Home garden Our garden in April – The mixed blessings of storm Katie

Our garden in April – The mixed blessings of storm Katie

by Clare Mansell
Our garden in April – The mixed blessings of storm Katie

As another season of growing begins I am hoping to look back on this summer as being the year we finally took control of our garden and made it ours. What a journey it has been since we first set eyes on this house 8 years ago. We’ve felled four trees, refenced almost the entire perimeter of the plot, ripped out 15 metres of hedging, laid 100 metres of turf, built a raised bed and planted or replaced countless shrubs.


This year we’ve started work in the garden earlier than any other year when Jim planted 20 metres of privet hedging along our southern boundary replacing the messy unattractive hedging we pulled out three years ago.

The original work was a pig of a job which involved removing endless tree stumps, a concrete pillar, heaps of bramble, bricks and rubble. You may wonder why we took a hedge out only to replace it with another, but the whole area needed clearing and it gave us a chance to put in a healthier and more attractive hedge.


I speculated when we removed it that living without a hedge on the coast may prove to be rather breezy and I was right! My dad pointed out that if you draw a line south-westerly from our garden is there is actually very little between us and South America, so that may explain it!

We looked at several options and of suppliers and variety, needing a hedge that was evergreen, quite dense, suited a coastal location and an exposed spot and eventually we settled on Privet. The place where we had bought hedging from before online wanted £180 for 75 bare root plants, but Jim found 100 plants from a seller on eBay for £68. We were very wary, but figured even if half of them died we would still be quids in, so we bought them and they are healthy and green!


It’s strange, but having even those spindly little plants seems to make a diference. The garden feels more enclosed in a positive way. Apparently privet is one of the fastest growing hedges, which will mean we have to stay on top of it, but also means it should be a proper hedge in two years (so they say)

Elsewhere in the garden we lost our biggest shrub to Storm Katie a few weeks ago. I was very sad, but quickly realised it gave us a great opportunity to start afresh in the flower bed it had dominated and having floundered around not knowing what I like in a garden, a friend of mine introduced me to this brilliant book which I now use as my bible..


The empty bed where the shrub we lost was is looking a bit sad at the moment. We are attempting to get some New Zealand flaxes growing in it. They were transplanted from Jim’s aunt’s garden at Easter, but aren’t looking terribly happy at the moment. If they don’t take, we shall just have to buy some ready potted, but it’s worth a go…


Elsewhere in the garden our Camelia and Spanish broom are in full flower and looking spectacular. A neighbour of ours also gifted us some pots recently so I’ve been planting out hosta (a favourite of mine) Hebe, Bay, Allium and Cordyline.


We still have one long empty bed by the back of our house. I’m planning on planting grasses there, but for the moment it’s just making a really good spot for digging…


Are you working on any garden projects this year?

Linking up with Annie

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Donna April 20, 2016 - 8:29 pm

We are planning an extension and after that we’ll work on the garden. I remember reading about your garden being a labour of love – it looks beautiful and I will always love your garden room x

Kriss April 22, 2016 - 10:59 am

What a beautiful location! Although Storm Katie was very naughty taking your shrub off with her, it sounds like you’re using it as an opportunity to redesign and replant.

chickenruby April 22, 2016 - 3:46 pm

it’s a shame it’s so windy, that view is spectacular, good look with the new hedge row

Annie April 23, 2016 - 12:47 pm

Sorry to hear about you losing your shrub, we lost a few roof tiles ourselves.

Nice find with the ebay hedging – I must admit I’ve not used ebay for ages, must make a note to remind me to check on there when I come to buy the Eglu I have on my May list.

The posts looks lovely all lined up – such happy Spring colours!

Thanks ever so much for joining in 🙂

Bear and Cardigan April 26, 2016 - 5:57 pm

You always have to keep a spot for digging! Gardening is quite often trial and error, I look forward to seeing your garden in the summer.#hdygg

Rosie @greenrosielife April 27, 2016 - 6:08 am

I reckon you definitely need to leave a spot for digging!

nessjibberjabberuk April 28, 2016 - 10:26 am

I had great plans for the garden this year but then we got the allotment in November. Even this week’s plans have been halted due to snow! I’m wondering if hedges would be a better option than fencing at the allotment.


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