Before And After: The Oval Path And Elizabeth’s Bed

It was June 2014 by the time we began to tackle the southern end of the garden between what is now the rose garden and the back drive. We began with the Oval Path and made a start on Elizabeth’s bed.

Path before clearancePath before clearance 2

This is what confronted us on 5th June. We thought there must be a path in there somewhere. We did not know then that these were two parts of an oval around a bed, beyond which the strip along the fence was a jungle, overlooked by the rose Altissimo which managed to soar above it.

Bamboo coming through pathOval path intermediate stage

Later in the day, all was becoming clearer.

Kitchen garden

This broad view from the next day shows how this corner of the garden fitted together. The rose garden hadn’t even been thought of then. The Oval Path is to the right.

Bamboo roots

The bamboo seen in the third picture above sent roots right under the gravelled path. I had fun digging them out.

Jackie digging out bricksJackie sieving beyond gravelled path

By 10th Jackie was sieving soil from the gravel that we had weeded.

oval-bed 11.6.15

The Oval Bed was better established by 11th June 2015, and Elizabeth’s bed, named because she cleared much of it, was far more inviting.

Altissimo 24.6.15

Altissimo could now be reached.

Elizabeth's bed 25.9.15

By 25th September 2015, Elizabeth’s bed had been fully planted up ready for next year. It is now difficult to imagine how obscured that fence was.

Garden Album

Today was another wet, but very warm day. Between steady bouts of rain, Jackie continue to cram as many plants into the front garden as she could. I’m pretty sure I give the entries into the garden album, on which I continued to work today, more breathing space.

We dined this evening on juicy belly of pork. mashed potato and swede, crisp cabbage and tricolour carrots (orange, red, and white); followed by apple crumble and custard. I finished the beaujolais. Jackie had drunk her Hoegaarden whilst cooking, but she didn’t mind.

As I write this post I flip flies from my face and hands. Surely they should all be dead by now.


  1. More great improvements made! Good idea keeping an album full of the work you’ve done. Gardens and plants change so much that having a record like that is invaluable. 🙂

  2. We’ve had a few flies here in the last couple of weeks. That is probably the only thing our gardens have in common as mine looks like the “before” portion of your photos!

  3. I keep wondering how warm is ‘very warm’ in your opinion? 20ºC? I remember when I was in London during a 25ºC ‘heatwave’ people were jumping into fountains everywhere. It was hilarious to us as summers are getting close to 40ºC or above on some days. Great B&A photos; how exciting for you to discover endless new paths everywhere – how many paths do you have? I think the flies like the manure you’ve been spreading 🙂

    1. It is around 20 degrees. I only call that very warm because it’s November. We wouldn’t get to 40 in the summer. Actually, I’m not quite sure how many paths we’ve got! Perhaps you are right about the manure 🙂 Thanks, Mary.

    2. Mary, I am sure that 40 degrees is a setting on my very english oven, and I cook things at that temperature. No human being can surely survive such heat without a fountain to hand !

      1. Forty is pretty hard to bear but fortunately rare in my part of Sydney (it’s a big city; 25miles from one end to the other) but we’ve had high 30s too often now. I have a fan. 🙂

      2. Sydney according to my google:
        The inner city measures 25 square kilometres (10 square miles), the Greater Sydney region covers 12,367 square kilometres (4,775 square miles), and the city’s urban area is 1,687 square kilometres (651 square miles) in size.

  4. I think sometimes the bugs never die. I was bitten by something in the garden last weekend and (reacting the way I do) wound up with something that looked like I’d been punched in the forehead. Glad your temps are warm yet for the garden.

  5. We say that about Siddy all the time…………. ‘but he doesn’t mind….’
    “More? He’s had two treats already this morning!’
    ‘But he doesn’t mind….’
    ‘I’ve played three games already…..’
    ‘But he doesn’t mind!’
    The work and changes continues to astound!

  6. it does look magnificent; any idea how many hours it’s taken you two? And it isn’t November here for sue; all the summer plants carry on as if September never finished. As and when we get frost they’ll be in for a shock. Still the tortoise has given up and is hibernating and she usually knows best.

    1. Thank you, Geoff. During last excellent summer, we were both out there for an average of eight hours a day for a good three months. This year Jackie has done a little less – perhaps six, with me chipping in an average of two. Your tortoise must know

  7. Gorgeous results from lots of efforts on the part of both of yours! 🙂
    Derrick, you accomplished miracles and my favorite part is the bend at the fence~ a curving delight! Wow!

  8. Wow, you really inherited a jungle didn’t you? Such a beautiful transformation. We also are having unusually warm weather and still have flies, although they are a bit drowsy and slow. We also had dozens of ladybugs climbing our windows a few days ago. Lovely but odd for November.

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