Boundaries in life are important and especially in garden design. We took our wild and woolly farmyard trying to create four distinct “ rooms”; a dining outdoorsy side garden, a football play area in the front of the house. The croft that contained, ducks, chickens and two sheep for a while reverted to a mini field. All these rooms were divided by thick stone walls and the one in the picture was built by my son when he was a farming student, enclosing what we called our potager; a mixture of vegetables and flowers shrubs and of course weeds.
First, we invested in a small greenhouse and then raised beds, trying to make order out of chaos but not always successfully as you can see from the before and after shots. Dales drystone walls create a strong structure against which we planted fruit bushes, herbaceous plants. Our garden has a will of its own, up popped grannies bonnets, foxgloves, ox-eye daisies, scented stocks and more weeds.
There was one tatty bush that I nearly chopped down thinking it was some rose sucker. To my amazement, it refused to be ignored, shooting up into this glorious white damask floribunda with a scent of attar of roses. It may be a one flush wonder but worth all the dead heading just to breathe in its aroma.
It was in the summer of 1987 when the Chernobyl rain fell green from the sky onto the Lakes and Dales that my husband lost his wedding ring somewhere in the soil while gardening. We have yet to find it…In return we fetched up old iron farming tools, a rusty scythe, part of an old wagon, a Georgian penny or two and found the Victorian bottle dump with clay pipes and coloured glass medicine bottles and a watch, not exactly the Staffordshire Hoard but bits of past residents’ lives, all part of the history of this old place. It was years that it gave me the idea for the novel : IN THE HEART OF THE GARDEN reissued this month.