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