A Walkie Round The (New) Garden Part 1

One thing that has taken me by surprise now I’m back in England is that the days are so short- like my memory apparently seeing as I lived here for most of my life before my French adventure.  It’s not properly light until gone 8 in the morning an,d it’s almost dark by 4 in the afternoon, even on a fairly sunny day like today.  The days in France are also shorter in the winter obviously but, maybe because the weather was generally much better where we lived, the daylight seemed to last longer.

So, even though it was a relatively bright day today my photos of the garden don’t really reflect that.

As Cathy (of nanacathy blogging fame) did when she moved house earlier this year, we are looking at the garden and wondering what the changing seasons will bring.  Some things are obvious but I’m sure there’ll also be some surprises.

This massive old oak tree rules over part of the front garden and is often full of huge black crows but there are smaller birds in residence too, lots of blue tits, blackbirds, wrens and we’ve seen two types of woodpecker up there too.  A pair of binoculars has suddenly appeared from who knows where.  I’ve become a twitcher – who would have thunk it?

The former owner, perhaps in a moment of madness,  had two ponds built.

This is the large one and is full of fish.  Also, the pond plants look as if they will be glorious come Spring/Summer.

Spot the badger trail leading down to the pond from the field behind.

Apparently,the pond is so well balanced she never fed the fish nor needed to mess with the planting so, hopefully, it will be low maintenance.

This is the smaller pond which has no fish but apparently has frogs and newts at the appropriate time of year.

It’s tucked away in a corner of the garden – I’m imagining a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses completing this picture in the fullness of time.

Mind you, a bigger surprise than the short days – well, shock really – is the price of wine.  Lordy!  I’ll have to cut back my consumption of the fermented grape or do without food.

Some things in the garden seem a bit ‘niche’ – I’m being polite here.  The little hedge planted for no apparent reason and the shale path that leads nowhere will have to go (says Mr. Tialys).

Something else that will have to go is most of this black plastic stuff  – stop me if I’m being too technical – I know it keeps the weeds down but it also keeps other things down and it looks a bugger (says Mr. T.).

Indeed, he has already made a start and uncovered some rather nice looking soil – but then we are used to soil full of rocks having lived in the foothills of the Pyrénees.

The empty greenhouse awaits

as does this ex-chicken run which was more recently put to use for growing strawberries.

Anyway, anybody would think it was me going to work my fingers to the bone in this new garden,  Not at all.  I might pull the odd weed, prune a rose and dead head a daff from time to time but anything involving spade, fork or shovel is not my forte.  I would say it’s because fault would be found with anything I did in the garden by the head gardener but, although that is true, it is also a very good excuse.

I’ll just go off down the lane with the dogs for my exercise instead, dodging the horse poo and general mud – how I’ve missed hosing the dogs down after walks and wearing wellies.  I have some rather dapper shiny black ones although it’s actually hard to make the colour out after five minutes of ‘mud, glorious mud’.

More in Part 2.

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  1. #1 by sew2pro on December 2, 2020 - 19:57

    A lovely collections of discoveries, and I too look forward to more revealed as the seasons change. Good news about the soil looking promising. The oak has a beautiful form (the one I inherited is a more tamed, lollipop shape which is just as well as the garden is much smaller than yours). You’ve missed what I’m told is a mast year for acorns: it has pretty much rained acorns everywhere this year.

    • #2 by tialys on December 2, 2020 - 20:42

      Probably just as well as one of my dogs likes to feast on acorns despite the fact they are apparently toxic to dogs.

      • #3 by sew2pro on December 2, 2020 - 21:01

        Another instance of complete lack of discernment in dogs when it comes to foodstuffs. I tried shelling the acorns as you can apparently eat them once shelled and leached. Ended up in urgent care as a piece of shell got under my thumb and after 2 weeks became infected. All ok now but couldn’t knit for a long time…. And the worst bit is that the handful of acorns I managed to prepare tasted of … nothing.

      • #4 by tialys on December 3, 2020 - 10:18

        Well! You won’t do that again will you. 😉

  2. #5 by anne54 on December 2, 2020 - 21:07

    It’s a good sized garden to keep Mr T happy (out of mischief?!) for quite a while. The ponds are a lovely feature, but will the dogs be tempted to have a paddle?

