It gets worse before it gets better

We have inherited a garden that evolved over time (the house is over 100 years old and the previous owners lived here for 25 years). There is no design as such and no obvious planting scheme. There were plants that had to go – we had fun setting fire to a large pampas grass and then taking a pick-axe to it the first year we were here (which alarmed the neighbours) – but generally we’re trying to make best use of what’s here and there are some corkers. I was ridiculously pleased to see the drifts of snowdrops appear in our first winter here and to find a large patch of bluebells at the bottom of the garden that first April. Some areas have been irreparably damaged by groundworks for an extension to the house and new retaining walls ( we are on a slope) – there was a swathe of primroses in dappled shade that have sadly failed to survive the caterpillar tracks of the digger – but on the upside, thanks to the builders shifting earth around, the snowdrops have spread all round the garden and have popped up in unexpected places this year.

This weekend we had the luxury of big chunks of guilt-free time in the garden, the children being variously engaged in other activities. The sun shone and we drank quite a few mugs of coffee while surveying the (rather monumental) task in hand. There is so much to do that it can seem daunting but we are concentrating our efforts on the back garden for now. All the York stone removed from old paths had been piled up on the grass behind the shed and we want to use some of this to create paths in the veg patch. We ended up sorting it into different sizes and getting it off the grass. My husband then raked over the bare earth and seeded it (lawns being his thing). Moving the stone pile also means I can finally get to the elderly pear tree and leggy climbing rose that are against the garden wall and give them a good prune this week. I spent my time moving plants we want to keep from the veg patch, transplanting some into gaps along the path, digging and weeding. We’ve made a whole lot of mess but it’s definite progress.

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