf. Over the autumn and winter the turf has really taken as we’re very pleased with the result.
Over the past 2 years I have planted new plants, moved them again, taken cuttings and sown seeds to fill up my beds. Some things work, others fail but I think you can see a big change.
Late Spring 2006:
I still have lots of spaces to fill so the greenhouse is full of new plants for this year and I’m always finding something I want to change, but as some of the original shrubs start to mature I think the garden is starting to take shape. It may only be small but I’m pretty proud of what we’ve achieved.
- 19 Apr, 2008
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