A year in my garden

It was Cicero, the Roman philosopher and orator, who said that “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need”. This is something I wholeheartedly believe, although I would add …”and lots of shoes” to the list but I’m not sure Cicero was really a shoe man. We have been in our house for almost a year, and one of its biggest attractions for me was the garden. I love the feeling of grass under my bare feet, but I don’t want to spend every other weekend mowing a lawn. So, for us, the brick path is perfectly low maintenance.

You can see below that the garden was fairly overgrown and a little bit unloved when we moved in.
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I quickly got busy with the secateurs and sheers, clearing away lots of greenery and hacking down some mature shrubs which were choking other plants or blocking out much-needed light in our north(ish)-facing garden. The massive dark green bush blocking the view of the back door has been chopped down – I started ‘pruning’ it on a whim and then the dude and I got properly into it and we ended up hacking the whole thing down. I’m not sure what that says about our self-restraint…

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I didn’t really have an idea of what plants we already had, so waiting for spring was even more exciting as I thought that we would be treated to a display of various spring flowers. As it happens, there were no bulbs in the ground so I was relieved that I had planted daffodils, fritillaries, alliums, and tulips last October. This year I am going to add more narcissi and leave it at that…maybe just a few more tulips.

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Alliums – like crazy purple pom poms.

Each evening when I get home from work I pootle out into the garden and water the veg patch, and generally force the dude to smell everything. Last night our poor neighbours could probably hear me yelling at him, “get your nose right in there! Right in!” As I was maniacally shoving his head into the honeysuckle. But there is nothing, absolutely nothing, like the scent of flowers filling the air during a warm evening. This is the time of year to get your nostrils satiated.

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I enjoy the work that the garden needs, we are currently battling with hedge bindweed and things have exploded over the last couple of weeks. But ultimately, what’s a garden for if not to sit in? Like most people I work, I commute, I clean the house, I go to the supermarket, I cook, I fill my head with busy thoughts & plans & things that need arranging & organising….but sometimes I just take a few moments to sit in my garden, watching it grow and being grateful that I have everything I need.

BB x

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Coming Home…

Our new front door

Our new front door

Yesterday we picked up the keys to our new house, eleven months after we first viewed it. It really has been a lesson in patience and perseverance!  We walked around in a bit of a daze thinking about all the things that we will need to tweak and change, but we have time and the main thing is… it’s ours.

As I stood outside to get a photo of the front door, I was reminded of a card that my dad made for me two and a half years ago. It’s a pen and watercolour drawing of a green door which he had cut around so that I could open it to read this quote that he had written inside:

‘There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.’ Graham Greene.

The future that lies behind this green door is a little bit unknown but exciting, full of adventure and very hopeful. My dad’s card is now well-thumbed, so I’ll put it into a frame to keep it safe as it reminds me of my journey here.

One of the things that the future definitely has in store is gardening. The house has a lovely garden which is small enough to manage but big enough to make proper use of. There is also a tiny front garden which has this abundant hydrangea to greet visitors at our front door.

Our front garden

Hydrangea

I know that if you add copper to the soil you can turn the hydrangea blue… I might try to give the old girl a blue rinse next year. But I do like pink… I noticed a blowsy pink peony in the garden on our last visit but they dug it up and took it with them, I can’t blame them. But, they have left us with some lovely roses, penstemons and a beautiful smelling ceanothus – so enough for me to work with for now! There are also a couple of mature shrubs and small trees which are crying out for lights and lanterns…

There isn’t too much to do in the house, it needs freshening up and we need to find bits and pieces to fill it with as I come bearing only one chair and the Dude has been living in a man pad for the best part of a decade. Part of the fun will be finding our style together, and yes I am sure we will have the obligatory stand-off in the rug section of Ikea. Why’s it always in the rug section?! I wonder if it’s because that’s where your blood sugar levels are at their lowest after having spent hours trudging through? He’s a very patient man but we are as stubborn as each other, it’s going to get interesting. I’ve already noticed that I’ve been met with a wall of silence whenever I mention cats…..  or ducks, chickens, peacocks, goats, etc… I wonder why?