Bird’s Eye View


A novel view of the terraces



The rusty ducks, striding out across the lawn, almost invisible from a vantage point well above their heads.



The 84 steps seem a lot less daunting when much of the vertical distance has already been achieved.



This would be an excellent opportunity for taking aim at the bunnies, should one be so inclined.



But what sort of gardener still has a dierama with dead leaves unclipped, in June?!Β And just when is she going to get on with the planting and fill in all of those gaps? The fact that these things aren’t obvious from ground level is absolutely no excuse.



So then. Did we buy a drone?

No. But readers with long memories may well have an inkling..



It would appear that another renovation project is on the cards. Sigh.


2018-06-05T09:09:10+00:00June 5th, 2018|Tags: , |


  1. Pamela Newton June 5, 2018 at 9:52 am - Reply

    Oh dear, the joys of owning an old cottage – I sympathise, as we’re about to begin on work to our chimney, the porch and the central cob section of ours. Your garden looks wonderful though xxx

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      Yes, the jobs seem to come along with frightening regularity. Good luck with yours!

  2. Penny Post June 5, 2018 at 9:57 am - Reply

    Great views. The edging to the lawn looks very posh.

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 8:09 pm - Reply

      Thanks. I’m pleased with the way the hedge has settled in. At least I was until the bunnies discovered they could find new exits by gnawing through it!

  3. grammapenny June 5, 2018 at 11:19 am - Reply

    i love the ducks striding across the lawn…. and the bunny cages.. my garden is full of them… they do pretty well for the bunnies but a groundhog knocked over a couple and ate the phlox and fall asters the other day.. arghhhh.. your garden is beautiful and such fun to see the bird’s eye view.. looking forward to the reno project. we are building a screen porch can’t wait for it to be done

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      Something has eaten most of my asters too. I can’t decide whether it was bunnies or slugs. Probably bunnies as there is nothing left by way of evidence! They don’t seem particularly inclined to grow back either. πŸ™

  4. Anna June 5, 2018 at 11:40 am - Reply

    I was thinking along the lines that a drone must be involved so sorry to hear that you’ve more work on the cards Jessica. What is that beautiful tree sporting pink flowers in the fifth photo? Great to get a birds eye view and didn’t notice that the dierama needs a cut and blow until you mentioned it πŸ™‚

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 8:23 pm - Reply

      The tree is Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’, it’s just come out over these last few warm days. The same tree as on the post’s header pic. It is a beauty. The dierama is on my list for tomorrow!

  5. derrickjknight June 5, 2018 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Wonderful perspectives putting all in context. Hope the next round of renovation is not too onerous

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      Thanks Derrick. This one isn’t too bad. Next month’s is much much worse πŸ™

  6. Mark and Gaz June 5, 2018 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    More work on the cards but it’ll all be worth it for your wonderful abode πŸ™‚ garden is looking lovely!

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 8:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks guys. The last few weeks have really brought things along haven’t they?

  7. Val June 5, 2018 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Maybe it’s because it’s been years since I’ve actively done any gardening, but I can’t see dead leaves. But wow, Jessica – that garden is really fabulous. I thought we had a great garden and view, but yours… breathtaking!

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      Sometimes I wish we had a view that wasn’t all trees! But I do love the seclusion of it, plus all the wildlife that we have sharing it with us. Well, most of the wildlife..

  8. bitaboutbritain June 5, 2018 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    Fabulous, Jessica. Maybe I haven’t been paying attention (it’s a fault of mine) but I don’t recall those views before; simply beautiful. ANOTHER project – oh no!!!

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 8:35 pm - Reply

      I took some similar shots a couple of years back, or whenever it was we last had scaffolding up. But this time I’ve had greater opportunity as the scaffolding extends around three sides of the house. The birds have started perching on it. They will miss it when it’s gone. They’ll be the only ones.

  9. FlowerAlley June 5, 2018 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    I loved this post. I enjoy your renovations, more than you do I am sure. Wonderful views of your gardens.

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      Plenty more renovation posts to come this year, if all goes according to plan.

