Rural Adventures

Tales of a First Time Gardener

After years of living between major Scottish cities and owning a garden that I decked in order to get out of any kind of maintenance, I recently moved to an old cottage with an acre of land.     The previous owners, rather helpfully, divided the space into an apple orchard, a massive veggie garden, a covered soft fruit area, deck, pond, 3 sheds, a greenhouse, and general, you know…grassy area.   

The cottage is located on the North Wales coast and is surrounded by sea, fields and lots of farm animals.   It’s quiet and peaceful and I’ve never had so much space in my life.    Having gone from no garden to obscenely sized garden, I thought I’d best get to grips with the whole thing and try my hand at gardening.  

Tales of a First Time Gardener
What I think my garden should look like. 
The apple orchard has 13 mature trees, which I’ve ear marked for potential cider making.   Oh, and all that apple pie stuff, too.    But mainly for cider.

The veggie patch is massive and is now completed dug up, weeded and ready for action.
The netted fruit cage needs a bit of tidying, but the raspberry, cranberry and blueberry trees have already started to flower and I’m crossing my fingers they won’t need to much work to produce the goods.

The pond has 12 koi carp fish and one that looks like a shark.   His name is Gareth Whale.   He’s absolutely massive, black and shiny and he silently swims at the bottom of the pond, only appearing when he thinks I might have food.    Or that there might be a cat willing to fall in the water for him to snack on.   

I don’t know much about fish, but I’m not entirely sure he’s a koi (he doesn’t look like the others) and he’s just so enormous that I think he might be a secret shark.     To date, the pond hasn’t caused any problems and I love going out and chatting with the fish, with my morning coffee, and watching them gravitate towards me when they realise I don’t have a rod.   They’re very sweet.

Tales of a First Time Gardener - Fish

The normal garden-y garden type bit (that’s its official title) sits just at the back of the cottage and is a lovely, bright space.   Les has already built a gorgeous picnic table, in the hope we might do some outside entertaining, and the area is contained by beautiful stone walls and lots of lovely raised beds with trees, bushes and flowers.   I have absolutely no idea what any of them are, but I plan to find out. 

I have a bit overwhelmed by the sheer size of the garden, whilst Les has pretty much lived in one of the sheds since we moved in.    The shed is now officially his work space/man cave and has produced some fabulous furniture for the house.    I am often woken to the strains of a table saw on a Saturday morning as he works away on his latest project.   This week, it’s Adirondack chairs for the patio.      Next week; possibly an ark.  

Tales of a First Time Gardener - Lawn
Who knew mowing lawns could be so much fun? 
The point of this post was to highlight my inexperience as a gardener and how I now find myself with a huge space to look after and no idea of how to do it.    At the weekend, I spent two full days outside cutting grass with a huge new self propelled petrol lawnmower and digging up an entire veggie patch, filling my garden waste bin to the brim.  First time in my life I’ve ever used a lawnmower.   First time I’ve ever used a brown bin, come to think of it.  

Apart from taking me the best part of both days, it’s been a really enjoyable experience.    I’m sure it’s a better workout than running round the village as I feel like I’ve been run over by a tractor.       

I’m not expecting to rival Alan Titsmarsh any time soon, but I do hope that I can grow fruit and veggies without killing anyone who’s brave enough to try them.    We’ll see how it goes.    I’ll no doubt keep you updated.     Be prepared, though – I screamed for Les to come and look at a tiny stem from a chilli plant the other day.  THAT’S how shocked and excited I am at anything managing to grow under my care.  You have been warned.

Suz x


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