Oh dear. It’s not a place to feel proud of. It’s most definitely a ‘work in progress’, a space for improvement. Not a pretty sight. I did warn you!
The bare bone are there, but all we have at the moment are some box hedges (very healthy) enclosing some white-flowering hebes (very healthy), and a lot of bare soil. There are some large stones that are surplus to requirements and I need to shift them for some other use.
I have a few ideas, but need to make some decisions and would love to have your thoughts and suggestions.
- I want it to be somewhere that, when people walk past, their heart leaps and they enjoy it
- I want it to be somewhere I don’t have to work too hard to maintain it
- I want it to be somewhere I can pick some fruit
What I’ve done so far is to clear out all the weeds and overgrowth that had grown up over the past decade or so. In the spring, a bid to drastically trim a tall and out-of-control hedge at the front of the garden turned part way through into a sudden decision to remove the hedge completely. This radically altered the whole space, making us see that the front garden was about 3 foot longer than we ever realised. It also massively increased the amount of light in the rest of the garden, and in our front (sitting) room.
Earlier this summer I planted what I hope will develop into a productive hedge along the front wall – 4 Chilean Guava plants (the small fruits on this are delicious and have a very unusual flavour) and in the centre a Chaenomeles (Japanese quince), to use the fruits to make the quince jelly I enjoy. Two of the Chilean Guava plants look like they are struggling to survive the long periods of drought when I didn’t realise that I needed to be watering them (how stupid – obvious really!), but they do still have green leaves and I think there is a chance that they’ll pull through – I’ve had similar experiences elsewhere and the plants made it and gradually gathered strength.
That leaves a deep (about a metre) strip along the side fence (east facing, N/S axis), and another strip alongside the driveway.
For the fence strip, I’m wondering about whether I could plant some fruit trees? (maybe espaliered?) but I have no idea what would like this east facing aspect. Alternatively it would be nice to find something evergreen, as we use the front room a lot in the evenings and weekends, and the room has a large bay window. Whatever we plant along the fence, I think there will be room to underplant it with something else – I’m thinking about a strip of shrubs, something flowering.
For the driveway strip, I’d like to have an abundance of flowers, something really exuberant. I could do this with a mixed flower bed, which I know would look gorgeous in the summer, but it would look dull during the winter and that would be a shame. So maybe I should be thinking about some other kind of mixture – perhaps some shrubs and some perennials? Maybe some roses? (but which ones?) Or perhaps I should be thinking about a lavender hedge with standard roses as well?
I’m not looking for an instant fix, but it would be nice to think that next year it will look a lot better than it does this year.
I’m planning to wait until the autumn before planting anything, and also to enrich the soil a bit from the lovely compost I’ve made on the allotment.
Do share any suggestions or ideas (suitable for UK climate in the SW please!), I’d love to hear from you.
Just to lift the gloom, here are some street gardens I’ve seen recently that are so much lovelier than ours.