  10. Donna@GardensEyeView June 5, 2018 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Well no wonder you are not able to get to the gardening you want to do….if I showed my gardens from above they would look great but up close just chock full of weeds and dead foliage. I love how beautiful your gardens are and all that work you have done.

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks Donna. No, it doesn’t bear close inspection here either! Wide angle is definitely the way to go. It seems everything I want to plant out has a perfect spot where big boots might wander or stuff fall from on high. But it’s summer and a good time to be outside. I hope the same is true for you across the pond!

  11. Pauline June 5, 2018 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    I think you should lie in wait up on the scaffolding with a water pistol ! Great views and everything looks wonderful, you don’t need to worry about your planting.

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 9:01 pm - Reply

      Now that’s a good idea. We still have the water pistol too from when Mike used to chase the squirrels. Still does occasionally. I’ve already identified the top of the scaffolding as a good spot for a sundowner or two. Assuming the sun comes back again.. bit chilly today!

  12. Linda from Each Little World June 5, 2018 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    I figured someone must be on the roof, but then I thought about your roof and did wonder. John Elsley, a Brit who worked at a number of major nurseries here and in the UK, once said in a talk he gave that one should always go on the roof and take some snaps. You get that view that is so different and lets you see holes and problems that you never notice from the ground. I had my husband take photos from our roof of snow melt so I could see where the sunny spots were for snowdrops. You are not alone in dead branches and leaves that have not yet been clipped. Last time i was kneeling leaf mulch and clipping brown bits off our newest yews, I got chigger bites all over my wrists β€” even with gloves and long sleeves. So I have been a little shy about where I work at the moment.

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      I had to look up chiggers. That does sound nasty. I’m getting rather worried about ticks which seem to be on the rise in the UK. They’re more likely to be carrying disease in places where deer also roam. That’ll be here then.
      It’s been interesting to compare the scaffolding pictures with the ones I took from a similar location a couple of years ago. It was a different time of year then, late summer, but I can still see that things have moved on. Which is encouraging!

  13. the veg artist June 5, 2018 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    I guessed that you were up at roof level – you’d have shown us that fabulous view before otherwise!

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      It’s almost worth having the scaffolding up.. almost! I’m waiting for the ladder to be attached to the very top level. Even better view from up there!

  14. wherefivevalleysmeet June 5, 2018 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    For a moment I thought that you must be floating over your rooftop in an air balloon! – it seems that there always something needs doing with our properties if we want to keep them warm and watertight.

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      Yes indeed. It can seem never ending sometimes. I hope your computer problems are getting resolved.

  15. Jeanne June 5, 2018 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    So this is an English Garden…how very lovely, from any perspective. πŸ™‚

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      Thank you! It’s definitely an English garden but perhaps not a typical one, not yet anyway. But I will get there eventually. If the scaffolding is still up in a couple of weeks it will look a lot better with the roses out.

  16. Caroline June 5, 2018 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    Great views! My husband has a drone and it’s great fun. And of course you don’t have to wait for scaffolding to go up to get those photos πŸ˜‰

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      It would be a great way of checking how the garden is doing. There is so much you can see from above that isn’t really noticeable on the ground. And I can just imagine what fun it would be too.

  17. justjilluk June 5, 2018 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    Is it the thatch again? Garden looks ace.

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      Gold star Jill πŸ™‚

  18. Beth @ PlantPostings June 5, 2018 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    Wow, it’s worth the renovation to get the bird’s-eye view. Well almost. That is so awesome. You are too hard on yourself about the bare patches, etc. It looks perfect to me. Also, if you find someone to take aim at the bunnies, please send them to my garden after they’re finished with yours. πŸ˜‰

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      I would gladly send someone round to help you with the bunnies Beth. It might not be soon though.. they could be fully employed here for quite some time! It comes with the territory for both of us I guess. But so frustrating given the damage they do and heart wrenching when they make a beeline for a much prized recent acquisition.

