100 days of the 100 day project!

Well it is day 100 plus 3 of the 100 day project.  So how did it go and was it worthwhile?  Did I enjoy it?  What did it do to how I feel about the garden and what did it do to the garden itself?  Time for some thinking.


I decided not to do too much wondering about the project while I was in the middle of it as the whole point seemed to be the gently repeated doing so I just let the time pass and committed myself to doing something connected with the garden every day.  When we were here that tended to be something practical and outside, anything from an afternoon of serious hard work to the pulling up of a solitary creeping buttercup.


When we were away with children and grandchildren or visiting friends I tried to keep my gardening mind engaged.  Sometimes that was reading although I notice I did not return to my vast numbers of gardening books.  Reading was something I did on the internet or in a magazine.  I am quite surprised I did not go back to reading my books.  I have a huge collection and for years they were my staple bedside reading.  Some of them, like Mirabel Osler, Monty Don or Christopher Lloyd are not "how to" books at all and are a pleasure to read for themselves and it is odd in some ways that I haven't picked them up again.  Perhaps they reflect a particular form of being in love with the garden that I have been holding myself back from.  Exactly why will become clear later in the post.  I also watched garden programmes on the TV, looked at other people's gardens and thought a lot about our own.  So I think I can truly say that there has not been a day in that 100 days when I have not engaged with the garden in one way or another.

I don't think I set out with any real idea of what I hoped to gain from the project, other than perhaps a tidier garden, but I suppose I did wonder if it would make me reconnect after a period of disconnection.  And has it?  Yes it has.  The garden looks more loved and lived in (and undoubtedly tidier in those very few places where tidiness is the aim).  And I really know what is going on.  The daily engagement means you really look at the garden, time and time again.  I know what is about to flower, what is doing well in the heat and what has struggled with the sun and dryness of this last couple of months.  It reminds me of dealing with young children.  Spending repeated time with a child or with a garden makes you understand more deeply and makes you able to read what is happening differently. 


I think I have seen things more clearly with the repeated call to go outside seen the shifts as the season changes from week to week.  This is the view out from the garden on the 6th April, day 6 of the project.  There are no leaves yet on the hawthorn hedge, the honeysuckle or the clematis.  Three months later there is so much growth I shall have to cut some of it back to make sure the window on Moel Arthur, the rounded Iron Age hillfort in the distance, is still open.


Here is the same spot in May, five weeks later.  Everything is intensely green and the clematis is falling over itself.  The trees have burst into leaf.  That extraordinary May freshness is smelling of green.


Early June was all about roses.  Most of the roses here are old or species roses and flower once in June in a great cataract of flower.  Some of the most beautiful are the wild roses which grow in the hedges.  Sometimes I wonder if we should have more repeat flowerers but the tough species roses look at home up here somehow and it does make the June explosion very special.


And by the end of June the hardy geraniums and alchemilla had surged through the flower beds.  It has been very hot and dry and the grass is brown in the side garden and in front of the cottage.  The orchard and field have fared better.  I haven't done  much watering despite the drought although Ian has been watering the vegetables daily and the crops look abundant with the watering and the heat.  We have just had a heavy shower for the first time for weeks and it was a real pleasure to see the rain bouncing off the path and to hear it gurgling into the water butts.



So I am glad to have done the project.  I think it has made me look properly at the garden and looking at it and caring about it has made it thrive.  But I am keeping a little bit of my heart back because after thirteen very happy years here we have bought a building plot to fulfil another dream of building a house of our own.  So this house is on the market to fund the building of the new one.  I hope whoever buys it will love it as much as we have and will love the garden and the views and the sense of being in your own little world that comes with this place.  Who knows how long it will take to sell but while we are here we will still enjoy it and the garden and the holiday cottage.  I am pretty sure it will be somebody's dream, as it has been ours!

Comments

  1. That project must lock your heart up against the garden! Has to, or you won't be able to go. Xxxx

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    1. That has to be true. But it unlocks something else, other possibilities, other lives, which makes it worth doing I hope.

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  2. Wow! That is a real surprise ending! I began following your blog just about on Day One of 100
    and have enjoyed it tremendously. The journey of building a new house will make great reading also....please take us along with you. You have introduced me to a few British phrases;
    water butts are rain barrels in the US.

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    1. I am so glad to have you reading pat! I am still going to blog. I'm even wondering about extending the one hundred day idea to other things! Hope you will still be reading!

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  3. Second attempt, sorry if it is a duplicate. Elizabeth, we had hoped to travel to Wales and visit your guest cottage, so will watch for posts about your impending move. Will you be building in the same area, or closer to family?

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    1. It would be great to have you visit bonnie! We may easily still be here next year. Unusual houses like ours sometimes take a while to sell. It is certainly a great place to base yourself to explore north east Wales and further west into snowdonia. We are staying in the same area. We really love it here. The plot is just a few miles away on the other side of the hills.

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    2. still with a view of Welsh hills?

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    3. Yes Diana, still with a view. In fact looking at our hills from the other side!

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  4. How exciting! I felt this post was building to something momentous but did not see what was coming. Welsh hills from the other side. Can't wait to see how this unfolds.

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    1. Thanks lucille! It is exciting even if I do have a wobble from time to time, mostly when I see one or the other of the grandchildren enjoying the garden! But hoping there will be new ways of giving them a good time!

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  5. Almost a win/win situation: stay in a lovely home longer because it takes a while to sell/not risk losing your next lovely home because you've bought the plot! Clever!!

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    1. That is the hope! It's interesting to be caught between two very different forms of lovely: our present house which is hundreds of years old with all the character that goes with that and the new house as yet unbuilt with all the potential for light and space!

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  6. Oh, goodness... so much to say! Thank you for taking us with you on your hundred day journey, it was lovely. And amazing, the way little bits like reading and research are also part of gardening. The hands-in-the-dirt bit is obviously the main thing, but there is a lot more mental activity to gardening than people realize.

    And I am so happy that your dream of building your own place is happening, and simultaneously sad that you're leaving your present garden and home... that must be so hard. "Out with the old and in with the new" sounds easy when you say it, but the first four words are tough.

    Best of everything to you, and keep us apprised of all your adventures as you go!

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    1. Thanks so much! and yes, you are so right that there is happiness and sadness and it is an odd unsettling feeling to think about leaving here!

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  7. I have enjoyed your 100 day project and it has spurred me on as well. What a surprise at the end - a new home and a major project. I'm sure that will make a good read too. good luck.

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    1. I hope so Sue! It doesn't seem entirely real yet!

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  8. Finally catching up here and wow! you buried the lead, didn't you? Wonderful that you took on this project just before deciding to list your home for sale (had you an inkling when you began, perhaps?). A lovely way of preparing to say good-bye, to let go and entrust that beautiful garden to someone else's care.

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    1. I suppose I did have an inkling when I began in that the idea of building has been around for a while but now the challenge is to make it real!

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  9. I've been following your 100-day project with interest, commenting little. I've been away and am slowly catching up on blogs and had to read back to see this announcement about the house up for sale. Your writing is lovely and I hope you do continue to blog.

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