Green fingers

The garden wasn’t the first priority but some plants did go in last year and some more have been added bit by bit. They have started to grow and spread and fill in the gaps. The result being that the garden is starting to look less like a grassy bowling alley and more like… well… a garden.

The lavender in particular has flourished and is just about to bloom.

I planted some herbs in an old sink.

And some sweet peas against a security grill which used to be fitted over one the windows.

The area at the back of the garden by the studio had been the most neglected. We just didn’t have enough plants to cover this area straight away. It’s also terrible soil as it is full of bricks and broken glass, the result of the bottom of the garden being used as an informal tip for many decades.

However a large central bed has now gone in, although it still looks rather barren.

Just a few of the bricks you have to dig out every time you put a plant in.

The side beds at the back have vegetables in them. Onions, beans, parsnips and some very vigorous looking potatoes.

Again rubble had to be removed.

Potatoes looking healthy on the right hand side of shot.

There’s also now an enormous compost heap next to the studio with a neat little fence made from off-cuts.

I think the studio is looking really pretty now as plants start to grow up around it. I love working out here.

Lastly something that is more a work in progress. There’s a patch of grey concrete halfway down the lawn which is probably the base from an old shed or greenhouse. Removing it would be a be a bigger job than you might think.

The solution has been to paint it white and surround it with some more lavender. The plants need time to grow and the white needs to wear a little plus that shovel needs to find a new home, but overall I think it’s an improvement.

There are quite a few more plants about to come into bloom and I am still slowly adding more so hopefully by the end of the summer it should be starting to look quite complete.

Studio now up and running

The garden studio, a recreation of the one I had in the last house, is basically finished. Still the odd bit of painting (of the painting and decioating kind) to be done but the electric is working and I have moved in and started work.

It’s great.

A partial garden office

Some time ago we posted plans for our garden, but at the time we knew we were some way off. We couldn’t justify spending time outside when there’s so much needing our attention inside. However much of my art equipment is currently stored downstairs and I have a nomadic existence in the house, having to move from room to room as work is happening around me.

 

art supplies stored in basement

 

We hope to start working downstairs soon. That means I will I have to keep moving the pieces I am working on and my “stock” as well, not to mention all the boxed up books, utensils etc that are down there.

With that in mind we decided to press on with the garden office plans so I can move all my art related belongings out there and have a permanent place to work.

We had a garden office in our last house. We had a much smaller garden then and so we had the office designed to fit our space and made and installed by a specialist company. It was great but to honest when we saw how easy it was to install we realised we could have done much of it ourselves.

And so this time we chose a ready-made office that you construct yourself. After much internet searching we chose Dunster House. This also had the advantage of being much a much cheaper option. The office arrived earlier this week. Klaus was there to meet it and when he saw the lorry he thought they were delivering several offices, but it turned out it was all for us.

We (well I say “we” I mean Klaus) have partially constructed the office in our original planned location – halfway down the garden and I (and I mean “I”) primed it with some wood preservative so it wasn’t ruined by the October weather.

However we have reconsidered. Our neighbours started this off by expressing some “deep concerns regarding their Georgian view” – a little odd considering we back onto a 80s housing estate and 70s school, but there we know what they mean. However that made us think about moving it to the back more seriously. We’d avoided it because there was a huge mound of earth at the end which needed levelling and we couldn’t face it. But having the office where it currently is does cut off much of the garden and make it seem much smaller. So change of plan, agree with neighbours, lets move it.

Given the amount of earth we needed to shift we knew we needed some outside brawn so we placed an ad for the job on mybuilder.com where you describe your project and builders or in this case landscape gardeners quote for the project. The next day we had a reasonable quote and the day after they were round making it happen.

There’s a lot of earth so we will probably end up with the garden on two, now flat levels. We have found a watering can, part of a bed, some kind of metal planter and many many bricks.

The next steps are to partially dismantle the office and move it back to its new spot. Then shape the garden around it and paint the office some more interesting colours and get settled in.  So we’re about halfway through.

garden design

Our poor front garden is full of bagged up building debris at the moment. Not great for first impressions and we do find quite a few people scavenging out front for treasures we may have mistakenly thrown away. Including some copper pipes Klaus has been hoarding.

Given the level of work we have to do I think it will be some time before we can give this garden much attention as we kind of need the space for all these important blue sacks.

view from sitting room window

The back garden is however tempting us to get started even though we should really be working on the interior. It’s pretty much a blank canvas and because it’s so long needs a bit of thought in terms of design.

the garden plus a glimpse of scaffolding

We’re going to reduce the size of the current patio. You actually can’t see all of it in this photo there’s another table and chairs out of shot, it looks a bit like a cafe right now.

For his birthday I bought Klaus a croquet set and he’s keen to keep a large section of lawn to play on. We’re also keen to leave some room for a garden studio. I had one in our old house and it was really useful.

garden office when new at our old house

Being slightly separated from the main house meant I didn’t get easily distracted and I didn’t have to tidy up at the end of the day. Perfect.

At the end of the garden we want to let things go slightly wild and we’re also planning on planting some fruiting trees and having room for vegetables.

So here’s the working plan.

Imagine lots of box hedging around the boarders. A mini-Versailles if you will. Really mini.