The Butchery Garden – 3

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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.

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21 thoughts on “The Butchery Garden – 3

  1. Once you get the allotment (almost ready for Spring planting??) shipshape, and your own garden, and then this one (Whew – lot of work) – well by early Summer (?) you should be able to have everything on schedule and then maybe you can think about adding another customer (and maybe be able to hire someone on an “as needed” basis to help with the scut work)…you can perhaps, in a year, have a nice little gardening business.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Why not yank the oleander out? It’s everywhere out here. It grows like crazy and makes for a good hedge or divider, but it’s poisonous.
    I love Wisteria! I just wish it bloomed longer!
    If you’ve got pictures of plants that you can’t ID, send them to me & I’ll try the app.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gardeners like Oleander here. We have a request to uproot two in the back garden as it is and repot for the front of the house. Thanks l ‘ll keep that in mind. I need to take the Canon 700 with me and snap the tricky plants because the Canon Ixus isn’t getting the image right due to a poorer zoom. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Such a toxic plant. Bad for humans and pets. I guess familiarity breeds contempt in me.🤷🏼‍♀️ They’re everywhere and I hate them. Especially since every single part of the plant is poisonous.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think there is a difference to a garden that hasn’t got children or pets to one that has and the mindfulness and awareness that travels with it.

        When Suze and l finally manage to clear the garden free of the overgrowths and finish off the prunings our next stage is to suggest new shrubs and plantings l think by that time which will be later winter and early spring we can make healthier suggestions for their garden 🙂


  3. It sounds like OUR garden except you actually seem to be managing to work on it. I really can’t anymore. I used to — even three or four years ago, but I can’t now. And those “invasive species” are horrific and well beyond my capabilities even years ago. I believe our driveway was originally a seasonal stream and they just paved it over — and our water table is very high and the well head is right next to the garden. The one job we pay for to have trees that look like they want to root in the well removed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Marilyn 🙂

      Managing invasive species is and can be hard work, l agree. The sheer prolificacy and overall hardiness they have for survival l find astonishing. I once told a friend who was complaining about the fact that his garden was full of weeds [luckily mainly blossomed ones] that he couldn’t keep his ornamentals alive then trim the wild ones 🙂

      Now he has a country-like garden, and he is happier, and the pollinators love him.

      It can be hard work and tiring. This year l felt a lot more tired than last year when l was already exhausted.


      1. We have root systems for plants here that can drive and dive deep also, if you tried to get them out, you would be digging craters into people’s lawns and gardens which doesn’t tend to go down that well 🙂


      2. And here, where what we humorously call “earth” is all roots and rocks, you often CAN”T did that deep. I’ve never figured out how anyone thought this was a good farming area. It really isn’t. The soil is hard, rocky, and not rich. It’s doubly hard to get anything to grow than it is most other places.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. One of the problems significant to Sandwich is the high water table and also how many of the courtyard gardens aren’t actually that deep especially ornamental flower beds. Sandwich is a town built on rubble and water and reclaimed silt lands – tricky at times digging down deep.


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