Six on Saturday | Then and Now

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.

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(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

Veggie patch early May 2016

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.

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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.

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(6) Courtyard


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

Gravel Garden 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.

Six on Saturday


  1. fredgardener says:

    I love the before / after changes and yours are very successful. I do like seeing them them but I never think of taking the pictures before and it’s too late … (or you have to wait 5 years for it to be worth it …)
    You have a very nice garden but I can also admit that the house is also very beautiful

    1. Heyjude says:

      Most of the house you see is my neighbour. Mine is just the bit above the conservatory. I wish I did have next door, they have a wide garden. I could do a lot with it! 😂

      1. fredgardener says:

        Oops… beautiful though

        1. Heyjude says:

          The part you see in the courtyard is all ours.

      2. BeckyB says:

        ask if you can take over the garden! My sister-in-law managed to negotiate with a neighbour to do that, she had such fun

  2. What a lovely garden and so interesting to see the before and after photos. What a lot of hard work.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks GG. A lot needs to be removed now or at least cut back. But that can wait until September. 😊

  3. You have done a fabulous job. I have garden envy!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Andrew, almost done. For now!

  4. beetleypete says:

    Those 5 years seem to have passed in the blink of an eye. Well done, Jude.
    The slideshows are very snazzy too! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Pete. I think I am beginning to understand this garden now!

  5. PRAPTI GUPTA says:

    What a beautiful garden you have. I’m a bit jealous of you(JK)😀

  6. I always enjoy a now and then-er. You’ve done a great job, and so many different areas. I think my favourite is the dappled shade border and the variety of different shades and forms of foliage. Lovely.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Yes, that area has been a success. Except for the Martagon lilies which got eaten 😒

  7. BeckyB says:

    beautiful, and your changes are all wonderful. How will you ever leave?!

    1. Heyjude says:

      When I can’t manage the simplest tasks, which at the moment is right now!

      1. BeckyB says:

        ahhh, know that feeling

  8. Great transformation, I especially like the way you’ve introduced more colour, crammed the plants in to make it look so lush (hardly any bare earth in sight), and integrated those rocks (in the before photos it looks a bit like the debris from a meteorite has landed in your lawn!). I think the view towards the back fields with the new planting and lupins looks lovely. Perhaps your only regret is the bamboo?!

    1. Heyjude says:

      The bamboo was already here, and it does form a bit of a wind break, but yes, I should have removed it. I think that back section will need redoing, probably get a garden team in. I’m thinking of 4-6 raised beds 1m square to separate the herbs. Slightly higher too so I’m not bending down so much. We’ll see 😊

      1. That sounds great, I think herbs look so good in high raised beds, you’ll get better scent too without needing to bend! Also great for keeping S&S off veg I reckon (definitely will try this in a future garden or perhaps even redo the beds in this one – you can tell I have been scarred by this year’s slug experience!). 😉

        1. Heyjude says:

          Try nematodes. I didn’t this year and I have had larger slugs than previous years.

        2. It’s the year of the super slugs!

  9. Pit says:

    “Then and Now” always is interesting, isn’t it? From your pictures here I can only say: you created a little paradise!
    Have a great weekend,

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Pit, keeps me occupied 😊

      1. Pit says:

        I sure know what you’re talking about. But what you see then is a great reward.

  10. So wonderful to see how you have developed your garden – it’s lovely, and clearly a very productive, happy place for you and wildlife!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Sadly quite a few taller plants have been broken in the storm. Such is life. 😕

      1. That is so sad. But hopefully we will have enough summer left to give them time to grow back perhaps bushier and stronger than ever – maybe better prepared for more of the weather we now seem to be having🙏

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