I confess I have made very little progress on my garden. All I’ve managed to do is prune the apple tree and grapevine and clear a giant raised bed that I’m temporarily going to grow veg in. I’ve also roped in some help to remove a dead tree, chop back another one, dismantle an old brick barbecue that was smothered in ivy and replace some fence panels that blew down in the wind. My list of regrets is long: I haven’t managed to build any raised beds for veg, I haven’t bought a greenhouse, I haven’t planted any bareroot trees and I haven’t started off any seeds under cover. In my defence I’ve been snowed under with work, the weather has not been too kind and I’ve had to sort out the house. I do now have a design for the garden, though (I’ll share it in another post), and a plan of action of sorts…
In the meantime I’ve been painting fence panels. I’ve gone for a darkish grey, which I’ve always liked as it makes plants stand out. I’ve got to paint a total of 200 ft of fence – the garden equivalent of the Forth Bridge. Each panel takes about half an hour, which is just long enough to listen to a New Yorker fiction podcast. In each one, a famous author reads a short story by another author (often well known, sometimes more obscure) and discusses it with the New Yorker fiction editor. The stories are truly excellent, and really stick in the mind. I now, bizarrely, relate each panel to a different story, and will be exceedingly ‘well read’ by the time the fences are finished.
I really liked what they’ve done with the outside space. It’s a good mix of modern (such as the mounded, shaped lawns) and rustic/reclaimed materials (railway sleepers and galvanised tanks).
Much of the garden appears to be edible –there are lots of espalier fruit trees. I’m looking forward to going back in the summer when it’s in full flow.
A few weeks back I posted a picture of my violas (Viola deltini ‘Rose Pink’), which had been blooming their socks off for weeks come rain or shine (mostly rain). I had put some crocus bulbs (Crocus tommasianus ‘Whitewell Purple’) underneath, and they’ve come up a treat. They’re exactly the same colour as the violas, which I kind of like, but next time I think I’ll plant yellow or orange ones as more of a contrast…
My boyfriend has a deep love of castles. He reads books on them, and loves visiting them. Unfortunately there are hundreds of castles in the UK, and I can’t get very excited about moats, keeps or portcullises. But thankfully, many have gardens.
Farleigh Hungerford Castle is little more than a ruin, but it’s in a lovely setting on the Somerset/Wiltshire border and has a little garden. It’s looking pretty now, with lots of snowdrops and hellebores, and has various (neatly labelled) perennials that are peeping through. I liked the way the ivy had been trained against the wall.