We have had five gardens throughout our married life. The first of note was in Kingston where we lived for fifteen happy years. We were just a short walk from Richmond Park and it was easy enough for me to commute to London. The garden was long and thin (120ft x 20ft) and completely overgrown when we moved in.
Back then I was a novice, but knew lots of experts – my mum and her neighbour, Penny, who introduced us both to The Cottage Garden Society, my colleagues at Gardening Which? magazine, and, when I joined in 2004, my fellow CGS members. Trips with our local group introduced me to the joy of garden visiting and plant buying, as well as the sharing of garden stories and experiences.
By the time we moved from Kingston I had installed a pond, vegetable beds, a new patio and countless plants – I still regret having to leave so many of them behind. But they had grown too big for our move to Cornwall – as it was we loaded up 15 large pots of plants and cuttings (some of which didn’t like the Cornish weather and were lost anyway).
There were new challenges at the end of the Lizard Peninsula. My next garden started as a large damp lawn, but by the time we left 3 years later it was a lush wildflower meadow with a winding path mown through it, replete with native orchids that appeared as soon as we sold the ride on mower left behind by our predecessors.
Back then, to suburbia and a good-sized garden behind a handsome 1930s semi. Husband Tom spent the next two years decorating, while I pottered about outside in an adorable rickety old greenhouse, topiaried an unloved box tree and filled in a huge fishpond, making it into a nursery bed. Once the decorating was completed though, we decided to move yet again – this time to a more rural location that would be good for his landscape painting as well as my gardening.
So here we are at our garden of just two years in the Surrey Hills, and hopefully here we will stay.