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Secret Places

Lili says:
In June 1998 we bought our four bedrooms detached home in a new estate. The garden at the front was lawn, badly done, and very lumpy with large stones hidden underneath. The back garden had soil with stones and weeds galore in it. It was a big task ahead.
Firstly I planted several conifers along the bottom of the back garden to hide the building behind our six foot fence.
We then arranged for a friend to lay a circular patio, winding path down the rear of the garden, and a shed was erected at the botttom.
We had a lot of fencing to paint and we coloured it all in Autumn Red. I remember painting it in the late evening so to finish just a bit more. It was hard work!
Eventually with the help of a friend the garden was turfed. It looked very nice, but the soil underneath was so awful that the grass was nearly always muddy, so we decided to change the garden from grass to gravel.
In May 2001, I had started to cover the grass and lay out a small path. My daughters helped to distribute the gravel and put up an arch. My husband bought a new pine bench, and we had a nice sitting area. I bought lots of plants and my husband put them in for me because I was recovering from an operation at that time.
Gradually we covered the one side, which I called Garden Two. For Garden One, I made an arch with three pieces of trellis six foot long, by one foot wide, and painted it with walnut stain. Underneath we placed a nice bench and matching table. We now had another seating area, and one where my friends like to sit and chat with me.
I have hundreds of plants, mainly from the local garden centres, but some are from my previous home or are from other places. Lots of different stones have from places I have visited, and they will eventually be used as a feature somewhere in the garden.
I have no set pattern and have mixed plants, shrubs, flowers and pots all over the garden.
The top of the garden is a quiet place, my sister has already given me ideas, my favourite must be a herb garden. I already have some herbs, but it would be nice to be surounded by them and their scent. So that is my aim, and we will get started as soon as the weather improves. We will be making a pagoda in the far corner of the Garden Two as the sun ends there, this will be another place to sit.

My Secret Garden

Having little time these days to spend on the garden my sister Rose came up with the idea of a Herb Garden. My garden is sectioned into three and the back of the garden is waiting to be done. The top area, Garden three, will be a retreat, somewhere quiet to sit. This area is hot in summer, but it has a lot of shade from the large conifers at the bottom which hide the view behind. I have made a start on the garden but until the weather improves not much can be done. The garden will be enclosed by fencing andd will have an entrance and over this entrance will be a trellis/arch made from bamboo. I will buy a minimum of six pieces about six or seven feet high and use garden twine to piece it together. I might make smaller pieces to put in between to help climbers grow over it. I will be using slate stepping stones, all shapes and shades to create a path and this will start in a line and go around in a circle in the middle of the garden where I have planted a silver birch tree. More stepping stones will lead to the sitting area, which is facing the entrance. I will place a plastic arch over the seat and add scented climbers mixed with ivy. The seat will probably stand on three of four slabs. Lots of pots with herbs will be placed around the sitting area. I will place a large mirror behind the seat attached to the fence to create an effect of a large garden whereby it will be really quite a small area. The curved path which goes all around the inner side of the garden will probably be made of pea gravel and herbs will be buried in the path to create a nice smell when walked on.
The four circular parts of the garden will be full of plants, lots of swet smelling herbs and shrubs, I will probably purchase another eucalyptus gunni which looks attractive and smells really nice as well. I have already got apple blossom in the garden not far from the seat. I will use only gravel in this garden to make it easier to work on, no more mowing! This will be my final grass area to change and I find that lots of my plants that didn't survive before are now doing fine. So far everything in the garden seems to be OK.
After all the planting is done I will continue to add plants, and items into the garden. I fancy a little table to place a fruit bowl on so that it can be filled with water, stones or pebbles, plants and essential oils. Today I have added a new wind chime in the shape of a treble Clef and I have sent one to my sister for her garden. When the wheelbarrow is finished with I will paint it and plant lots of flowers in it. I will add a small rockery somewhere and add different coloured grasses. I will also have pots of grasses here and there in the garden.
The garden should be quite cheap to do, and very low maintenance. To get it started you will need black membrane to cover the grass, picket fencing, bamboo for the arch/trellis entrance,path edging, stepping stones, a bench, large arch, three/four slabs, gravel, Pea gravel, a tree or large shrub for the centre, pots of all shapes and sizes and plants of your choice.
Good Luck!

Garden Plan
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