Whoever said, “There aren’t enough hours in the day” knew what they were talking about. I have so many plates spinning at the moment, I’m not sure if I’m coming or going. For the most part, I like it, but making time for my own garden projects has been bit of a struggle lately. However, this weekend was a goodie; I finally turned a corner on one project.Read more: Creating a Front Garden
Since late September, I’ve been gradually turning the front of the house from a parking area into a garden. As Soph Mentioned in her previous post, there’s been a decline in front gardens recently, as homeowners have sacrificed them for parking spaces, but I’ve never been one to follow the trend! I want the area in front of our house to be full of colour, fragrance and wildlife, and if I can cram more plants around our home, then that makes me very happy!
To cut a long story short, the front drive was dug up, the concrete removed, the soil dug-over, two tonnes of topsoil added, railway sleepers and rockery borders installed, and a path built. Finally, in the last few days, I’ve moved onto my favourite part of garden design: the planting. I’m a big fan of cottage garden planting, so by dividing some of my plants from the back garden, I’ve added bearded irises, tall daisies, honesty, aquilegia, primroses, foxgloves and, something that I strongly associate with Suffolk, hollyhocks. As we live in what used to be the village school, there’s a large gothic-style stained-glass window over-looking the front. We already have a few hollyhocks growing in the bed just below the window, but there will be a lot more going in. In fact, Soph sowed over one hundred and ninety seeds into module trays last weekend, using seed we’d saved over the summer. So, that should keep us going for a while!
There are also spring bulbs going in, including: snowdrops, alliums, miniature irises and daffodils. For permanent structure I’ve added a skimmia, Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ and a Sarcococca confusa, but there will be one or two more shrubs to follow. The front already has two very large climbing roses, a red one with a repeat bloom that has grown up and around the big window, and the other with a white bloom that’s been planted in the wrong position. It’s clearly a sun lover, but it’s been planted in the shade, where it grows very leggy and struggles to flower, so that’ll need moving.
November to March is a dormant period for many shrubs and plants, but it’s an ideal time to buy and plant bare root varieties which are often cheaper than their potted counterparts. I’ll soon be ordering over twenty-five hedge variety roses to create a low, sweet-smelling hedge at the front of our house. At the moment, I’m veering towards David Austin ‘Harlow Carr’ Rose. I planted this as a long hedge for a client a couple of years ago, and it now looks fantastic. It suffers few problems, it repeat flowers, and has a beautiful pink bloom that smells exquisite.
I bought a ‘Golden Gem’ crab-apple tree a few weeks ago, and this weekend it finally went into the ground. It was the same variety we had planted in our last house, but I didn’t have the heart to dig that one up when we moved. So, it was a thrill to see this beauty back and planted up right outside my office window! As I type, I can happily look at it from my desk as it gently sways in the wind.
With the front garden now set-up, that’s another garden box ticked. But there’s no rest for the wicked, as I’m about to start my next gardening project: creating a wildlife pond. It’s something that Soph has wanted for years, so she’s going to be designing it and I’ll be building it. Hmmm, something tells me I’ve drawn the short straw here.