Gardening in time

One of the things I love about having blogged for so many years is that I can look back on how things were and how things are now.  I know in my head that our garden was a field when we came fourteen years ago.  But it is hard to remember how it was.  What I see when I wander around has come about so slowly that I have lost the sense of how it was.  This picture shows the native tree bed at the bottom of our field.  It was planted first with trees and dogwoods about ten years ago.  In the picture above the bed is about three years old, with snowdrops beginning to spread and the dogwoods starting to grow.

This is how it looks now, ten years on,  the trees large and shady, the dogwoods growing and the hellebores in full flower.   The trees tower above your head.  It is hard to think that they have not always been there.

It is so easy to forget how things change.  This picture shows the newly planted orchard in spring 2009, ten years ago.  The trees were twiggy sticks.  On the left is a plum and on the right a little damson tree.  There are daffodils all round the trees.  Directly after we planted the trees I planted loads of bulbs, about five hundred.  As you can see, when they came up they were totally lost in the scale of the field and looked like nothing at all, a bit sad considering how long it had taken to plant them.  So the following autumn I planted the same number again.

But look what ten years does!  The plum tree is spreading, the damson is in flower and the Tenby daffodils have spread and carpet the orchard.  I haven't put any more in since that second planting but they are settled here now, spreading gently every year.

And this is a whole bed which we planted: amelanchier, tiny violets, euphorbia, primroses with later in the spring foxgloves and aquilegia.

When I walk about seeing weeding needing to be done and the garden as a vast job which does happen to me from time to time, it is good to step back and see the larger picture.


  1. It is heart warming to look back and remember how much a garden can flourish (for us it's only four years)

    1. Is it four years?! I wonder if you achieve quicker change with your conditions and temperature. After four years we hadn't got very far at all!

  2. That's wonderful. We've had our garden for seventeen years, and with bulbs and shrubs, are being rewarded with wonderful colour this spring. We didn't do any huge projects, but a bit of effort here and there, and, over the years, nature has done the rest! Very grateful!

    1. I like the idea that nature has done the rest! What took me some time here was understanding what wanted to grow here as opposed to what I thought should want to grow!! Now that I know I often propagate from what is here and has already proved it likes it.

  3. Ours is similar- I forget how much we've done and how much it's changed. The spring garden here was a dark tangle of overgrown shrubs where nothing flowered when we moved in, now it's light and full of colour. I love looking at it and the wildlife gets the benefit too. BTW, I've replied to your parkrun comment over on my blog- you'll be fine doing one, just take it at your pace.

    1. It is fascinating to go back and read about the garden ten or twelve years ago and look at photos. It is amazingly different and yet I think because when we planted new things I already saw them as grown in my imagination I am astonished to see how tiny everything was!

  4. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your photos and thoughts. This is one of the reasons I long for a garden space: something to watch develop over time, something that is embedded (literally!) that helps me become embedded in a place.

    1. Thank you! You are so right that gardening needs time and shifts your perspective on time! Sometimes I think that everything takes so long and then I look at how far we have come and realise how much things change !

  5. I have loved watching your garden grow through the years I've been reading your blog -- how very satisfying it must be to have imagined and realized such a creation.

    1. It has been very interesting to try to move something from in my head to the ground! And strange now to think of leaving it.

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