Gardening on a Grand Scale

Week one in the Manor House and already we’re quite frazzled. It seems our favourite telecommunications company have lost the ability to communicate between themselves leaving this flummoxed journalist with no broadband for days. Panic does not cover the first twenty four hours, however after this I decided to use the time unable to work to fix something within my control, the sprawling gardens that have not been tended to for over 5 years!

Fancy a Kick about?

Luckily the grass has been mowed on the two lawns providing a perfect play area for the children. Admittedly the swing set and playhouse are still in pieces; however they can kick a ball about. As you know our last home housed a few acres of landscaped gardens, perfectly manicured and beautiful for walking but there was not one spot for rolling, running or playing football!

The grass is bordered by every weed imaginable and after some great exercise with a hedge trimmer this week I found that some wonderful plants lie beneath. It saddens me to think of what may have been lost due to negligence. The neighbour tells me that it used to be a gardeners paradise before the last tenants and as I discover a castor oil, a bird of paradise and a sunken water feature I can almost imagine it.

Weeds, Weeds Everywhere!

The weeds are a mixture of nettles, thistles, ivy and brambles. The lawn is awash with creeping buttercup which is great as a nitrogen fix but a hassle to dig out if we want to use the rotavator on one patch of grass for a vegetable patch.  We’ve treated the nettles with weed killer but I’ve taken the hedge trimmers to the brambles as some were even covering the view from the windows!

I know this isn’t a permanent solution yet it did give a little instant gratification as they fell to the floor revealing paths and walkways as well as plants that have survived. There are ornamental grasses and even an herb garden holding very woody sage, chives and mint. Not surprisingly the mint has engulfed most probably killing off rosemary and thyme!

Hardy Herbs!

The sage will unfortunately have to be dug up as it has reached the end of its lifespan. Sage should be replaced every five years, chives divided annually, mint should be kept in a container –so it doesn’t take over, and parsley should be re-sown every two years.

As we treated the nettles two weeks ago some are already dying back and have revealed some other wonders. There’s actually a ravine with a viewing platform that has been used by the local tramps as it’s full of vodka bottles and wrappers that I don’t wish to discuss! There’s also a natural spring and pond although it took a while for us to realise it wasn’t just a boggy mess!