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My sister's garden - a Summer blog


My sister has a magical garden. I can’t begin to tell you how lovely it is (and my photos do not do it justice) ; but I can try.

It is very long and narrow, widening out in the lower half. There is a field area (now colonised by grasses and trees) which was once long ago a tennis court. Since then it has been “gardenised”, then left to run wild, then reclaimed and now naturalised. My sister works full-time plus, so at this time of year the nettles appear to be winning the battle. But not the war.

She is passionate about wildlife and wild flowers. Her garden is refuge to owls, red squirrels, frogs, toads, newts, hedgehogs, bats, robins which feed from her hand – indeed too many kinds of bird to list. I was there today and as ever, totally captivated by such a shady, secret place full of so many beautiful plants, both cultivated and wild (but all cherished).

I offer these pictures, but as I said before, they cannot convey the peace, sound and scents of such a beautiful place. It is a most wonderful, shady haven, with pools of sunlight which move throughout the day.

To enter the garden, you have to duck down under a low wide arch weighed down by an old rose. This is the sight that greets you :

There are so many treasures in this border – lilies, aquilegias, peonies and a variety of clematis against the fence, wonderful tall alliums and two huge tree lilies amongst others I cannot remember (I should have written a list!)

This is the pond, reluctantly but necessarily netted-up against marauding herons (there are a lot locally). Again, the photo does not do justice, alas… I enjoyed seeing the koi carp, and saw a couple of frogs swimming around, but missed the newts which join the carp at feeding time.

Further down the garden, this is where the family sit in the evenings (when the weather allows!)) around the fire basket, enjoying a barbecue or just a chat. If you kept walking through here, you would reach the further – and greater – part of the garden, but that is for another day. It has a variety of trees, and is home to the owls, bats and many birds. In that area is also the greenhouse, where very many of the plants have been grown.

This is one of two amazing acers:

Like most of us, my sister spends a lot of time working hard in her garden – results like this look as if they just happen, but they require a great deal of managing. But for me, as a visitor, it is a wonderful, peaceful place with so much to watch and see and marvel at.

I began this blog in June, and it was my intention to return and take some more pictures later in the season – there were many more plants still to flower – but… we all know about good intentions! The rest will have to wait until next year.

(Isn’t it lovely to look at early summer scenes when it is cold and wet outside?)

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melchisedec your sisters garden is beautiful... and there's more?? amazing! what to write (struggling) why,because i think all you have said in your blog really for me says it all.... if i had a garden like this (or just this part) i would be very content and happy...

please do tell your sister its perfect!!!

thank you..
ps:- i understand why you say about your photos not doing it justice...but you have taken them very well(i love so much) thank you for sharing...

6 Nov, 2013


Wat a lovely peaceful place - it must be an inspiration to you! Fantastic to have all those species of wildlife in one garden.

6 Nov, 2013


Thank you, Jane! As soon as I saw what you are doing in your garden it reminded me of my sister's. There is a lot more of the garden - I only photographed the first bit. There are lots of trees and bits in the larger part - it's very wild! I love it, but it's so big to keep on top of. To have a garden like that you have to be content to let it go its own way quite a lot. At least, you do if you also have a job!

6 Nov, 2013


Thank you, Steragram. It's a lovely place. She has bat boxes, and owl boxes and quite a lot of nesting birds,. When I was there, we saw and heard different small birds ganging up on an owl roosting in one of the tall trees. They were making a fearful noise to try and move it on.

6 Nov, 2013


i saw you mentioned there's more (i gulped ) as i was, already in awe...this to me is perfect... i look forward to seeing the rest..and i promise you i will keep coming back to take in will inspire me no end...poets would walk that path...the plants/wildlife/ and more to come wonderful...


your sister yes indeed worked really hard.

6 Nov, 2013


Plenty to drool over in your sisters garden Mel. I wonder she has time to sit and enjoy it. Ask a busy person comes to mind. Thank you for sharing.

6 Nov, 2013


what a lovely place for you to visit....looks soo inviting...:-)

7 Nov, 2013


Absolutely delightful blog, Susanne, and lovely generous comments about your sister. Which part of the country is this . . . too far for you to visit more often?

I am full of admiration for your sister's achievement - particularly for such an abundance of wildlife :))

7 Nov, 2013


It's a lovely peaceful garden where I could just dream the day away :o)

7 Nov, 2013


Oh, Mel, you are just tempting us with these wonderful pictures, making us wait until next year !
Apart from myself, my hubby would just adore this garden, especially the wild life ! We used to get every bird you could think of at Willow Cottage , but here, there are so many neighbours feeding birds, we don't get so many varieties. We have a very large pyracantha where approximately 20 sparrows lived and it was so funny to watch them shoot across the garden and then back into there again. Unfortunately, we weren't the only ones watching and one day last week a sparrow hawk dived straight at the pyracantha and the sparrows have, for now vacated their "home ".
It must be wonderful for your sister to come home from work to this beautiful garden . Tell her from me, she has done a brilliant job, as you have with the photos ! Can't wait for more !

