None of those here, when I moved into my new home last summer. The garden was just a big neglected mess.
The first job was to clear out the weeds and paint the wall. When I say “I”, I confess I called upon the lovely Robert, who got to work with a some serious tools and, once he’d cleared the bed, a paintbrush.
All he left were a few plants hardy enough to survive the neglect. (I’m trying not to think about the huge store of weed seeds lying in wait for my hoe!)
There is a large deep pink hydrangea, a couple of buddleias to attract the butterflies and a well grown Clematis montana. It was in full bloom when I viewed the property last year and is just about to give me joy.
To begin at the beginning…
But, back to last November. Once the ground had been cleared, my first job was a scramble to get in spring flowering bulbs. I chose tete-a-tete daffodils, a firm favourite and so hardy. Where the bigger daffodils get blown about and battered by wind and rain, the tetes just stand up and take it!
I added a load of grape hyacinths, the really deep blue ones. I have a large potful of those, too. Then tulips. I ordered the daffodils and hyacinths in plenty of time and had them ready to go, but It was getting a bit late. The garden centres had switched to Christmas stuff but I found some at one of my favourite online suppliers and in they went.
And up they came!
The new garden plan…
The first to go in was the winter-flowering evergreen Clematis urophylla ‘Winter Beauty’. It’s the one with small white bell-like flowers. It will be next winter before it blooms but it will be worth the wait.
That is what gardening is all about. Patience.
I’m enjoying the plants that someone planted when the garden was new about fifteen years ago. I want the garden to be a joy for whoever comes after me. And for the people who walk past to visit the chiropractice in the house next door.
All year round interest in the new garden…
A sprig of myrtle is always added to royal wedding bouquets. I left a couple behind when we moved from Wales, and it’s wonderful to have one again. The scent is unbelievable.
And there’s a Pieris forestii ‘Flame of the Forest’, another favourite. White panicles of flowers in spring and then the new leaves are bright red.
In the mid-range I’ve planted euphorbias, geums, hellebores, salvias, scabious and roses. There’s a peony, too. I’ve never had any luck with peonies in the past, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this one is going to be a joy.
I have lavender to plant, too. It’s been a bit cold to get out in the last week and I’ve been putting it off. Hands up to being a fair weather gardener!
I’ve put bird feeders high in the buddleia, because ground feeding attracted the kind of wildlife I can do without. I’ve just spotted a very fat pigeon having a nose around beneath them!
Because that’s the other wonderful thing. The garden is raised and it’s at my eye-level as I look out of my study window.
For colour there are azaleas. The small, evergreen ones in vivid pink and orange and I have a fabulous tall orange deciduous one that was a Mother’s Day gift. I know exactly where to put it, but I’m waiting for it to finish flowering before I move it.
Along the edge of the garden I have planted creeping phlox, Anemone blanda (love that electric blue), heuchera, saxifrage and snowdrop anemones (Anemone sylvestris) which I’ve never grown before but are pure delight.
I have stuck in a packet of nasturtium seeds to trail down the wall in the summer (a few have made an appearance). I have forget-me-not seeds to scatter and calendula, whiich will make themselves at home and fill in the gaps for years to come. I’ve also started sowing perennials to plant out in the autumn so that next year I’ll have lupins. And my hares have a new home.
I have pots, too, with roses, grasses (I need more grasses!) a bamboo and some buddleias that apparently think they’re wisteria. I’ll be interested to see how those turn out. And I have a little hazel contorta that was such a steal at the local garden centre a couple of weeks ago it would have been rude not to buy one. Oh, and an actual wisteria!
Every week there is something new to see as the things I planted last autumn (and had in some cases forgotten) start to do their thing.
There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray love, remember:
and pansies, for thoughts.
And, because a garden is a place not just to sit and plan, but to think and remember, I have pansies and rosemary (which I’ve always planted by my garden gate).