One reason I was so taken with the garden on first viewing was its woodland setting and the parlous state of everything which meant a blank canvas and a project in the making over time.
Step 1: By July when I moved in, the raised lawn had become a wild grass area with butterflies and birds flitting in and out (I use the term ‘lawn’ lightly as there was as much weed and moss as grass. It seemed a pity to cut it but this area is destined to be de-grassed and gravelled and so a rough strim brought the whole area into something more manageable for walking on.
Step 2: From the raised lawn area, there is a view over my daughter’s wooded garden and glimpses of the brook below. Being west facing, there are also some lovely distant sunsets to be had but first I had to clear the view of three youngish willow trees.
Aside from their aesthetics, trees have many uses including anchoring loose soil and with some steep inclines beyond the boundary, I decided to cut the willows into a layered hedge (a skill I learned when volunteering at a London wildlife garden but have yet to master!). The pillar evergreen did have to be axed though and even that has not gone to waste as it nicely fills the base of a garden composting area
“The pleach is the semi-cut part of the stem that allows the branch to bend and lay… thin it out enough to allow the stem to lay, but leave enough wood to allow sap to draw up through the stem to keep the tree alive and to encourage new growth….”
All You ever wanted to know about hedge laying
Step 3: There are in fact three steps up to the raised lawn area. Lovely old stone steps that I did not want to disturb but was forced to consider modifying because the risers between them was too diverse and the top step too steep for my not very long legs!
I found a compromise by arranging to move the top slab to the bottom step, which evens out the incline. Good enough anyway to make the steps more manageable, and a handrail in future will make it more secure. Meanwhile, I had to call upon my son to do the transformation here.
A gardener can never rest on her laurels and as I sat enjoying the handiwork so far, the distant greenhouse kept calling for a complete renovation and an even slabbed platform on which to stand. And that is another post!
A scrolling view of improvements so far: