Jo and I moved to our new home at the very end of July 2015. We’d already spent the previous eight or nine months planning and scheming to turn the back yard – an old garage-cum-shed, a patch of grass and a mini, Japanese-ish gravel area – into a quintessential English Cottage Garden. Or at least, our version of one.
The previous owners had a summer house at the back of the garden, which they took with them. My first job was to scrape back the gravel, lift the old, loose-laid flag base, dig out the masses of invading tree root from next door’s conifers, then mark out the site of our brand new, 10’x8′ greenhouse. Builders came in and re-laid the slabs as a base for the new structure, then I put down new weed membrane, re-distributed the gravel around the new base and round the back of the garage/shed, forming the utility area for our new compost bins and water butts.
Next, my good friend Steve and I spent a few pleasant mornings in late September putting the greenhouse together. The finished structure is superb and we only lost one pane of glass in the process, so we reckon we did pretty well between us. At which point, Jo and I downed tools for the winter. All the advice we’ve read on establishing a new garden says the best thing to do is to wait and observe, rather than rush right in.
That’s what we’ve done and as a result we’re steadily building up a picture of where the sunnier and shadier sections are, how much of the ground gets water-logged in heavy rain, and where next door’s apple tree drops its fruit, things like that. That sort of information will help to inform Jo’s decisions when it comes to placing our new fruit trees and perennial feature plants (Jo is very much the project leader on this one, I’ll mainly be on digging, lifting and tea-brewing.)
Here are a few shots of the ongoing work so far and the current state of the space. Not much to shout about just yet, but we hope it’s going to develop into something really special over the next few years.