|The Garden Restaurant|
|Wednesday 11th and a fine sunny afternoon with Suze cracking on with the bustling second flower bed.|
|The Butchery Garden|
Wednesday 11th and Friday 13th January
|Suze and l were working in the Butchery Garden last Wednesday and Friday for just over five hours for the week and working on clearing out and tidying up the flower beds. Suze would say she drew the long or wrong end of the straw, given that she is involved in the extensive clearing of the second bed, a long stretch of overgrown soil.|
The first bed she managed to tidy up in quick order the week before last. It took a few hours only, but then it wasn’t overcrowded like the second bed was and still is in the uncleared zone.
I have worked on the tidy-up of mostly the lower end of the third bed and the entirety of the fourth bed. But considering the second flower bed, three and four are much easier – well, ish.
The biggest problem with any overgrown flower beds is the inclusion of the word ‘overgrown’. Four was easy as it doesn’t have much except space to plant into.
Three is quite a long bed, and whilst it is busy regarding plant occupancy, but nothing like the second bed.
The Butchery garden is quaint and quirky if you wish to look at it romantically – but if you want to look upon it in a practical sense – it then becomes overcrowded, unorganised and awkward. The task Suze and l have is to return the garden to a more romantic vision – but with a sustainable edge.
Before our friends bought the house in the early spring of 2020, the previous owners didn’t know precisely the direction they wanted for a courtyard garden, so they threw in a little bit of this, a splash of that and a smidgen of everything else they could find. According to our friends, when they finally looked at their new garden, they found a jungle of wildly overgrown foliage and growth!
Our friends work in London, and not long after they bought the house, covid struck, and lockdowns arrived so they couldn’t travel to Sandwich easily. When eventually they could, the garden was significantly worse for wear, so they tackled the garden as best as able, but of course, more lockdowns arrived, and as they were in London for most of the time, they found that their garden fell to even more wild abandonment.
Following the lifting of the third lockdown in March 2021, they were finally able to get a handle on their garden. However, they were still working in London Monday to Friday so they decided to take on the services of a local gardener who performed well until roughly June/July 2022, when they found they could no longer do the gardening.
Suze and l viewed the garden last October and started work in early December, delayed from an earlier start due to poor weather in November. This all means that the Butchery garden had been without a gardener since mid summer, and in that time, a lot of things happened. Most of it is down to nature being able to take hold of an unattended garden.
The garden is lovely-looking, but we must address a few significant issues as best as possible:
It has a lot of grey shade caused by overgrown hedging and ivy-covered walls and buildings, causing long nutrient stealing shadows.
It is close to the underground streams of the Guestling or the Delf, meaning it has a lot of water in the ground, which is retained for more extended periods than other properties in the town after long spells of heavy rain. This is not surprising, given that history shows us that the bottom of the Butchery was a canal at one point. All the streets led down to the ‘then’ River Stour. Also, most of the new Sandwich is built on reclaimed silt beds.
It only gets rich sunny weather later in the summer. It has a bustling and heavily planted area on one side of the garden [where it is sunnier]. Many roses compete for sunlight, with shrubs wanting the same thing. Everything is also overgrown at the top of the wall height and needs a significant trim for sunlight to properly access the garden.
It has a lot of invasive wild species that need addressing and or removing.
There are many different plants in the Butchery Garden ranging from Canna Lilies, Mints running wild, salvias, roses, honeysuckles, various ivies, wisterias, mugworts, agapanthus, geraniums, mallows, oleanders, three-cornered leeks, wild garlic, avens, arums, palm leaf fig, clematis, English bluebells, winter creepers, spurges, lilacs, sedges, wildflower herbs and a host of others l am still trying to identify.
Together Suze and l have made good progress in the ten or so hours we have worked in the garden, although we probably have another ten to fifteen hours of work before we can see the light.
Once the clear-out top and bottom are completed, the garden will look completely different. It is already transforming before our eyes, but due to the extremely wet weather, it seems untidy and bedraggled much of the time. I look forward to spring when new growth will begin to emerge and paint the colours back into the canvas.
I find it above everything else, an extremely exciting challenge.
|By Friday things were starting to slowly shape up – but it is slowly. It looks way better in sunnier weathers!|
|I will write about the plants in more detail in future publishings, but in the meantime, thanks for reading and l’ll catch you next time.|
|Earthly Comfort Designs available on my Redbubble Store.|
Collections – Earthen Wurmin, Inspired By Nature and The Autistic Composter
Please Pop Along and Check Them Out.