Moving in: 1996

When I first walked into this garden, in February 1996, it was already familiar. Partly familiar because it was so like many other small gardens behind Victorian terraced houses at the edge of any town. And partly familiar because I felt it was the kind of place I'd always wanted.

It looked like it was appreciated as somewhere to sit out in summer on the lawn, under the cherry tree and apple tree. It was mainly lawn, and there was a concrete path from the back door of the house towards the outhouses on one side. The path also went towards a gate in the side wall, a hidden gate that had been long boarded up, and had dense foliage growing in front of it - reminding me of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden. I loved it as it was, but also loved the idea of changing it.

We were there as prospective buyers of the house, so at that point I had no chance of enjoying this garden, or of changing it. Many months later, after the invariably long-winded and stressful process of house-selling and house-buying, in September 1996 we moved in.

The first morning I started pruning, and over the winter continued pruning, and planning, but work on the house was more urgent, and gardening really began early in 1997. I kept a journal of all the work, and the thoughts, and the developments, typed directly onto the computer, and the journal formed the original inspiration for this website.

These pages will I hope give some idea of the development of the garden. To help picture the areas discussed, you might want to simultaneously view the Interactive Garden Plan . . . (lo-tech - no Flash plug-in needed)

1997 - shrinking lawn, and "desire lines"

The garden in 1996

Above and left: The estate agents' photo of the garden in 1996.


Garden plan (link opens in new window)