I thought I would take you on a tour of our garden over the next couple of blog postings and tell you a little bit more about it.
When we bought the house the garden was mainly lawn and flower beds with hardly any shrubs or trees and the top third of the garden was totally overgrown and contained a huge shed which had seen better days.
We started to plant shrubs and trees straight away and added a pond. We took down the shed and cleared the top of the garden and turned it into a vegetable patch with a fruit cage. We were almost self sufficient in vegetables and used to freeze a lot and make pickles, jams and chutneys. Several years later when the children arrived we found it difficult to maintain the vegetable area as it was very time consuming so we turned the top area of the garden into a mini wildflower meadow with a wooded area behind. I must admit now the children are grown up I would like to find an area of the garden where we could grow a few vegetables again. I do grow a few herbs on the patio and last year grew pumpkins.
Closest to the house is a patio area which is block paved and houses the rabbit hutch and run, table and chairs and a barbecue. The walls at each end are covered in ivy, clematis and climbing hydrangea and I grow annuals in pots in the summer replacing the annuals with violas, pansies and primulas in the autumn. We have had wrens and blackbirds nesting in the ivy and this year a wren nested in the base of one of last year's hanging baskets - see earlier blog posting.
I bought this Christmas Tree when the children were small and it was only about 6 inches tall. Every Christmas we put it in the porch and decorate it with miniature silver decorations. I was really upset last autumn when it appeared to be dying with the needles turning brown and dropping off. We repotted it and have been feeding it and it looks a lot healthier this summer with lots of new growth so hopefully I will be able to bring it indoors again this Christmas.
Clematis growing on the house wall in flower in May
Now the clematis is covered in attractive seedheads
Looking through the arch covered in jasmine towards the rest of the garden
The border to the right of the main lawn is planted with shrubs - bamboo, buddleia, hollies and mock orange.
The border on the left hand-side of the lawn is a perennial bed. We have planted lots of different species so that we get some colour throughout the summer. At the moment the border is full of golden rod which the hoverflies and bees love and phlox together with cosmos,cone flowers, lavender, dahlias, valerian, monkshood etc.
I bought this plant with small blue flowers from Hidcote.
We leave the seedheads in the perennial border throughout the autumn and winter for the birds to feed on and insects to hibernate. They also look beautiful covered in frost or snow.
The whitebeam tree pictured below was a foot high sapling when we moved in. This is the tree which houses the nest box with webcam where the blue tits nested earlier in the year. In the early autumn it is covered in berries which are soon eaten by the blackbirds and wood pigeons.
Ferns grow in a shady corner below the whitebeam. (The bird table has been moved here temporarily as I only use it to feed the birds in the winter just using feeders in the summer).
We kept quite a large area of lawn for the children when they were younger for sandpits, paddling pools, swings, slides and climbing frames. When they got older the lawn was used for football and badminton but now they are grown up I would like to make the lawn area smaller perhaps creating more flowers or even a vegetable plot!
At the end of the lawn is the pond - our second. We replaced the earlier smaller pond with this version a few years ago. To the left is a small bog garden which is full of yellow flags in the spring. Behind the pond is a rockery which desperately needs replanting as we seem to have lost all the rockery plants just leaving a few heathers and primulas.
These are more pictures of the pond and area nearby. I took some of the photos earlier in the year when the azaleas and rhododendrons were flowering. My husband has been giving this area of the garden its annual "haircut" recently and the shrubs look awful and there is a huge pile of prunings waiting to be shredded so it was hard to get an up to date photo! We don't keep fish in the pond although I would love some sticklebacks if I could find out where to buy them. I have seen toads around this area and we get a lot of frogs and frogspawn and, as mentioned in an earlier post, common newts. Grey Herons have visited in the past and we have had annual visits each spring from a pair of mallard. This was wonderful as they used to waddle up to the back door looking for bread. Unfortunately, my husband decided they were only visiting to hoover up the frogspawn and tadpoles and used to chase them away.
This is "Matilda" inherited from a great-aunt. Matilda used to sit on top of a stone bird bath shaped like a shell but when I collected her the bird bath had cracked.
The garden is abour 145 feet by 30 feet (44 x 9 metres) and in my next posting I will show you the area around the second lawn, the mini wildflower meadow and wooded area.
Returning to normality . . .
3 hours ago