Further to my post earlier this week about preparing the pink bed in the Cutting Garden I have taken some photos of the area as it looks now, so that there will be something to compare it with as the flowers start to bloom later in the year.
Looking back to when we bought the house four years ago, the main area of the land was taken up with two paddocks for horses. Shortly after moving in we removed the larger of the two paddocks and took the area back within the main garden. As there are so many rabbits on the land I needed an area that could be securely fenced to start growing vegetables. The easiest option was to run chicken wire around the existing fencing of the smaller paddock and from there the idea of The Kitchen Garden was born.
A gate at either end of the paddock suggested the main walkway through the centre which is lined on either side by young espalier fruit trees and lavender. The paddock was then divided into quarters with the intention of growing vegetables, herbs, fruit & flowers within a protected area. The first quarter to be developed was originally the vegetable garden, although after two years I decided there was too much growing space for vegetables and turned it over to mainly flowers. That first quarter is now known as The Cutting Garden and is made up of wooden edged beds with soil that has been improved with compost for the last three years.
The photo above shows the layout of The Cutting Garden. There are 4 large 3m by 4m beds and eight smaller 1m by 4m beds. Two of these smaller beds are home to the asparagus, one to raspberries and one to strawberries. In the photo above you can see an asparagus bed in the foreground and the metal arches above the strawberry bed in the rear of the photo.
This is the outline of the 3m by 4m pink bed. I have another 3 beds like this within the Cutting Garden. At the moment all that is visible are some poppies and a couple of foxgloves (as well as a few weeds in the centre which still need forking out). Behind the bed you can see the immature yew hedge that I have planted around the boundary of the paddock fence. These yews were just 12 inches high when they were planted and I hope that one day this hedge will be tall and thick enough to enclose the area and create in effect a ‘secret garden’ within the main garden.
This is another view looking back across the pink bed, with an asparagus bed in the rear and more immature yews at the back of the photo. The wooden posts that you can see are the supporting framework for the espaliered trees.
Around the edges of the cuttings beds are a variety of tulips which are just coming up. I am hoping there will be some in flower by April, which will mark the start of the season in The Cutting Garden.
The Cutting Garden is edged on 3 sides by the immature yew hedge. The fourth side through which the central path runs is edged by young espalier apple and pear trees underplanted with lavender. These trees were bought as maiden whips (basically one year old sticks), which I have been training for the last two years. I hope this year to be able to tie in the third and final tier.
This photo shows the size of the box edging this spring. Although small these plants are much bigger than they were when I put them in last year. These were purchased quite cheaply in a sale at a garden centre, but I am hoping to edge the remaining beds using cuttings from existing plants.
This is the view looking across the central path over to the new vegetable beds. I have four smaller beds in the vegetable quarter, which I am sure will provide me with ample space to grow enough vegetables for the family. A third quarter which I have not photographed this week contains much of the fruit. There are red currants, black currants, blackberries, gooseberries and more strawberries. The final quarter is still grass and will remain so for a few more years I think.
I hope these photos will help you to envisage the area of the garden that I call The Kitchen Garden. The main points to remember are that this is a self contained area which will eventually be hidden by yew hedges and fenced against the wildlife (although birds are still a problem!). Within the Kitchen Garden you will find the avenue of espaliered fruit trees, The Cutting Garden, The Vegetable Garden and The Fruit Garden.
This area of the garden is still very immature and I am looking forward to sharing its progress to maturity with you.