It has been far too long since I sat in front of my computer and set fingers to keyboard and I am determined, from today, to start to maintain my blog on a more regular basis. This time I mean it, (although I am aware I've told myself the same mantra on far too many occasions already!). As a starter, so I don't feel too pressured, I think I shall set aside every Tuesday morning to write something, even if it is a just few thoughtful lines. Those people who have the ability focus on writing a lengthy blog post with the regularity of a military parade really do have my admiration. For me, the temptation to wander off into the garden or start fiddling about with some fabric or whatever is to hand at any given time is far too strong and like most creative people I have to be in the right frame of mind to sit and write. Sometimes the words just won't flow, no matter how many cups of tea and digestive biscuits I consume.
If you follow my Instagram account you would have noticed that over the past few weeks I have been very busy in my cottage garden. When we moved into the house 15 years ago there was no garden at all to speak of. There was a lawn surrounded by tall, light consuming conifers at the top end and the bottom end nearer the house was mainly laid to concrete, with more untended conifers and not a flower bloom in sight.
I spent the first few months after moving in concentrating on the garden. An Anderson shelter was found buried at the top where we wanted to put the polytunnel, the imposing conifers were removed, a new beech hedge planted along the roadside to replace the broken fence and an eight foot deep border was dug to house a variety of shrubs and herbacious perennials. My pride and joy was a newly planted parterre which after a few years being lovingly clipped by hand looked just how I had envisioned it. I was happy.
Then disaster struck. Us gardeners are for all intents and purposes at the mercy of mother nature (especially if, like me, you don't use any chemicals) and two years ago the design had a major change when I had to remove the box blighted parterres. I was very sad as the triangular beds were the backbone of the 'top' garden. There's no point crying over spilt milk though and its loss meant I have had the opportunity to rethink the garden as a whole. Always look for the silver lining, if you look hard enough usually there is one lurking about under the covers.
More cottagey - that was what popped into my head. I want to the garden to look more like an English cottage garden, with more planting, more little nooks and crannies and separate areas to make the garden more inviting and exciting. More of everything basically, a bucolic shambles.
Over the last couple of months I have laid a circular patio (probably a separate blog post), planted 17 new clematis, dug, composted and filled two new beds either side of the patio and made a new little area containing four small raised beds. I have closed off this new area with a rustic fence and gate I made from bits of wood I had round the back of the shed and sticks collected as I have been walking Freddie. The only things I had to buy were the hinges for the gate and a packet of nails.
For the gate closure I found a string of pretty shells that I didn't have a use for and I love it. I am so pleased with the result. Now it has been there for a few weeks, the planting in front of it has grown as tall as the fence. The yellow lupins and corn marigolds look gorgeous mingling together with the daisies and the whole structure feels like it has been there for years, it looks so at home. As the sticks will eventually rot , I didn't want to use nails so decided to simply lash the sticks to the horizontal slats with string. This took quite a while to do but the finished result was well worth the effort. I can recommend sitting down and taking your time to do this as it is quite hard on the back, as I found out. Slowly but surely is the way.
It really is amazing what you can do with the a little bit of imagination (and a hammer!).
If anyone has any questions, please ask and I would love to see your pictures if you have a go at making something similar yourself.