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..