Friday, 2 August 2013

Our garden...all is well.

I thought I'd start this month's posts with a nice soothing piece about our own garden.
     I am very pleased with the way it looks now compared with how it was when we first moved in a year ago. 

New roses in the back garden
    The previous owners of our house kept the garden neat and tidy, and even tended a little vegetable plot, but it was very featureless and bland. I sense that they did what needed to be done, but had no real love for it.
     Big areas were slabbed, decked or covered with pink granite chippings on top of membrane, with a few pots scattered about.  Here is a general view across the back garden, before and after.  You can't actually see that I have dug out a whole new herbaceous border on the top right.
     There is still a big slabbed area, but it is gradually filling up with containers, and the big vegetable trough you can see on the right of the picture below has helped too.







Garden before

Garden now


















View out before
At the back of the house a very large conservatory covered too much of the outside paved seating area (you can see the edge of it in the 'before' photo above), and it also made the living room very dark and stuffy. We got the builders to demolish the conservatory - they were very sniffy about it and shocked that we should do such a wasteful thing.  The patio door was replaced with a bi-fold door.  However, the first thing we had to contend with was blazing sun - so we bought an awning. Second thing - wind whipping across the back of the house, so we got the builders back to build brick troughs, and Philosopher built an arch and put up trellis. Add to that the cost of reinstating the crazy paving, and we could have had a snazzy new conservatory for less. But the result is very pleasing... here is the view from inside, before and after:

View out, after
Front before
The front garden consists of terraces sloping down to the road - again, much of this was covered in pink chippings, except for the neon Barbie pink azalea area referred to in previous blogs. On the top terrace, we scraped off the chippings, ripped up the membrane, and hacked away at the solid compacted clay beneath to make a big flowerbed. This was backbreaking, and required the addition of tons of compost and soil improver, so I adopted a plan of digging planting holes in the clay and inserting plants that hopefully, would spread. This has had mixed success - in some cases the holes have not been big enough, and too much water, held in by the surrounding clay,  has collected round the roots of the plants. This, combined with scorching sun and quite a lot of wind, makes it quite challenging environment for the poor things. Still, it is looking much better....


Front now
    At one side of the house was a large area of decking, which looked very dull. The builders left a pallet behind, so Philosopher made it into a plant platform, and we have put loads of other containers around to hold herbs and other nice smelling stuff- it now looks good.  The mirror works well- we found it in the junk yard down in Courthouse Street. We refurbished and kept the vegetable patch, and also put a new studio shed at that side of the garden.
Side Decking, plus studio shed
Here is Buddha, from Birmingham, in his new home.  He nearly did the removal men severe damage when they staggered up the steps with him - in fact, I think that pallet belonged to Buddha, because he had to go in a special place in the furniture depository - he was too heavy to go in a container.

One notable thing - how big plants have grown here. I brought quite a lot of plants, particularly my collection of perennial garden geraniums, down from Birmingham, and where we just had a few spindly stalks in our Victorian city garden, we now have massive clumps up to a meter high.  Look at these petunias, and as for Philosopher's giant spinach, beans and rhubarb..... Slugs are busily eating the spinach, but there is so much of it we can easily share it between us all.
Big petunias
Huge beans etc.