What a difference a year (or two) makes

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Until a couple of years ago, gardening was somewhat of a mystery to me. Having grown up surrounded by beautiful country cottage gardens I took them somewhat for granted. But then after 5 years in the big smoke I started to crave one of my own.

In my blog posts I’ll be sharing the trials and errors that have been my first couple of years as a bonafide amateur gardener! We’ve now been in our lovely little cottage for two years. When we first moved in the previous couple had taken a seriously low-maintenance approach to the garden and covered the whole lot in small paviers.

We’ve since taken these all up (quite a task!), put down a lawn, built two raised beds (made out of decking boards – brilliantly easy to do!) and formed some large flower borders. My brother also came in and replaced the somewhat rickety fence with a brand new one – terribly smart, but with this and the new and still rather empty borders our little garden was looking rather regimented and empty, not the rambling rural hideaway we had envisaged .

But fast forward two years and thanks to the constant care and effort of my partner Tim, with a little keen, but amateur, help from me and of course the odd I-just-have-to-have-it purchase from work, our borders are fit to burst! The square empty edges have been softened with a multitude of plants - haphazard, self-seeded aquilegia and poppies and jungle-like, towering lupins, now being followed by the more reserved, but no less lovely delphiniums, foxgloves and of course dahlias that are just coming through.

Border with lupins and foxgloves

A self seeded poppy

And our current crowing glory has to be the Clematis 'Montana Blue Angel' that I planted against the aforementioned new fence, which last year was quietly making it’s way up over the woodwork, with little or no flowers, but this summer (despite all this crazy weather) has suddenly burst forth with an incredible show.

Well worth the wait.

And just before I sign off, I wanted to share my most recent discovery, and one of few exceptions to the rule of waiting. This is that the bright pink (some might say almost gaudy) hydrangea flowers that we inherited with the garden actually make the most elegant, delicate flower arrangement if picked just as they’re starting to turn from green to pink. Here they are (in a favourite Sarah Raven vase), brightening up our sitting room on a particularly gloomy afternoon!

Thanks for reading!

PS. Thanks for all of your entries to the Sarah Raven Photo Competition - catch all the entries over at Pinterest... let us know your favourites!