A View from the Top

It’s August, which for me signals the move from “mid-summer” to “high-summer”. I’m not quite sure what the official difference is as it’s still summer, but “high” summer has the feeling of long lazy days, light blue skies, wispy white clouds and sultry evenings. It’s the last chance to have some heat before the descent into autumn and the end of the season. If only the weather would realise what season it’s supposed to be and act like it.

As another weather front blows in and agitates the pine trees, I’m sat having a sort-of pause from heavy garden work. There are things on the “to-do” list as two more bulk-bags of well-rotted manure are sat, waiting on the drive, as is a bulk bag of gravel and there is a large bag of vine eyes to extend the wire run on the house for the Wisteria and Banksiae rose. Those jobs can wait for a little longer as I’m quite happy taking some time out to go through pictures of “then” and “now”.

This blog centres on transforming the new garden one border at a time and that’s generally how we’ve worked. Border by border, beginning from those around the house and working out into the garden we have systematically created, rejuvenated, overhauled and re-imagined, all according to a vague and shifting plan in my head. Two years of persistent work in the garden has built up and worked wonders. In two years we’ve gone from a plain grass garden that’s the same as countless others, to something quite special all of itself.

Two years ago the view from the bedroom window that looks out over the back was nice, but rather monotone.

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This is actually after rather a lot of work had already been done on reclaiming the lower terrace, filling out the Nomadic Patio Pot collection, reigning in many overgrown shrubs and cutting down a great deal of rubbish at the back, oh and cutting the grass.

At this early stage I had already scribbled down the master plan on a piece of notepad paper and was beginning to lay it out in the garden with stout sticks. I must say that the grass does look good from above and at this farther distance, but it doesn’t live up to the hype down at ground level.

Fast forward a couple of years and now when those same curtains upstairs are drawn back on a morning, this is what we see:

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The view is rather changed. It’s hard to imagine that it could ever have been a blank canvas. I can’t even begin to recall the number of bulk bags, barrow-loads, hours digging, spading, edging, tilling, mixing, sculpting, planting and weeding that have had to happen to get this far and in some ways it doesn’t matter because you can’t argue with the results.

The garden has been transformed but we’re a long way from finished yet. The completed borders cover about a third of the garden, adding in the half of the semi-circular border (still under wraps) makes this half, the remaining half is still either grass, scrub or piles of rubbish and the next stage will be to clear that back to a workable canvas so the same transformation can happen with this.

That’s all in the not-too-distant future but for the moment, I’m happy to gaze out of the window and wonder over what’s already been achieved.

14 Comments


  1. What an amazing “before” and “after” photo, Sunil. Although I realize the “after” is still a work in progress. But whan I think back to your first postings after buying the property, you must be proud of the progress you’ve made already. Your new beds look amazing and have grown so much since last September!. Sit down and relax with a good glass of wine and pat yourselves on the back!

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    1. Hello Lynn, I like to regularly go back and look over the old pictures and wonder where we started from. These three borders are several times the combined size of the borders in the previous garden. The scaling-up has been tackled head-on!

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  2. You really have done an amazing amount of work! I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with the wet area in the back. If you want asclepias incarnata seeds, I’ll gladly mail them over. They would do well in the moist soil.

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    1. Hello Tammy, depending on how the weather stays, we might even be able to start laying out that part of the garden, at least with sticks at first (like in the first photo). As it’s high summer, that area is dry down to a few inches, but there is moisture underneath that might keep bog plants happy until the rains start.

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  3. Woo hoo! Give yourselves (because I am sure the other half helped out on this project!) pats on the back. It is magnificent – and you need to get yourself in the yellow book asap. It’s genuinely lovely, Sunil.

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    1. Hello Mrs Mac, thank you, the garden definitely isn’t ready for the Yellow Book yet as it’s less than half-done, but there’s no doubt that an open garden is what I am aiming for. It is several years away though but it’s already looking good at the start.

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  4. You have really transformed that space Sunil! It looks beautiful. Seeing it all at one go, it becomes obvious what great amount of work that you have done.

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    1. Hello Alain, thank you, it had been a great deal of hard work and there is plenty more to come, but the results and transformation from a plain grass garden speak for themselves.

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  5. An incredible transformation. The view of your garden makes me want to step out and wander among the flowers.

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    1. Hello Jason, we’ve had Lynn, we’ve had Tammy, it’s your turn next!

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  6. Hello Sunil – you are absolutely right to stand and stare and congratulate yourselves. What a transformation! It’s great that you took before photos, because as gardens mature, it’s very easy to forget what they were like prior to all that hard work. I’m delighted that you are taking time out to enjoy your garden. What a success story!

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    1. Hello Sarah, we’re still on a bit of a a break but we’ve got a few small things lined up for the rest of the season that will give us get a head start on what we have planned for 2017!

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  7. Wow! What an amazing transformation. It must be very satisfying to look out at that beautiful view and know that it is your own vision and creation.

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    1. Hello Jean, when I get chance to sit down and think about it, there is a sense of amazing transformation to the point where I just can’t imagine it as being all grass as it once was, given it was two years ago now.

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