Gardening is in my blood. I guess my first experience of this was my mum and then grandfather Jordan. He was a prolific gardener, a dairy farmer by trade and I have vivid childhood memories of both milking cows and exploring a beautiful garden at their house. If you’ve ever spent time around me all I generally want to be doing is be in the garden, be it mine or someone else’s. Being outdoors is so part of me, im not sure how i lived in a city for so long. Nothing makes me happier than being outside, and having grown up in England with constant rain, the distinct lack of it here in the US makes me appreciate every aspect of the weather here, yes even the rainy days, I just want to be outside. However it’s this time of year my patience is tested, the garden jobs are on hold, the deep snow is not conducive to productive work. When the ground is frozen it really puts things on hold.
Boxwoods going in quickly when the ground wasn’t frozen
We did have a brief respite from the cold and i managed to get the 10ft long garden bench build and ready for summer lounging. I’m so ready to be out there, spade hand working in some project or another. I also managed to get the box woods that were snapped up on sale in the ground when there was a quick thaw. They had been hiding under an old tarp wrapped around there feet(roots) to keep the frost at bag. Now there tucked up with feet firmly wrapped in the soil. There’s nothing better than being outside and working with you hands in the garden. So this time of year is the perfect time to plan and figure out what your year ahead will look like in the garden, along with getting your seedlings going.
Garden bench sketches
Some very good friends staining the bench insitu
The beginning of the potager (cut flower and veg kitchen garden). Theres a gate and fencing to be built but this was started in the autumn last year so there is spring bulbs, roses and all sorts of cut flowers coming up for spring. I want to extend it so there will be summer bulbs and vegetables as well. I’ve also been working on another design project so its got me full of ideas and raring to go. Im crossing my fingers another project comes to fruition as well. If you need a British gardener shoot me an email! My garden designs are heavily influenced by the structured english gardens, of rooms within rooms. This takes time to grow hedges and define areas so that each space feels like it has its own identity and atmosphere. Gardening is about patience and also you have to garden as if you are gardening in the same place forever. If you worry to much about how long things will take to grow then you will never do anything. This spring a new beech hedge is going to go along the bottom fence that will probably take a lifetime to grow. I wish i had planted more trees and hedges last year!!
More of Arne Potager garden
Vegetable garden heaven
So far this year I’ve added a new side gate and stone wall. This encloses the side entry garden which is shaded and is full of hostas, rhododendron and lilly of the valley, and hopefully lots of foxgloves. This creates a sense of entry to the main garden and the white border and also creates just this little shade garden and a home for any shade loving plants I have. Mostly I want to grow the holly here into a thick hedge to really screen out the road, its almost like the reception room to the main garden. Also the style of stone wall i build is scrappy but it suits the old farm house, nothing to perfect, its all part of the farming make do and mend mentality. Below you can see what I’ve been up to inside and to urge you to start your own seedlings.
Sunday oh glorious Sunday!! The ground was un frozen, I unchained myself from the renovation of the mud room (everything takes so long, the pressure to get it done in two days is unreal sometimes.) Anyway i got out the spade on Sunday, and got in a bunch of beech whips (young trees). The whole stick hedge that is part blair witch, part english charm, and mostly a necessity of budget and what I have available is going to be transformed in to a beautiful american beech hedge. I have ordered horn beam, and hawthorn whips for cold stream farm in the past and have had varying success. So in my enlightened mentality in regard to gardening like i’m gardening here forever its time to get this hedging going! So all along the bottom will be a beech hedge that will go the most wonderful rust shade in winter. Lets cross out fingers that all this rain in the north east will help it settle in. Also what is very encouraging is the 100 or so alliums that are in front of this are starting to emerge. My little allium meadow 🙂
Sign of spring are finally emerging….
This weekend. Its so encouraging to see how much fuller the side hedge is this year in comparison to last year (see below). This will be the gardens third year and i couldn’t be more excited to see how it fills out.
Last year the stems were no where near the top of the fence and this year they are all up there. I spend time re-weaving the willow back on itself and cutting it back. Everything gets trimmed and re-woven sort of in the traditional technique of hedge laying but not as dramatic. The holly’s have really filled out, with the addition of hawthorn and the viburnums are really large now.