After just over a year, the garden is gradually taking shape.
Much of 2002-3 was taken up with some hard landscaping, laying a terrace and putting down some flag-stoned paths near the house. The steepest bank behind the house caused us great difficulty; we wanted to plant something needing low maintenance because of its inaccessibility and originally planted it up completely with various forms of ivy, but then while we were busy with other things (such as moving in), the ivy got swamped with grass, clover, docks, creeping buttercup - we had them all. We eventually bit the bullet and in February 2003 had steps and paths professionally put in to give us good access, and it was also planted up for us at the same time to give year-round interest.
Once the bank was finished, we could put up the rose arch, with planters and trellis on each side (using thrown-out materials left from the house build). The Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose seemed originally to love its new location, helped by plenty of muck, but has outgrown its planter and will have to be moved. The Clematis in the planters have been slow to take hold; we underplanted them with pansies to protect their roots and they now seem to be thriving.
Some wild flowers have appeared without our help, such as the Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).
To cope with the long grass, we splashed out on a DR Trimmer Mower (rather like a giant strimmer on wheels), and it has been absolutely marvellous to use - we couldn’t have coped without it. Although we only cut the grass twice a year, in early spring and again in late summer, we have learnt (the hard way) that it’s also best to mow the edges of the paths throughout the year to prevent the long grasses seeding onto them.