Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Island garden

A close up of my favourite lettuce 'Freckles' - one of the few things we have planted in our new garden.  There is quite a lot of space, but so different from our garden on the mainland.  All the ground is at the front and to one side of the plot - facing south west - which is good for the sun, but not for the full frontal south-westerly gales we have been assured we will see in the winter.

And a lack of workable soil (hence the bag of compost in the picture), means we are having to start small.  Our predecessor was an elderly bachelor who didn't have a lot of time for kitchen or ornamental gardening, and according to one of his nephews (although everyone we meet seems to be his niece or nephew) he used to bulk out his meagre soil with chipped glass from old  car windscreens.  We had already discovered this.  Anyway - we have begun, and some salads and herbs are already growing away, as well as some very late planted leek seedlings.  This will be a very large sheltered and hopefully productive bed once it has been cleared.

Down at the bottom of the garden, we have some willow and a crab apple which seem to be doing a sterling job keeping the worst of the wind at bay.  I have a feeling that finding the ultimate windbreak will be the dominant feature of our gardening and crofting lives here. 

We have already added to the shelter belt -  three different types of escallonia, which we have been assured will be as high as the fence within 2 years, and a couple of hydrangea, just because they are my favourite flowers.  There are a few really good garden centres and nurseries on the island, and it seems sensible to use plants which have been raised here.  There is also plenty of rope to be gleaned  freely from the beaches, so we can tie the plants down securely.

A couple of views up and down the drive.  There is already a fair amount of shelter in the form of self-coppiced willow, and the ubiquitous monbretia, which almost carpets the island.  We have already planted a couple of rowans (mountain ash) and copper beech, which are lost in there somewhere.  We hope to have a woodland area around the far edge of the plot, and maintain a meadow area with paths mown through.

Somewhere too there are blackcurrants and gooseberries in there, so they will be rescued, and the compost bin is already well established.   It is a work in progress, as all gardens are.  And  we have 2.5 acres of croftland  to work too!
All in good time - I will post pictures of that project soon.  In the meantime, we are back down on the Mainland for about a month to see Kenneth safely moved into his first flat (apartment), celebrate Kristine's 21st, visit Mum, who is failing quite a bit, and catch up with everyone and everything else, including the garden here.


  1. oh....*dribbles*

    I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon reading through your whole blog and gadding about the crofting links you posted (researched a fantasy holiday in one of the holiday crofts)....

    i'm loving the opportunity to live vicariously through you and your family's garden adventures - especially this new one on the island.

    i think it's stirring some ancestral memories....lol

    is the idea of broken glass in a garden bed as alarming as I think it is?

    thanks for stopping by our patch...:)

  2. Well, if everyone seems to be his niece or nephew, I guess we know why he didn't have extra time -oi! LOL!
    What a cheesy joke.

    I will definitely enjoy "watching" your works in progress.

    I hope you enjoy your visits with family. Sorry about your mum-I will be keeping you in my thoughts!
    meggs xxoo

  3. Thanks for spending your Sunday with us Mel - some of those holidays look great, i might even try one myself :) do you know where your ancestors came from? The glass was not too bad, fortunately it became pretty obvious as we started digging around, so we knew to be careful. xx
    Yes a bit cheesy Meggs - lol, but what i didn't say, because I thought it would look bad, was that he was apparently too busy with his sheep to garden - but he was also a pillar of the church, so all above board. xxx


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