After two years of tenanted care, the garden is okay but needs some TLC
It was a sweaty palms, dry mouth, situation when I opened the back gate of our cottage garden. Our tenants had been lovely to the house; they’d loved it like their own and for that, I am incredibly grateful.
We’d been warned that they weren’t ‘gardeners’. A ‘them and us’ label that creates instant bonds with some but can leave a stony silence at parties. The parting comment from the letting agent was, I think, meant to be a reassurance; “They’ve basically kept it tidy, you know, cut things back”. My chest felt cold, I think I remember some buzzing noise, and then I was sat in the car grasping the cold keys with white knuckles.
The MyPottingBenchBlog Cottage Country Garden
Let me first re-introduce you to my space. My garden.
I mentally divide the garden into four main areas. It’s longer than it is wide, the house along the eastern boundary, and mainly laid to large stone slabs. Most of the hard landscaping was here when we moved in over 4 years ago. The furthest garden is called either the Top Garden or the Far Garden but neither name is definitive. The other areas I have called the Utility Area, Immediate Garden and Front of the Cottage simply for simplicity sake as they don’t have formal names. There’s no plaques denoting historical significance to the divisions.
The Front of the Cottage
Let’s start at the beginning.
We have two water troughs under the two front windows. The door is offset owing to the fact that this used to be two cottages. The planting in these has always been a little wild and drought-tolerant as they get a lot of sun and wind from passing cars. There’s a dead wisteria and a measly-looking clematis.
The Utility Area
Up the drive and through the gates brings you to the Utility Area which is home to my self-constructed Greenhouse/Cold Frame/Glasshouse (See details of its construction here). There’s a shed and raised beds under glass.
The Immediate Garden
So-called as it’s immediately out the back door and the only part of the garden visible from inside the house.
The garden is long and narrow. The Crabapple tree was planted by us and looks to have gotten its roots done which I am thrilled about.
The idea is that this shady space will be home to white / pastel flowers and woodland plants.
The Far Garden
Right at the end of the garden is our sunny bit of the garden. The colours are supposed to be bright and tropical.
The garden is a U-shape of borders, the Left and Right borders are the deepest, surrounded by stone walls.
The End Border is narrow and dry with an evergreen hedge rising high above it.
Currently taken over by a Buddlia that’s missed its last 2 yearly haircuts.
Dominated by a white climbing rose that’s testing my patience.
Work to be done
There’s the usual weeding, cutting back, tidying and pruning to be done. More importantly, I need to scour the borders to remind myself what’s there and what has survived the passive neglect of the past two years.
I’ll take each area in turn and detail the tidy up before sharing some plans for rejuvenating this special space. Don’t worry, there will be spreadsheets, lists and planting plans.