Our Suffolk Cottage Garden: 2017

I’m afraid I don’t have many photos of the garden, from 2017, that are just of the garden. Most are filled with family and friends who came to enjoy time with us. Still, as you will see from the gallery of photos, below, the garden started to take shape.

This is the first time that the garden started to resemble what it was going to become. The patio and garden furniture were in place from the year before and now they were being enjoyed. Plant pots were filled with the plants we had become aware would do best in our garden and the pots themselves were showing signs of aging from the moss growing up them, through to fine cracks in some that had been caused by frosts. The garden seemed to be developing character and we loved this aspect.

I tried to grow a beautiful purple clematis up the wall; south facing. For some reason, it just could not survive the year. I would try again but clematis simply have never since worked in our back garden. Have you ever had difficulty with clematis?

Early spring, literally within two weeks of all frosts ending, sees the forsythia produce flowers of the brightest golden-yellow. This is something I love. I have positioned one of the forsythia directly across from our kitchen window, so we can be met with the bright cheer that heralds the warmer seasons, as we putter about in the kitchen. Always think of where you plant things in relation to what you might see from any of your windows. I always try to have something of a feature plant visible from each window that overlooks the garden. I will write more on this in later articles.

There are many purples in the garden but what is really nice is when the late autumn is with us; Hallowe’en arrives and the garden is filled with orange and purple blossoms. I had always wondered why Halowe’en was associated with these colours and it dawned on me (I can be slow on the uptake!) that these are simply the colours of nature at that time of year.

The hedges were all thriving beautifully and the laurel hedge that I had planted the year before was taking off. This is on the driveway side of the end garden fence but the laurel is evident from within the garden. It started to give us hints at what a superb screen it would be; offering our garden privacy from the view of the driveway and the road outside the property. It grows at a fast rate and so I could see that within another one or two years, the laurel hedge would be around eight feet high.

Never let it be said that laurel is a poor provider for wildlife. I can assure you that the base of the laurel hedge has become home to small mammals and amphibians and well as insects. The hedge’s upper reaches are filled with more insects and often birds nest there, these days. We have had blackbirds set up home there, the most frequently, but each year the laurel hedge is home and nursery to a family of birds, or two.

This was the year that, in June, I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease. My health was changing at a pace and had been declining sharply over the last five years before, in particular. I would need to think about the future layout and form of the garden, in terms of making it as low maintenance as possible but also in keeping it accessible; not just to me but to my mum and to Kev’s parents. They were all showing signs of mobility difficulty in their advanced years and we wanted to ensure the garden remained available to welcome them no matter what.

Do you grow hedgerows in your garden? What wildlife have you noticed within it? Have you had to consider health needs, while developing your garden? What have you adapted or put in place to aid or accommodate mobility difficulties or other needs? Please feel free to share something of this, below.

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