If you read the first instalment of ‘Operation Cottage Garden’ you will know Phase 2 is all about the Courtyard. I have been building and rambling on about this for a while now. The thing is this project got slightly delayed due to A. running out of funds and B. having to work fulltime in winter, which all gardeners know leaves you with just weekends and they can be hit and miss especially in December when everyone’s social calendar is rammed because of the holidays. So I guess you could say this particular project phase has been a little long winded.
So you may remember from ‘Beginners Guide to Growing Cutflowers’ that I have or should I now say had a fairly large cut flower patch in my garden, below is the only picture I really have of the patch in it’s glory as I lost my phone with all the good pictures of the patch.
Well unfortunately the patch is no more. Don’t worry though I will still grow cut flowers but I’ll use the raised beds and I’ll also cut from the main herbaceous border too.
So the project begins
I apologise for the total lack of glamour in this part of the project, this part was back breaking. For the record can I just say levelling off an area is just pants of all gardening chores this has to be the worst, well for me anyway…… but eventually I got there with a few bumps (literally- pipes and water meters) in the way!
Then the fun stuff really began, picking gravel and pretty structures. I really am the queen of thrifting and being frugal. I waited until boxing day hoping to get my structures in the sale, but unfortunately the sale was pretty poor with only £20 off a £300 arbour, but I was adamant I wanted it along with a new wooden rose arch too at £100 – it was official I was bankrupt, until I asked the garden centre attendant for the structures. He replied “If your interested, you can take the display items for half price (sale price)” it was a done deal, there was absolutely nothing wrong with them, so I threw in a wooden bench with built in planters too. I had them delivered the very next day and the hubby even helped with the construction, what a lucky gal!!
Building a garden isn’t cheap the pounds soon start piling up, especially when you start adding plants, pots and structures into the equation. As I’ve mentioned earlier I had no budget or funds for this project, so I have done it on next to nothing. I asked for gravel and garden centre vouchers for Christmas presents and luckily was awarded with a Christmas bonus which came in handy at the right time.
I have chosen some statement plants for the area in forms of dwarf rooted trees or dedacious shrubs like a Salix caprea ‘Pendula’ – dwarf weeping willow and Hamamelis intermedia ‘Diane’ – witch hazel that blooms in a beautiful red, a viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’. I picked up two Acers which at the moment I’m unsure of the variety as they were reduced in broken pots – they are only very small right now but will grow as everything does.
I have also added some pyramid box cones for statement too, which I got at a fantastic price of £30 for the pair both about 60cm. Topairy is my new love, I have some more box balls in planters too but they are in a different area of the garden which you’ll see in the next phase. I added a large grass to the courtyard too for texture and sound, it also turns red in the autumn which will add some seasonal interest.
The arch entrance to the courtyard has 3 varieties of clematis planted at the foot of each side. One was already there and have no idea of the variety sorry but it is a beautiful purple punk flower with yellow centre. They other two I bought off the RHS website in the sale on boxing day one is Clematis Montana Pink Perfection and the other is a winter flowering clematis Cirrhosa which should begin flowing next winter.
The arbour has scented climbing roses planted at either side I got from the B&M garden centre in the end of season sale for £4 each. One is called scented delight and the other is dreamy delight both in a pastel pink shade. So although the arch and arbour look very bare at the moment, hopefully in a couple of months the will be full of growth and then colour. I can’t wait.
In the two corner beds at the Base of the house I have planted a mixture of things. One has a Buddleja davidii which is a beautiful purple flowering butterfly bush. Then there are 3 foxgloves 2 pink and 1 white which I grew from seed last summer. There is also wallflowers, tulips, allium, sweet Williams and a catmint plant. It shouldn’t be long before this corner bed puts on some good growth. In the other corner bed there are hollyhocks again which I grew from seed last summer, Chinese lantern, thistles and pansies. I will add to this bed with annuals once spring arrives.
So there you have it the first phase of my cottage garden project. I know someone will most likely point out some kind of flaw or it won’t be to there liking get but I’m so happy with it and can’t wait to share it as it evolves with growth.
There is just one more thing I need to add to the courtyard and that’s a fence/screen that will separate the kitchen garden and the courtyard, but that will have to wait until payday.
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