We are finally in the new house and settling in a little. I haven’t had time to fiddle about changing the header pic on here, but maybe it will be done for next blog. It is three week since moving day and things are feeling a bit more organised. For the first time ever we have a ‘wrap-around’ garden and it feels a little daunting but we are really looking forward to making it ours. There are some interesting things in it, but it looks as though most plants and shrubs have been in for a very long time and are overgrown or past their best so I foresee a whole lot of work.
Here’s a bit of a walk around:
The ‘road’ side boundary is well hedged with a mix of pittosporum, griselinia and laurel which have merged together and been clipped closely. It’s dense and looks pretty healthy. it’s been clipped into little castellations which some would think rather naff, but I think is rather cute and retro. Inside the hedge are some rather desperate rose beds. The roses are old (and not in a good way) with huge thick stems at the base and spindly little stems supporting the odd flower. I suspect they are hybrid teas from years ago. In more optimistic moments I plan to take them all out, but I suspect they may defeat me. The beds are perfectly placed to become veg beds so I aim to persevere over the winter. I don’t have pics yet, but they will come.
The ‘front’ garden has the path to the front door and has been well laid out with a sloping curved pathway with low stone walls and beds behind. This the view from the sitting room window and where our view of the sea is which persuaded us to buy the property. That conifer hedge belongs to our opposite neighbours (their back garden). The beds have old, but decent shrubs – I can recognise a hydrangea, a couple of hypericum (which I dislike), a couple of interesting low growing conifers that I need to identify, a cotoneaster, some really good hardy fuchsia bushes and the biggest clump of crinum I have ever seen! There’s some very leggy santolina and something that looks like a variegated wiegela. There are underplanted bulbs here too, but they are overcrowded and I’m not sure what they are – skinny, strap like leaves – maybe crocosmia of some sort but no flowers to help identify.
On the other side of the path there has been an attempt to create a sort of woodland shrubbery. There are two large conifers – real trees. I don’t know what they are – one is triangular in shape with pale green foliage, maybe 25 feet tall, and next to it is some sort of dark green fir with needles, maybe 25 feet tall and not in the best of health. Alongside this is a coppery acer maybe 30 feet tall. They do provide good screening from neighbouring properties down the hill. Around them are shrubs that were originally an understory but they are very overgrown. A couple of abelia, a cotinus, I think an olearia, some small azaleas, berberis (green and purple) that have seen better days and a ground cover at the front edge of bergenia. This is the part of the garden that needs a lot of renovation. I am slightly daunted by it.
Beyond this is the bottom of the ‘side’ garden which is laid to a small lawn with borders which have, again seen better days. This is the main ‘pleasure/leisure’ garden and although it faces east, it gets sun for most of the day. It’s overlooked by a big raised deck which is in pretty good condition – big enough to take a six seater table and chairs, plus a couple of loungers. I’m looking forward to next spring and summer here! The deck is sheltered from the easterly breezes by an eleagnus hedge which must be 12 feet tall and about 8 feet long. We also have our very own palm tree! The borders were probably once very interesting – there are a number of tree stumps where trees or large shrubs have been cut down and the stumps left in situ. Some of them might be useful for standing pots on, but it looks like getting someone in to grind some of them out. The borders have camellia, pittosporum (a huge tree), azalea, maybe an amelanchier, more hypericum (shudder), a good stand of white japanese anemones so possibly Honorine Joubert- actually threatening to take over – lots of crocosmia, agapanthus and euphorbia and those huge hebes ?andersonii with purple flowers.
At the ‘top’ end of the side garden is a very dilapidated shed, just about functional, and a really overgrown shady area that I think might be worth a closer look. There are very overgrown and huge hebe andersonii, a rampant patch of solidago, a cornus, more hypericum, very sturdy and massive agapanthus, cistus, crocosmia, a frail looking fatsia, and something else that has grown and monstered the whole patch – possibly another amelanchier. Whatever it is it has been coppiced and has about 15 ‘trunks’. At the front of this bed is a big patch of very healthy bergenia and some weak and spindly hardy geraniums. Underneath all this foliage I can see a path and what looks like stone bed edges and maybe a paved drainage channel. It’s quite intriguing!
And then we turn the corner of the house into a small backyard with paving slab paths surrounding a small square lawn. The lawn is divided diagonally by paving slabs (handy for hanging out the washing without getting muddy feet) and has narrow borders on two sides. there is a wiegela hedge about 10 feet tall on one side screening the shed, and the borders have euphorbia, hardy fuchsia, some horrible spindly roses and a worn out old jasmine officianalis which I shall try to save.
So that’s the first tour. It sounds big – it’s really not that big but it is more garden than we had previously. Funnily enough, the moving plan was to keep the same house size and downsize the garden, so that’s a fail there!
More soon, as we progress.