Saturday, 18 May 2013

Welcome to My Garden in The Shire

Gentle Reader, Welcome! Won't you step into my garden in the Shire and sit a while, dear friend, and we will share some tea and talk about the plans I am making for my garden?

Once upon a time, which now seems as if it was in another life, my garden was a pretty place, with  flowering plants a~plenty, a weed~free lawn of verdant green, some shady trees where underneath I'd sit with a book and read for endless hours while the bees buzzed in and out the lavender and roses.  A vegetable plot produced and keep me in fresh salads and herbs all summer long, with squash and beans, potatoes, parsnips, courgettes, onions, soft fruits and so much more.  In the Autumn I would put up a store of pickles, chutneys, jams, and fill the freezer with the harvest.

Now, in this charming little spot, things were never perfectly tidy and neat, for I am far from perfect, and neither tidy nor neat in nature, with a tendency to let nature do her own thing, so hither and thither there were weeds, things growing where they chose, and plenty of nooks and crannies, and food, for wildlife too . . and no nasty chemical sprays or powders!  That last bit can make gardening a tricksy business when it comes to some of the more persistent pests like slugs and snails, couch grass, and prickly bramble vines, but I soldier on.

Then, one day, life interrupted, and a couple of years of inclement weather disrupted my idyllic corner in the Shire.  I was not able to dig and weed, tend and grow, or care for my garden as I should, and as it deserved.  For two years now everything has been left almost completely alone, and to it's own devices.  I have mown the lawn but not really looked after it, and today, much to my chagrin, yellow is the new green. The weeds have grown, the slugs and snails proliferated, most everything I planted failed.  The weather deals cruel blow after cruel blow and only the hardiest things have survived.  With no greenhouse to bring things on, I struggled and gave up.  I do not know what this year's weather will bring, but I am determined to regain control and stop everything running amok!

I know I have lost many plants, the wind and rain have seen to that, for the ground is so very wet, and the winds blow wuthering wildly in from the west, conditions many plants just do not like, and who can blame them?  Some plants, like hostas, just have 'snail fodder' written all over them, and when the snail population explodes in those perfect~for~snails conditions what can you do?  I have spent some time observing, seeing what does well and what doesn't, so that my chosen planting will stand a better chance of surviving what nature throws at it.

Here is an overview of the lawn and borders, rockery, leading into the soft fruit area . .

I am surprised, if truth be told, at how nearly presentable the lawn looks, but then you are not getting close enough to see the border full of couch grass, or the nettles under the yew tree, and the brambles rearing up in the distant corner 'neath the camellia.  Oh, and I have a few of those small, stone troughs to consider.  Once, in a former life, they held salt for cattle in the fields to lick.  The mill stones are orignal too.  

This is the proposed vegetable plot, still under weed suppressing cover, currently used as a holding area for plants for the borders.  This very morning I turned back one of the corners and I think the job is well underway!  Hurrah! There may be raised beds here.

The small curved area at the top of the drive which will eventually have a low, retaining stone wall.  Here, I plan foxgloves and ferns, maybe the very hardy Alchemilla Mollis too.


Ah! There you are . . you stayed!  You have seen my garden almost at it's worst, weeds and all! I am so pleased the photographs of weeds and much unmentionable rubbish did not deter you.  Plans are afoot, my friend, and much work is needed and I am an army of one who does not care to dig in the rain or weed in the cold.  A work~in~progress, but progress is being made.  It is not a large garden, but plenty for me to deal with.  If I have changed my mind once, I have changed it a hundred times as to what I plan to do.  The top priority is to make it as easy care as I possibly can, without resorting to chemicals unless absolutely necessary, and for it to be productive for the plate, a pleasant to sit, and pretty to the eye. There are beds to be dug, borders to weed, compost bins to move, a tree to cut down, and so much more when I can make up my mind exactly what to do.  So many gardening ideas, so little space in which to put them. Wildlife, fairies, and helpful critters welcome!

Thank you for visiting, I hope you enjoyed your tea and your tour.  Please, come by again, if I'm not in the garden I'll be in the house making plans!  Questions, suggestions, and input welcome in the comments section!

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