Spring is sprung and the garden is beckoning. I had an interlude with COVID around Christmas time which has slowed my normal rhythm but I am getting stronger every day. I am using this time to make plans for my own garden. The books are out and the head is spinning with ideas. I have a few projects that I will be sharing with you over the coming months. I have marked out some border areas and am deciding on what planting will be best. I hope to have created a Fairy Garden, a Teardrop Garden and a Circle of Trust before the end of the summer. We are planning to get chickens and possibly a rooster for the orchard so housing will have to be secured for their arrival. I am also working virtually with clients on planting and master plans which is going very well. Who would have thought that we would be unable to call to someones house on a garden consultation but we are humans and we adapt. My garden has been my saviour throughout this pandemic and Im sure you are finding this too. Being able to walk outside and see that nature is still continuing its circle of life is so hopeful. I continue to share my gardening tasks, knowledge and observations on my instagram page and I must say this gardening community is a great source of support and interest to me. Ill be posting developing happenings over the coming months so keep posted.
What a very uncertain time we are in. My garden has been my life saver throughout this pandemic. Getting outside and engaging with nature every day keeps me sane and gives me hope that the circle of life will continue. The garden presents gifts daily - proof that the active soil is working away beneath our feet regardless of the chaos above the earth. The birds, bees and butterflies have appeared in abundance this year with ecologists suggesting that the reduction in chemical and noise pollutants has helped to reset the desirable environment required for our natural predators and pollinators to thrive. I have certainly noticed a marked increase in activity in my own garden. A silver lining is always welcome. During our first lockdown we built a sink garden, using belfast ceramic sinks I took from my parental home to showcase plants as the main feature. I incorporated succulents, statutory and hard landscaping elements I had been holding onto for years. I believe in reusing loved pieces to create a very personal element to your space. It is satisfying to carry pieces from generation to generation and I feel it cements the intergenerational connection in a very tangible and emotional way.
I also planted a wild flower garden using the form of butterfly wings to create beds of wild perennials. This planting was a great success and something I will be doing again next spring. It is encouraging to note the rising number of active gardeners using horticultural pursuits as a social, therapeutic and educational tool which encourages familial outdoor interaction and delivers the biophilic benefits of stress relief and soul soothing. I have been sharing my horticultural journey on my instagram page #leliawalshgardendesign if you are interested or contact me on 0830351055 if you require input into your garden design.
March started off very cold today but I got outside for a few hours to survey the jobs on hand for the coming few weeks. I'm holding my first class this week on apple pruning and have three eager participants. Hopefully it will informative and fun for us all. Will let you know how that goes. Have started weeding out the borders and cutting back the less tender plants. I leave the spent flowerheads over the winter both for plant protection and as architectural presence in the garden. The hydrangeas, artichokes and agapanthus look particularly beautiful when they catch the light and morning dew.
Our apple pruning class was a great success, the participants were very eager and reported that it was a great learned exercise. We also had a fun day of knowledge and skill sharing, swopping stories and trying out new tools.
Back in the garden with a vengence this week. I have a list of tasks for the next four weeks which are all in preparation for the seasons ahead. Today I raked and cleared the avenue of leaves and broken branches in prep for a resurface of gravel. I have chosen a 20mm grey pebble from Roadstone. This will provide a good strong driving surface and is permeable which assists with surface and soakaway drainage. As the avenue is beech lined the gravel gets pitted with potholes from the dropping water so I cleared out the holes and filled them with a loose gravel mix and pounded it down. When the gravel is delivered tomorrow the driver will drop several loads along the avenue and I can rake them level as he drives along. The woodland beds are alive with hellebores, crocuses, snowdrops, vinca and woodland anemones. The daffodils are full of buds but haven't opened yet. Looking forward to when they are in full bloom. Stone wall being built tomorrow so will fill you in on that project.
Walls completed and look great. One will serve as a support for a new glasshouse which I plan to use as a propagation house. This will allow me to sow flower seeds and produce for the vegetable garden.
Today I write my very first chat with you all. Its exciting to have set up my website and to finally showcase what I'm all about. Those of you who know me already will be aware that gardening is my passion. I wake every morning with the wish to be in the garden. Daily happenings and events take priority but I am always looking for that opportunity to get outside. My favourite day starts early with a survey of the jobs to be done then I try systematically to work towards my goals. The garden distracts me at every turn. There's pruning, deadheading, sweeping and flower smelling. The birds gather round as I dig the soil and the surprises are constant. New seedlings present themselves as do perennials seeking a good haircut. I spent Sunday last doing a good tidy up of the patio and surrounding areas. I had already filled a skip earlier on in December with the debris and fallout from various jobs in my own garden and clients gardens. You never know when something might find a new home but for once I was fairly ruthless. I look at everything with an inventive eye, could it make a sculpture piece, could it be buried under foundations of new walls or is it just beautiful for itself. When the drum of my dryer was being replaced I asked the engineer to carry it out to the garden where it now houses a large skimmia. A nice round stainless steel pot with aspirations to decorate with a hammer and nails. My motto is to throw nothing out until it has been audited at least twice. My plan is to writeup my progress in the garden as I go. I have lots of plans for this year but ill fill you in as we go along. I love creating beautiful spaces so if anyone has aspirations to tackle a new garden project I would be delighted to work with you on a design and implementation of a shared vision. My mobile is 0830351055 if you want to chat about your garden plans.