The garden is 80ft long x 40ft wide, and set on two distinct levels. We have a sunny patio area up top and steps down to a shadier ‘secret’ garden. When we moved in a couple of years ago it was a blank canvas – there was just a big old shed, a chicken coop and a handful of overgrown shrubs. But former owners had built a wonderful sturdy pergola for a rampant ‘Kiftsgate’ rose and an established grape vine that flourishes on the sunny patio.
We have made structural additions of a greenhouse and a summerhouse – although the latter is never in the sun and more of an office, and my blog cabin! The lawn has receeded as we have put in 5 vegetable beds and increased the depth and shaped the borders all round. I’ve filled them with lots of shrubs, countless perennials and a few trees, plus some exciting annuals and biennials from seed (from The Cottage Garden Society annual seed exchange, so I know they will be interesting). These I scattered in the gaps last year and are just now making an appearance.
In year one I renovated the existing shrubs – a huge Hebe parviflora, a peiris, a variegated weigela and a rampant forsythia hedge. Regular weeding frenzies eventually rid the garden of crocosmia and Spanish bluebells. I then joyfully filled out the bare borders with plants and cuttings from my previous home that had been patiently sitting out the wait for the right garden. These were crammed to bursting in over twenty large containers – shrubs, cuttings and perennials, all of them carefully labelled.
A local garden builder took on the tough jobs of re-roofing the existing shed, removing the old chicken coop (he recycled it on his allotment), making concrete bases for the new buildings and putting up sturdy fencing.
Since then, Other Half has been busy making up veg beds and shifting countless bags of compost, mulch and bark chippings down those steps. Our compost bin is up and running, but we are on sandy soil so some instant gratification has been necessary for the beds and borders, delivered in bags from a local supplier.
The shrubs moved in pots from our former garden should take off now that they have had a full year out of their containers. They include at least ten varieties of buddlieja, so I’m hoping for a good show of butterflies in years to come.