It is five years since I moved to this house and this garden. During 2016 I did nothing very much except to watch and wait, recording what grew each month and to release some of the container grown plants that had accompanied me on the move (with little thought about where). I thought it might be interesting to compare what it was like then and what it is like now. Of course plants have come and gone during that time due to disease, age, pests, wrong plant wrong place or simply not doing what I expected and being ousted.
(1) Gravel Garden, sunny rockery / lawn
The main area of the garden used to be mainly lawn with a large flat granite rock in the centre. There are no normal flower borders in this garden, each boundary wall is made up of breeze blocks and vertical fencing. To hide the blocks low granite walls have been built with minimal soil in between. It has made planting a challenge.
(2) The Woodland Border
This border runs along the north-facing side of the garden with a livestock farm on the other side. Due to a large barn this area is very shady, in fact during the winter months it does not receive any sun at all. Originally the border consisted of two goat willow trees, a crinodendron, winter honeysuckle, honeysuckle, ivy and clematis montana. Also lots of Soleirolia soleirolii / Baby’s tears and herb robert, yellow loosestrife and several geranium oxonianum.
Over the years the herb robert has been removed and Ajuga reptans / Bugle planted as a ground cover. The trees remain. The elder is much taller now and the willow trees pruned to higher the canopy. They provide nice shade on the patio in the summer. I have added more colourful plants which like shade to the mix, and in spring the border is full of dwarf narcissi and glory in the snow.
(3) Raised Beds
At the rear of the garden were a couple of run-down and overgrown raised beds. They were replaced in May 2016 and have since been used to grow veg (unsuccessfully) and herbs (more successfully) and once I experimented with a white garden. This year they are both a bit overgrown, but the herb bed provides lots for the pollinators. The wooden boards however are beginning to show signs of rot and in one small bed several bamboo were planted which now send runners around this area.
It won’t surprise you to learn I have plans for this area. Hopefully next year.
In front of this area and under the existing trees – a Kilmarnock Willow and a Contorted Hazel – I recently created a dappled shade border, which is mulched heavily with bark chippings. This sections off the remaining lawn.
(4) Wild Garden (utility area)
Behind the fence you can see above is a large gravelled area that is used mainly for parking. It is also where the septic and tank and soakaway is sited so nothing can be built on here which is a shame because this is where I would have a greenhouse. This area gets sun all the time, except early morning in winter. The oil tank is located behind the shed. The joys of country living! When we moved in the Cornish hedge on the same side as #2 was full of nettles, grass, brambles and other weeds. I left it alone until 2019.
I need to remove the ox-eye daisies from here as they are too tall and fall over. In fact my next plan is to buy some bare root species roses in the autumn that are resistant to the Cornish rain and plant them along the top of the hedge.
(5) Zen Patio
This area is directly outside my conservatory (the one with the new lantern roof) and consists of some rather boring cheap paving slabs. One side is shady (under the trees) the other in full sun. There have been some changes in the planting in the sunny side, but it is mainly used for my container plants in the summer. A belfast sink was planted up as a succulent/alpine trough in the early days, but now my idea is to transform that into a container pond. I am also using the area as a nursery for cuttings this year and have a bench with crates of salad leaves and parsley.
This is the front of the property, which originally was the old dairy milking stalls. One day I will get around to having new doors and windows put in, but for now any work on the house has been put on hold. There is no garden as such here. The courtyard serves several properties. We have a large granite ledge (there is a lot of granite) running along the property in which lots of plants have self-seeded, including dog violets and hebe. Growing up the wall is a pale pink climbing rose (not very healthy looking), Virginia creeper which spreads everywhere and a Hydrangea petiolaris / climbing hydrangea which has flowered well for the first time this summer.
There are three wide steps up to the front door on which I have some container plants – those that like shade as this is north-facing and gets very little direct sun, even in mid summer it only just reaches the edge of the ledge.
Finally a look at the latest project, the creation of a gravel garden showing it in 2020
and again this month.
Not quite finished. I want to plant some species tulips in the right-hand patch and think it will be easier to do that before I spread the remaining pebbles over the area. I have a few plants to go in too, but it’s been a bit too hot to plant, plus family have been down for a week enjoying the Cornish air.
So that’s a not so quick résumé of the life of a Cornish garden – sorry Jon, I know you hate verbose posts!
As always, if you want a peek over other people’s garden walls then please pop over to our host, the lovely Jon, AKA ‘The Propagator’ where you find links to many more wonderful garden enthusiasts from all over the world.
See here for the participant’s guide.