Six on Saturday: The Bigger Picture

I tend to favour close-ups of flowers, but this week I thought I’d try to do a more practical post, with an overview of different areas of the garden.  Apologies for naming different areas of the garden, but it does help when Stevie and I are explaining to one another which area we are planning to invade.

If I had been clever when taking these photos, I would have marked the spot so that I can come back and take a monthly update photo.  I didn’t.  But I’ll try in the coming months to replicate the views!

1. Bright Border   

This was the first area I dug when we moved to this garden four years ago.  It is very behind this year, so the hellebores, primroses, hyacinths and pulmonaria are the main pops of colour.  When I looked at photos from last year, the tulips were out and the buds on the trees had burst.  I inspected the lime tree yesterday (left of pic) and they are a week or so off.  After the sunshine yesterday, I think all the herbaceous perennials put on a couple of centimetres’ growth in a day: I think things will rapidly catch up now!

Bright border April 2018

2. Rose Garden

I made this area last year, but extended it by a couple of metres this winter, because I’m greedy.  Old and English roses are planted with cottage garden plants like peonies, hardy geraniums, salvia, day lilies, phlox and penstemons.  You can see that the area to the right is newly planted, but it will quickly bulk up.  In the three pots on the gravel are Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’, and Stevie has just added two new pots on the wobbly patio, planted with grapevines (Stevie being a certified wine maker and all that). There is also a pear, apple, quince and fig,  and an apricot trained against the wall.  He is greedy too.

rose garden April 2018

3. Bird Feeders

Below is one of my favourite views, from the other side of the rose garden, looking across to the bright border.  The tree in the foreground is an apple, which has really tasteless apples, but beautiful blossom.  It is also a very handy bird-feeding station, as we can see it from the kitchen and lounge.  This week I cleaned all the feeders, which seems to have really confused the goldfinches, and they are yet to find their favourite niger seed!

Rose garden April 2018 (3)

4. The Allotment

Now to Stevie’s domain.  This also was just empty space when we moved in, so he has been very busy in the last four years.  There are now 7 raised beds of this size (about 4 x 1.5m), a fruit cage, and a larger raised bed behind.  It’s all looking ship-shape, and there is a spread-sheet for sowings!

Allotment April 2018

5. Mini Meadow

I have invaded the allotment with my mini meadow.  Behind the fruit cage, there is a triangular shaped bit where we have planted four apple trees, and it was just waiting for my intervention!

Meadow and Orchard (!) April 2018

After planting a pitifully small space with 20 plug plants, I have now removed more turf, quadrupling the size of my meadow.  Ok, it is still about 5 square metres, but I’m getting there.  I’m a little bit excited about my seedballs!  These are balls of about 20 wildflower seeds, rolled with clay and chilli (to deter animals from nibbling) which you simply launch into the area to be planted.  It all sounds much easier than raking to a fine tilth, mixing seed with sand, rolling or stamping down, etc, doesn’t it?  I will let you know how all this folly goes, in the coming months, as I compare planting plugs, seedballs and conventional seed in my valiant quest to establish a wildflower (mini) meadow.

6. Cutting Patch

Not to be outdone by Stevie’s raised bed glory, here are mine:

Cut flower raised beds April 2018

We have a lot of grass in our garden, which has been a football pitch.  It is my job to come up with various hare-brained schemes as to what we can do with the football pitch now that the children are getting older.  Unfortunately, this used to be a farmyard, and not very far under this turf is tarmac (about 20 centimetres beneath).  So if my ‘orchard’ or my ‘wildlife pond’ is ever to come to fruition, we need some heavy-duty equipment.  For now, I am more than happy with my raised beds.  In a mutually-beneficial serendipitous symbiosis, I am using all the turf I have lifted from the ‘meadow’ and dumping it upside down in the bottom of my raised beds.  Oh, the fun I have had!  I like nothing better than to be whizzing around with a wheelbarrow on a sunny day!  Now I am filling it with compost, ready to be planted with dahlias, zinnias, cosmos, scabious, snapdragons, nicotiana, nigella and Bells-of-Ireland.

