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June 2005

Remember the front garden? Boring and ripe for re-development? Let us revisit it ...
front gardenThe garden in front of the house was 'standard semi' with the standard central lawn.

One border was completely covered in Aubrieta, with virtually nothing showing through. The other three had a few neat shrubs, including a Hebe and a variegated Euonymus.

However, there was a second, larger front garden the other side of the garage, because the house is on a bend, again with a central lawn.

Yes - an even larger lawn!

Again, there was an Aubrieta border, with virtually nothing showing through except for the substantial tree stump, which was actually quite attractive. There were two other borders this side, again with a few neat shrubs including a Hebe. Viburnum tinus was flowering - I like Viburnums

front garden
The lawns, on close inspection, were not actually all grass ... but then, I planned to get rid of the lawns, so the weeds wouldn't be a problem, would they.

Narcissi flowered, as in the back garden, Irises and Muscari appeared. Fine, it was still neat and tidy for the moment and I could work on it after I had sorted the back garden and other things. Working full time, and having moved myself out of the premises, I then had to move the business out, which left little time for gardening - well, no time for front-gardening at all.

The move completed - very stressful - I then found time to see my GP and ended up with various periods of hospitalisation. Since, as the vast number of tests I had showed, 95% of me was just fine this was all very frustrating!

Allowed out on weekend parole at the end of April after the first week of hospitalisation, I did try to get rid of some of the turf. Friends had cut the lawn for me in my absence, so things were still fairly tidy then, but that lawn had been a lawn for a VERY long time and had no intention of giving up!

A further brief hospitalisation followed - no time to attack that garden, even ignoring the lawn, because all spare time was spent closing down the business and vacating its other premises. After that - more assorted outpatient visits, another day or two in hospital, ten days of outpatient treatment and the weather got hotter ... so even when I did have time, being now a very reluctant retired person, I stayed indoors, trying to keep cool and planning the layout and planting I intended to do.

front gardenfront garden
front gardenfront garden
The garden grew. The pruning policy had actually hidden a very large number of things under the Aubrieta - or possibly under the ground! The lawn was rock hard although the borders were diggable - just.

A friend wanted some of the plants that I planned to evict - I planned to keep very few - but was unable to collect them for a while. I was going to have to get someone else to clear the plot, but not until all wanted plants were removed. There was ample choice: no theme, no colour scheme, just 'I'll get one of those and slot it in that gap' leading to some striking colour combinations, strange bedfellows and a fight for space.

The plants grew even more, as did the hay meadows.

However, my friends did come and get their choice of plants, followed by another friend who took his (ignoring his wife's requests for the Fuchsias - we've already got several - she just hasn't noticed!)

The garden looked even more of a wreck!

front gardenfront garden
front gardenfront garden
I moved a small white Rhododendron to the back garden to replace the zingy Azalea and dug up Pieris japonica 'Little Heath' (it still had a large label) from the left side to wait to be planted on the right. Both had been nestling between 'prefers dry chalky soil' and both had remained small, so I suspect they were among the last to be planted. A rather boring cut back twiggy thing turned out to be a dark purple Cotinus coggygria and would stay; I actually prefer the normal colour - the smoke effect is so much better - but it will stay. The Viburnum tinus, now more than twice its previous size, could also stay, but might change its position. Everything else could go.

The problem was how. It was well beyond any attempt with a fork or even my friends' Rotivator. Perhaps a job for 'Ground Force', or 'Nice House, Shame About the Garden' or one of the other so similar programmes (life in retirement is so boring when the weather is too hot to go out) - but they don't just want to do the boring, exhausting clearing bit - they want to do the planning and planting bit as well - and that is the part I intend to do ... when it is cleared! I shall have to work on this .... a JCB would have difficulty with the walls - perhaps a road drill to start with?

... and I almost forgot the little surprise.

Before things got totally impossibly overgrown, a friend glanced over the wall and said 'you've got Asparagus!' Growing through a rather straggly mossy Saxifrage, in the corner of the garden, was a small clump of it.

I cut, cooked and ate it once - just for the novelty of eating home-grown - but the majority of stems grew through thin and stringy so that can go as well. In the meantime it is ferny and adds to the chaos.

front garden


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[ the patch of ground ]

Back garden:
[ February 2005 ] [ March 2005 ] [ April 2005 ] [ May & June 2005 ] [ August 2005 ]

Front garden:
[ June 2005 - part 2 ] [ September 2005 ] [ October 2005 ] [ November 2005 ]

One year on:
[ April 2006 ] [ July 2006 ]

[ the plants ] [ what's flowering ]

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