Thursday, May 14, 2009

I never promised you a rose garden.


To save the virtual world from yet another picture of my increasing raised bed toll, I have decided to focus on this little jungly corner. This is my scented rose garden, inspired many years before I even had a garden, by Martha Stewart. Thinking about it, that single article in the 1991(?) Christmas issue of Country Living Magazine had quite a profound influence of my 'style'. It was then that i decided to have hens one day, and I still decorate my Christmas tree with gauze ribbon and faux fruit. Mind you, I have never been convicted of lying to obstruct the course of justice , but I digress.
My vision was of a relaxing hideaway corner, filled with scented plants - roses, geraniums, lavenderand herbs, which would gently waft their sweet aromas while we lounged on the garden seat piled with squashy cushions and flower sprigged quilts enjoying a jug of freshly made lemonade- or- even better Pimms -and homemade, homegrown lunches, as we relished the view of our lush productive garden. That magazine has a lot to answer for!!
Originally, when we arrived here, this was the site of a dilapidated lean-to outbuilding constructed out of corrugated perspex sheets, now brittle and cracked. It was filled with an amazing assortment of plant pots, a huge pile of old bricks, lengths of wood and assorted bric-a-brac. Country Living might call it gardenailia. It was becoming increasingly redundant as a store due to the terminal condition of the perspex and had become home to several furry creatures and an annual wasps' byke.
We demolished it, but used the footprint as a template for the Martha Stewart garden. We erected a flat pack arbour seat and painted it purple with a terracotta red roof to offset the ones in the old brick wall. I perused the David Austin rose website, but chickened out when my 'basket' totalled £263. I discovered decent looking roses at the local garden centre and bought a few every month. A lavender border was planted, scented geraniums filled the corners and sage and thyme varieties were dotted around. Trellis was erected and climbing roses appeared. Cushions and a throw were purchased and a makeshift, but very rustic looking table was constructed from some slates and an old plant stand. The vision was complete.
We wandered down on the first fine evening with our glasses of lightly chilled white.
It didn't work...
The late afternoon and evening sun shone straight into our eyes as we seated ourselves on the lilac checked cushions. We sipped our chardonnay while squinting at each other with a forced cheerfulness. The rest of the day, the rose garden was plunged into murky dankness. A slow leak from next door's pond dripped imperceptibly through the wall into the climbing rose bed. The scent never did come wafting up as I drifted through with my floaty dress and basket arranged attractively on my arm as I had envisaged - it was too damp. The climbing roses that survived tried constantly to escape their bonds and waited to whip the face of an unsuspecting passerby just for revenge at being stuck in such an inhospitable spot. A gigantic lovage plant nearby overpowered the aroma of every scented plant and it was - well really all a bit disappointing.
We tried with it, but our hearts were not really in it after that and it has now fallen into an overgrown wilderness corner only visited occasionally with a fly cup of tea and a pair of strong sunglasses.
There is hope, however, as this sad and forlorn patch is about to be reborn as 'The Apiary'. I've yet to ask my beekeeping teacher to okay it, but from what I've learned so far, it could be the ideal site for a couple of hives. I now have a Bee Blog which I am going to use for such affairs, keeping this one purely for growing matters. Please check it out if you have the time. It's still being constructed and updated, but what else is new here?

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