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In the begining ...


By mrv


It’s funny how a change of weather juggles your to do list.

My name is Mark (AKA Mr V). I became a member of this site last November, and as with all good intentions, doing something new and positive has to be nudged into your routine and jostle for position.

A bit of rain this morning has given me chance to start what I’ve wanted to do for ages … a bit of blogging. The top of my gardening priority list was mixing cement to put down 12’x8’ of slabs on my greenhouse hard-standing. I’m not a fair-weather gardener, but cement and rain mix rather too well.

I am now and have been for over a year now been pretty much a full time gardener. I quit my old job in IT in August 2008 (simply way too much stress and an extremely unpleasant boss) and fell fowl of the recession. It’s been tough and I have for most of that time been beset on all sides by something or other not least by my own depression with which I have suffered since being a child. My partner, Joanne (AKA Trinity) has been a rock, a gorgeous red haired rock.

When we bought this home in 2002 the garden was something to behold. In all fairness we got a good deal fixer-upper on the house. By 2004 eyes turned to the garden.

Let me set the scene. Look at your floor and imagine 3’ of Ministry of Defence rubble compacted into heavy clay on top of it. Place on top of that no more than 6 inches of again heavily compacted clayey top soil, and on top of that grass and weeds gone wild and neglected (according to neighbours) for at least 15 years. That’s the typical cross section. My very good friend, James a professional traditional method landscaper has officially declared it the worst he has ever seen.

The garden is remote from the house, the nearest wall is 40 feet back from the south end with a chain link fence and an over-grown Laurel tree with an 8 foot fence along the west side. The whole garden slopes down by about 10% towards it’s NNE end with nothing but a chain link fence to tame the savage wind tunnel created by some bungalows.

The garden is 75’ long by 45’ wide and that makes for 3375 square foot. Populated by 1 huge Buddleia (Empire Blue we’re 90% sure), a Pyracantha, a bit of Privet, a mystery bush on a mound of rubble, a stunted Christmas tree, a horrific shed, the massive Laurel tree I mentioned earlier and the ‘Pièce de résistance’ an abandoned 10’ caravan. All bramble and weed bound.

We tamed it bit by bit … 2004 we spent a summer hacking it back … 2005 with a budget of £800 to level the south third, build a patio and lay some turf we had tamed enough to do just that … In 2006 we took more control … but what on earth were we going to do with it!

I won’t bore you with any before and after pictures just yet.

As I said earlier, I’m hoping to make part of my routine this blooging lark. I hope I can share a few of my wins, losses and learn-froms with you all.

I think next time I’ll talk about what Trinity and I wanted from the plot and what the plot wanted from us.

Thank you and enjoy your gardens.

More blog posts by mrv

Next post: Leave no stone unturned ... certainly not toe-punted



i would like to see some pics of your hard work,nice read

8 Jun, 2010


Only found this site yesterday, and a bit of a novice at this computery stuff, but am loving this site! As said by Ladybug47 (above), would love to see pics of Mark's garden, and to read more. Entertaining entry. Prefer sitting in my garden, Pimms in hand, than working in it, so keep it fairly simple. Have always had lots of dogs scooting about, unfortunately have lost one every year for the last five years due to their old age, and am now down to just one, and he was 16 years old this last Monday. I have two aviary's in the garden containing canary's and cockatiels, and also a largish fish pond, so spend more time 'fiddling' with these than bent over a spade. Also have ponies and donkeys, hence easy maintenance garden, mostly just lawn and shrubs, but am enjoying reading about other people's plots.

8 Jun, 2010


welcome Mark and jill, be lovely to see and hear about your gardens and all your lovely animals jill

8 Jun, 2010


Thank you all for your kind words - that certainly sounds a menagerie, Jill.

We'll most certainly being adding more photos of bits and bobs as we go :)

9 Jun, 2010

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