Episode 12 - Garden Design Notes
Episode 12 - Allan Potts , Hastings
GARDEN DESIGN NOTES by Tony Murrell
Allan's garden is and always will be a garden full of memories. Allan holds this very dear as his beloved wife is no longer there, and anything that Allan can hold onto to remind him of her is so very important. In consultation with Allan and getting a real sense of what it was that his home and garden meant to him, help set the boundaries for what I could and could not do for him.
Friends and family often have their own agenda and whilst I took all of those ideas on board it was Allan's instruction that I would be taking. "Don't touch my Roses" is what he said to me and I take instructions pretty well !
Allan's focus is really not at home but with the people that he coaches and enjoys virtually seven days a week. The garden for him has always been one of those things that appears on a list of chores so I felt that I had an obligation to take it off the list and invite him to spend some quality time contemplating and remembering his colourful past. Why not invite people back and enjoy Allan's company at home ?
A little extra parking and a decent outdoor entertaining area would be just enough to set the scene and start the invitation process.
Paring back is a process that can often be described as slash and burn, but not in this case. The careful lifting, replanting and retrieving relics of the past was first on the agenda; then we cleared the ramblings that had for a long time prevailed.
To some, Allan's section may have been a little overwhelming due to the fact that everything that existed was pushed out to the four corners. My idea was to gently bring everything forward and out into the open so nothing was lost or buried ever again.
Large sweeping curves around the lawn at the back of the property helped to define new garden beds using Borderline, an ingenuous edging system as a track for the wheel of Allan's lawnmower as a guide. The trick to this system was a carefully concealed night illumination. This would certainly be a talking point.
The installation of a large Gazebo took pride of place in Allan's garden, painted and furnished with colourful cushions - a very welcoming sight. This would also work not only as sun protection but a kind of meeting house for young folk for mentoring and simply hanging out - located not too far from the kitchen for refreshments and right in his garden so that he may once again take time to smell the Roses.
All of the existing garden beds we renovated using really good quality Dalton's organic compost to improve the soil and then a thick blanket of insulating mulch to retain moisture in the Summer and keep the roots of the plants cool, then in Winter insulating from the cold and frost and raising the soil temperature.
Allan's Winter Roses were hungry and would gobble up the new plentiful supply of garden nourishment.
Some of the fruit trees in the garden were past their used by date and had been long neglected. Citrus grows so well in his particular region and I know that he enjoys all the varieties.
At the front of Allan's house an area now newly developed proved to be the perfect siteing for a selection of new citrus trees to be espaliered along a vacant wall. With regular pruning and feeding an abundance of fruit would certainly be on the cards. All he would need to do is to sacrifice this for a couple of seasons in order to get the trees established.
Due to the fact that Allan's section is large and that I wanted to install new gardens, I really had to make sure that he would not be overwhelmed with the new scheme. In consultation with his son it was agreed that his immediate family and some friends would take it upon themselves to be included as part of a regular garden maintenance programme.
This to my mind reassured me that the garden would develop and ultimately surround Allan with year round interest and the memories of his beloved Sylvia.