Hortus Horribilis

The last couple of days I’ve been out in the garden. Taking advantage of a ray or two of sunshine, knowing it won’t last.

So I thought it was time for a bit of a guided tour. To show you just what an uphill task we’ve got..



This is the ‘formal’ part of the garden. Above the patio there are beds on three levels, but you wouldn’t know it right now. They are totally overgrown and this wet summer hasn’t helped me one bit.

Brace yourself though, because it’s going to get worse.



The top of this bank is higher than the house roof. I need crampons just to stay up.

But imagine colourful perennials, reaching away in tiers as far as the eye can see. Could be spectacular? Well here’s the rub:



Right along the bank someone has laid down chicken wire. This is not weeding, it’s keyhole surgery. Need to dig out a root ball? Forget it.

Presumably it is there to stop the earth from falling away but if the heaps of soil at the bottom are to go by, it just doesn’t work. Wire cutters have joined the tool kit in my trug, alongside the hand fork and secateurs. Where I find good strong plants with binding roots I’m now just cutting the chicken wire away.

That hole is home to a mouse. Or several. I may be mentioning them again.



Surrounding the clearing in which the house stands the land gives way to wild and untamed woodland, sloping steeply down the side of the valley.

The hard surface going through is part of the drive.



At the bottom of the slope, a small river forms the southern boundary of our land.

We can hear it but not see it. And getting anywhere close to it is where the machete comes in..


2017-11-06T20:35:29+00:00August 23rd, 2012|Tags: , |


  1. Josephine August 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    The hilly terrain , makes your cottage home looks like a hidden gem, all tucked away and cocooned from the outside world.
    Magical !

    • Jessica August 23, 2012 at 8:10 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jo. It WILL be great, one day. That’s what I keep telling myself…!

  2. Simone August 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    It think it is an idylllic garden! I would love it. You will never have time to be bored!!! (Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog).

    • Jessica August 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Simone. If the rain had only held off a bit longer I could have dug up more of the weeds, rather than just sat here and watched them grow. The downside of moving west!

  3. Oma August 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Looks like an enchanted garden but very hard work. I hope you’re young enough to do it because it would be too much for me, sadly. I think I would excavate the hill at the back of the house a bit, otherwise you might find you have damp problems! Shame about the chicken wire. You’d probably be better off with marran grass of alchemila mollis or something that will bind the soil together. I’d take professional advice on that. Despite the work, it is very very pretty.

    • Jessica August 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      I THOUGHT I was young enough, beginning to wonder… at least I should have no trouble making the 2 hours a week, or whatever the latest advice is on how much exercise we should all take. Will Google camellia cuttings and let you know.

I'd love to hear from you..