We have a whole new garden!
Since we moved into the house, our lounge window has looked out onto a wide area of tarmacked drive. It was ugly, split the garden in two and was rarely used. We spent years trying to figure out how to improve it without spending a fortune. Then, in April 2017 we heard an inspiring talk by Mary Reynolds at the Clare Garden Show Fringe. Eureka! We began to plan a new garden which would link the wildflower meadow with the herbaceous border. As our site is very exposed, we decided to create a woodland edge garden of curving paths and mounded beds. We also wanted stone features and, eventually, a summerhouse and firepit. The design evolved from a complex drawing in chalk on the tarmac to sketches on paper. There were a few heated discussions!
Digging the new garden dream
Eventually, in July, to the joy of our grandchildren, the digger arrived.
There followed a series of mammoth jobs. The digger helped by removing the top layer of tarmac and gravel. Then it was up to us! In three months we shifted tons of material by hand. We moved, in wheelbarrows, two large trailer-loads of topsoil. We mixed this with another two of turf dust from our fuel heap. Plus we manhandled three large limestone boulders from the septic tank hole, which we wanted to use as garden features. We managed it in three months – not bad for a pair of over-sixties!
Planting is the fun bit…
Then we began to have fun. We spent a lot of time choosing and planting the trees we wanted to plant in the new garden, over autumn and winter. We put in a mixed windbreak hedge of beech and hornbeam, plus native and ornamental shrubs and ground-cover plants. And, of course, we had to have bulbs for spring colour. As we had almost doubled the width of the herbaceous border, we had to dig out many of the plants, divide them, cut them back and replant in new positions. We were careful to choose the new trees and shrubs for their value for wildlife as well as their beauty. All of them flower and fruit. Some are new, such as an Amelanchier ( wineberry, whose fruit can also be eaten by humans). Some are old friends: rowans, guelder rose and spindle. We added hollies for winter interest, and because their tough leaves are food for butterfly caterpillars.
Spring in the new garden
As spring approaches, we are waiting with eagerness to see the new garden come to life and to begin to grow. It’s been a difficult winter, with weather that can’t make its mind up between flood and freeze, but so far the plants look to have come through well. It’s been a delight to see the daffodils and crocus spring up and flower, and to see the shoots of tulips and leucojums rising up.
We’ll be opening as usual for Burren in Bloom, and again a few weeks later for our Charity Open Day, so watch out for posts. We can’t wait to show our new garden off, so come and pay us a visit! People coming to Terri’s Gardening for All course can see in detail how it was done and how to create beautiful, productive gardens on their own plot.