dear diary :: garden progress

Just a quickie as I drink my cocoa as my bed awaits – I am utterly shattered from a few days of intense gardening and we have only just scratched the surface. Apart from the horrendous wind and rain on Saturday morning we have had good weather for most of the week with clear skies and sunshine and each day has got a little warmer than the one before. Tomorrow we have to go down home for two or three weeks to attend appointments and do other things including another visit to my mum whilst my sister is on her respite holiday.

Everywhere I look there are jobs to be done here, weeds to be lifted, branches to be pruned and order to be reinstated (well as much order as you can get in a semi-wild garden). Most plants seem to be quite late coming out this year – everything is in bud and about to burst forth and probably waiting for the moment we leave!

I made a start on this banking below the lane and on the wood side of the cottage.

The banking is one of those places that I find hard to decide just what to plant here. I have cleared it a few times and then never got to put any plants in as by the time I have cleared it all it is time to go home and when we get back there has been another flurry of seedlings – but never quite so bad as during this lockdown period. It is dry and sandy near the top, almost like dust, then it can be quite boggy at the bottom where the water runs down and collects. It gets a lot of wind from both directions and until last year had an enormous conifer at one end which gave us plenty of shade and privacy. The conifer was taken down by Scottish Power as it was situated just underneath the power line to the cottage and every year or so they had to take a good three metres off the top of it which left it looking rather an odd shape and in the end a lot of brown bare stems. It wasn’t very pretty so we had it removed and we will grow something a little lower in height.

Over time the soil has washed down the banking with the rain because it is quite steep and so our plan is to build it up a bit more using the well rotted contents from our compost bins and then we will terrace it with some wooden planks of treated timber to make planting pockets. Well that is the plan.

Most of the weeds are pink campion and blue alkanet – both lovely wild flowers but quite invasive and they crowd out any garden plants so have to be well controlled. As you can see from the picture below it is a slow job clearing such a backlog of weeds. In the picture, but well hidden behind the fern, is a little Robin sitting on its nest – 3 little eggs – she has been quietly watching us garden all week – we probably relieved the boredom of having to sit still for hours on end!

Above is looking across the garden from on top of the banking next to the lane. I cleared this patch from unwanted invaders fairly quicky. The lane gets a lot of wind and sea spray so anything planted here has to be fairly tough. Below is the little blue gate leading to the daisy path that takes you down to the cottage. The Rosa Rugosa hedge on the right should have been well pruned this year to reduce the height to keep it bushy and prevent it being ‘leggy’ but of course we could not come up to do it. The holly tree like the rest of them in the garden is waiting clipping but that will be another job another visit. The conifer used to completely block the view of the cottage making it more private so something will be put in its place.

There are one or two nice little spots in the garden here and there.

Solomon’s Seal
Sweet Woodruff and Astrantia
Braeburn Apple blossom

I really don’t want to go back home – I miss the sea when we have to leave.

I won’t miss my aching back though!

Back soon x

15 Replies to “dear diary :: garden progress”

  1. It looks like you’ve made fantastic progress – well done! It is hard on the back tho. I just discovered you can make a syrup from sweet woodruff. I have loads in my garden – it’s a real spreader – so good to be able to do something with it.
    Hopefully on your journey south you won’t meet too many camper vans heading north. They are becoming a real scourge of the Highlands and my heart sinks when I see them on the road. I know that people in the remote areas are dreading them arriving.


  2. Looks as though you have put in a great deal of back-breaking work…as you knew you would have to after all this time. So many lovely aspects to the cottage area. Sorry you have to leave for now, but know you will be looking forward to returning soon. Safe travels.


  3. Even in its wild state it looks lovely to me with the wildflowers adding sweet color. Weeding never ends in my yard but it is a good hobby to get me outside!


    1. It is lovely just wild but then the wildness takes over and chokes the plants I have bought – it is hard work getting a good balance and needs careful management – something it didn’t get any of last year.


  4. It is looking beautiful. I wouldn’t want to leave either. Glad you had a lovely productive week.


  5. Just gorgeous! All your hard work will pay off in the end. Sorry about your sore back but I’m sure you will bounce back after a few days’ break.


    1. My back has bounced back and all ready to catch up on the garden down here – I will be so glad when we only have the one house to look after – if it hadn’t have been for the flood we would be living full time in Scotland now.


  6. What a beautiful spot. Worth all the hard work and sore back. I love how gardens evolve and give time to think as change. I hate “landscaped” ones which have only a few plants in lines.


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