We’ve lived in this bungalow for 31 years-it belonged to Bob’s Grandparents before us and we bought it when his Nan died.
The garden was rather plain when we arrived and gradually we’ve added lots of different features to it. Because I so love lots of different plants but especially perennials, we have collected many varieties over the years and now I frequently propagate from my own mother plants, using seeds and cuttings as well as root division.
The garden has 4 apple trees altogether- the smaller Worcester Pearmain near the house is an original tree that was part of the orchard many years ago.The house was built in 1954 so that makes the tree at least 60 years old! I so love and respect trees. It amazes me that this tree is older than all of us and still delights us with the scent of its blossom in the spring and its fruit in the autumn.
The 3 younger trees halfway up the garden are Bramleys, planted by Bob’s Grandad many years back. They all fruit well-some years almost too well ;)- but do create a lot of shade across the garden which can be a problem for the garden.It’s a nuisance for Northbrook Nursery too, as the year progresses through a series of sticky buds&catkins from the poplars behind us,the June apple fall, the main fruiting followed by the leaf drop in autumn.
The winter of 2010 was one of the snowiest we’ve had whilst we’ve lived here- look at the back garden!
A winter wonderland! I love the snow, but only because it looks so pretty when it’s fresh and new. Over the ‘white’ Christmas (which ”I’m dreaming of” is my most favourite Xmas song EVER) of 2010/11 the roads were so bad it was ridiculous. We slithered around the area here trying to locate a flock of waxwings which excited all birdwatchers locally by feeding on any rowan berries that they could find. Imagine how we laughed a few weeks later when they stayed feeding on Poplar tree catkins right at the bottom of our own garden, dangling from the branches and making a mess beneath! The weather was warm and we sat drinking our morning cuppa on the patio, listening to the trilling of over 50 waxwings. Magic!! For a few weeks twitchers were driving up and down our road with their binoculars! Just great.We were treated to around 50 birds until the middle of April.
Spring in our garden starts with the beautiful snowdrops under the bramley trees. I bought loads of them ‘in the green’ about 5 years ago and painstakingly planted them out. The singles are doing better than the doubles and I must say, I’d rather like to put in some other, different varieties….may have to work on that when I get time.
Ofcourse, a harsher winter than we are used to here in the mild south brings more unusual birds into the garden.
Fieldfare and redwings came in their flocks to eat faller apples which I
saved to put out when the weather is severe and it was great to see Siskins on the niger seed feeder.
Some areas of the garden are fairly new.We’ve put in raised beds all the way round as they are much easier with the tree roots which seem to be everywhere.No surprise I suppose with the huge height of the Black Poplars at the bottom of the garden-but we’d be in trouble if they didn’t have massive spreading roots to stabilise themselves! After the snowdrops and Hellebore are Daffodils, Tulips (especially smaller ones which I’m trying to increase) Pulmonaria, wonderful Brunnera, Forgetmenots to name but a few. One of my favourites for the early bees is Parahebe Mervyn which is a delight of blue flowers- I sell this plant (see STOCK)
These are Dog’s Tooth violet (Erythronium Dens-Canis) and a double Hellebore which just appeared as a seedling.
Hubby Bob is keen on the more exotic plants..so we introduced several tree ferns after seeing them at Heligan. I love the croziers when they are emerging. Tree ferns are very easy to grow and much more hardy then people seem to think.The one below is ‘Freda’…yes I just HAD to give them names. Awe inspiring when you consider how old they all are.
One morning when I looked out the kitchen window, I was amazed to catch a glimpse of a fox in the garden. Imagine my amazement when I saw another one- they looked like a healthy pair, definitely a dog and his vixen. The little cat that we had then, spent a lot of the day chasing them around the garden, even though they were 3 times the size of her! During the afternoon, they lounged by our new summerhouse, enjoying the lovely sun. I wondered if they were timed out by daylight and were hanging out here waiting for the cover of darkness to make their way in their journey. Sure enough, that was the last I saw of them!
I love April or May- depending on how warm it is- because the apple blossom time is wonderful here. The scent of it 🙂
When we can, it’s the time of year we may be able to sit out in the evening by the chiminea with a little glass of something!
We dug out a pond as soon as we arrived here, so our fish could be moved from our old house. It’s a shame the net has to stay on most of the time, but as you will see- we often get a sharp eyed and equally sharp beaked visitor! It would only need one slip of forgetting that net and the poor fish would be emptied out of the pond overnight!
One area of the garden beyond the pond and in the shade of hedge and apple trees proved very difficult to plant up.It seemed to be damp a lot of the time, which decided us to try planting up with ferns. In the photo below you can see the new island raised bed in the lawn.It was worth sacrificing part of the lawn to gain planting space in full sun! Just left of the centre of the pic is our lovely red acer- just before it bursts into life for the summer! It started out as a tiny tree in a pot and when I got fed-up of ants getting into it’s pot, tried it where it is today. We’re on clay deep down and it seems that plants really take off when their roots get well down!
Summer comes with my favourite perennials coming into their own. I love cottage garden favourites…..
Helenium,Echinacea, Verbena Bonariensis, Rudbeckia, Lavender, Sunflowers, Geranium Splish Splash..
Imagine my surprise when I spotted this Broad Bodied Chaser by the pond! What a magnificent creature. A female joined it briefly…it’s the first time I have seen this species by our pond 🙂
Another unusual aerial visitor was this gorgeous female Demoiselle Damselfly, braving the wind which made her seek cover in the shrubs. I’ve never seen one of these in the garden before-maybe she was caught up in the gale and blown away from her home area-we will never know…but it was the highlight of my day! Nature’s beauty!
As I said before, Bob’s rather keen on the more exotic plants- Brugmansia and Ginger Lilies to name just two! I love banana plants and have got 3 different ones that seem fairly hardy in pots but can go a bit mushy after a very cold spell of weather. Some of the ginger lilies are just beautiful and very scented, but its a shame the flowers don’t last longer.
Colour by the backdoor.
The tropical looking Tibouchina is one of my favourite shrubs and lives happily in a pot. It’s sun-loving and flowers right through until the frosts, but it has to come into the conservatory for the winter where it often carries on flowering. It makes us think of holidays abroad 🙂
Autumn is a season of faller apples, lovely coloured leaves- much later than the fruit these days- late Red Admiral butterflies feasting on faller fruit, dew coated cobwebs which appear overnight……The gorgeous Autumn colour of Acers..
Here’s what my tiny Plant Nursery looks like….
You might get to meet the garden manager Sooty.He’s a climber, so he might be up above you!
COME AND SEE US SOON! 🙂