Garden renovations

There is a small area near our back door which has been used as a dumping ground for various things since we moved here.

In the early days the area was covered by a tall laurel that branched out, almost touching the cottage.  One of our first jobs as part of operation ‘dry the cottage out’ was to let as much light and air get to the cottage as possible. When we first viewed the cottage on that beautiful September day, one of its many charms was the fact it was nestled tightly in amongst the woodland trees, but we soon realised that actually this wasn’t doing the cottage much good. Hardly any sunlight could reach the cottage exterior walls, except the front which is bathed in sunlight most of the day. But in the wet Welsh climate this meant they never got a chance to dry out properly and the air circulation around the cottage was very poor.

Before, the laurel dominates the background of this picture
A view from the road. The laurel is to the right of this picture.

So we set about taming the laurel and managed to cut it back to the height of a box hedge that borders the path down to the road. It looked very sorry for itself for a while, but it soon perked up and is now a beautiful lush hedge.

By no means a flattering picture, but you can see the difference it made, and the space we created.

The space in the background of the picture above, where the laurel used to be, was then used for various purposes whilst we decided on its final purpose, mostly involving various piles of rubbish and wood chip.

Eventually, almost three years later, we decided it would be nice to have a flat bit of garden and a small patch of grass, so after we levelled the area as much as could, Mr Bumbleandme started building a small path to nowhere curving through the area. This gave me something to work with.

The path to nowehere

We gathered slate from the wood and I created two very rough and ready raised beds that followed the contour of the path, one slightly taller than the other. I purposely left a small gap between the flower beds and the path so I could interplant with Erigeron and campanula, so they would billow over the path and blur the edges a little. The beds themselves were filled with soil left over from when the ditches that were dug in the field earlier in the year (we try to recycle as much as we can), and some homemade compost. It was a wonderful excuse to purchase some more old roses and I managed to get the last of some bare root roses.  I’d also been keeping some divided plants safe in the polytunnel over the winter so didn’t have to buy many plants and the space was soon filled with plants.

Planting in progress

We’ve been quite astonished at the rate of growth in this bed, it’s now bursting at the seems with plants. The roses took a while to settle in, but they flowered their socks off. I also moved some chrysanthemums I had growing in veg patch up here so I could enjoy them closer to the house and they, along with the Astrantia, have meant this bed has been in constant flower since it was planted up back in April.  Below are some of the star performers.

The other side of the path was seeded with grass – I didn’t hold out much hope!
The campanula romped away
What do you know! The grass grew!
It’s bursting at the seams.
I think it’s quite an improvement

The stars of the show have been the crystanthemums, they’ve survived gales and driving rain, and have just taken it in there stride, flowering through it all! I can’t remember the varieties (I’m terrible with names!), but they shall be divided in the winter and dispersed around the garden so I can enjoy them all the more.

They took an age to open.
But boy was it worth the wait!
Just look at them.

Progress may be painfully slow around here sometimes, but I think it’s worth the wait.


10 thoughts on “Garden renovations

  1. What a transformation- it all looks wonderful. You obviously have very green fingers! Love the colour of those chrysanthemums they’re enough to brighten up any gloomy day. I’m sure you’ll be asked to open your garden soon so let me know when that happens. Excellent path.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That looks wonderful, a proper cottage garden. Oh and we have one of those places by the back door that is used for dumping stuff – and um, not tell anyone, but we also have quite a few more dotted around the place ….. one day it will all be tidied up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We owned this cottage before you for 14 happy years, love what you’ve done with the place, and appreciate all the hard work it took to get it there. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dan, lovely to hear from you. Your kind words mean a lot. We certainly appreciate all the hard work you did too. It’s an amazing place and we feel extremely privileged and proud to call it home.


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