My garden at home is a bit neglected. I work eight hours a day in the gardens at Layer Marney Tower and I have to admit that doing another hour at home rarely appeals to me. One of the reasons we first bought the house was its relatively generous garden for a two-bedroomed terrace house.
It was virtually a blank canvas; barring the big horrible conifer and large established Lilac there were a few feeble shrubs along either fence and a lawn. Naively, and with a certain amount of stupidity, I tried to make my ideas a reality in the first year. I created a veg patch consisting of a big unwieldy area of soil with one wiggly path zig-zagging through it in an attractive but impractical manner and a curvaceous area of grass bounded by fairly deep (for a garden of this size) borders.
I planted several trees; an apple tree with several varieties grafted onto one trunk, Malus ‘John Downie’, a rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia) and three Betula jacquemontii (why yes I may have been swayed by fashion) and this was probably the only good thing about diving in too soon and too hard; I now have some trees of significant impact in my garden. The birches, unfortunately, have never really taken off properly but the apples and rowan are great.
We have made periodic attempts to clear, plant and mulch various bits of the borders but then weeds come in faster than I can clear (wild grasses are the bane of my life here thanks to living next to a meadow). This year I decided to ignore the borders almost entirely and focus on the area closest to the house. This approach has given me the little veg patch and herb beds.
I aimed to have this area, including the bit in front of our run-down shed, finished by the end of this year, but that’s not looking likely thanks to a full diary this month and next. I’m intending that in the end the borders just past the veg patch will have a meadow-like feeling with grasses and plants such as Perovskia and Eryngium. Closest to the end of the garden I’m untimately going to go for a somewhat ‘edge of woodland’ feel. We can’t really afford to get rid of the horrible big conifer so we might as well run with it!
I’m sorry if this all seems rather negative, but the garden’s mostly been a source of guilt and work rather than pride and pleasure. It has its moments. The light here is beautiful, as you can see and when I can relax and not worry about the weeds and the plants they are smothering, I can enjoy it. I am pleased with my original lawn/border shapes and with the progress we’ve made on the veg patch. I now feel that that can take less of my time and progress can be made, slowly, on the rest of the garden.
So what have I learnt from this?
1. When working full time as a gardener with busy weekends it is horribly unrealistic to think I’ll be able to spend much time on my own garden.
2. When creating a garden with limited resources (whether time, energy or money) work in blocks to avoid leaving areas half done.
3. The garden’s for me and Mr K to enjoy sitting out in. I should try to avoid making it job#2. For this I might need a personality transplant.