Monday, June 17, 2013

The Great Outdoors

After the transformation of our back garden at the end of last year from tattered wilderness to outdoor designer living space, we've watched with eager anticipation as the lengthening days have worked their magic on the dormant twigs and anonymous clumps of leaves that were planted last November. By yesterday, when we gave our new barbecue and patio furniture their first trial run, it was looking like this:
Neither of us is, by any stretch of the imagination, a plant expert, but even so there are some instantly recognisable and welcome plants in the borders. Two varieties of poppy (I love poppies) - one a deep orange with single flowers; the other redder with frilly edges to the blooms. By request we have several rhododendrons, yet to come into their full glory, a couple of clematis beginning their long climb up a pair of obelisks (out of picture to the left in the shot above) and two roses - a pink bush beside the bird feeder and this one:
which will eventually trail over the lych gate at the bottom of the garden. These were joined last week by a new specimen whose buds are currently holding on tightly to the secret of their colour. It's planted on the right of the arbour seat (behind the camera in the first shot above but visible in the pond shot below) and will eventually frame the whole structure with colour.

Since the main garden work was completed too late to plant up the pond, it remained barren until last week when another truck load of plants arrived for the front garden. At long last the frogs who have taken up residence in the intervening months will have somewhere to hide from the marauding heron who occasionally visits to check whether the pond has developed any fish.
At present these new plants are still on the sparse side, but it won't be long before they've filled out a bit. We've started with three or four dwarf rushes and two small lilies and we'll see how we get on with those before adding more. I always think a pond should have some water visible as well as the plants.

As for the rest of the garden, well much of it is still a mystery since apart from a few requests, we gave the designer and the landscaper free rein. We're hoping to recognise more favourites as the year wears on and other things come into bloom.

On the other side of the house, the front garden has been a work in progress for much of this year, since we had an early hiccup with the design. But now it's almost complete, bar the pyramid capstones on the new front gate pillars. Planting was only completed on Friday so everything is still looking very new, young, and unestablished, but this photo gives a hint of what it will be like.
It's North facing, so we were limited with plant selection. Our designer recommended a "green and cream" theme, both because cream and white flowers will lift the gloom of the almost sunless garden, and also because they're the ones that do best in positions with low sun. We did insist on a ceanothus though, having seen a fabulous specimen on a recent trip to Oxford, and we've positioned it where it catches what bit of sun the front garden gets, but where we can still see it from the house.


Sue K said...

What a lovely place to get away from it all. Thanks for sharing.

Connie R Rose said...

Beautiful, John! Are you going to put fish in the pond? Your water plants will do better if you do, but you'll need to give them some protection from the heron!!

Judy Young said...

Oh, wow, lovely! You write so well too. It is like good music accompanying the photos. Thanks for sharing. You two have great ideas.

Digger said...

Thanks all! :0)
Sue - we're very lucky. Even though we're less than five minutes from the motorway, the mature trees that surround us at the back soak up much of the noise, as well as being home to many birds whose song fills the whole area. Turning the bubble fountain on completes the feel of being in rural serenity rather than only two miles from the city centre.
Connie - no fish. I already have my hands full with the tropicals indoors without having pondlife to look after! It's tempting - I love carp - but I. Must. Resist.
Judy - thank you so much! Have you read my book? LOL ;o)

ChiaGwen said...

Absolutely beautiful - you've done a remarkable reno inside and out. I envy you Brits - your gardens always look so stunning. Thanks for sharing, it has been an interesting experience as I followed your write- ups. Hope you and your family have many happy years there.

Digger said...

Thanks ChiaGwen :o) It's been a long haul (7 years this coming October) and we've still a couple of rooms to do - not big jobs those - and maybe one to REdo (still debating that one), but worth it. And yeah, we don't plan on moving any time soon! (and when we do it will be to somewhere that doesn't need any work!!)