About Grandma Frogs' Garden
It is now 50 years since we moved to Windward, so there have been plenty of changes There is no great overall design, and something changes each year. Plants are added, some removed, a new path created, and so on. Sometimes this happens because we fancy something new - other times nature makes her own changes and we have to work with them. We are not quite organic but we do aim to be as wildlife friendly as possible.
There is about an acre of land, divided roughly into two halves. When we bought the house it came with half an acre. A year later we were able to add on a further half acre of virgin meadow where you could still see the ridges and furrows of an ancient strip system. We fenced it off and planted a shelter belt of balsam poplars along two sides of the rectangle. They were 4 ft twigs then, and, having grown into tremendously tall trees, eventually they were cut down. This was a mammoth job for the tree surgeons who were here for a whole week. The remains now feature as an enormous log pile along the boundary fence. This is home to lots of insects, lizards etc., altough we don't see them very often.
A crumbling log pile
The poplars didn't make a solid shelter belt, and we decided that another line of defence from the wind was needed. An evergreen hedge seemed the answer, but a long straight line would make this area look even narrower. The answer - a crinkle crankle hedge of leylandii, alternating two varieties, and with gaps between the various sections. One trim each year keeps it in order, and it has added interest to this particular part of the garden.
The old plum tree had to go, and we have been able to add two new baby bays to the crinkle crankle hedge. They are now filling the gap very well - not quite as thick as the originals, but nearly there.
We particularly like trees and have quite a number throughout the garden. Over the years our home produced timber has been used for trellises and arches. We know that their life will not be long - the timber is not really suitable - but the woodpeckers love it and we get some very interesting fungi appearing. We have left a number of tall poplar stumps especially for the woodpeckers - I hope they appreciate them.
The woodpeckers love these old tree stumps
A few years ago we lost an enormous branch from a Blue Cedar during a snowstorm. We decided that the tree was probably not safe - it was certainly very ungainly. We decided to have it removed, but left a substantial totem pole, up which twine ivy, honeysuckle and nasturtiums in the summer. This is now a veritable bird house with pigeons sitting on top and other birds nesting inside the ivy!
Having removed the canopy the sun was now able to reach a large area. We took advantage and made a small rosebed. The roses didn't do well however, and they have now been replaced by hardy fuchsias, supplemented by colourful annuals. A long grass border now links up to the herb garden. Gardens are always moving on.
By now you are probably wondering how I manage to do all the work. The answer is, I don't, but I know a man who does. We are very fortunate to have our very own "Man Friday" - Dave. He is very knowledgeable and we work in partnership - I used to do the fiddly bits in the greenhouse etc. but now limit my activities to planning and giving instructions whilst Dave gets to work with spade and hoe. Between us we end up with something that gives us great pleasure and satisfaction - we hope you will find the same.