Me - Is this a weed?
Paul - A weed is anything growing somewhere that you don't want it to.
Me - I'm not sure it works like that.
Paul - Oh.
Me - Should we buy a gardening book?
Paul - I've got one.
Me - Have you read it?
Paul - I think I might try and grow beetroot.
Me - Have you read it? And we don't eat beetroot.
Paul - I've looked at it. And I quite like beetroot now and again.
Me - We might need to go a step further than looking and do some actual reading. Let's not grow beetroot.
Paul - Yeah. Let's grow lettuce.
Welcome to the scintillating conversations that are occurring a little too frequently in our house, right now. Perhaps a better title for this blog post would be, 'Is this what happens when you turn 40?' Is this what happens when you turn 40? Do you know? Do gardens start to feature more than going out? Weeds more than wine? Saying that, I tried Welsh wine for the first time last summer and it was delicious so ... just hang on a minute while I google how to start a vineyard (I actually did, and now I'm thinking that it's a definite possibility - have a read).
But back to the garden.
The garden of our dreams.
The garden we dream of someone else maintaining while we enjoy it.
The garden we're going to have to quickly get to grips with so that it can stay a dream and not a nightmare.
Well, I thought I'd take you on a bit of a tour.
What do you think?
Fancy coming for a meander around the greenery with me? An amble through the orchard?
Pop your wellies on and let's go!
On one side of the house, there's probably what I would term a traditional garden. Grass, greenery, an abundance of flowers, and the most beautiful magnolia tree. It's a picturesque joy. Other than a crash course in weed versus flower identification, we don't intend to change much in this area. It's beautiful. Controversially, I’d perhaps be inclined to reduce the size of the beds and add a touch more grass for the boys to play on, but I’ll decide for sure after a couple more seasons.
If you follow the winding path through the garden, you come to a small wooden gate. Beyond it is a small, sloping field surrounded by trees and hedges. I can't see us using it very much so my plan for later in the year is to research wild flower meadows. If we mow a path, it would be amazing to walk through.
On the other side of the house is a small terrace which is the perfect place for pots and a picnic table. The interesting part in this area, is the workshop/wood shed that you can just about spot in the background. What to do with it? In the short term, I think the boys will claim it as a club house. In the long term, I'd actually like to knock it down (and the conservatory) so that we can extend the kitchen.
A few steps up from the terrace, is the vegetable patch. Before we get caught up in conversations about what to grow, can I say two words? Outdoor cinema. Would it be wrong to get rid of/relocate the veggies and transform this area to show films on warm nights? Picture sofas, cushions, a mini bar, and a projector. Wouldn't it be amazing? Could a few potatoes and the odd strawberry really complete with that? Well, according to my husband, yes they can. But the beds will need rebuilding and what we plant will need rethinking (not beetroot).
Looking downwards from the vegetable patch/outdoor cinema and slightly to the left, that's the paddock. Or should I call it the winery now? Some might picture horses grazing, my head is full of images of vines and grapes. Don't judge! Either way, it's currently the perfect plot for two little boys to spend time exploring.
A hop, skip and a jump from the vegetable patch is another terrace which is sheltered by the garage and the potting shed but will hopefully see the addition of a pergola come summer. It's our dedicated BBQ/pizza oven area and looks out on to the main stretch of lawn and the pond that I'm petrified of. I'm not a particularity squeamish or easily scared person but frogs? They terrify me. I'm trying to overcome the fear by venturing closer and closer to the pond but those slimy, hoppy legs make me want to vomit. It's a pretty feature, though.
And this is the view from below the pond, back up to the terrace.
Slightly to the left of the pond, through the gap in the fence, is a mini orchard comprising of seven trees ... five apple and two pear. The orchard is registered with The People's Trust for Endangered Species so we're really keen to look after it as best we can. I need apple and pear recipes so if you have any favourites, let me know!
Finally, while you can hop over to the paddock from the vegetable patch, there's an official path that gets you there, too. Along the way, is a stable which I think, with the addition of festoon lights and bunting, lends itself to a summer gin bar. Agree?
And that's it. The grand tour completed. What do you think?
This much outdoor space is a huge change for us and you can probably sense our excitement/nerves/complete fear. So, tell me. What would you do with it? What do you think we should do with it. I'd love to get your opinion before we settle on any concrete plans.