Wednesday, 18 November 2009

My journey with the garden......

When we moved here nearly eight years ago, I did not have any grand plan for the garden. The only thing I knew for sure, was that I wanted a sanctuary for wildlife. I read books, watched gardening programmes, and thought a lot. In the end I became so confused I decided to garden 'Cheryl's way.' If a plant, tree or shrub had something to offer wildlife, I would buy it. And so my journey began........ I would come home with a car boot full of plants and bareroot trees and then wonder where I would put them.
I love beech and knew I could never let it grow to it's full size. So one of my first plantings was the beech hedge, to guide you into the little copse.

There were a few small trees left, so I planted them in a corner of the garden and clipped them each year. What I never realised is how I would love their changes. From the pale green of Spring.....to the deeper green of summer......and then when autumn came, they would catch me out and stir my emotions with their wonderful hues. In winter, the leaves turn brown, and stay with the tree, reluctant to leave......giving cover and shelter to wildlife.
Rosa rugosa was my next buy and another hedge planted. You must be ruthless with this plant initially cutting it almost to the ground....if you do not you will end up with a weak and spindly shrub. The blooms satisfy the bees and birds feed on the hips during the colder months.
In summer it's sweet perfume would catch me and I could not walk by without taking a deep breath to inhale the heady fragrance. In autumn the leaves turn a beautiful buttery yellow. Each gift offered by nature, teaching me the wonders of each plant.
Thr first time I saw Mahonia Charity I was hooked. The pretty flowers with their sweet lily-of-the-valley fragrance....I could not resist. I bought six plants, and did not feel guilty. During the cold months the blooms would feed the bees that had woken up on a warm winter day.
I did not realise it at the time, I was creating the 'bones of the garden.'

Giving it structure and form.

Grasses feature heavily here. Birds gather in them during autumn and use the feathery heads to line their nests in spring.

I love them when they are frosted......
Ivy climbs fences, trees, obelisks.....you can never have 'too much' , if you love wildlife......

As each year passes I learn a little more........I am growing with the garden.
Mistakes are made, I live with them and learn to love them........

Winter is nearly upon us.........but there is always a little something to surprise and lift the spirit.........a garden is a journey and it never ends....plans wait in the wings, exciting ideas, giving pleasure during winter evenings....... I am planning, ideas fill my mind and excite me. I am happy, my garden makes me happy........

How about you?????





31 comments:

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

Cheryl,
You have a beautiful garden with so many lovely plants and flowers. I can just imagine how happy it makes you to work in your splendid garden. The photos are great.

Cheryl said...

Thank you Brenda....it has been great to follow the changes in the garden. Creating a wildlife garden was a dream I thought would never come true......

Liz said...

Hi Cheryl,

I think the 'Cheryl' way is definitely the best... I am the same and garden as it comes, I never follow my plans - I get far too confused. So it's easier just to get something that's great for nature.

I can't think of anything more satisfying than knowing you're helping nature :)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Cheryl you have realized your dream. You had quite the challenge. I love the way you present your garden visitors. I get to see how our garden visitors differ and sometimes how they are the same. Of course your garden would swallow up my little plot but mine is as cherished as yours is not only by me but by wildlife which was also my goal.

I bet my rugosa rose was so pitaful because I didn't cut it back as you suggest. As you say, one lives and learns. Cheers.

beckie said...

Cheryl, I have always been amazed at what you have accomplished in such a short time. But accomplishe you have and your garden is a sanctuary for all the creatures who abide there. I am sure all over England and beyond, the birds, bees, butterflies and other critters are spreading the word of the wonderful haven for them. :)

You are right about the beech trees being beautiful no matter the season. I have always wanted one..maybe someday.

Thank you for another delightful look at your lovely garden-although it is so much more than that.

Take care dear friend!

Rose said...

Cheryl, you don't know how much this has reassured me. I have done so much planting without any real plan, and I sometimes think my garden looks like such a mish-mash. It's nice to know that you can follow your heart or vision to begin with and that eventually it will all come together.

Is that a primrose in your last photo?

Cheryl said...

Hi Liz......One does not need perfection to have a beautiful garden.....as you know I do not do perfection, it tends to be boring. Whilst my garden is a mish mash I love it and the creature that inhabit it....

Have a good rest of the week.....

Cheryl said...

Hi Lisa.....size is not important. As I have said to you many times, smaller gardens have an intimacy that you can never achieve with a larger plot. I do miss my other garden sometimes.......

Cheryl said...

Beckie....you are always so kind when you speak of the garden, tku.

I am sure one day you will have the beech hedge......just keep it in your mind, a little dreaming never hurt anyone. My garden is full of dreams and slowly they are materialising......