  19. Kris P June 5, 2018 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    A drone would be fun, wouldn’t it? But your scaffolding served the purpose well, although I think climbing it may have given me pause. My husband walks up on the roof quite often to check one thing or another so maybe I’ll send him up with my camera the next time. In any case, I enjoyed the aerial views of your garden! As to the bunnies, after 7 years of a bunny-free garden, they’re everywhere here – all the time! My attempts to channel Mr McGregor have been useless. My husband has urged me to purchase repellent but a) they’re everywhere and b) that didn’t help with the raccoons.

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 9:49 pm - Reply

      A drone would be great fun. I wonder how agile the things are. Do you think we could chase squirrels with one? Even if we could it’s probably illegal.
      Repellents have a mixed press here (ask me how I know). Some people swear by them and others say they are useless. I think what swings it for me is argument a) they’re everywhere. I would need a shed load of repellent. A tanker with an industrial sized spray boom as a minimum.

  20. Ali June 5, 2018 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Oh my goodness, your house and garden are beeeyooootiful!

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      You’re too kind Ali. It will be several years though before I can boast mature and well stocked borders like yours..

  21. Freda June 5, 2018 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    You have some lovely young trees! What is the one with the horizontal form in photo four, and the one on the right in photo fiv? They are beautiful, as is the rest of the garden.

    • Jessica June 5, 2018 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      Photo four… I don’t know, but I will go out and look tomorrow. It is probably a sapling of a native, most likely sycamore or some such which is what most of them are. It’s in a part of the wood I’m only just starting to develop. It may yet come out before it takes over. (I was right and wrong. It’s beech.)
      Photo five on the right is Davidia involucrata, which has frustrated me yet again this year. I bought it probably 13/14 years ago for my previous garden. I know they don’t like to be disturbed but I couldn’t leave it behind. Then it spent three years in a very large pot where it put on a bit of growth, enough to necessitate the hiring of a high top van for it alone on moving here. Every year I hope it has finally forgiven me. But I am handkerchief-less still. πŸ™

  22. janesmudgeegarden June 5, 2018 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    Wonderful to see a different perspective of your garden which looks so lush and green to me. You live in a paradise, although I guess the amount of work you have makes you wonder at times! As for filling gaps, with my much smaller garden I’m realising just how long that takes, in terms of both growth and procuring the right plants for the right spot.

    • Jessica June 6, 2018 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      You’re so right Jane, filling gaps does take a long time. As a plant collector I would much rather have a gap (= planting opportunity!) than something in the wrong place. But now that I’ve started thinking more in terms of drifts it’s easier to see how the gaps can be filled – often by dividing whatever is next to the gap and allowing it to spread. One of those gaps has been filled today with Geranium ‘Rozanne’ which I sourced for free by digging up two from elsewhere in the garden and then splitting them. That was extremely satisfying.

  23. snowbird June 5, 2018 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    Oh…how fantastic it all looks from on high!!! That lawn looks amazing! I can imagine the river view. I wouldn’t worry about the gaps, they aren’t even visible from the heights! Oh….those steps, I can imagine how tiresome they become, but a gal has to do what a gal has to do. I do hope the latest renovations aren’t too costly. Who wants to spend money on such things when it could be spent on the garden. We’ve spent a small fortune fixing this house…sighs…hope the renovations go smoothly and won’t affect the garden!xxx

    • Jessica June 6, 2018 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      Houses are so expensive. Bathrooms are getting to me at the moment. How can they possibly cost so much? And bizarrely the more minimal you want to go, the higher the price. As usual the costliest bits are those you don’t see, the stuff that is essential but hidden away. The stuff that the future buyer never sees.

  24. snowbird June 5, 2018 at 11:45 pm - Reply

    Forgot to say how beautiful that cottage of yours looks…exquisite!

    • Jessica June 6, 2018 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      Thanks x

  25. Linda June 5, 2018 at 11:59 pm - Reply

    Hi Jessica…
    View is fantastic…oh,except for the scaffolding!😬
    Your gardens look fab,as always…
    Linda :o)

    • Jessica June 6, 2018 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      I keep walking into the wretched stuff. To get to the outside tap, used umpteen times a day in summer, I have to duck under the scaffolding. I shall be black and blue by the end of it!

