Then and now

Close up of deep pink photinia leaves with some green varigated ones

When we were tidying in the garden at the weekend and building yet another bed for the kitchen garden, it came to me that we started this gardening journey – and blog – just over three years ago now. I began to think back to where we started and realised just how far we had come. So this week, I wanted to share some “before” and “after” photos. For two people who knew very little about gardening when we arrived, and who had never really had any interest in gardening, we seem to have achieved a lot! So, here we go – this is our garden, both as it was when we arrived and today.

The Flower Garden

Garden with lawn and white gate
The structure of the flower garden was already in place when we started, but didn’t have much to look at
Garden with lawn and flower beds
We have added containers, the bench and three new beds to break up the vast expanse of lawn a bit and we have more plans to shape the lawn more to be a winding grass path that will lead you up to the gate and steps

The Frog Patch

This is the curved raised bed in the flower garden up behind the bench. It was made (long before our time) using a drystone wall which, along with the defunct water feature just visible in the top picture above, attracted the frogs in the Spring. The Calamity Cat loved them but, since we developed the planting in there and replaced the water feature with the rose bed, we have seen fewer of them. It’s a shame, as they were fun to watch and ate the slugs, but at least we no longer have to rescue them from Calamity who thought they had come to play with her!

Raised bed with drystone wall, covered inovergrown mature planting
Summer 2016. The bed was mature but overgrown. It did provide good cover for the frogs though!
Raised bed with drystone wall and a range of plants
Different time of year (March 2019) – the beech hedge will be green again soon – but there is now a wide range of plants in the bed. The heathers will spread to provide year round ground cover and colour eventually and the pussy willow tree gives some height and is spectacular through the winter. We kept a swathe of the pink bistort though which you can see in the “before” pic as they are just so pretty

The Kemnay Bed

When we moved in, we had what I called the Kemnay bed – the plants that we had brought in pots from Scotland and planted out. Sadly, we lost a hebe in our second year and we also moved the spirea Autumn Blaze into the Frog Patch to give it more space. I can’t believe how much the photinia has grown!

Garden bed with three shrubs and a photinia pink marble behind against a trellis
This was May 2016, when the photinia was still establishing

The Kitchen Garden

It is no surprise that the greatest changes have been on the other side of the white gate, up in the kitchen garden. Again, the basic structure was there which we left in place but we have developed nearly every inch of the space.

Garden with a flattened shed and a white and grey cat by a hedge
This was 2017, after we had knocked down a ramshackle shed to prepare for the greenhouse. You can see we were also looking to add a bed at the bottom right of the picture – now home to the strawberries
Garden with greenhouse, fruit trees and a number of raised beds set into grass paths
As well as the strawberry patch, we now have raspberries along the veg patch fence, two beds the other side of the greenhouse, (one for asparagus and one brand new one for soft fruit) and a large rhubarb bed out of shot.

The Veg Patch

Our predecessor had raised beds in a patch separated from the rest of the garden by a low fence covered in chicken wire to keep out her hens and her guinea fowl. We still use the same area but we have replaced the beds to make them larger and gravelled the paths.

Veg patch with wooden raised beds
Our first venture into growing veg back in May 2016. We put in the tiny rhubarb patch near the fence but we had to move it as it quickly outgrew the space
Veg patch with 4 raised wooden beds and gravelled paths
We have maximised the space up here. As you can see, we have started filling the beds but it is still a bit early for it to be at full capacity

The Sitooterie

Or, for my non-Scottish readers, the summer house. If you’re not sure what it means, try saying it aloud and it will all become clear! Or you can now look it up in the the dictionary – apparently it was added to the OED last year.

Anyway, sadly, I realised I didn’t have any “before” photos. Take it from me, it was incredibly dark inside making it unusable. This is what it looks like now, complete with sign and overflow plants from the greenhouse:

Summer house interior with painted white wooden walls and pink beams and doorframe
Light and feminine, this is a favourite spot for me to sit and read, dream and spend some quality time with the Calamity Cat

Looking back, I am incredibly proud of everything we have achieved and if you ever thought of trying a bit of gardening, just look at what you can do with love, enthusiasm and a little blind faith!

5 thoughts on “Then and now

  1. you have come such a long way in a very short time, well done both of you, a lot of hard effort has been amply rewarded I would say. I guess you now “get it”!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hedges are so much better maintained in your region . . . and I suppose in most other regions away from here. However, I noticed in the after picture at the top, the third picture down, that the hedge is getting plump on top. Is that just because it has not been shorn recently?

    Like

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