. . . but it’s a source of great joy to me. I sit out in it at all times of year – I have thermal mats and insulated coffee cups especially so that I can enjoy it in winter too.
Our house is a stone cottage of about 140 years old. It was the managers house for the adjacent mill, originally a calico printers. It’s a rather unusual looking house – long and thin and tall and thin. It has a very steep pitched roof and the upstairs of the house is already within the slope of the roof area, the top floor is completely within roof space. The rooms are all tall and the windows set low. It’s almost as if after designing and building the outside, they decided to put one less floor in to save money (it has 4 if you count the cellar), so re-distributed those they were building – leading to windows at shin level upstairs.
Please click any of the photos for a larger view.
We have two small gardens. The house sits in a vaguely square plot, which has been divided into three long thin rectangles – two long thin gardens sandwiching a long thin house. The garden I am referring to is actually the back garden – and as the house is in fact back to front, this puts it on the street side of the house.
For a number of years after moving here, we used it as originally intended – minus the outside facilities – as a place for the bins, hanging out washing and for some years, a substantial run for 3 rabbits we had. It was a large expanse of poor quality concrete and some ugly stone and brick exterior walls. I grew a few plants in pots, but as time passed, we wanted a proper garden – an exterior room to eat in and sit out in. So we saved up some money for a complete make over and started drawing sketches.
I never did take any ‘before’ photos, but I have taken photos each year as it has developed. The greenery is now significantly more substantial than it started, gradually expanding and developing into a proper garden as the years passed – it must be about 8 years since we started the work.
Everything is grown in pots – the original concrete base is still there, but was of such poor quality, we bought a great pile of small grade decorative gravel and just covered it. The colour has faded over the years and there’s a lot of moss growing on it now, but it has withstood wear better than we expected. Because everything is grown in a pot, we can largely move the smaller things round, but the down side is that some plants don’t do as well as they would in open ground, so we probably don’t get as many years from a plant. But if you pay five pounds for a plant and you enjoy it for 2 years, you can’t really complain at the value it represents.