Cedar House has the most beautiful south-facing garden, and I’ve been terrified of getting involved. From living in a flat with no outside space I am now living with nearly an acre of garden sloping down to a golf course – and I have no experience to fall back on.
Year one: I experimented with a vegetable I’d cut behind a bush at the bottom of the garden – I crammed it full of seeds, sat back and waited. The result? Dead potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli covered in caterpillars, 5 raspberries and one and a half spring onions. And some courgettes.
Year two: I’ve been looking out the window at our key border, and thought it would be great if had year-round colour. And then it occurred to me: other people do gardening so why can’t I?
Planning My First Patch
So I bought a book. The RHS Encyclopaedia of Gardening. I managed to get it for a fiver, and it’s a massive tome – the signs are looking good!
I decided to concentrate on the top border as my first project – it’s 15 metres long and 1.2 wide. This year (it’s now mid-October) I’m going to be careful not to throw loads of random seeds and bulbs at it, and concentrate on getting the soil quality right in time for some spring planting. However, before I came to this sensible decision, I did plant some bulbs. I couldn’t resist.
I noted the position of all the plants – some are there already and some I’ve planted in the first month. I even made a plan of it:
I weeded it (up to a point), cut back a lot of unruly other plants (sadly the two bunches of golden rods had done their job for the year), then popped bulbs into the spaces. I took advice from the very helpful lady at Roots and Shoots, where I found a bunch of tulip bulbs and a Skimmia Reevesiana to fill the gap made by dogs running through the border. Dogs can be damaging – so next spring I’m going to invest in a small protective fence.
One more planned change – extend the border forwards by about 6 inches, because it’s ridiculous to feel cramped in such a spacious garden …
And Roses. Now I Know Why They’re Popular
So I look out of that window, and I see some beautifully crafted blooms, that come back year after year – I am reliably informed that that means they are perennials. They’re bloody roses! I had no idea they could be so lovely, and now I want to plant more.
I put an APB out on Facebook, and got some advice from a proper gardener I met at a party some years ago. And he knows about roses. I also got a reply from an old friend who disappeared to France some time back – but apparently she does too!
So, armed with a basic knowledge of roses I will be getting down to my local rose specialist in spring 2017 (gardening seems to be all about patience). I hope I’m ready for the challenge …
But What About The Rest?
What I love about the border I’m working on is that I see it, all the time. I glance out the window beside my desk, and there it is. But by Christmas I may have moved my office to another part of the garden, so I need to get working on another view. That’s what happens when you’re still working on your home – you never know what views you’re going to be enjoying while you get things right!
So there we have it. I believe and hope that I may be documenting the development of our beautiful garden over the years to come. There’s so much more to it, and I haven’t even started on the trees …