An English country garden

Thursday September 2, 2021

During the lockdown in 2020, we decided our garden needed a long overdue tidy up. So we set to, clearing the overgrown patches, pruning shrubs and rose bushes and tackling the ivy which was hiding our beautiful old dry stone wall. It was hard work but very therapeutic. An added bonus was getting to meet our neighbour, who had moved in almost two years previously, over the garden fence.

The garden had been a blank canvas when we moved here in 1993. We laid most of it to lawn, bordered by a hedge and shrubs, to allow our then young children to have the space to run around. Over the years we had dug out a bed for raspberries, as well as adding numerous pots of herbs and annual flowering plants around the lawn edges. A metal table, chairs and parasol all found their way onto our lawn, although we did get tired of that sinking feeling as the chair legs bored their way into the grass if we sat on them for any time!

We decided that action was needed. One thing led to another and so now, August 2021, we are over half way through a complete makeover of the garden. The patio, paths and pond are all in place, as are some striking silver and river birch trees. The herbaceous planting is scheduled to take place over the next couple of weeks. Our garden now seems much bigger and it will definitely be more colourful.

But perhaps the true significance of the garden is in some of the choices of materials and plants we’ve made. The path to our front door is covered in slate clippings from the quarry above the town in North Wales where I was born and where I met my husband. The birch trees are a reminder of my first home on Birch Hill, whilst the rowan tree reminds us of the hills where we’d go walking. We have plants grown from cuttings which my mother-in-law, herself a keen gardener, brought from her garden in South Wales, the most beautiful of which is a lovely pink hydrangea. My grandad grew dahlias so there will be some in the front garden to remind us both of him. The pond brings to mind family holidays spent with my aunt in Kent.

When it is all finished, we’ll be able to sit on the wooden seat (made from Welsh oak in Snowdonia), with a cup of tea, or G&T depending on the time of day, remembering family members and significant places and no doubt raise a toast to them all.

Have you done something similar to remember loved ones and/or special places?

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