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in The potting shed
How old is your garden better still how old are your plants. Being brought up during my childhood and youth to know a very old walled garden, a Father who was brought up from an early age looking after the garden and small holding whose one and only interest was gardening. Well not quite he was a gentle quiet man who loved boxing, not the taking part, he let me do that but could talk about the subject and never missed the local bouts held in the club. His motto was if you cannot eat it or sell it do not bother growing it, this did not apply to his Peony's Arum Lilies, Chrysanthemums Lilac bushes Lily of the valley and Carnations, all of which he showed and won prizes with.
So was I spoilt well yes the gardens I have owned over the years never came up to the standard I had grown up with, saying that I never had stables or animals for natures tonic as we had in the old house.
My garden today I say is 31 years old, a new build with lawns back front and sides, a couple of Lawsonia a Thuja and a couple of crab apples all on the front and no bigger than my grandchildren. Then started the make over plants from the old home, my Parents moved as it got too much for them, we had buckets pots and cuttings which all found a place. A peony that was older than my Dad, A Juniperas my Mother kept in a pot which was twenty years old when I got it.
Some of those plants have been all over the garden until they found the place they loved, The Geum had six moves and this year is giving me the best show yet. The Deutzia Gracilis a pure white I saw today is in full blossom after three moves, the Paeonia are coming one after the other and thriving, the carnations need splitting and more cuttings taken. There are many more newer plants yet the old ones are the ones I love, the question being just how old are our gardens.
...not too old..about 5 years....I like young and fresh.... prefer to see older mature gardens in other people's...less so my own.... always something being rejuvenated...a new planting area....turf out old tired things.....in goes something more modern...a better variety of the same plant perhaps...always new ones coming onto the market that catch my eye....it's a bit wasteful but as I say I like to keep a fresher look...
I've only been here for two and a half years. There were a couple of small borders already in place and a mature apple tree and few shrubs when I arrived but I've created two new borders (cottage Style & Prairie Style) that are two years old and one year old respectively. Currently planning to revamp a smallish island bed out front and have a vision of two new borders on the lawn at the side. Therefore its a mixture with some bits still to be born!
Enjoyed your post. And the remarks about boxing.....my own passion. (I was the blonde bomber at school......ha ha .)
My garden must be 25 years old. Initially it was all about shrubs and conifers. And, as prob commonplace, it was spring that I concentrated on.
Over recent few years I have replaced many shrubs and conifers with softer perennials. A picea albertiana Comica, for example, was removed last autumn and a whole bunch of (carefully thought out) perennials and grasses planted there,,most of which I had already propagated and grown on. Some sentimental plants too, some old shrubs (evergreens are topiarised as cones, pillars, etc.) kept young with correct pruning, some classy conifers like Taxus Standishii and small cryptomerias and junipers, plenty of grasses,tender perennials, lots of foliage colour, a recent emphasis on tall perennials like veronicastrums and heleniums, a well kept veg patch, a range of fruit, a small pool, and a small hexagonal greenhouse. The garden is in two parts....front garden and a slightly bigger back one. Just off a busy coastal road but 2 mins walk to the Towans and a 10 minute run (ahem, a 15 minute walk now) to the beach.
Soil is a rich sandy loam at back but a sandier soil at front. Totally walled garden, tall sycamores at rear on neighbour's plot that provide essential shelter from,any salt winds from the sea. Essentially a hot sunny garden and shade is contrived to suit certain plants. Could grow more climbers....have a few clematis but have neglected this area a little and I intend to plant a few tender climbers.
A bit of a plantsman I guess, me, and constantly checking out new varieties of plants. A (obsessive?) need to evaluate why a plant dies or struggles. However, it,is an "enjoyed" garden
My house was built in the 50's , one of a pair on the old farm track. Next door had the old hedge and two oaks and an elm in it. When the new A52 and M1 went in, the farm went and an estate built around the back of us. Next door has seven houses sideways on to the length of the garden. The Elm got Dutch Elm disease and had to be craned out over the new houses about 30 years ago. The stump is still rotting in the hedge bottom. Old Tom who lived next door allowed three of the houses to rip out the ancient hedge and put in conifers, all of which do not grow well and look awful. Apart from Old Toms "Peony Rose" as he used to call it, and a japanese anemone, all that I inherited was a lot of grass and some diseased roses, and two apple trees. At the thought of constant spraying, the roses went. The Peony rose and the japanese anemone survived the doberman, a dalmation and two great danes, and so I consider them bombproof and worthy of their place.
Everything else I have planted , either from bought plants(some) begged cuttings, or seed. I love growing a variety of stuff from seed,just to see the variation. If I don't like it it gets replaced the following year.Quick fillers get replaced by something better and slow growing. The shrub border had a lot of buddlejas and lavatera in for instant colour the first few years, but they have gone as the magnolias, and cornus Kousa chinensis have matured.
The grape vine in the greenhouse is a cutting off of one I had at the old house. That was a cutting off my nans. My nan died in 1980. For a long time we kept a piece of her lavender hedge going by cuttings as well.
The Eucalyptus perriniana I grew from seed. It always reminds me of my visits to my friend in Western Australia. It will never grow to the height of the forests in the South west of Australia, but its a reminder.Its been pollarded twice, but still grew over 6 ft last year.The four main stems are 4 year old, and stand at around 25 feet.
My garden was pretty much a wasteland when I got the house in 2001 and half of it was a meadow for hay (it had been part of the field behind). The only thing left from before is the pear tree which was only about 5' high then. Everything else was bought or sown from seed, but now I have discovered how to do cuttings there will be no stopping me. I am pretty ruthless about digging things out that have outstayed their welcome, but usually find a home for them in a neighbours garden. I wanted rid of a big houseplant once and simply put it outside the gate with a sign saying 'FREE' and it was gone by the next day!
I don't think a garden is a static thing; plants het destroyed by a cold winter or don't like where they are situated and curl up and die.
Frank, I was interested to read how often you have moved some plants; I always do it with great trepidation and am very surprised if they survive, any tips on this?
Artjak, My Father moved things all the time as he gardened on a rotation basis, each year permanent plants or some of them would be moved as he prepared the soil for the rotation it would go:- Right Son prepare the hole for this plant there, I would dig out the new hole mix in plenty of well rotted compost from the midden and then we wou;ld dig well away from the root ball and with spade or fork would gently ease the root ball free. It would go onto a potato sack back then be carried to the new position and planted firmly well watered in and watered daily after, we got used to moving things and I never knew him lose anything. The Geum was moved from back to front then each side of the house, it just sulked, on its last move I told it, thrive or the compost and it is glorious at this moment. The Deutzia was in full sun and hated it so got moved to shade and hated it the final move part sun part shade is what it wanted and looks like a bridal gown as I look up the garden.
Verdun I could see your garden as you described it and as we are also on a hill near the North East Coast I know the salt problem, quite often we can taste the salt in the sea mist that turns to sunshine half a mile behind me.
Most of my early gardens were vegetable for the simple reason I was away a lot, over the years I did the Modern touch everything new, Roses with no scent, bedding add nausium flowers that were here and gone because the position or weather did not suit them until retirement and a good old sort out. My Daughter has gone all minimal and I will not let her touch my garden, maximum use of every space plus pots galore.
The gardens reflect out souls, we become part of it knowing the plants as we would old and trusted friends, our own Eden on earth what could be better.
Frank, i agree