  26. germac4 June 6, 2018 at 5:13 am - Reply

    Wonderful views from up high …. I can’t get over how much your garden has grown since I began following your blog…. along with all your hard work and planting …. All that rain must make a difference… All those rainy days where worth it!

    • Jessica June 6, 2018 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      Perhaps they were.. I just didn’t see it that way at the time! One of the great things about having the blog is the ability to look back to this time last year or even further. It does help to see how things have grown. When it’s a gradual process happening around you it’s hard to appreciate it sometimes.

  27. Linda P June 6, 2018 at 7:36 am - Reply

    What a good opportunity to view your garden and the wooded area from on high and take photos for reference! Everything looks wonderfully green. All the best with your renovation work.

    • Jessica June 6, 2018 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      Thanks Linda. It looks amazingly green from a distance. But up close individual plants are starting to suffer now. The clay soil is baked hard and we desperately need some rain. Did I really say that?!

  28. Virginia June 6, 2018 at 8:04 am - Reply

    Wonderful photographs Jessica – did you climb up there and take them, or get a friendly scaffolder to do it for you? The mere thought of being up that high makes me ‘come over all queer’, I certainly couldn’t do it. Although I certainly enjoy your gardening posts, I love your house renovation posts – a sense of restoring something that creates links with past generations living in the house. We so rarely have that over here – the country is far too young!

    • Jessica June 6, 2018 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      I’ve been up on the scaffolding several times a day. The first approach to the ladder was with a degree of trepidation but after that, not so bad. It’s worth getting up there for the view and to see what’s happening on the roof, fascinating really. It feels rather strange being able to touch the straw when we can only usually see it from afar.
      You’ve hit on what I really love about the renovation process. So often we uncover clues to how life must have been lived in the past. There is much more to go. One place in particular I’m really keen to get into.. but that’s for next year!

  29. Anne June 6, 2018 at 8:22 am - Reply

    It’s beautiful Jessica, even with all the work it costs you. And we all love hearing about it and seeing it. X

    • Jessica June 6, 2018 at 9:54 pm - Reply

      Thanks Anne. About this time of year it all becomes a bit overwhelming. There is just so much to do. But if I just keep tackling it a bit at a time I will get there eventually. Much like eating an elephant.

  30. Rosie June 6, 2018 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Lovely to see the lawn and the rusty ducks making good use of it. I hope the next round of renovations go well:)

    • Jessica June 6, 2018 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      We had to pick up one of the ducks today and set it straight.. I think the bunnies got it!

  31. Christina June 6, 2018 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    I felt quite sick, looking down. But great views, it gave me more of an idea of the layout of your garden. Sorry to hear about more work! Although I’m sure I’ll enjoy reading your amusing accounts of it!!!

    • Jessica June 6, 2018 at 9:58 pm - Reply

      Looking straight down does make my head spin I have to say. But it’s funny watching the birds on the feeder from above!

  32. Charles June 6, 2018 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    I was bitten by a chugger in Alabama when I was a boy, not nice. I have not heard that word in years. The ticks are a worry, in fact these days they are an urban problem as well as they turn up in parks (Apple just replaced parks with pearls which made me laugh, urban Chigger turning up in dinner dress). In the 60s and 70s we ran around in shorts camped out and never saw a tick ever. Garden looking spectacularly smart, I think your bad bits outshine my good bits. Your bunny cages make part of the garden look like a First World War battle with barbed wire surrounding the strong points. I put a put a pot of daffodils behind the greenhouse to die down naturally, when I looked yesterday every bit of green leaf had been sheared off to ground level, I hope Benjamin Bunny has a tummy ache.

