Sitting on the back doorstep, hopefully in some early morning sun, a cup of tea in hand; waking up, coming round to the day, drifting off in that early morning head haze – coming round to tasks and jobs at hand, by which time I’ve usually progressed to coffee. This is my favourite place to sit and start my day.
I live in an old house, with old crumbling cobbled walls. I live in the centre of a town, a minute or two’s walk to the sea.
The garden is a walled garden, a secret garden if you will.
This last month has seen major work on the garden, years of neglect due to building work but finally the space is transformed, to our secret garden where we can sit and relax, enjoy some shelter from the sea breezes, the hustle of work and the bustle of life.
We have dug, and levelled, shovelled and shovelled. All the garden waste has to go through the house, through the sitting room, into the kitchen and then out the door and up the steps. And of course anything that is needed in the garden goes through the same journey but in reverse. Can I tell you that there has been a lot of shovelling and levelling, a lot of climbing those stairs, and a lot of tea drunk. I mean A LOT. YES LOTS.
I had an idea a few years ago. I knew what I wanted. A few sketches and scribbles on graph paper and the plan was done. Wait a few years while the building work is completed. Show the plans to your loved one and what you see is the translation of my sketches.
The planting is nearly there, a few more gaps to fill, a couple of areas to complete but the basics are laid down. From the house there are steps down onto a deck that with time will age a silvery-grey, and where I sit. There is a table and chair but I like to sit on the steps, leaning against the wall and gazing. To my right there is a pond, I can see progress with the Water Lilly’s new leaves emerging. To my left, a bed of tulips on their last hurrah. Down some steps to a crushed shell path, that in the photos looks whiter than it is – a mix of shells – light pinks, tans and taupe’s through to white, gives us a level path to potter along, a way to wend towards the back of the garden.
The old Magnolia tree, is at the heart of the garden, it gives us and our neighbours a delight, from the big blooms in early Spring and acid yellow-green new leaves to the dappled shade of summer. And onto the back, a black painted potting bench and woodshed, and yes the Blue Wall and the Terracotta pots. The blue is taken from the Majorelle Gardens in Morocco, a truly inspirational garden set in the heart of Marrakech. We had to replace the dilapidated fence and wall at the back, and this was our bright idea. A Blue that works in this temperate climate. Doesn’t dull with grey low light in winter but bounces brightness and light around in summer.
We’ve reached the end of the garden for now, there will be a bench there at the back, under another sail, there is lighting for warm evenings to be finished too. And at some stage a wire trellis to conjure up above the low cobbled wall for climbers to clamber along. It will happen, but not just yet, time out is needed from the physical work to enjoy what we have here and now.
I keep looking and looking – seeing bare soil and titchy plants (most of the planting is new). Patience and imagination are needed. One day alchemilla mollis will froth and fizz, one day the herbs will have settled into their new space, tumbling over onto the crushed shell path, one day the Alliums will have spread, the ferns settled and the Euphorbias grown and grown. Lots of leaves, colours and shapes, textures and light. A garden for the senses, a garden for this gardener’s soul.
This post is a part of the collective farmy fellowship posts at the kitchensgarden– Celi suggested we do a show and tell, showing our own view from our own spaces, wherever you are in the world and whatever you see share it. My friends Chica and Misky, Lynda and Mandy have joined in so far, why don’t you?