…at the end of January 2016.
My then fiance, now husband, and I moved in to our new abode; our very own house. After two years of renting together we were able to find ourselves a lovely house with a good sized garden that we could take on.
It wasn’t until the day we moved in that we actually realised just how big the garden was. When we came to view the house we couldn’t walk up the garden as the previous owner rescued owls and he had a couple in a cage about two thirds of the way up the garden and it was cordened off from about half-way. So this was the first time we had actually been able to see it properly.
It was big. It was also full of crap that they had left behind. Old Christmas tree, wrecked incinerator, bits of the aviary strewn around, plus paving slabs galore, roof tiles, and some general rubbish which included five bags filled with sand and owl shit. There was a large compost area built on the right hand side and behind that, just infront of the old garage at the back of the garden was a huge pile of rubble.
What were we thinking?
The garden measured 150ft (about 45 metres) in length and starting at 32ft across near the house going up to about 40ft at the back end (10-15 metres). It was one massive lawn with a narrow flower bed running up one side and short bed with some shrubs and perennials running across in the second half of the length.
The weather in January and February wasn’t great, so we had to sit on our hands and just plan. All we knew at that point was that we needed to corden off part of the garden so we had a part that would be dog-free, so we ran a chicken wire fence across the lawn and waited for the weather to turn.
I had helped my parents out with their garden throughout my childhood, every weekend I’d be out with them pulling out potatoes and cabbages, picking runner beans and blackberries when they grew their own veg and fruit, and then later when they turfed over the whole garden I was out their helping them set up the new flower beds. When I moved out of home I had the occasional pot or trough outside, but never a garden of my own to do anything with. There’s only so much you can do in rented accommodation, but I carried on with the little bits that could whenever it was possible.
This was to be my first full on project.
I’ll be honest, I had no bloody idea where to start. All I knew at this point was that I wanted to have a lot less lawn and more flower beds. This garden was a place for the dogs, a place for us to relax and entertain and a place to attract wildlife, particularly bees and butterflies.
What I hadn’t considered at this point as just how much work was going to be involved (having not planned exactly what we were going to do), how much pain I would be in over the next year, and above all just how much pleasure it would come to bring us.