After living with builders for fifteen months the owners of this property were desperate to have a garden worth looking at. They were so keen that they actually wanted us to start before the builders had even finished, but fortunately I was able to convince them to wait.
As I had planted and maintained their previous property’s garden they were very trusting and happy for me to be creative, but they did have a few specific requests; most importantly that the planting provide privacy from the neighbouring windows, the terrace be framed by a screen of planting so that the garden would not be revealed all at once, lastly they wanted a playhouse/area for the children and for a large enough lawn area for football.
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Our almost blank canvas – before the builders left.

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Day 1: Siberian South London (Monday 11th March 2013)
We made the mistake of taking our tights off last week – winter is back! Even the ladybirds and bumblebees were caught out – we found a few floundering around in the blizzard.
At least the ground hasn’t frozen because we have a lot of planting to do this week.

Day 2: The Birch trees, Amelanchier and Buxus arrived and were safely carried through the freshly painted house – by Ali, Geraint and myself.

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Time for a tea break.

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Day 3: Hannah and Geraint discover their hidden talent for willow weaving.

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Day 4: The Wigloo seems a popular addition, in fact it has become the main attraction. Its almost a shame that it is going to shoot into growth soon, because it looks so good as it is.

 

 

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After all that weaving and planting we definitely deserve our donuts.

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We found this very slow moving and bewildered bumblebee stumbling around the new flower bed. So we placed it onto this hellebore flower, but I am not sure whether it was awake enough to feed, so hopefully it found its way back to somewhere safe and warm.

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It is far too cold to trim the box bushes into balls – we will have to wait till Derby day (31st May 2013).

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Day 5: “Mr Rotovator rocks the green gym”!
(Ali’s quote).

Penguins

Penguin walk in formation of course. Now all we need is some turf.
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And a little rest after all that preparation and carrying of turf and soil through the house.

 

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There was almost no time to stop for tea and cake, because of the forecast for heavy rain –  it was getting darker by the minute.
Fortunately we were able to lay the last roll of turf before the first drops started – a perfect end to a most enjoyable week!

All that was left was to tidy up and take a trip to the tip.

Sadly a week’s worth of “garden makeover”and leftover builder’s rubbish had to end up in the general waste section of the commercial tip rather than the green waste section, because we had so many bits of rubble and un- compostable bits. I took the plastic pots home to be recycled, but the mountain of stinking waste -soon to be in landfill – still left me with a bad feeling in my soul and belly.

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At least I was able to blow the dust from the van and get her ready for another week of fun. Then to cheer myself up I had to press the button on the dashboard to hear the cheesy american voice pronounce with satisfaction “That was easy”.

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It was time for to go home for a well deserved hot bath.

These “after” photos had to be taken a few days later when the rain cleared for a moment.

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Of course gardens are never finished, but this is a perfect time to stop * for a few weeks to watch/let it grow without any intervention. Hopefully the weather will warm up soon so that the bulbs and perennials can start to blur the edges.

* No ball games or wigloo visits permitted until the turf is ready for traffic