It has been far too long.
We’ve had an uphill battle with our garden since the moment we moved here, almost four years ago now.
Some of you who may have read some of my older blogs may remember how bad it was. A regularly tended garden was left to revert back to nature over the course of some twenty years plus after the death of the gardener in the family.
I’ve honesty never seen anything like it. Massive flower boarders were thick with weeds, brambles and decomposing plant matter accumulated over the years. Som epatches were so bad that even the brambles were growing deformed due to no light and competition. It’s been a slog. An exhausting, isolating slog.
Our garden boundary is marked by a Hawthorne hedge. It should be a hedge, it had been left to grow into trees some 20ft tall. We spent a weekend hacking back a massively overgrown and dead clump of Forsythias, some 15ft square.
We went from an easy, low maintenance garden to a task that was way more than we expected. Our children weren’t able to play due to nettles, brambles and thistles occupying most of the space.
It came to a head last year (after 3 years here) when everything I planted got eaten by slugs. I was tired of being stung by nettles and poked by thorny brambles. After a rather massive tantrum I’m not proud of, I gave up. Seriously though, I planted Aubergines and Courgettes in containers and they were gone by the next morning, along with a patch of Papaver Somniferum seedlings that I was tending like a proud parent.
This year has been better so far already, we made a headstart ahead of the Spring and everything looks much better already. A few top tips for anything thinking of taking over a chronically neglected garden:
- Take lots of pictures, I wish I had taken more. An overgrown morass all looks the same when you’ve been in the same position for an hour weeding. Take pictures and see progress (preferably with a glass of something cold in your hand).
- If you can afford to get help in, please do. We had to do everything until this year due to monetary restrictions and progress was slow. This year, a tree surgeon cut the hedges and chopped down some trees for cheaper than we could have done it ourselves.
- Plant something, anything. Even if it’s in pots. The worse part of having a pigsty of a garden is not being able to plant it up properly.
- I didn’t want to use weedkiller but sometimes, it’s the only way. I have Bindweed rearing it’s ugly head again now. Use it sparingly but don’t be afraid to use it.
- Think very carefully about your capabilities before taking someone like this on. In hindsight, I don’t know whether we would do it again if we didn’t have to.
I bought the Hydrangea in the picture to make myself feel better a while ago, the flowers are lovely. This one is easily as large as my hand.
For those of you who are reading whose garden isn’t exactly the image of Monty Don in his lovely TV garden; you’re not on your own.
The next challenge is laying a patio, watch this space!
Until next time.