I write this end of month post with a sense of relief as July seems to have been a very long and dry month. We finally had rain on Friday after something like 6-8 weeks with only a small downpour one day. The rain started on Friday and has been off and on ever since. The garden has perked up, well those bits that haven’t withered away in the heat and this gardener has also perked up.
I thought it would be interesting to show how the garden has changed over the last nine years when I first started the End of Month meme. There have been some quite drastic changes so it isn’t easy to do a direct comparison but I will do my best. Above is the view from the top of the patio steps up to my son’s workshop (which went in around 5 years ago). Below is a similar view from 2009, but from the bottom of the steps, showing the garden before the workshop and when I still had a lawn; it was obviously from the greeness of the grass, a wet July in 2009. In both pairs of photos the rosemary growing over the wall is a useful reference point.
The next pair show the main area of the garden but from opposite view points. The first photo is now with my neighbour’s delightful trampoline in the background. The plants are looking a little dry around the edges but I have started to tidy up and cut back the dead flowers and foliage. I think the garden has benefited in the past heat from my dense planting as the areas which have suffered the most are those with the most recent plantings and consequently more soil showing. I think the dense planting has shaded the soil and helped to reduce moisture loss.
Anyway, the second photo from 2009 shows the old sloping lawn and my polite narrow border. If I have only learnt one thing over the past nine years it is that you need to be generous in your borders. Narrow borders just don’t work you are limited on space so its difficult to create a range of height and textures.
The next two pairs of photos is the top border which in 2009 was the pond border. The fourth photo is another view of the border in 2009 and if you peer very hard you can just make out the pond weed on the pond which is one of the reasons the pond went. It was never a sensible place to have a pond under the large cherry tree and it was a constant battle to improve the quality of the water. The border planting was some of my best back then but over the following years it faded and struggled and in the end I gave up on it and converted the pond into a bog garden which is the basis of what is in place now except it isnt very boggy due to over zealous puncturing of the liner!
The 2018 photo shows the workshop again and the shrubs that have been added over recent years. I prefer the garden now and the planting in this border is slowly improving although it has always been a challenging spot. You can also see the stems of the bamboos along the back fence line. In 2009 the fence was exposed due to us removing an huge laurel bush and I have again struggled ever since with the steep slope and shade of the trees. You will see in the 2009 photo terracing but this has been removed this year and I am reverting back to the slope and planting up with lots of foliage and texture.
The final pair of photos show the area of the workshop. Back in 2009 this area was a battle due to the shade created by my neighbours trees which also sucked all the moisture out of the ground. The shed is set back into the slope to minimise its impact on my garden and it took hours for my son to dig it all out by hand. The workshop is now very much a key part of the garden and creates a strange focal point. Long term readers will recall that I laboured over what colour the shed should be and almost went mad after a visit to gardens in San Francisco when I seriously considered painting it orange. I’m glad I saw sense and I am very pleased with the natural and low key finish it now has. This has been repeated on another smaller shed we have and I am thinking of treating the benches in a similar way.
I hope you have enjoyed a trip down memory lane. I think it shows my change of approach and an increase in plant knowledge and obsession.
This post demonstrates one of the benefits of the End of Month meme as if I hadn’t started writing it back in 2009 I wouldn’t now be able to look back to see where I have come from.
Everyone is welcome to join in with the meme and you can use it however you like.. All I ask is that you link to this post in your post and leave a link to your post in the comments box below.