As well as writing my next book, Book three of The Beaufort Chronicles: The King's Mother, I've been busy in the garden. It is only our second summer here at Aberporth so we are only just beginning to discover how we will use the garden and prioritising what needs doing first. Last year, it was a case of clearing years of neglect and getting a shed up for John to fill with the useless junk he loves to accumulate. This year we decided our first major job would be the patio as discussed in the last post. This served to make all the rest of the ancient hard landscaping look rather shabby so this week we got the seating area beneath the trees gravelled, and laid the first part of the path in slabs matching the patio.
There was a sort of existing patio beneath the trees but it had been badly laid many years ago using chunks of Welsh slate held together with ugly concrete. As the trees grew the roots had pushed up the slate making it hazardous and ugly, there was also a large chunk of concrete that John had to chip away at with his drill so we could move it. The gravel looks nicer, wont spoil as the trees grow and it will be easy to get small things to germinate in it, creating a soft edge and a rustic feel. The other half of the path will be tackled next but I am allowing John a few days rest.
When we completed the patio and I began to dig out flower beds to soften the edges we discovered that the builders who did the extension for the previous owners had dumped a lot of rubble beneath the grass and turfed over it! My intended cottage planting was not to be unless I was prepared to haul all the rubble out and replace the soil. Instead, I took a lazy way out and made it into a seaside garden, gravel and rocks, pebbles and shells, planted up with sea pinks and succulents, and sempervivums. When I find treasures on my beach walks I will add them to the collection. The beach garden has already been tested out on our grandson and he loves it. Our dog, Bryn also likes it, finding the warm stone nice to sleep on.
Of course, all this activity means we have the front garden from hell - people walk by and cast scathing glances at the pile of precious top soil (meant for the front border when we get round to doing it), the pile of rubble meant for the dump and the stash of slate we hope to reuse somewhere. I am not at all used to having the worst garden in the street and I don't like it at all!
On Sunday we attended the West Wales Plant Sale at a local mansion, Rhosygilwen, and spent a small fortune on plants.They were all so healthy looking, some unusual specimens and all in all a great day out. I do love to shop for plants.
We bought more hellibore, some heuchera, an unusual looking fritilary, some verbascum, a tall blue thing whose name escapes me, and some primroses and astrantias. I am praying that the threatened cold snap the weather people say is coming will bypass us - I couldn't stand it if my garden was spoiled at this stage! It is just beginning to look gorgeous. By the beginning of next spring I hope to have a few more beds in place so we will definitely go to the plant sale again. I wouldn't mind a trip to Gardener's World Live but I think we've left it too late to plan.
The last week or so has been lovely in the garden, out of the cold wind the sun has been almost too hot for me but I've enjoyed planting, filling the planting hole with organic matter and mulching afterwards as part of the soil improvement programme. In fact, I was relieved when they said we were to have rain last night and today but so far it is dry. I shall have to get the hose pipe out again!