During the time I took off as annual leave in Easter 2017, I spent a laborious week or so armed with something akin to a machete (!) clearing the space between our garden and the National Trust common (which is divided by a small ditch). The garden was one of the main reasons we really wanted to buy the house so I couldn’t wait to put this in order. As you can see from the photos, the left hand side of our garden was completely overgrown and starved of light and so our mission was to remove the unwelcome trees, brambles and shrubs; if I never see holly again I’ll be pleased!
We were careful to retain as much of the vegetation that was there, including the lovely coppice trees. We were really happy with the result – our garden felt much more open and light. It also meant that we could now see all the gorgeous trees on the bank, which until then had been completely obscured. Once we had cleared everything we were left with nothing separating us from the public footpath that runs adjacent to our house, in terms of privacy this wasn’t ideal but we knew it wouldn’t be long until we built some sort of fence. A consequence of removing this natural barrier was that the local deer residents soon realised and began to pay us regular visits – the novelty soon wore off when I thought my pots were in danger of becoming dinner!
In April we also built 2 raised beds from scratch – this was something my partner really wanted to do, as he was quite excited about the prospect of growing our own veg. In reflection of our vegetable growing escapades of 2017 I think we probably were overambitious and tried to plant every seed we could get our hands on; the result was we had some things that took ages to grow, others that came and went quickly – with not enough of anything! We’ve decided (*I’ve decided) to use one of the beds for cut flowers this year (maybe for use at our wedding in August…!) and with the other one we’ll probably try and stick to growing a solid crop of one thing! We also made a path (from old bricks we had dug up in the garden – and some new) to go around the beds – I think these look great!