    • #6 by tialys on December 3, 2020 - 10:18

      They might be. So far I’ve only seen a paw tentatively dipped.

  3. #7 by katechiconi on December 2, 2020 - 21:48

    I suppose being nearly 800km further north might make a difference to the quantity of light in winter… It does look a little chilly there, I have to say, so I’m hoping you and the dogs are well rugged up if required. And you and Mr (no longer M.) Tialys will just have to do what discerning Francophiles have been doing for decades, and pile into your car and visit France for the day, taking in a hypermarket to stock up on the indispensible comestibles. (But wait! Does Brexit mean you’d have to declare a boot full of grape juice…?) Once the pandemic is over, of course. It’s looking as if you made the move just in time to take advantage of the vaccine, too! The garden looks promising, apart from the pointless hedge and path, and the acres of nasty geotextile. I look forward to spring posts about blossom and bulbs 🙂

    • #8 by tialys on December 3, 2020 - 10:29

      Booze cruises will probably become ‘a thing’ again because we would be entitled to duty free stuff. However, as in our trips to Andorra from France where alcohol and smokes are really cheap, there is quite a tough limit on what you can import. It was better to nip across to Spain for cheaper food and drink – if you could be bothered – where it is cheaper even though it has already been taxed so there wasn’t a limit (or at least not one that would bother you unless you were trying to stock a shop). A bottle of drinkable rosé wine in France can cost anything from 3 or 4 euros whereas some undrinkable stuff we bought here the other day cost about double. We’ll have to get Mr. T’s home brewed beer and wine up and running again once he’s cleared a space in the garage.

  4. #9 by claire93 on December 2, 2020 - 22:35

    gardens never look their best at this time of year, so I imagine you’ll wait for the Spring before you start doing anything too drastic outdoors? I bet the cats will spend many a happy hour trying to catch fish ^^ And oooh, a chicken coop! Do you fancy getting some English chooks next year?

    • #10 by tialys on December 3, 2020 - 10:31

      Hmm. Not sure about the chooks but bee hives have been discussed.

  5. #11 by Pat on December 2, 2020 - 23:15

    Looks beautiful. Don’t know where you are but I’m sure you’ll be very happy here. The days get longer the nearer you are to the south. X

    • #12 by tialys on December 3, 2020 - 10:32

      Quite far South – we’re in West Dorset.

  6. #13 by CurlsnSkirls on December 3, 2020 - 01:55

    Oh, goodie! Hearing about your new environs has made me smile. Will await your next installment with great anticipation!

  7. #16 by kathyreeves on December 3, 2020 - 04:44

    Some very promising spaces there! I’m looking forward to your next installment!

    • #17 by tialys on December 3, 2020 - 10:41

      Yes, but I don’t think we’ll be up to your level of production Kathy – although just as well as I wouldn’t have the patience for all that bottling you do.

      • #18 by kathyreeves on December 3, 2020 - 14:46

        😆 most importantly, if you need to grow your own food, you can do so! It’s like insurance. 🙂

  8. #19 by Laurie Graves on December 3, 2020 - 05:51

    Lots of projects, but lots of potential, too. What a lovely tree! Look forward to seeing more of your garden.

    • #20 by tialys on December 3, 2020 - 10:43

      It is a lovely tree and will look lovely in full leaf I imagine.

  9. #21 by cedar51 on December 3, 2020 - 06:20

    Looks like the winter season will be good time to plan what you will be in your future garden, and even though there is that black plastic, guessing the previous owner had a wonderful orchard and food bearing garden. As for the path that goes nowhere, maybe plan a surprise at the end of it…a kind of peaceful dell, with a gazebo or similar – a place to get away from it all…

    • #22 by tialys on December 3, 2020 - 10:49

      Yes, as well as the strawberries, there is a whole netted structure dedicated to purple sprouting broccoli and another for raspberries. Also some raised beds for leeks and salads and probably some more we haven’t spotted yet. That path leads into a hedge but there other peaceful dells in the garden – like the one by the small pond and some other little nooks and crannies to relax in complete privacy if you don’t mind a large cow gazing at you from time to time.

