Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Making our world just a tiny bit prettier ...guerilla gardening.

Good (Sunday) morning to you! Hey, you over there in China, ni hao?
This is a post about guerilla gardening.


When we moved into our house 21 years ago, our garden was an empty nettle infested, paved bit of rubble. The guy who had lived there before us wasn't into gardening (an understatement if ever there was one!)

Now I had a horticultural certificate from the City & Guilds in London, but this was my very first private garden. So during the long cold winter months my husband and I planned what our garden was supposed to look like, and sowed thousands of seeds in seed trays, which were literally everywhere in our house. In the living room, in the bathroom, in the attic, in the kitchen. My baby son's first word was 'mama' but I swear one of the follower-uppers was 'plant' (except he couldn't pronounce the l, so it sounded like pant)

In February/March we dug up all the nettles (leaving a few right at the back, for the butterflies), dug out all the cracked paving stones, cut down the half-dead hedge, and planted out our seedlings.
It took years of trial and error. The soil, even though we mulch, is quite poor. So my beloved Alceas won't grow, and neither do the Paeonias. After buying new plants and trying to replant them for a couple of years, trying this corner and that, we gave up on them, and concentrated on plants which will grow in our North-East facing soil.

But, I'm happy and proud to say, we now have a garden which is lovely in all seasons, and the curiosity of the street (not that I care about that, but my neighbours all remark about our garden...usually ending their remark with: "not our cup of tea, all that hard work"). 

Guerilla gardeners.
So, what do you do, when you have a thriving garden, which produces seedlings, shoots and bushes growing too rampant? Do you throw away all that bounty?
Of course not! You dig up and replant elsewhere. In the communal park, for instance :-)


This is at the back of our plot, where we've replanted Ribes, Red currants and the honey scented Spirea x arguta. The neighbourhood kids love the red currants when there are ripe, but unfortunately the neighbourhood dogs pee against the lower branches (not stopped by their owners....unbelievable!)


The bamboe is one of the few survivors of our predecessor. We didn't want it overgrowing our garden, so took it out and had it in a pot for years, and then planted it out in a boring corner of the park. After the terribly cold winter of 2012 it seemed to have disappeared, but look, it's back! And Theo has planted Hemerocallis in this bit as well, which will be blooming in May/June.


This is one of my favourite bushes: a red hazelnut. It is only just coming into leaf, and its nuts are gorgeous. This is a shoot off of our own bush, which is giving us kilos of nuts every autumn.


The Helleborus is a legacy of Wibe, our son, who had a thing for them a couple of years ago, and collected different species. We got too many, so planted them out in the park, where they thrive.


You don't see them yet, but in this corner I have sown lots of Verbascum olympicum and Digitalis. But the purple and white Honesty are already showing their colours, and so are the Lamiums.


Okay, I'm going to love you and leave you now, but not before I've shown you the latest pride and joy: the parrot tulip in our greenhouse, the first in bloom. Isn't it gorgeous?!