When I started this blog I gardened in South Gloucestershire, on heavy clay. Our house was on a small estate, and the garden was small and overlooked. I grew trees and crammed it with plants and a pond, and loved it dearly.
It was my first ever garden, and I started with shrubs and trees, gradually learning about herbaceous perennials, falling in love with grasses. A year living on Anglesey looking after a campsite introduced me to the joy of growing things from seed – and to growing things to eat. When we returned to Gloucestershire we got a greenhouse, and I had an allotment. I loved my scruffy little plot, and learnt loads, but I also had ME, and struggled to find the time and energy to make the most of it.
In the spring of 2012 we started looking for somewhere to move to by the sea. Somewhere with easy access to the essentials – Doctor, Dentist, food shops etc – but which would give us easy access to the sea if we were up to playing in kayaks, and give me a garden to work in.
We hit the jackpot, and found a little house in Cemaes Bay on Anglesey in North Wales. Cemaes Bay is the most northerly village in Wales, and has two lovely beaches, one of which is 150 yards from our front door, a good collection of shops and amenities (including a fabulous butcher), a lovely river valley, community woodland…
The front garden faces north, but is mostly in full sun. It gets the brunt of the northerly gales in the winter, and salt-laden winds have done for a number of plants since we moved here, but the climate is mild and the soil is free-draining, in places very sandy. When we arrived the front garden was quite overgrown at the very end, and there was high fence all along the left hand side. We could see the sea from our bedroom window – I took the photo above when we first looked round before we bought it – but not from anywhere else.
Part of the fence blew down in our first winter here, which proved to be a real blessing in the end. We discovered that without the fence – and without most of the overgrown shrubs at the very end of the garden – we not only had a much better view from upstairs, we also gained a sea view from our lounge!
The back garden is south facing and very sheltered from all but the worst south westerlies. We inherited an old and rather battered shed and cedar greenhouse, a lot of lawn and more overgrown shrubs. And so began the process of turning both front and back gardens into places that felt more “me”. A small kitchen garden with raised beds was one of the first things we did, all the borders have been deepened, and a lot of plant material has been removed or drastically cut back. It is an on-going adventure of discovering what grows well here, and of feeling my way forward towards a style of gardening that fits the place, my lifestyle and on a good day, makes my heart sing.
You can read about what the gardens were like when we first moved here in the posts I did introducing the front garden (part 1 and part 2) and the back garden. Subsequent posts mostly chart the course of the ups and downs of the ongoing development.