Thursday, 10 January 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

My mum began busily planning the garden and buying in bulbs long before we left No. 7.  Boxes were arriving by the day.

The first bed that we would plant was this one below, which is just outside the door to the south of the house, facing the Church wall.  (The part of the wall that came tumbling down is on the other side of the gate.)

This is a very shady area, stuck between the house and the tall wall, so we decided that we would plant it up with hellebores.  We had these at the Horseblock and they were fantastic value, flowering from just after Christmas when most other plants slumber and carrying on throughout the summer.

So a selection arrived: Double Ellen Picotee, Double Ellen Pink Spotted, Pretty Ellen Red, Pretty Ellen Pink and Double Ellen White.

The Cornish refer to helleborus as "The virgin’s mantle". In Medieval times, they were said to be good for breaking bad spells and curses so were often planted next to the front door.  They are deer and rabbit resistant.  But I have seen neither here yet.  Just hedgehogs (an endangered species since 2007 so I need to know how to cherish them) and squirrels.  Hellebores prefer dappled shade with moist but well drained soil.  I'm no expert but when I cleared this bed to plant our hellebores, the soil seemed rich and loam-like.  I have great hopes that I will develop green fingers as a result.

There hasn't been much time for gardening.  We had a week off but it was spent unpacking.  Then we have had a string of visitors and Christmas.  However, we did manage to spend some time in the garden when we were on leave, clearing the leaves from the lawn (no mean feat and we now have bags and bags of rotting leaves to further improve our loam-like soil), chopping back the bramble shoots that were dangling over the walls into the lane and scratching at the cars and attempting to clear the bed below, the next project after the hellebore bed.

I thought it would be easy enough to do this but ivy is pretty tenacious and my plan of getting the alliums into this bed before the winter set in has not come to fruition.

This bed is next to my gin and tonic terrace.  The window that you can see below is our bedroom window.  The chimney is for the fireplaces in the sitting room, our bedroom and D's room on the second floor.  The shed that you can see on the right belongs to the Church on the Doorstep and it is where they keep their gardening tools, I believe.  The room below the window is S's study (or Mr Bennett's Library, as I like to call it, where he sits and plans how to marry off H for £10,000 a year).  And in the top left corner, you can just make out two of our three corbels and their plaque...of which more in a later blog.  I envisage the bed next to the terrace being pinks and purples, restful colours for a balmy summer's evening.

At present it is dark and forbidding due to the ivy.  And perhaps more fitting for a midwinter's evening.

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