It is ten years since the following words of mine appeared in our excellent village newsletter in Tollerton:
‘Call me sad, but I am an obsessive gardener and I have always wanted a gardening column. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Alan Titchmarsh or Pippa Greenwood but the chance to share my successes (few) and failures (many) with other gardeners and for them to share their experiences with the rest of us seems to me to be a worthwhile and harmless exercise in this increasingly complicated world’.
In March 2002 our pond (pictured in 2011) at Charnwood had just been re-sited at the front of the house, we had several tonnes of farmyard manure delivered, I was looking for heron deterrents (no change there) and the ‘south garden’ to the side of the house was being planned. It was the year the Euro was introduced, ‘A Beautiful Mind’ won the Oscar for best film and the winter Olympics had just ended in Salt Lake City. My Dad always used to say that the older you get, the faster time flies, as usual he was right. Ten years – incredible!
Your response to my humble scribblings has always been marvellous and very much appreciated, thank you. To mark this auspicious anniversary I am working on a book of edited ‘Kate’s Cuttings’, beautifully illustrated by Kevin Pyke’s gorgeous photographs of Charnwood through the seasons, many of the phtots on this website are his. All being well it will be on sale when we open the garden through the NGS this year on the afternoons of 6 and 7 May. More on that next month.
As I write this mid February there is snow on the ground. But the garden still provides some cheer – snowdrops, winter aconites, a variegated holly and the evergreen Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ all look good. The Viburnum smells lovely, to me of nutmeg. I pop a few bulbs in pots in the greenhouse each autumn to bring them on a bit and to lift the spirits early in the year and a tete a tete daffodil has just come into flower. This is one of the best early dwarf daffodils; it increases happily and looks good in almost any setting. I have it in generous clumps between some clipped box at the front of the house and it lasts for ages unlike some of the grander, more ornamental varieties. Don’t forget that if you buy pots of spring bulbs, daffodils, hyacinth or crocus for the house, you can plant them out in the garden after they have flowered. Cut the dead flower off, give it a good water and a feed if you have some handy and plant it twice the depth of the bulb, perhaps in a bare patch of soil under a shrub; with luck it will delight you for years.
Thank you once again for reading this blog: there is no way I would still be writing it if it were not for your kind words and encouragement. And remember, your garden is there for you to enjoy so don’t worry about a few weeds or an untidy hedge. In the words of the incomparable Derek Jarman: ‘If a garden isn’t shaggy, forget it’.