    • Jessica June 6, 2018 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      I’ve found three ticks on me in less than a fortnight. As you can see the terrain is fairly over provided for with greenery and in this hot weather shorts are the order of the day. Apparently mozzie repellent helps.
      It feels like a battleground at the moment. Squirrels, rabbits, mice, slugs. If it’s not one it’s another. B. Bunny should most definitely have a tummy ache. Something eats daffs here too. I always thought they were bombproof. Not, it seems. My persicaria was nibbled yesterday too. Euphorbia, that’s the way to go.

  33. Its’ so great that you ceased the opportunity to photograph your gardens form above. There’s nothing like an aerial view and your photos are great!

    • Jessica June 6, 2018 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      Aerial views tell you so much don’t they? Not always what you want to know perhaps, but it’s a great way of looking at the structure of a garden. Perhaps I should get a drone..

  34. Chloris June 6, 2018 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    That first shot gives me vertigo. But it really shows how much you have achieved in your garden since I first started following your blog. Well done, it looks wonderful.

    • Jessica June 6, 2018 at 10:21 pm - Reply

      That first shot gave me vertigo too. Had it not been for the fact that I was using Mike’s DSLR, hanging over the edge to avoid getting the scaffolding poles in shot and rather afraid of dropping it, who knows what would have happened. Thanks Chloris. I just look at all the things that still need doing, but it is coming on.

  35. Chris N June 6, 2018 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    Oh my, You are way brave to get up there but the shots are beautiful. Such a wonderful garden you’ve created!! i love your old house. Ours is old like built in 1949, but kinda California funky old. No real specialness except what we’ve done. ohhhh, how bout some more inside shots????

    • Jessica June 7, 2018 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      Hi Chris. What you’ve done is very special from what I’ve seen. We share the same minimalist approach.
      Plenty more inside shots next month, if all goes according to plan.

  36. Susan Garrett June 7, 2018 at 9:03 am - Reply

    Beautiful photos but it’s a shame about the circumstances that made them possible. I didn’t realise that you had more than three rusty ducks.

    • Jessica June 7, 2018 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sue. Nine ducks in total. But I’ll have to take care of them as I don’t believe they’re made any longer.

  37. Peter Herpst June 7, 2018 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Gaps, what gaps? Oh no, not more costly home projects. On the bright side, those 84 steps save you the expense of a gym membership. Such a beautiful garden and home!

    • Jessica June 8, 2018 at 12:32 pm - Reply

      Not gaps. Planting opportunities πŸ™‚
      No shortage of exercise here that’s for sure. Thanks Peter.

  38. Julieanne Porter June 8, 2018 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    I feel dizzy just looking at your pics! My, the garden does look good. Good luck with the work on the roof.

    • Jessica June 9, 2018 at 10:14 am - Reply

      Thanks Julieanne. The garden looks good from a distance πŸ™‚

  39. ginaferrari June 9, 2018 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    You might be able to see all that is wrong with your garden Jessica, but I think it looks stunning. Good luck with your latest renovation.

    • Jessica June 9, 2018 at 8:51 pm - Reply

      Thanks Gina. It has motivated me to do something though.. I have filled in one of the gaps!

  40. Jayne Hill June 12, 2018 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    AWOL. Apologies. Ruddy technology . . .

    Stunning photos, I remember having our roof done and the scaffolding views were definitely the most fun part of it all.

    You’ll be getting a drone next? [please?????]

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      I’m seriously tempted. It’s such a great way of planning out the garden. And seeing the results of your efforts. It will be fitted with ordnance, naturally.

  41. Libby Stalbow July 12, 2018 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    Wow. It seems as though you’ve come a long way from “in need of updating”. This garden is beautiful! I love the levelled terraces (even if the 84 steps are a bit of a killer; it’s aesthetically pleasing nonetheless). There’s no need to point out supposed “faults” with your planting either. If anything the gaps in the flower beds add to this property’s rustic charm and contrast the impeccably manicured lawn perfectly.

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 8:32 pm - Reply

      Hi Libby, thanks and welcome.
      We’ve come a long way and there’s still a long way to go. But (mostly!) I enjoy the work and it is keeping us both fit without a doubt. The levelled terraces are the only bit of flat land I garden!

I'd love to hear from you..