Here’s a copy of my gardening column from the February issue of Eastlife Magazine, which is a fabulous magazine all about ‘Living life in the East’.  The full version of the magazine can be viewed online at www.eastlife.couk

IMG_7805We are making such incredible progress with the restoration and remodeling of Percy Kane’s secret seaside garden.  As I walk the garden marveling at all the fresh new shoots adorning shrubs we planted in the autumn, I am often staggered by how much we have done in a relatively short amount of time.  With a bigger budget and more pairs of hands I am sure we would have achieved much more, yet the journey would have been far less rewarding.

By the time you read this we will have planted 64 Hidcote lavenders (Lavendula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’) and a few dozen hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) and Pyracantha coccinea ‘Red Column’ bare root hedging plants.  The lavenders are the finishing touch to four of the rose squares which are now home to specimen trees.  The hawthorn and pyracantha are filling a few gaps in a very old boundary hedge.  I also reached a final decision on a clematis to adorn the old apple tree; a Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’ now nestles at the base ready to weave its way up and around the trunk and into the old branches once the days start to warm.  Given the sunny position this old tree sits in, the warmth of the sun should bring the heady ‘Apple Blossom’ scent to life at the end of a long summer’s day.  And being semi-evergreen it will offer a little interest to the tree during the winter months.

Our next project for the garden is to plant out a small orchard.  This will serve two purposes; firstly it will soften up an oddly irregular corner of the garden, but more importantly it will be the first functional part of the garden, beyond the not quite so exciting composting area!  As well as apples, pears, cherries and plums, I was also keen to introduce a walnut tree.  They are such a delicious nut and a nutritional powerhouse, however at 30 metres high and with a 10 year wait until the first crop, I am struggling to justify a place for one in our mini orchard.  However, I have not give up all hope of one just yet.


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