I open my garden for the National Garden Scheme and garden for others in the small coastal village of Emsworth, Hampshire. I am a qualified horticulturalist with RHS General Certificate (with distinction!) plus the first two years of the RHS Diploma. Unfortunately, I couldn’t complete the third, practical year due to working full time so missed out on the best bit of the course…. I also garden for others for a living and have regular plant sales in the front garden during Spring and Summer.
Also living here is partner Mike who is a whizz at hard landscaping and hedge pruning and our two dogs Winnie and Ozzie, Parson Russell Terriers. You can find more about them on the Dog section of my site.
I moved to the garden in Emsworth in 2002, inheriting a very plain lawned garden from two elderly sisters. The garden is long and narrow, ranging from full sun to full shade and travels on a gentle slope down 250ft. It is bounded on the southern side by a 150ft privet hedge and on the northern side by a mix of fencing and trellis. There were plant collections bought from newspapers of buddleja, viburnum and daphne, all lumped together in one bed, a leaky ‘wildlife’ pond / puddle towards the bottom of the garden and at the very bottom, an extremely shady area they had optimistically ear-marked for vegetables with an old storage container acting as a shed.
Having transported more than half my old London garden down here the emphasis was on sorting out the garden as soon as possible so that they could all be safely planted. Beds were dug, the pond re-done, the shed moved and a greenhouse installed. Today the garden is very different with a shepherds hut, a summerhouse, a log store and new areas of hard landscaping. I am now having to reorganise my planting and design to accommodate what were once small plants but are now mature specimens.
The garden has evolved over the years into a series of different areas or ‘rooms’:
A hosta and fern walkway down the side of the house
A formal pond with pebbled area around and full sun flowerbed
A slate area with acers
A small lawned area with shade loving perennials facing the Shepherd's Hut
A gate and trellised area leads to the greenhouse area with a step over apple planted adjacent
The informal pond with wooden decking to one side and a shrubbery to the rear
The summerhouse, Spring garden, compost bin area
The full shade area with ericaceous loving plants (acid lovers) in pots and Mike’s workshop.
Oh and the front garden which is mainly planted with shrubs for seasonal interest but also has to accommodate the plants that I sell during my monthly Summer plant sales.
Inbetween and within these areas are a plethora of container planting, container ponds, quirky ornaments and ornamental trees such as Robinia hispida, Catalpa bignoniodes ‘Aurea’, Syrax, Pyrus pendula, Trachycarpus fortunei.
I have a penchant for perennials, preferably of the more unusual kind and, unfortunately, acid-loving shrubs which have to be grown in containers as my soil doesn’t have a low enough pH.