This is a panoramic picture of the rear garden of our house taken in the Spring before the seasonal planting takes place. Planting in this climate usually takes place at the end of March with harvesting of crops usually round about September/October. Tomatoes and such other tender plants and fruits can only be grown in the greenhouse.
This is what my garden in South West Scotland looks like now but when I moved into the property in 1990 it was a bit of a shambles. The area extending to approximately half an acre had been used by the previous owner as a breeding establishment for Rough Collies (the "lassie" type dog), so you can imagine how it looked with kennels, runs, 6 foot high timber divisions with most of the runs concreted. I found out from one of my neighbours that the garden had originally been a good one and had been very productive when the house and garden were laid out and
developed some 35 years ago. So my confidence was fairly high that I could do something with it, but that it would take a few years.
Whilst employed full time as a Chartered Surveyor, gardening as a hobby always come pretty low in my priorities and was more of a chore. My knowledge of the soil, its growing potential, its care and maintenance , in view of my agricultural training at the Royal Agricultural College, had always been there but never used to any great extent. On retiring, I recognised that gardening would be one of the other interests which I could develop further. This was, of course, much to the relief of my wife who was always interested in gardening but needed someone to do the "heavy" work!
Thus it was in 1992, once the house had been modernised and improved, that I set about the garden. Sheds were moved or demolished, timber divisions and their concrete post were taken down and disposed of, concrete was broken up and similarly removed . This left an area of dereliction with tufted grass, weeds and the like. Luckily, I was able to get a tractor and a rotovator into the rear part of the garden and whilst this was pretty rough, there was at least soil mainly showing which could be planted. A large metal spike was used to make a hole and my wife came behind with a little compound fertilizer and potato seed. Those were inserted in rows and therefore allowed weeding between the rows for the first summer. What a great crop of early potatoes this ground produced. The net result was that we were able to landscape the ground to our own design. I got my vegetable plots and my wife got here flower beds and shrub borders. So all in the garden was bright and cheerful!
The Spring border (above) and the two vegetable plots (below)
The majority of the work is now finished and all that is required is the usual grass cutting, maintenance, hedge cutting, and of course the main planting and preparation work in the Spring of the year. The season in South West Scotland is from March to October, but of course there is work to be done in every month of the year. We are favoured with a fairly mild maritime climate and the West Coast of Scotland is washed and kept warm by the Gulf Stream. Accordingly there are many exotic gardens in the area. In particular, there is Logan Botanic Garden down the Mull of Galloway near Port Logan. It can even grow palm trees, plants from New Zealand, South Africa and Chile. There is also a similar garden at Inverewe in Wester Ross where many exotic plants and shrubs grow. But every area of Scotland has its beautiful gardens which are open to the Public. Visiting those could keep you busy for many months and years!