Farewell to Albertine

No, not the end of the blog, but a farewell to my dear little garden. We are moving house – like sensible people, we decided the week before Christmas was a GOOD time to do this – so I have to leave behind Albertine, The Wren, the mysterious yellow rose, and many other friends. (Not that I talk to my plants, Prince Charles-style, you understand, but I am fond of them).

Garden in summer

Garden looking its best, summer 2012

Luckily, we won’t leave everything behind – I have pots which will easily move to the new house, including my bay tree, azalea and some herbs, and I collected seeds over the autumn from foxgloves, columbine and snapdragon. No idea how these will actually turn out, as I’ve never stored seeds over winter before, but I have them in envelopes in the fridge so I hope I’ll get at least a couple of new plants from them.

Bay tree

Bay tree – 2011 Christmas present

Still, it will be hard to leave the roses I’ve nurtured over the last four years, the honeysuckle and clematis I trained up the trellis and over the dead tree, the rosemary which gets used in cooking virtually every week, and the bulbs which I won’t even get to see flowering again. I’ll also miss Alfie and Tabby, the cats who have treated my garden like a second home, though I won’t miss having to dispose of their mess…

Alfie and Tabby

Alfie and Tabby in a rare entente cordiale

On the other hand, there will be lessons I’ve learned and mistakes I won’t make again…no planting mint in anything other than a pot, as it sprawls everywhere. I won’t see the bamboo, which was so shapely and manageable for the first few years, continue in its relentless triffid-like growth (and probably eventually have to be removed). I will miss my fuchsia, but the new house has fuchsia AND hydrangea in the front garden, so no need to make any changes there.

I am also gaining a south-west facing garden (hurrah!) with a good sized lawn, but a fairly blank canvas apart from that. There is a raised bed which might be good for growing veg, and we saw a well-laden apple tree hanging over the fence – OK, not technically ours, then, but the fruit on branches which dangle over our side are up for grabs, aren’t they?

It will be a bit of a challenge to decide how much space to keep as lawn, for maximum entertaining/play space for the hordes of children who will descend on it when the sun shines, and how much room I can carve out for flowers. Do I dare to plant a tree? (I’ve always wanted to have a garden big enough to plant my favourite tree, the rowan). Will there be room for a shed? (at the moment all our gardening gear will be in the garage or utility room). Where shall I put my herbs so that they don’t spread everywhere? (It’s useful to have herbs near the kitchen, so I’m thinking pots on the patio, or a Belfast sink style planter if I can get hold of one).

The Wren rose

The Wren in all her glory, summer 2012

I am sure I’ll make a whole host of new mistakes, and make unexpected discoveries, and enjoy documenting my work on here as I go along. The big difference, though, is that we are moving to a house and garden which has been a family home for 25 years, much loved and well looked-after.

Garden, late summer 2009

Garden as it looked a year after I moved in, late summer 2009.

This time, I won’t be taking a bare concrete patch and turning it into something beautiful. I won’t be planning my first garden from scratch, based on daydreams I’d had for years. I’ve created that garden, and now I’m leaving it…so it’s a sad farewell, but besides the plants in pots and seeds, I’m taking happy memories with me. Goodbye, Albertine, may you bloom for many years to come!

Goodbye, Albertine

Goodbye, Albertine

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