Phase One: Some R&R before the Storm

The month of April came and went, the garden progressed slowly but surely.  Heavy clay soil is not easy to dig, removing turf using only a spade takes time.  Lots of time.  it also involves lots of hot baths to try and take the pain away too.

And so May rolled round our first ever holiday beckoned.  At this point we had been together as a couple for 6 years, and although we’d had the occasional few days away we hadn’t as yet been on a properly holiday with each other.

We only had a week, but we made the most of it and travelled to Mexico to enjoy, what would turn out to be a breakthrough week for me.

The hotel was beautiful, according to the taxi driver we had inadvertanly chosen the best hotel in the area, and he was right, it was absolutely stunning.  There was nothing bad I can say about it.  We’re even thinking of going back!

The sun shone 90% of the time and we had a couple of heavy downpours which freshened it all up.

I hadn’t removed any clothes in public for something like 20+ years of my life.  This beach holiday was going to be a challenge for me.  I also hadn’t been in the sea for a very long time, another phobia of mine.  But with Simon’s support by the end of the week you would be able to find me topless, swimming in the sea with all of the fish.

It’s fair to say that I did struggle with it.  My body repulses me, why would I want to take my top off in public?  I knew the repulsion came from the voices in my head that tell me I’m disgusting.  I knew my phobia of the sea was irrational (unless there’s a bloody great shark around, then it’s rational), but this was a safe environment.  I was determined that my brain was not going to ruin this holiday.

I started slowly.  Remove top whilst laying flat on my front on a sunbed.  No movement required.   Then progress to doing it whilst standing up.  Then take a walk down to the sea, dip my toes in and go and lay down again.  Then Simon brought us some snorkelling sets, and that was it.  I put it on, strolled down to the sea, got in, saw my first fish and I was away.  This was over the course of about three days, just to put it in to perspective, it wasn’t all in one day.

Mexico changed me a little bit.  I gave me new strength.  We met some amazing people, some of whom we are still in touch with over a year later, and must go and visit!

It also inspired us for the garden.  It gave us some ideas that we would take back and use to remind us of our first holiday together.

We were only there for 7 days, but it was absolute bliss.

The following weekend after our return it was back in the garden and start planning.

First things first, that pond needed planting.magdelen green garden 12 may 16

Some iris, cape daisies, rushes, chamomile and grasses were planted around. the pond – which now being a solid pond was in no risk of emptying in the way that the original had.  At this stage the decision was made not to over plant as, to be honest, I wasn’t sure what plants would be best and quite how big they would get.  I didn’t want to over-crowd it.

Next step was to put some kind of path in.  The garden being heavy clay meant that whenever it rained it just became a slippery, claggy mess.  Walking across the lawn would just destroy it.  It really was horrible.

I’ve never layed a path before, and so decided to put off anything permanent for now.  Having been left somewhere in the region of 120 paving slabs by the previous house owners we just decided to lay a these down on top of the grass to give us something to walk on.  The plan was that all of this grass would come out at some point so it didn’t matter if the slabs killed it off underneath.  We just needed something so that we could walk across the lawn without slipping and sliding all over the place.

magdelen green garden 13 may 16

June was a slow month in the garden, we had plans, but they were big and would take time to figure out.  I attached some water butts to the building at the back of the garden to try and save on water a bit and left June pretty much at that.

A few new plants went in, like the Red Robin (left of the archway) Eunymous, Cotoneaster (right of the archway) and Purple Cotinus (right hand side by the brown fence panel – looks like a bamboo cane sticking up).  I’d always wanted the latter as I fell in love with someone elses with the feathery flowers appeared.  It was literally a stick with a few leaves when I brought it but I had high hopes.

And so May came to an end.  Please let June bring some sunshine and dry ground to work with.


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