Before And After: The South End

Were the barometer on our garden wall in good working order it would no doubt indicate ‘wet and warm’. Perhaps, at 18 degrees centigrade it had the temperature right. Full sunshine, however, we definitely did not experience.

The leucanthemums in the front garden are some of the plants cut back for the winter by the Head Gardener.


This one was having none of it.

It may come as no surprise that one album is insufficient for the garden record. Late yesterday afternoon I therefore ordered two more from Harrison Cameras in Chesterfield. They were delivered just after noon today. I call that an incredibly good service. I then stuck the Shady Path section of the story into the first album, and prepared the next set, The South End this afternoon.

The essential surface in this area is of concrete, we think laid down for Post Office vans in the 1930s. Stretching from the Oval Path to the Back Drive, a number of raised beds border and cross it.

Wall of raised bed - a glimpse

We reached this project on 6th June 2014. It was somewhat daunting,

Pile for burning and hose

especially as the burning pile, seen here on 23rd, restricted access.

Jackie in SW corner 3Jackie in SWcorner 4

By 4th July the pile had been cleared and we had made enough progress for a little table and chairs to take its place. The little brick pillar covers a protruding metal spike that we think was part of a washing line post. I eventually hacksawed it off.

Washing line

A washing line is coiled around the makeshift fence that was the original barrier to the back drive.

Jackie in bottom of garden

By 16th, the bed just inside the garden had been cleared.

Aaron shifting rubble

On 22nd March, the barrier down, Aaron assisted in clearing rubble,

planting-barrier 1.6.15

and by 1st June Jackie had begun building a row of planters to replace the fence.

Shingled concrete 6.9.15

The concrete surface, now merging into the drive was shingled by Aaron on 6th September,

Virginia creeper, calibrachoa (Million bells) and fuchsia 30.9.15

at the end of which month the setting was able to burnish the heavily pruned Virginia creeper, the calibrachoa in the hanging baskets, and the fuchsia beneath.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish, chips, and pea fritters, followed by Jackie’s deep, flavoursome, apple pie and custard. I drank Doom Bar.


  1. My mum fought a battle with Dad over the Virginia creeper. He loved it, she wanted the space back. I remember her trying to bride me to ‘accidentally saw it off’ one year when I was earning pocket money by gardening. I knew better.

  2. I wish my Virginia creeper glows as red; they say you need cold nights and sunny days… I have to prune mine back too. Better get out into the garden rather than reading about gardening… 🙂 The sun is shinning and the paths need to be swept.

  3. Is a Virginia Creeper and a Boston Ivy the same thing I wonder – Note to self – consult Mr Google…. Perhaps the thing I am growing so abundantly is misnamed as it looks exactly like yours [except of course mine is a lush green and sending out new shoots in every direction at the moment]. As always its a miraculous and quick transformation. I admire Jackie’s problem solving abilities in this garden!

    1. Boston ivy has a somewhat triangular leaf and the creeper is multi-lobed (lobe being the wrong word, but…if you have what Derrick has, it’s the amazing Virginia Creeper!!!

      1. We have both varieties on that back fence, Parthenocissus and Cayratia, No Idea which one is called Boston Ivy or Virginia creeper!

  4. This was a fun trip back to see the progress that you guys – your garden reflects the work. Love the Virginia Creeper (even though I’m highly allergic to it) it is really very lovely. Jackie is one happy lady!

    1. Jackie had finished work for the day (’til the dinner needed cooking at least). Careful examination of this photo will reveal a bottle of beer in my hand too. What’s not to be happy about?

      1. I saw that bottle Jackie – my kind of R&R after working in the gardens. In fact when my husband and I work in the Texas heat, that is exactly how we spend an hour or so relaxing with an ice-cold one!! I do love your gardens and creativity ~

  5. I broke out in a sweat reading the progress of your garden, well worth the effort, you have done well, and will have many relaxing hours enjoying the fruits of your labour.
    Great job.

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