Now you can pop over to The Propagator‘s page to see what other gardeners are up to!  Stevie and I are off to Great Dixter for the plant fair there.  I will take lots of lovely photos to share over the next week.

65 Comments Add yours

  1. annpappas says:

    It’s all so pretty and GREEN 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      😃 And getting greener by the minute. I LOVE this time of year.

  2. pommepal says:

    So much space to play with, and so much work to establish the areas. Amazing for only 4 years. How big is your garden/patch/mini farm?

    1. Ali says:

      I will have to wait for Stevie to wake up for an accurate estimate, spatial awareness not being my strength, but I do know that the bright border is 20m x 3 m, and rose garden is 7m x 5m!

      1. pommepal says:

        🌷🌷🌷😊

    2. Ali says:

      It’s somewhere between an eighth and a quarter of an acre!

      1. pommepal says:

        That is a lovely amount to work with.

  3. fredgardener says:

    Your garden looks very beautiful and organized. You seem to have space like me but you used it smartly to plant more trees and have less lawn to mow. One question: what is a fruit cage?

    1. Ali says:

      A place to keep ‘wild’ fruit! 😂 Sorry, that is one of Stevie’s ‘dad’ jokes. It is a frame with netting to stop the birds stealing the soft fruit. Ours has a door and is tall enough to walk around in. We just have to take the netting down in winter or it might collapse with snow.

      1. fredgardener says:

        Thanks. That was my thought. I should do that but bigger for my fig tree! I’m sick of thrushes and blackbirds who eat them…

      2. Ali says:

        That’s interesting. The birds leave our figs alone, but we have never managed to eat a cherry from our garden, and the squirrels get all the walnuts. Every year we talk about netting the cherries. But we have lots of roadside stalls selling cherries, and somehow that makes the problem less urgent!

      3. fredgardener says:

        Exactly the same thing here. I had 3 cherry trees but the birds stole everything before us. I gave up replanting and I buy some kilos of cherries not far from here…

  4. So much space, it’s lovely. I could put my garden in my pocket! I would need polytunnels just because of the bad weather we have been getting but there must be great satisfaction in seeing it all develop.

    1. Ali says:

      I had a very small garden before this one, and I can honestly say it gave me as much joy. I absolutely packed it with plants! Having a small space means you are very selective and considered, doesn’t it? A larger space allows for mistakes!

      1. I had a long narrow garden before but didn’t grow a fraction of what I am trying to grow now. I think I like the challenge and to show, you really don’t need a lot of space. It’s amazing what you can grow in a balcony!

      2. Ali says:

        Yes, and challenge brings out creativity, doesn’t it?

  5. Emma Cownie says:

    What a wonderful garden – it all looks like it take a lot of hard graft.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I suppose it is like anything you love doing: it doesn’t feel like work at all. I think I could happily spend all my time either gardening or writing about it.

  6. What a brilliant looking garden you have Ali. Not started my blog yet I better get my act together and get started

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you! I was less sure of this post because landscape design is not my forte – I just dig and plant! Thank you for your kind words.

  7. Tish Farrell says:

    This looks like a wonderful garden in the making, Ali. You’ve both worked very hard.

    1. Ali says:

      We have, and it is lovely to share our morning coffee and see what we’ve done. Thanks Tish.

  8. janesmudgeegarden says:

    I very much enjoyed seeing some long views of your garden looking so green and ready to burst! I like the blue pots. I can’t have too many pots, though I would love to, as they dry out too quickly in the hot weather.

    1. Ali says:

      I love Moroccan blue! Funny you should say that about watering. I used to have more pots, but passed many of the smaller ones on (mainly to my mum), as in a big garden it takes too long walking around to water them. So I now have a very few large pots, that I water once a week.

  9. rogerandlis says:

    It all looks so lovely, Ali! It’s exciting to watch your garden grow and mature over time, isn’t it? All those plans coming to fruition and new ideas popping up along the way. In the nicest possible way, I am SOOOOO envious of your wide flat spaces and deep borders – no hope of either here! :;-)

    1. Ali says:

      Coming from Yorkshire I sometimes miss hills, but a level garden makes wheelbarrowing easier!

