Garden overview


The garden is very long, but comparatively narrow – about 200′ (60m) long by 60′ (20m) wide at the road, narrowing to 30′ (10m) at the far end.

The cottage is old – early 17th century, we believe –  and was probably a cottage for a farm worker on the local estate at a time when no supermarkets meant you had to have enough land to grow a lot of your own food, as well as keep pigs and chickens for meat and eggs.

View of nearest area of garden from the bedroom window

View of nearest area of garden from the bedroom window

The photo above the left shows the first part of the garden, which I use for herbaceous plants and annuals. There is also quite a large pond, lost in the greenery: you can see the wooden bench at the far end of it.


The patio

The patio

The garden is split into several areas. Immediately outside the cottage is a patio area, with a small bed we use for herbs – the photo shows golden marjoram at the fron, mint, then sage in flower (a great bee plant). Marjoram flowers are good for butterflies, as are mint flowers, though my mint usually dies back due to rust before the flowers come out. There is also a tiny moth you often see on mint – nicknamed the Mint Moth, it is properly called Pyrausta Aurata.

At the back of this photo, you can just see the door and roof of the pigsty. This was actually a pigsty and privvy (toilet) combined, in the days before mains drainage. The side you can see was the privvy, and on the other side of an internal wall was the pigsty; I’ve got a theory that when you had to go and use the privvy in cold weather, the pig helped keep it warm! 

Herbaceous area

The herbaceous bed in 2012

The herbaceous bed in 2012

After that is the herbaceous area. I keep an area at the end nearest the cottage for annuals, so I can try out various plants and colours each year. The rest of it is for perennials. We spent a lot of 2010 and 2011 digging through this area to remove couch grass and bindweed (convolvulus) – all I’ve got to do now is continue to keep it out!

This view is from 2012, and shows golden rod, white phlox, red persicaria, pink phlox and the purple at the bottom left-hand corner is a mixture of linaria and aster frikartii ‘Monch’. I subscribe to the theory that you should find out what grows well in your garden and grow lots of it. The trouble is, there are so many plants to try out….

Spring Meadow

The spring meadow

The spring meadow

Next up is an area enclosed by trellis and hedge, which forms a very private area in which to sit – when we find time!  The trellis is covered with roses, honeysuckle and jasmine, the idea being that the enclosed area traps the scent of their flowers.

The grass area was intended to be a very small Spring meadow, but it didn’t work out, even though we used subsoil from where the pond was dug out to reduce fertility. However, it is now smothered in primroses, which looks lovely early in the year. You can see two buddlieas in the photo – Beijing nearest and Lochinch further away; there is another just outside the photo: Weyeriana, which has a gorgeous soft orange flower.

Vegetable beds

Vegetable beds

Vegetable beds

After that come the vegetable beds – eight raised beds, one permanently planted with raspberries, the others used for peas, beans, carrots etc. The raised beds were necessitated by an area to one side, where there used to be a track along which lorries were driven. This stopped in the 1960s or 1970s, and it seems the trackway just had some topsoil thrown on top of it, leaving an area of topsoil mixed with rubble, under which the ground was very compacted. The raised beds allow us to achieve good drainage, despite the compaction. We are very lucky with our soil; there is underlying chalk, but a good depth of excellent loam, presumably partly created by the stream over the millenia, and maybe partly by generations of gardeners working goodness back into the soil. We have four large compost heaps, and could do with another.

Far End

Wild area at far end of garden

Wild area at far end of garden

Finally, we have an area where we let the native grasses grow, and there are a couple of apple trees and a dark-leaved hazelnut. The end of the garden is marked by a stream, but it is well below the level of the garden, so it doesn’t form part of it.


It probably appears from all these photos that the garden is very well maintained. I wish!

Inevitably, I take photos of various parts of the garden when they are looking nice, and I have several years of photos to choose from. The garden is always changing, sometimes because we choose to change it, but sometimes because nature insists – we used to have a big willow tree forming the focal point of the garden, but it died of honey fungus. It was sad, but the loss of one plant in a garden is always an opportunity to plant some more, so there is now a young silver birch tree, and the area around it is much easier to plant, as there is less shade .

Having a wildlife friendly garden means I don’t just have something nice to look at, but a garden that is full of movement and sound.

People say to me that it must be a lot of work – no it isn’t, it is an endless opportunity to play!


7 Comments to “Garden overview”

  1. What a lovely garden, my friend recommended this to me, I’ll definitely check out for tips and ideas:-)

  2. Wonderful, love it. If only every garden could look this good. 🙂

    • Thank you. The camera doesn’t exactly lie, but it does tend to point itself at the better bits, not the worst bits! I do get a lot of pleasure from my garden and the wildlife in it, so it’s no hardship to try and keep it good.

  3. How do you feel about blog awards? Email me at please.

  4. I love your blog, was on google looking for the best buddleias and stumbled onto your blog, will be looking for dartmoor and autumn beauty to fill up my buddleia hedge in my tiny London garden 😀 Your garden is gorgeous btw, I wish mine was a bit bigger to have some more variety.

    • Having a big garden is lovely, but if you look at it the other way, the more you’ve got, the less time you can devote to looking at each bit of it. In a small area you can really concentrate, and that’s when you start to notice the interesting wildlife. Take time to sit and just look – there can be magic there you haven’t noticed.
      Best wishes

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