gorgeous and daunting
I’ve been wanting to introduce the garden for a while now but for some reason something has been holding me back. I guess it’s because I don’t want to sound like a moany cow! I’m well aware of just how gorgeous the garden is and feel incredibly lucky but something can be gorgeous and daunting.
That’s perfectly ok to say.
Reuben for example, is also incredibly gorgeous but at times he’s daunting too. That’s the yin and yan of life.
There is order in chaos and chaos in order.
The patch between two outhouses looking down to the green house and allotment – taken by Mike early one morning
So, yes the garden is lovely, but BOY is it daunting!
Full of secrets that only at this time of year it starts to share… good and bad secrets.
When we first moved to this house, with all its 6 acres and nooks and crannies, I was searching for my conversation and had visions of becoming the next Carol Klein (LOVE HER) or bra-wearing Charlie Dimmock.
Yes! I would learn to be a gardener and I would write about the process and share it with the world.
And, each morning I’m greeted with the most beautiful view out of the kitchen window down the cobbled path to the allotment, beckoning me to go and tend to our Eden.
Again taken by Mike early one morning before we were up!
The allotment is this way…
But I need to get one thing straight. I am no gardener. I love to have a little potter in the garden in fair weather.
In fact as soon as the sun is out, it’s like I’ve suddenly remembered I have a garden and I MUST be in it all day. Then I step outside, take in all the jobs that need doing and I panic.
It is already becoming a wilderness and we’ve only had a few days of sunshine!
The front of the house
The front garden, in particular, is a bit of a mystery to me. I just don’t know what to do with flowers.
“Weeds are flowers too. Once you get to know them.” A. A. Milne
And there are so many weeds – at least I think they are – that each section takes me hours to do (I’ve attempted a few times and then left it half finished after I’ve lost patience).
I’m more at home in the allotment. This bit I do get.
You’re either some kind of vegetable (or fruit) or you’re a weed.
But again, it’s so wild! In the space of a few weeks, it’s become The Day of the Triffids back there. Weeds sprouting from every orifice.
Boots the dog – she thinks she’s really a cat
But I have cleared most of the beds, with help I might add, so in these things are growing (mainly onions and a few strawberries!), or will be by the end of May.
Strawberries – they somehow survived the harshest of winters!
Courgettes and Lettuce in the greenhouse waiting to be planted out at the end of May
There seems to be a theme in this funny, windy garden. Abundance.
Last year, with the help of my friend Jeannie, we grew garlic. There was so much garlic that we’re still eating it!
Abundance is especially true when it comes to our inherited fruit bushes and trees – there’s always more than we can pick! Gooseberries, black and red currants, raspberries, even bitter cherries.
Fruit cage for Red and Black Currents and Gooseberries, which have exploded in the last week or so
There’s also lots of rhubarb. I love rhubarb! Jeannie invented a cocktail for my birthday a few years ago called Rhubarbarella, using Rhubarb syrup, vanilla vodka and lime. Lethal? Yes but it’s like dying and going to heaven, and probably the only reason I miss drinking now.
Raspberry Patch and Front Field
Unfortunately, last year we couldn’t get into the raspberries to pick them as they had grown so wild (and spikey) and there were just too many nettles. But I did manage to pick enough to make the most delicious raspberry (and red currant to make up the difference) syrup for raspberry daiquiris.
The orchard is through the gate
There is also a little orchard. Honestly, it just keeps going. There’s 6 apple trees, although only 4 seem to bare fruit. Tiny, ruby red apples. And I think that one of the trees at the far end of the field could be a plum tree but I caught it too late last year.
There was so much fruit last year that for a month or two you could mainly find me picking fruit and making jams or syrups for cocktails!
Do you see what I mean about daunting though?
When my Mum and Dad came over to help the first summer we moved in, my Dad’s eyes nearly popped out of his head at the sheer volume of work to be done. “You’re going to need to spend hours on this garden, you know?”
I laugh at how blasé I was then. No big deal. I’ll enjoy it!
Now I have realised that it is a big deal. It is a big, big deal!
We have help to cut the grass, prune some bushes and trees and do some weeding in the front garden. This alone seems to take hours and cost a small fortune, so I don’t feel like we can really justify too much more help.
But, to make it nice and stop it falling apart or becoming one big nettle patch, it could do with constant care and attention.
I thought it might be nice to invite local people and their kids to turn it into more of a community garden and project. Something we could do with our kids? But in reality would it come across like slave labour or end up being more work than just doing it myself? Something to explore perhaps…
I also feel so ill equipped to deal with all these wonderful fruit bearing things!
This year we do have much better access to the raspberries, thanks to my buddy Danny, so I’m looking forward to picking them. But I’ll need to do something to keep on top of the carpet of nettles and sticky jacks that are already covering the ground and threatening a grand upraising.
I’m also worried that one of the apples trees has something wrong with it, which might spread to the others.
And, how the hell do you prune a gooseberry bush without getting hurt?! That thing is brutal.
So that’s the garden!
Lovely but daunting. Full of secrets – both beautiful flowers that pop up to surprise us and hideous weeds with thorns and stings, that fight you for their hard earned spot.
And so much fruit, I could start a jam business!
So, whether I like it or not, my fingers must/will slowly be turning greener.
What would you do with our garden?
And do you live nearby so you can come and help me? Lol! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below or come and join the conversation over on the Mums’ Days Facebook Page.