      1. rogerandlis says:

        Coming from Shropshire, I really couldn’t live without hills . . . but I do find our current mountain a bit extreme (wellies with crampons?) and there’s a LOT to be said for flat! 🙂

  10. Thanks for sharing the overview of your entire garden; it helps to visualize when you’re referencing certain borders. It all looks wonderful, and with fabulous plant selections. Can’t wait to see everything in bloom!

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I thought it was time for a bit of perspective!

  11. Really nice to see the long view for a change. Well done.

  12. bcparkison says:

    Well…I am not only impressed I am envious. Those blue pots are striking

    1. Ali says:

      It is one of my favourite colours. And goes beautifully with all the pinks and crimsons in this bit of the garden.

  13. Horti Hugh says:

    Some lovely views there Ali. Interesting that there’s a hard surface under the lawn and the grass has grown successfully. Enjoy your day out !

    1. Ali says:

      It is a little squishy and mossy in places, Hugh! As you can see, we are not lawn perfectionists!

      1. Horti Hugh says:

        I always like a lawn with interest 😊

  14. Cortney says:

    I do love these sort of wider angle posts, they are so helpful in getting a sense of your space and seeing how you’ve put things together. Thanks so much for sharing this, I can’t wait to see the follow-up photos- right now I’m flush with envy on how green things are already!

    1. Ali says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed them, Cortney. Will do more!

  15. Oh your garden looks lovely! I also ‘name’ areas of the garden so know what you mean. I love all of it; especially your rose garden with pennies too! I bet that looks amazing in the summer time. X

    1. Ali says:

      It does fill out nicely!

  16. gaiainaction says:

    Very practical and inspiring!

    1. Ali says:

      I’m glad! Thank you Gaia.

  17. You have so much room! The names are quite logical from the photos. I have a small garden but I am still making mistakes and moving things around constantly.

    1. Ali says:

      The sign of a reflective gardener!

  18. cavershamjj says:

    I like Stevie. I have a spreadsheet for sowing. Completely normal!

    1. Ali says:

      He is a gem. 😍

  19. Heyjude says:

    Another fan here of the blue pots, though I am having to consider lightweight ones now as I struggle with the weight of large pots when full of compost. Your garden does look lovely and the location/ Is that your paddock beyond the gravel area? I hope we will see more of the planting throughout the year.

    1. Ali says:

      No, that is our (lovely) neighbours’ field, with alpacas in it. They entertain us with their farting!

      1. Heyjude says:

        Hahaha…. I love alpacas they have such engaging faces. Maybe the farting not so much 😀

  20. finnfrenz says:

    Oh Ali I so envy you all that space. My dream is to have sufficient to plant an orchard – wonderful. Have fun with the planning.

    1. Ali says:

      We are very lucky. 🤗

  21. Claudette says:

    Love al yur little areas – I name mine too.

    1. Ali says:

      It helps with the planning, doesn’t it?

      1. Claudette says:

        Well, it might, except I don’t plan 🙂

      2. Ali says:

        😃I mean with the creative direction, the vision, the impulsive moments of genius! 🤗🤪😍

      3. Claudette says:

        um, it’s ALL impulse with me – 🙂 🙂 🙂

      4. Ali says:

        And long may that continue, because I’ve seen what you can do on impulse!

      5. Claudette says:

        oh, and no genius. 😉

  22. Lora Hughes says:

    So nice to step back & look at the space, rather than the individual plants. You’ve plenty of elbow room in your garden, & just as many challenges & ideas. Look forward to seeing how things develop in all areas.

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Lora! It’s lovely to share it.

  23. Your garden is impressive! I look forward to see it grow and bloom all summer!

  24. NorCal Zen says:

    I really like the idea of dividing up the space like this. It’s appealing. I have been gardening for several years, but I am in the process of setting up a new garden now. I’ve decided to do a combination of planting my vegetables in the ground, and having a container garden of fruit trees. This time of the year is so exciting 🙂 Happy gardening!

    1. Ali says:

      Sounds lovely! It is so exciting making a new garden!

      1. NorCal Zen says:

        Yes, it is 😊 I like every aspect of it, working with my hands, enjoying the beauty of a growing garden, and reaping the harvest of course.

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