They say that confession is good for the soul, so here goes.
I have not shown you certain areas of the garden for years now as I have thoroughly neglected them since my dear undergardener died five years ago, it has taken me all my time to keep the rest of the garden presentable. I now feel quite ashamed at the state that it had all got into and the time had come for me to do something about it. This was brought home to me when my roofer, Joseph, (remember storms Eunice and Franklyn in February?) asked if he could see the garden, he wanted to see how far it went, he had been looking at the garden when he was up on the roof and couldn’t see where it ended! I didn’t want to take him up through the pergola to what used to be the fruit and veggie garden as I knew it was such a dreadful mess, but he insisted. This is what he was confronted with….
when you got to the end of the pergola, you couldn’t get any further!
Nature had been really quick to reclaim it.
Brambles and nettles had gone mad, along with masses of ash tree seedlings.
Joseph told me not to worry, he could slash and hack everything down in no time. I thought “hacking and slashing” weren’t words that I would ever hear in my garden, but thought – why not- as everything would be dead by now and there was no damage that he could do. He came the next day and started, look what he found……..
He found some raised beds, originally there were quite a lot, I gave Joseph a plan of where they were so he wouldn’t fall over them!
and he found a fence panel that had fallen over where the raspberries used to be.
He soon had everything slashed and hacked back, then it was a question of getting the bramble and nettle roots out.
This work had to fit in with all his other work of course so it was a while before he came again. In the meantime I started to get rid of the ivy on the fence by the field, that took quite some doing and by this time the weather was hotting up and the ground was getting harder and harder. Joseph finished the ivy and it took him a fraction of the time it had taken me!
I also made a start on clearing the ivy from the pergola uprights, it was fiddly but I got there in the end.
I had to decide which beds I wanted to keep and which could go. A lot of the boards had rotted but some could be used to patch others.
Now that there is just me living here I don’t need to grow anywhere near the same amount of food that I once did when the family were here, so decided that half the area could be planted up as a little Acer glade and I could have a bench there for quiet contemplation!
These beds on the left hamd side could be kept for salad leaves, veggies a bit of fruit and a nursery bed for sowing hardy plants and growing cuttings on before planting out.
Starting to look a lot better now. The new wood was found in the garage and was left over from when we had the conservatory built nearly 30 yrs ago, I knew it would come in handy one day!
It’s so good to see lots of clear space at last, I’d forgotten what a large area it was.
So much space to play with, now trying to get it raked level once more, Joseph has moved the soil from the redundant raised beds to top up the remaining ones. Any gardening that was done by me was done from 5am onwards, it was far too hot for me to work after 10am! Joseph worked so hard in the heat, I tried to keep him supplied with chilled drinks, the poor man was shattered by the time he finished each day.
For a long time I was still finding bramble shoots trying to trip me up, it was quite hard digging them all out. Eventually I gave up and will do the rest once the rain has softened the soil.
No this isn’t just a pile of rotten planks , I asked Joseph to make a place of safety for the toad, frogs and newts that live nearby in the garden and use the pond for breeding etc. My new planting will be in front of it so it won’t be seen and the wildlife can hopefully live there undisturbed.
I think that will do for the first instalment, I must now get a lot of compost dug into the soil in the raised beds to improve it and into the area where I will be planting my Acer glade. Loads of compost was delivered the other day by Joseph’s sister and their Dad. His sister has a business delivering compost all over Devon. The gravel will need topping up later when everything has been raked level and the planting will hopefully take place October/November time when Nature can do the watering! I will let you know how I’m getting on and when I eventually get round to the planting. We have now had some much needed rain but I will need a lot more to soften the soil to a decent depth before I add the compost, also it will need to be a bit cooler!