The joy of establishing your first garden

PHOTO OF WEEK: Beverley Macdonald's photo of a buttercup field off Todmorden Road, Briercliffe

PHOTO OF WEEK: Beverley Macdonald's photo of a buttercup field off Todmorden Road, Briercliffe

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After so many months of misery at last our weather seems to have settled down with high pressure weather systems covering most of the UK, meaning that most of us (in England at least) have enjoyed days of wonderful warm sunshine.

Something we believe should be ours as of right at this time of year, but which has been conspicuous by its absence for most of the year. The result of this, is that, after possibly the slowest and latest spring in years, the warmer weather has allowed many things to catch up.

Even now, the odd daffodil loiters stubbornly in the odd corner, but in truth its days are numbered. The season is gearing up to saying goodbye to spring, and summer here we come.

My daughter has just been doing some work at her house, and is now about ready to start putting her own bedding plants in tubs and in the border around her new little patio. It is a pivotal moment. Apart from cutting the grass when she was in her early teens, she has never lifted a finger in the garden or shown any interest in gardening, despite both her parents having spent most of their working lives in the garden trade.

Suddenly, she is starting to ask about plants to decorate her little patch. It seems she has noticed and likes, shrubs like Pieris ‘Forest Flame’, Camellias and fancies an evergreen shrub on her fence like (‘it is a blue flowered thingy’) a Ceanothus. She also wants ‘one of those things with those big flowers’, which it turns out is a clematis. I’m delighted she is taking notice. I thought she just walked past them oblivious to their existence, but apparently not.

When it comes to bedding plants, she also has her own ideas. Apparently, she is a fan of dahlias, fuchsias all begonias and daisies of any sort. Our own patio at home has always been awash with flowers during her formative years and so I am pleased that now she has her own place and after a year she has the inside up to a fairly decent standard, she is now turning her attention to the outside and prettifying her patio is her current project.

I’m delighted she is at last taking an interest, and it will be a pleasure to guide her through the process of rearing plants in her garden.

She has bought some gloves, a trowel and some secateurs and ventured out to make a start. After the builders, however, her soil was not quite what she had hoped. Much of the “soil” turned out to be builder’s rubble, sand and cement waste. It seems that within a minute her strategy was clear. There was an obvious way forward. She returned inside and got on the phone: “Daaad, I don’t suppose……?”