When I look back at when I first started tending my garden there were no plants in it, just a square in the centre of overgrown lawn and the rest of it was soil and rubbish. It was a sunny garden though until the late afternoon when the two great poplars at the side and a huge pear tree shaded the last third of it.
I wanted trees because I had no focal points at all so my eyes would automatically go to the neighbouring gardens and if I was looking out of my house windows all I would see was those great big trees next door.
I needed privacy too because although I’m not paranoid there were nine windows overlooking the full length of the garden and several other back doors too, but the most important thing I didn’t appreciate at the time is how the sun, shade or even soil would be affected tree by tree.
So as I developed each area planting an occasional tree and climbers mingling into shrubs around the boundaries the garden has evolved from full sun loving to more shade loving plants with only a small area allowing sun lovers.
Over time with the addition of lots of different composts, topsoil, manure, mushroom composts and leaf mulch the challenging heavy clay soil that was so dry in summer with poor drainage when it was wet has become more workable enabling me to grow a much wider range of plants apart from those plants requiring acid soil, because the soil is alkaline, an easy to use soil tester kit told me that.
Having more trees and shade with constant improvement of the soil structure has meant that plants that grew best in my little woodland garden are happily thriving in other areas too which allows some continuity of planting to create the effect I want.
The garden is a never ending story the more I do for soil the better everything grows allowing it to become the garden that I had created in my mind.
Plants are alive, but sometimes they don’t look their best or simply die, there are always others to propagate by division or cuttings to replace them, self-sets a plenty to move around, as well as buying occasionally to inject something fresh and new or even a new garden project.