About this blog

My photo
Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

A tour of the grounds, May 2011

This sounds like we've got acres of landscaped parkland (which we haven't, by the way), but I couldn't think how else to describe it when so little of the land I own could really be called garden. I keep talking about the various bits of outdoors here, and thought it might be nice to have a page that shows you where they all are. To do this properly, I also have to come up with names for said bits of outdoors.

Here goes - I'll start with a plan:
Plan of land surrounding our house. It's quite an odd shape, isn't it?

As you see from the labels (click for clearer image), there are quite a few steep bits. The garden itself is terraced, so both the upper and lower garden are relatively level, but otherwise, we have only one small level bit.

Now for the tour. The approach to the house is via a driveway shared with three neighbours.

There's the house, in the middle. Do you see it? Little white blob.

The hedge you can see on the left is hazel trees. My neighbours have very kindly said that I can harvest the nuts there in the autumn.

As we get closer, the sun goes in. It doesn't always, but it did when I was taking the photos.

This is the beginning of what I can call mine
- not the hedge on the right, but the bank on the left

Looking to the left, we can see the steep bit with oak tree.

Steep bit with oak tree

At the very left of the picture is an elder tree just starting to flower, not that you'd know it from this picture. The pale looking one is hawthorn and beyond that are a couple of oak tree stumps which are putting out lots of shoots with leaves that I'm harvesting enthusiastically. I'm hoping to develop this area into a forest garden - I put forest in quotes because there won't actually be that many more trees - but it needs some of the brambles clearing first.

Carrying on down the driveway, we see the small steep bit:

Small steep bit

This isn't much use as a lawn, at that angle. I'm thinking of growing something more useful there, perhaps wheat.

On the right we see the steep bit by the stream:

Steep bit by the stream. This continues at a similar angle under the trees.

It's very difficult to do anything with this bit of land, as venturing onto it brings great risk of tumbling through many nettles into the stream. I do think wild garlic would be very happy here, though I'm not sure how I'd harvest it!

Looking up from the vertiginous drop to the stream, we can see the driveway continuing past the house.

Look! There's a train going past!

Following the driveway, we get to...

Level bit by the railway

This is the closest thing we have to a lawn. The shrub in the corner is a lilac, and that was very pretty when it was in flower.

Turning to the left, we can see steps going up the side of the house, past yet another steep bit.

Steep bit with steps. This is where I planted the crocosmia.

This is a stupid place for a washing line - it's on the north side of the house.

If I go up the steps and turn left again, looking back towards the road, we see a tiny strip of land running alongside the conservatory roof.

There's a sign on the other side of that gate saying Private

Having gone right round the house, I'll now come back to the garden, of which you've seen plenty of pictures already.

Upper garden

Lower garden

Finally, just because it was in flower and looking gorgeous, here's a poppy: