Oh! What a lovely garden … couldn’t be further from the truth. High hopes, years of neglect, and dare I say a little horticultural vandalism and we have the Neglected Garden.
The following photos were taken in the summer of 2016. And a lot has happened since then. Over 1,000 hours of blood, sweat and tears have gone into the new garden. Not to mention wasps and a dead fox! Indeed, we’re so pleased with the result that we want to share our experiences and our new-found love of gardening.
This blog charts our garden’s transformation, our successes, our failures, and what we’re learning each week as we get to grips with our middle-sized suburban garden in the East of England.
So, if you want to see how things turn out sign up for blog updates.
The Suburban Garden
Although the house was built in the mid-1930s, the garden was used as an allotment for nearly fifty years and only later laid to lawn. Surprisingly, there were no mature shrubs in the garden when we moved in twenty-five years’ ago. Just a couple of over-mature fruit trees, some raspberries, gooseberry, and a rotten Forsythia x intermedia ‘Spectabilis’ hedge running the entire length of the western border.
In our time at Glengarth we’ve lugged tonnes of topsoil into the garden in a vain attempt to level the significant slope across the garden’s entire width. Laid two lawns and suffered uncontrollable dandelion infestation. Created a respectable patio garden; only to build an extension on top of it a few years later. And, above all, created an adventure playground for our children … now grown up.
Last year, we decided to go for broke and transform the garden into something we can enjoy. This is our story.
Wilderness of Neglect
We soon concluded that the garden needed a complete makeover, and this would be a large undertaking. Our garden is a typical unimaginative old-style suburban plot with few features and roughly 10 metres (40 feet) wide by 44 metres (150 feet) in length.
We had three distinct areas in mind for the redesign: a patio and outdoor dining area followed by an interstice to accommodate shed and arbour, which would lead to a long lawn surrounded by shubaceous borders.
With ideas in mind, we decided to bring in some expertise to help us design the space closest to the house: a challenging area with many level changes.
That was the spring of 2016. And by early summer we had some designs and were ready to commit to some hard landscaping and planting.
However, before this could start we had a monumental garden clearance job on our hands. Indeed, things were so bad we had to hack a way through honeysuckle, clematis, and bramble to get to our impoverished lawn.
But we did it!
And we discovered that the garden has plenty of potential. We even salvaged a Phormium tenax (New Zealand flax), Phyllostachys nigra (black bamboo) and Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’, and a shed load – literally – of herbaceous perennials.
In the six month’s leading up to the start of landscaping we had just two weekends off. It was both backbreaking and rewarding, and certainly worth the effort.
We will share our plans in our next post. Thanks for reading!