Okay, after 5 years of being busy and preoccupied with other things, we are finally taming our garden. I’ve had gardens in India and in America, but this is my first English garden. Steep learning curve.
Speaking of which, please could somebody identify this bush with pink blossoms in our driveway
We’ve got 3 beds planted, and are working on the rest. Specializing in hellebores, and other shade plants.
Funny, when we lived in Virginia, our plot was shaded by massive trees. So, perforce, we had to indulge in shade gardening–hellebores, hostas, cyclamen, bleeding hearts, heuchera, solomon’s seal, arum italicum, orchids, trillium etc.
I wanted the flowers that grew in full sun, and was always sadly writing about making a virtue of necessity, blooming where you are planted, learning to love the hand of cards dealt to you. I bought and studied books on shade gardening, and learnt a lot about woodland, forest and shade plants.
And now, I actually prefer shade plants–their gentleness, mystery, quietness, non-assertiveness, surprises. They are more intriguing to me than their bright, bold cousins. And I am now buying them, though we are not short of sun.
Our plot is an acre and a half. I have been reading a couple of books on the evolution of the English countryside, and about enclosure laws and edible hedges. Our garden was broken down into 6 little bits, each surrounded by a hedge and fence–a huge veg. garden, which we haven’t started using, an orchard, a main garden, divided into two by a fence and hedge, and a little side plot, currently fallow.
Now, this might be heresy to people who like the Sissinghurst and Hidcote style of gardening, but today Roy took his chain saw and sawed down the beech hedges separating them, as I don’t see the point of ruining the perspective with these tiny plots.
I wonder if the land was subdivided into little plots per family with edible hedges in between them. Our hedges have apple trees and pear trees and blackberries interplanted with the hawthorn, and after researching ancient English edible hedges, we planted one in the middle of the paddock in the winter of 2006. Last year it yielded plum cherries, and black, yellow and red plums. Really delicious.
The hedge we planted in our paddock
We only started on March 6th, but we’ve been gardening seriously since then, putting in 2-3 hours of work a day between us.However, the garden ran away with us in America, and we’d spend 3-4 hours there at a stretch in the evenings and weekends. Now I work with a timer, and go in after an hour or so, and if I work longer in the garden, try to put in an equal amount of time on housework and decluttering, so the house does not get out of control.
Beginnings are such hard work, but soon, we will have the pleasure of seeing the plants we’ve planted grow, establish themselves, self-seed and hybridize.
In any endeavour after the beginning, you get ever-increasing pleasure, leverage and return on your investment. However it takes faith to get past the beginning.
Cherry blossom, in a hedge we planted.
Close up of cherry blossom.
|Our willow tree at sunset|
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