Have a good rest of the week......hope you and yours are well.......

Cheryl said...

Hi Rose....Rome was not built in a day. When I have read about your new beds etc, I have thought to myself, Rose is doing what I did. It will come together, of that I am sure. One day you will stand there, look at it and think "I have done it, I've made a garden." You are following your heart and that is the most important thing......

Yes it is a primrose.....a native and one that I cherish....it is very early......the temperatures here are high for the time of year, and woken many of them up!!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Cheryl, it's all good! ;-) Enjoyed reading your garden journey. But, what do you mean? There are ways to garden OTHER THAN getting a bunch of plants and then figuring out where they should go???? Huh??? (Though I think of it as the Minca way, but that's just a trifle!) :)

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

Hi Cheryl, Thank you for visiting my blog. Yes, you may print my Child's Thanksgiving for your grandchild.

Cheryl said...

Hi Monica....could we comprimise and call it the 'Cheryl and Monica's way....or maybe the Monica and Cheryl's way!!

I know people who test their soil, find the most suitable plant for that soil.....never buy on impulse...etc etc........it is good to know some garden as I do, chaotically......

Cheryl said...

Thank you Brenda, I appreciate that very much.....

Susan said...

A garden is best when it comes directly from the soul without a lot of forethought. And as the seasons come and go, you find yourself with a thing of beauty created by your own hands.

Mimi said...

I love the fact that you are not shy about including grasses. I really think they are lovely!

Cheryl said...

Absolutely Susan, I could not agree more....

Hi Mimi....grasses are not used enough as far as I am concerned.....I just love their movement on a breezy day......

Q said...

Dear Cheryl,
Your garden is a work of art. With each season it changes and each day it is different.
My gardens also bring much joy.
I love walking in your garden.
Thank you,
Sherry

Wendy said...

My garden makes me happy too! It keeps me alive and nourishes my soul.

Your Garden journey is a beautiful one. One you can be proud of! I too like a "natural garden". Somehow it just feels right. Your primrose at the end looks so pretty and fresh!

Gail said...

Cheryl, beautifully written and reading it causes a deep resonance within me! Thank you!

We have a park nearby where beeches grow on the hills~~they are holding tightly to their browned leaves and shimmer in the slightest breeze...I love them.

I liked what you said to Rose~"One day you will stand there, look at it and think "I have done it, I've made a garden." You are following your heart and that is the most important thing..."

gail

Racn4acure said...

Look where your wonderful vision has ended up, the joy it has created for you and the home it has created for so many creatures. Art

Cheryl said...

Dear Sherry....tku, the wonderful thing about blogging is that it opens so many gardens up to us.
I enjoy each and everyone I visit.....I learn a lot to.
Hope your weekend is full of fun......

Cheryl said...

Hi Gail....tku for reminding me about the movement in a garden. I love the rustle of the leaves.....we have strong winds at the moment and my bamboo are making some very musical sounds......

Cheryl said...

Tku Art....you are way too kind.......

Roses and Lilacs said...

Perhaps I'm wrong, but it seems to me you can't learn to garden by reading or listening. You have to dig right in and do it. There will be mistakes but there will also be successes that others will tell you can never work;)
Manrie

marmee said...

cheryl,

i love hearing of your first thoughts of your garden...some days i just stand there wondering what i am going to do with my front yard. i need brut strength to dig up all that i want so i just plod along the best i can and little by little it will be done.
gardening is definitely a journey as you have said before and i love seeing and being a part of your journey.
happy days in november.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Cheryl, Thanks for sharing a little about how your gardens have come about. I often think I'm not a 'real' gardener, because I don't 'plan' things out...I just see something I like, buy it, and find a place for it! There have been times, of course, when I've gone out to look for a few specific plants, but generally, I'm a spontaneous kind of person! I like your haven for the wildlife, and so do they;-)

Meems said...

Dear Cheryl,
We do grow with the garden... making our blunders and learning as we go. It is a wonderful journey that never ends. I like the 'bones' you have chosen... they offer so much in the way of structure and color and best of all supply for the wildlife.
Meems

elfine said...

merci pour cette belle promenade dans votre jardin. Pareil à la chanson: "Un jardin extraordinaire"

elfine said...

merci pour cette belle promenade dans votre jardin. Comme dit la chanson "un jardin extraordinaire"

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Cheryl,

You garden from the heart, with your hands in the dirt, becoming a part of your surroundings. I think that is the best way to garden. Sure you may make some mistakes, but you become so much closer to nature than trying to garden according to "the book" or a design class that someone else has decided is the "right way".