7 Nov, 2013


Thank you so much for your lovely comments!

Yes, Scotsgran - she is an extremely busy person. I know she would say that the condition of the garden comes and goes according to how much time she has, but that is part of its nature. She has some real treasures growing there.

It is indeed inviting, Sandra - I always feel as if I'm stepping into another world.

It's actually only a couple of miles away, Sheila! You wouldn't think it's at the side of a busy road although it's set back, and outside the town. We don't get that much time together because she is so busy. We mainly chat on the phone, and email.

Thanks, Rose! I meant to go back and take some more photos, but never got round to it. I am determined to do a "Part 2" next year, though. She and I have a very similar approach to gardening, but she has much more space (and much more work!). I am amazed at the variety of plants she grows, and she's very good at seeds as well. I'm a bit too slapdash to nurture them properly. I start with good intentions but so often forget them..

I'm glad you like it, Hywel.

7 Nov, 2013


What a lovely garden, so peacefull looking, a great place to chill and gather your thoughts. You described it beautifully Melchisedec..

8 Nov, 2013


Thanks Ydd!

9 Nov, 2013


Loved this blog & the pics are great .How wonderful to have all that wildlife. I did hear some owls the other night , but can never see them. A young fox comes by every evening, it seems in good shape at the moment,tho' I wonder how it will fare when the cold weather really starts. A touch of frost last night, then a change to yet more rain!

11 Nov, 2013


Thanks, Feverfew. Plenty of rain here too this past week. We've not had any frost yet, although there has been frost a couple of miles inland. It's a bit easy to become complacent right here on the coast. I've still got some things to bring in! I wonder what sort of winter it's going to be.

11 Nov, 2013


Well, the birds here are feeding like mad, Mel . . . not sure if that's a sign of a cold winter, but no point in worrying yet . . . :))

Hope your fox survives, Feverfew (tho' don't let my friends with chickens hear me!). They seem to manage pretty well in towns these days: do you have any idea where it sleeps?

12 Nov, 2013


So peaceful! A lovely place to sit and read!!

12 Nov, 2013


Oo, Mel, what a lovely blog...and what a gorgeous garden. Your sister is a gardening goddess...with such a great attitude. I don't wonder that you love to go there. Break it to me gently, many years' labour of love has this been?

12 Nov, 2013


Thanks, Karen! My sister bought the house from my parents. After they sold up, they bought a narrowboat and spent the next 9 years cruising the canals (they had a local mooring, because the system isn't entirely open in the winter, and because everyone has to have a licence and a base somewhere). When it was Mum's garden, what had been a tennis court was like a field, kept mown, with a long hawthorn hedge (still there). Mum and my sister used to breed Miniature Schnauzers and the kennels were down near there as well. The rest of the garden was a series of smaller and narrower "rooms". They were fairly conventional, although Mum always liked self-seeders and wildflowers. She still does, though - at 87 - her gardening is pretty gentle these days. (It must be where my sister and I get our gardening style from!)

My sister has lived there for over 15 years. The garden gradually naturalised over her early years there, and she got a grip on it a few years ago. It is really over the last 5 years or so that it has become such a wonder. She would laugh and say that its fortunes rise and fall, but in truth she has worked very hard on it. Encouraging the plants to develop so naturally is a real skill. She has also done a great deal of planting, growing a lot of things from seed, both bought and collected.

I'm glad you like it!

13 Nov, 2013


Oh my goodness, Mel, what a woman, your mum! Leaving that wonderful garden to go and live on a narrow-boat - that takes some doing! (Don't tell my OH...he has a hankering for doing that...)
And how wonderful that your sister was able to take over. I think she must love it very much.
And I think that you're both very lucky that you've inherited your mum's style! :)

14 Nov, 2013


Thanks, Karen. Sadly, Dad died nine years ago a few years after they left the boat. Mum lives in a Park Home very close to my sister's house. (She can see the trees at the bottom of the garden). She's pretty indomitable - still driving and walking her dog. The narrowboat was beautiful - it was called Colonel Bogey. I used to love visiting and meandering along the canals. It's a very hard life, though. Water has to be taken on board every few days, and the waste has to be pumped out at special pumping stations. Some locks are extremely heavy. There's very little storage space, so shopping is a regular activity, sometimes involving a long walk. They went all over the country - into Wales and down onto the Thames. They adored it and it certainly kept them fit.

14 Nov, 2013


It's wonderful, isn't it? She's just sent me a photo of some amazing double hellebores that she has - they are really beautiful. She works crazy hours, but she has some time off coming up, so I guess she'll be outside most of next week, weather permitting.

8 Mar, 2014

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