  10. #23 by Lynda on December 3, 2020 - 07:52

    So much potential! I suspect your Master Gardener will have it managed to his perfection in short order too. I haven’t been keeping up, not even on my own blog, so imagine my surprise when I came to visit and see that you have such spacious gardens and that you are out in the country. I hated to think of you living in the city with a walled off bit of earth to garden in and for the dogs to wander. It’s going to be fun to see your progress and the seasonal changes as you get settled in. ❤

    • #24 by tialys on December 3, 2020 - 10:54

      We’ve missed you Lynda – I hope you and yours are well. I am a city girl by birth (born in London)but have lived semi or totally rurally both in England and in France for more than half my life now and Mr Tialys is not a city type at all so that wouldn’t have been on the cards. However, my 5-10 year plan is perhaps to move to a small market town or similar where we would be in reach of all the facilities so we wouldn’t have to drive everywhere. We’ll see – it wouldn’t be possible to do that at the moment anyway – we have too many pets to live anywhere near a busy road.

  11. #25 by Kim on December 3, 2020 - 10:29

    I’m no gardener but there looks plenty to keep Mr T busy there. It will be interesting for him to see what appears as the seasons change.
    Ah yes, dogs and mud. Shame they can’t wear wellies too 😉

  12. #26 by nanacathy2 on December 3, 2020 - 11:10

    I am so envious of your garden compared to the forlorn patch, but the days when we could have coped with a fabulous garden have gone. Oddly I find the days down South shorter than the ones in Yorkshire, am hoping the benefit will be longer days in Spring! Enjoy the mud!

    • #27 by tialys on December 4, 2020 - 09:55

      The forlorn patch will not look so forlorn for long – don’t worry. You will be able to make it look fabulous without making it too labour intensive if you choose carefully as I’m sure you know.
      Compared to our stupidly large amount of space in France, this seems manageable to us. The first thing is to make it completely dog escape proof and new fencing has been acquired. If it stops raining, that will be this weekend’s project.

  13. #28 by Emmely on December 3, 2020 - 21:43

    Fantastic tree! And lots of work to do, it looks like a large garden!
    In France the days were longer because you were closer to the equator. I so miss the light of the sun.

    • #29 by tialys on December 4, 2020 - 09:52

      I suppose it is large compared to a lot of gardens but we had a massive amount of outdoor space in France so this looks manageable to us.

      • #30 by Emmely on December 4, 2020 - 22:31

        I am comparing it to my Dutch city garden. 😉

  14. #31 by knettycraft on December 5, 2020 - 08:50

    For me as a ‘big city girl’ it looks like you have moved from one holiday home to another 😉 … Beautiful… such an inspirational surrounding

    • #32 by tialys on December 5, 2020 - 10:07

      When I was younger I could never imagine living too far from a big city and London in particular – how my life has changed!

      • #33 by knettycraft on December 5, 2020 - 12:23

        … I have no idea why I moved from Berlin to the area with Germany’s highest population density. I would love to live like this… there was always the need to live in a city because of getting to work without a car 😊

  15. #34 by Wild Daffodil on December 8, 2020 - 10:14

    I don’t know how I managed to miss this post until now. What a glorious oak tree and what a garden! So many interesting things to discover. Looking forward to seeing how it develops.

  16. #36 by craftycreeky on December 8, 2020 - 10:16

    Lookslike there’slots of potential there to keep Mr T busy! It’ll be quite exciting to see what comes up in the spring. I seem to live in wellies for dog walking – our back lane never dries up fully so even in the summer, I may have a pretty flowing dress on…and wellies 🙂

    • #37 by tialys on December 15, 2020 - 19:26

      A pretty summer dress and wellies is all the rage – you could be in a perfume advert 😉

  17. #38 by Susan Nixon on December 26, 2020 - 03:13

    It seems like quite a change. I like to see gardens, but I don’t want to work in them myself.

    • #39 by tialys on January 7, 2021 - 12:53

      A woman after my own heart!

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