Wednesday, 25 February 2009

A stroll in the back garden some years ago.

The first picture is of the terrace at the back of the house looking towards the kitchen door. How things change in a garden, when we first arrived it was plant free paving and within a short time Rachel then a toddler fell off the edge on her bicycle. That spurred Mike into building an attractive and useful fence around it, great for giving another planting opportunity. Mike refers to this area as the GAID. Garden for the Aged, Infirm and Disabled, probably referring to the fact that I have suffered with chronic arthritis from Lyme Disease. The garden in pots was brought to me and it is lovely to sit there surrounded by plants. Still nice but no longer necessary now as after long term antibiotics I am pain free and arthritis free.

Along the house wall are a variety of climbing plants not easy to see in this photograph but include a grape vine whose tiny red grapes are delicious. The birds think so too and in the late summer it is amusing to watch their acrobatics as they feast on them. There is also a Banksiae banksiae rose a double white perfumed rose that keeps some leaves during winter so is quite an asset although grows rampantly 30' according to David Austin's catalogue, so Mike has to prune several times during the summer. Other climbers I will introduce later. The rose on the left one of 2 was in the garden when we arrived and I never knew it's name. It is probably the only one of my many roses that has no perfume, but it is forgiven because of the long and abundant display of flowers.
This brings us to the gate which invites you down to the next part of the garden.

The rose on the fence is sadly demised. It was so wonderful, Saunder's White sent by default but loved by everyone who set eyes on it. I'd asked for Adeleaide d'Orleans but what a substitute. The perfume filled the air. Cuttings from this plant have been given to many friends and one in my neighbours garden climbs an old apple tree and looks spectacular. The rose became so large we pruned it rather severely and it never quite coped after that. Gardening for me as an amateur is so much trial and error gardening programs are great and so are books and yes I do seem to cope better these days pruning rambling roses of which I have about 15, but nevertheless I make many mistakes. However I have managed to keep a cutting which is doing well but all I have to do now is persuade Mike to build me another trellis for it to grow on, fingers crossed.

Through the next gate and down more steps brings us into the vegetable part of the garden.

Once again a backdrop of Saunder's white and looking back to the cottages. Either side of the path are edged with a variety of flowering plants but lavender probably the most striking. Bricks left around in the garden were used to make the paths and as many were house bricks they have deteriorated with age, yet another mistake which will probably remain with us.

The vegetables are looking very tidy for us, but this shows it's age because of the tiny box plants which are now substantial edges to the 10 vegetable blocks 5 either side of the path. The first year I bought 2 box plants and took about 250 cuttings. I then read up about box and realised I needed not Sempervirens but Suffruticosa the dwarf edging plants. I just tried finding out the spelling and in the 4 good gardening books I have it wasn't mentioned. Googled and still took some finding so not surprising I got it wrong. Well fortunately RHS Wisley which is 15 mins drive away had some so I bought two more plants and took another 250 cuttings. Out of 500 cuttings that year only about 3 died. Not bad for an amateur. So you will see not one for throwing things away I have the common box on the right of the garden and the dwarf on the left after many more cuttings in following years. Some in fact struck in the ground but with more than 50% failure rate. Needless to say this keeps Mike very busy trimming the Sempervirens but it looks nice and has many uses not least keeps carrot fly away.

The picture on the right was before our second greenhouse arrived, which fits on the back of this one. A gift from a neighbour but the cost of replacing the broken glass was probably nearly as much as a new greenhouse would have been. Still not ones to say no to anything garden related. The trees in the background are both from the neighbouring gardens and the edge of the woods. Situated near the woods has blessed us with a huge variety of birds, butterflies and other wildlife.
Down the steps and to the right behind the greenhouse is the tiniest overgrown pond barely visible in this not particularly good photograph.

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