I am by no means a keen gardener. Despite my love of the outdoors, conservation and nature, I don’t particularly enjoy digging, howking out weeds and cutting grass. There is some satisfaction to be had in getting an area of the garden looking neat and tidy, but at present our garden is so far away from that point that I just don’t quite know where to start. My Dad (aka Farmer Dan) is the biggest gardening fanatic out there. He and my Mum are members of Dobbies, and like nothing better than their monthly trip to peruse the plants and enjoy their free cuppa and scone. My Dad’s garden is of show quality, seriously, it is amazing. Here are a few snaps:
Yep, serious gardener is Farmer Dan. I lived with my parents for a few years after finishing university, and there was nothing we liked better than to sit in the summer house of an evening enjoying a wee G&T or a Pimms with strawberries and mint picked from Dad’s veg garden. Living. the. dream.
Fast forward a few years, and here I am in a beautiful big farmhouse, with a garden of my own. Ours looks like this:
There is something quite exciting about starting from scratch. And if I had inherited my father’s garden, I’d be a slave to it to maintain it to such a high quality. What I’m thinking for ours is a few borders that are low maintenance but with a nice range of flowering plants, and some large areas put down to grass to allow James plenty of space to run around etc. This garden is seriously huge.
The formal front garden is in a reasonable state. The borders are so overgrown that it is difficult to see where they are, but the drive is nice, and the lawns are in OK condition despite a large amount of moss. But hey, I can live with moss if it means it needs cut less often! These photos were taken in December, not long after we moved in:
The two areas to the side of the house are a different story. Mega overgrown. This is the vegetable garden
And this is the drying green where the washing lines are (this is what it looked like when we moved in):
You can just about make out the washing lines right?!
A couple of months ago Tom and I set about trying to tidy up the washing green area and have made massive progress. It was unbelievable the stuff that was in there. There must have been over 100 plant pots scattered throughout it. I collected them all up and stuck them on our local facebook page and the kid’s club in the village are now using them for growing seedlings. Rubbish removed also included (and not limited to) a rusty car, two rotten picnic benches, three plastic garden chairs, a ladder, an old slide, a mini child’s wheelbarrow, a litter bin shaped like a drinks can, a hen house, five hanging baskets, several pallets of slabs and a toilet seat. We kept a few things but had a big bonfire for the rest. And man did it make a difference! We also paid a chap with a chainsaw who came in and within a few hours had removed a lot of massive bushes and hacked the overgrown beech hedge. We hope it will coppice and come away, but at the moment it looks like it may have died! The removal of the overgrown bushes, and trees that had self seeded, has freed up a lot of space in the front borders, and let a lot more light into the veg garden and washing green areas.
We have planted new grass on the washing green area, which has come away well, despite being full of weeds. We hope that repeated cutting will kill off the weeds and by next summer it should be looking more like a lawn.
My parents came up for a day a month or so ago and we had a go at tidying up the middle bed. It had some lovely heather plants in it, and Tom and I both liked the layout with the large stones and slates on top, but the black plastic underneath (designed to keep the weeds at bay) was full of holes so the weeds were sticking up through it like mad, and it was impossible to weed them out. It meant I spent several hours picking all the bits of slate off, the pulling at the plastic, hacking weeds out, and digging. I was a bit overwhelmed by it all, but a day of my parents helping and we managed to get the whole thing tidied up and dug over, and we put some winter bedding plants in to add a bit of colour for the winter. I’ll replace these with spring bedding plants next year, and hopefully it’ll look a lot better. I haven’t got any good photos of the border at the moment, due to the garden looking like a bit of a building site (thanks to the roofing repairs), but I’ll get some snaps when the scaffolding is all gone. I like the idea of the heather and rockery, so we’ll be recreating this somewhere else in the garden, but make more of a rockery with little soil so that it is easier to keep.