“Our Small Garden” by Joyce and Alan Nightingale

The photo below shows the garden as it was when we moved in. As you can see, at the back of the garden we had a fairly steep granite bank which had to be addressed so that I could plant on the top of the bank.
I did a design keeping that in mind and I also needed a shed and a utility area for compost bins, wheelbarrow, plant pots etc which would not be on view.
We were very lucky to find a landscape gardener who was happy to follow my plan and suggested cutting into the granite bank and making a utility area which has been very successful.  He also created a path on the higher level which has enabled me to plant shrubs against the back fence and also to plant the fairly steep area below.

Before

Access to the higher level is via steps on to a decking with lovely views towards the Moor.

We have chosen small shrubs and plants as the garden is not large and we do not want it to look overcrowded.

 

After

After

 

 

 

Many thanks to Joyce and Alan for their description of their now lovely garden.

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“Winter 2018/19” by Carol Hudson

Winter can be a sad time of year, when the weather plays cruel tricks on us and our gardens.  In some ways it seems strange that the main problems feature around the fact that it is not cold enough.  I hear from a farming friend that this is a serious problem for arable crops, with too many pests overwintering. So this is likely to affect our gardens also.

There are many microclimates around Bovey, and so my garden has had almost no frost and one brief snowfall.  However this garden is on a steep slope, so that the seemingly endless rainfall, means that it is trying to run away, downhill. The supposed “lawn” is becoming more lumpy and uneven with each winter.

It generally seems sheltered, yet another tree has been blown down, which is always sad. However the trees do look beautiful when the sun shines!
Winter is the time for most gardeners to plan for the coming summer, start seeds and so forth.  Sadly I am no longer fit enough to do much of this, so I hope that other Club members are making better progress.

“Autumn” by Angela Tibbs

Autumn, the quietening down of nature towards the hibernation of sleepiness for the Winter, and the ever-changing charms that the seasons have unrolled become relaxed yet full of harvest and colour. Hints of gold peep through the glistening array of browns, yellows and reds. The cooling off period is upon us as the early mists creep alongside the colder nights – a warning sign of what is to come!

My Grandmother used to say ‘Autumn dries up walls or breaks down bridges’ such is the chemistry of the weather.

As most plants turn their glorious blooms to carrying on the next generation of seeds many birds gather to enjoy their offerings. The Goldfinch loves the thistle seed, and the House Sparrow oats – probably the reason these birds spend much time in the fields during the daylight hours, flying back with all their chatterings of news as the sun sets, wakening us at dawn with the busyness of leaving.


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From our Correspondent

“Summer” by Susan Oliver

Many thanks to Susan for the article below, which was written earlier in the summer, before the current dry spell!

The gardens have transformed themselves, yet again. If you were worried, like I was,that your garden would never look good again, never fear. Because with a little help from the warm rain and sunshine they look beautiful again. Rather like the Ugly Duckling.

Whatever size your garden is there will be a surprise awaiting you every day at this time of year. Flowers and shrubs that you had forgotten about. Items that you thought The Beast from the East would have destroyed, but no, there they are again.Didn’t the snow look beautiful – twice within a month. We should have believed the forecast , they got it right this time.

However, back to Summer. Continue reading

From our Correspondent

“Spring” at Ashwell by Jeanette Pearce

Just a few days before the equinox and the clocks about to go forward – it should have been nearly spring. But why did the garden look a funny colour? Are Devon gardens meant to be covered 20cm deep with fluffy white stuff in mid-March? So much for my list of 20 things to do in the garden before the end of March.

At least I had the comfort of knowing that when I could get through to Newton Abbot, early March’s pruning and clearing efforts in a corner of Ashwell’s front garden, filling four builder’s dumpy bags, would only take two car trips to the recycling dump. Yes, I know I could shred and compost them – but hauling large and heavy bags up steps, gravel paths and slopes to the top of the garden is now beyond me.
Anyway, the compost bins will soon be full of shredded vine prunings from three months ago, when it stops raining. Continue reading

From our Correspondent

Our thanks to Nigel Gillingham, our new Vice-Chairman, for providing posts for From Our Correspondent for the last year. I wonder how many of you guessed that Professor Maurice Bard was Nigel.

Nigel in Show mode

Writing monthly posts is quite a demanding job, especially when the garden is awaiting your attention. From now on I plan seasonal posts, and am pleased to say that Jeanette Pearce wil be doing Spring, Susan Oliver Summer and our President Angela Tibbs will write the Autumn post.

From our Correspondent

Autumn!

It has been a while since I put pen to paper, or should I say ‘fingers to keyboard’ to tell you what has been happening in my garden. Then, suddenly it’s autumn and we are all clearing ground and preparing for winter and perhaps being a bit less busy.

Perhaps a reflection on the recent season would be a good start. Generally, not bad! But of course, gardeners are never completely happy with what they produce, and always want to try and do better next year. To begin with the broad beans planted last autumn produced a good crop, and I had no problem with blackfly which can be a pain. The potatoes grew well on the surface but I was disappointed with my first early crop, a variety called ‘Winston’. They produced a large potato for a first early, but only one or two on a plant – and the flavour was not wonderful. The second earlies, ‘Nicola’ were much better, and tasted like a new potato should, although I have to admit not as good as ‘Charlotte’. Continue reading

From our Correspondent

May

Readers of these scribblings may remember me talking in a previous epistle of ‘pretty little May’ (from the musical ‘Carousel’). Well, it would seem that in no time at all it has arrived! What a change! After the moaning about the weather, the rain, the cold, suddenly everything has started to grow. The plants carefully nurtured have been planted out, and the tomatoes in the greenhouse appear to be growing every day, and, I have to admit it is all very satisfying.

Of course, it has been a very busy time in the garden to enable us to get to this rapturous stage. The much discussed bean trench has now been filled in, sticks erected and the new bean plants planted. This year I am being very brave and trying a new variety called ‘Benchmaster’. According to the catalogue they are particularly suitable for entering in produce shows. At this early stage they are looking good, so we shall see. My sweetcorn has also been planted, an F1 variety called ‘Sundance’ which I grew from seed. It is normally advised that you plant sweetcorn in a square or similar to aid cross fertilisation, but this year because of my bad garden planning space was limited so they are in a double row – but I’m sure they will grow successfully.

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From our Correspondent 

April

At long last it has stopped raining and real gardening weather has arrived. After the cold and the wet of the earlier months this is excellent news , but you suddenly realise that the down side of this is there is too much to do!

What do I put in first? Where shall I put it? What is happening in the greenhouse, and have I got all the seeds I need? As I said this all seems a bit too much at times, but we all know that spring is a very busy time for the gardener, and as they are usually quite dogged and persistent people it will all get done……eventually. Continue reading

From our Correspondent 

March

If you know your old musicals, you will know a song from ‘Carousel’ which talks about the wonders of the month of June. One of the lines says; ‘March comes in like a lion, whippin’ up the waters in the bay’…  Well, March certainly did come in like a lion for us this year, but sadly the lion has not gone away and continues to bother and delay we gardeners.

Luckily I was able to get the garden cleared and the digging done and ready for the planting, but then it continued to rain. I even got last years sprouts  and leeks cleared, and so I have virgin ground ready to go. But, of course it is still raining from time to time, and the ground remains cold and damp which is not ideal for sowing new seeds. So, we have to remain patient even though the ‘biological clock’ is ticking and you think everything is going to be late. I remain optimistic that a decent weather window will eventually come and we can really get started on filling the garden with goodness. Continue reading