With the recent fair weather I’ve had a chance to take stock of the Garden now that Winter is over. I’ve had a few losses, mainly the tender perennials, so I’m not too bothered by those, and it gives me a chance to put something more permanent in the ground.
I suppose I should describe the garden before I go on to writing anything else about it, shouldn’t I? We have a fairly long garden by London standards. I don’t know how long as I’ve never measured it! It’s split into three areas: a courtyard by the front door, a patio at a higher level which catches the sun from late morning until nightfall (also know rather pretentiously and jokingly as “The Wine Terrace”), and then we have the top end of the garden, which has a tarmac drive bordered on one side by a lawn and the other by a long border.
All of the plants in the courtyard garden are in pots. There are no borders at all and the ground is paved, so if we want to get any colour in there, it has to be in pots. We decided to go for a white theme to the flowering plants as it doesn’t get an awful lot of sun and thought that would lighten it up a bit. We get hot, almost scorching midday sun across one side of the small courtyard while the other side gets no direct sunlight at all. This creates quite a challenging area to plant, but one which is quite rewarding as it offers the opportunity to get a good bit of variation into the garden. Having plants in pots also allows a bit more control over what can be planted, and sulking specimens can always be moved if they’re in the wrong place.
The wine terrace has one small raised border and is surrounded with a fence on one side, the landlord’s workshop on another and the other two sides are enclosed with trellis with small retaining walls creating a single L-shaped planter. A selection of climbing roses, Wisterias and summer Jasmine climb up the trellis, but were only planted last year, so they’re really only just getting established now. I have a collection of different Yorkshire Flowerpots and Whichford Pottery planters with a range of different plants in them, including roses, camellias and assorted perennials. The border is a mix of perennials and roses, with a few climbers (mainly Clematis and Trachelospermum jasminoides) pinned against the fence.In the last couple of years I’ve renovated the wine terrace and planted up the courtyard but this year I’m going to be working on the top garden. We had three trees cut down from the top garden last year, which has opened up the light enormously. The border to the left of the drive needs some major renovation, so that’s what I’ll be concentrating on. There will certainly be a lot of tree root to clear away and many of the plants which had been in the border have either died or overgrown their space. The soil will need a lot of improvement, so it’s a good job that I have my three compost bins at the far end to the garden. I’m going to need a lot of organic matter to dig into the border to get the soil back to some sort of quality where it’s able to sustain growth! So, with that description, I’ve probably give you a good idea of what the garden looks like at the moment. When the weather’s a little better, I’ll try to take some pictures of the top garden and post them up. It’s in a bit of a state at the moment, although I have seen much worse in my time. It definitely needs a lot of work to bring it up to scratch.