If there’s one thing I started this blog for back in 2014, it was to document the very slow, gradual changes our home goes through as we renovate. I mean, we’re talking snail’s pace here. Nonetheless, it still reminds me of just how far we’ve come when I look back through old posts and remember how rooms used to look.
I decided that since the garden has become such a big part of my life now, and this is really the first year of noticeable change, I’d document some of it along the way. Spring is my second favourite season after summer, but I definitely think that spring flowers have the edge for me. Maybe it’s just because through autumn and winter the days feel so dark and dreary that we’re all very excited for those first colours to re-enter our lives that it feels more enchanting than later in the year.
And of course, spring 2019 to spring 2020 has seen quite the difference in our garden. Here’s how it looked in March last year:
As much as it didn’t fill me with any enthusiasm, at that point we still had plans to build our big kitchen extension which is why we’ve never bothered doing anything to the garden in all the time we’ve lived here – the patio would have disappeared and the garden been landscaped. There seemed little point in wasting any time or money on it.
Since our plans have changed (largely we’ve realised with just two of us who don’t regularly entertain and only one of us who cooks, a great big kitchen seems a bit of a waste to be honest!) I started to work on the garden makeover last summer and always had in my mind that come spring this year, all my hard work would have been worth it and I’m delighted to say that’s exactly what it feels like.
It helps that obviously we’ve had the most glorious April and have been at home. I’ve been able to watch the almost daily transformation of flowers springing into life and see the bees busily going about their day. More or less the first plant to come into flower is my epic rosemary bush, planted from a tiny supermarket stub a few years ago and now almost 6ft tall. Each year it gets the prettiest pale blue flowers that the bees go nuts for and it’s the first sign for me that spring is coming again.
But it’s really been our new flower bed, just behind the retaining wall on the patio that has made such a difference. Last year, the lawn ran all the way down to the bottom of the wall and I decided to dig out a new bed and plant some spring bulbs, tulips and alliums, as well as a little row of 5 Salix Flamingo trees. I’m aiming for a rough colour scheme of whites, pinks, and purples to tie in with the dark grey fencing and give some coordination.
The tulips and alliums have done really well, despite me being worried that Maddie would still come tearing down the lawn at top speed (and she kinda does). They peep up above the wall so I can see them from the kitchen window when I’m cooking and the Salix Flamingo are starting to get their beautifully variegated dusky pink leaves.
Elsewhere the rhododendron is in full bloom, almost the only bush that has survived from the garden makeover and I just adore the hot pink blooms cheering everything up. I’ve noticed new leaf growth on the bamboo in the back corner and everything I’ve planted up the left hand, more shady side of the garden is starting to grow too. There’s something so therapeutic about watching it all change from week to week, but also knowing that it’s your hard work that’s got it to where it is, especially in these chaotic times.
There’ll be lots more changes to come too with adventures in veg growing and digging out a special vegetable bed but I’ll save that for a separate post. For now, I’m just appreciating the first proper spring in our garden since we moved in back in 2014. Here’s to many, many more.