Thursday, 24 May 2012

Share your garden?

Our neighbour is having problems selling her mid terraced property; feedback from the selling agent has been that potential buyers don’t not mind the small bedrooms but they have problems with the shared access to the rears of the properties! I personally haven’t a problem with this aspect of my property, and worry about those that do.

I think that having a shared access encourages neighbourliness and helps to create a sense of community.  (Obviously I have been lucky to have had good neighbours who I like and who respect my privacy. I’m not so sure that I would be of the same view if I had the neighbours from hell!)

My elderly neighbour, two doors down – but only a hop, skip and a jump away at the back of the house, regularly puts her guinea pig on my lawn for exercise and to eat the grass. She fetches in my washing when it rains and we regularly swap gardening tips and exchange plants. All this would be very difficult if it were not our common shared access.

Way back in the mists of time, a gentleman who had previously owned our house built a wall at the bottom of the garden leaving a gap to access the adjoining property. This was done with the sole intention of aiding a blossoming relationship with the lady of house on the next road! He eventually married her but would this have happened if he had to walk around the block?!

As a garden designer, I have created quite a few gardens where access to adjoining gardens is crucial to the client and the new design, whether it is a garden gate or a hole in the hedge left for children to squeeze through. I am glad some people still think along the same lines as me and I think that the world is a better place for it!

Let’s also not forget that at a slightly smaller scale, it’s equally important that the natural visitors to our gardens, such as hedgehogs, are able to use ‘wildlife corridors’ or links between adjoining gardens. Gaps in hedges and holes in fences encourage all manner of creatures to extend their territories and enjoy more diverse surroundings, turning our garden spaces into mini nature reserves! Click link for more information

So are we all too keen to put up barriers and keep ourselves to ourselves? Why are we so precious about our small plots of land remaining oh so private? 

By the way, my neighbour has popped round just to show off my garden to her friend as she thinks it looks lovely at the moment!

Author Melanie Smith - Gardenplan Design 

Friday, 18 May 2012

I’ve got the Viburnum Beetle Blues!

I have worked hard over the last few years to rid my Viburnum opulus of this dreaded beetle (Pyrrhalta viburni). I have made regular, furtive trips into the garden with the sole mission of ridding my beautiful shrub of this hideous beastie!

It became an obsession to hunt them down; Firstly squashing the larvae with my fingers between the leaves (yuk), then dealing withthe beetle itself, I would spend at least half an hour drowning the blighters, sometimes even mid coitus (which gave me even more pleasure!). All this sounds terrible I know - but I love this beautiful shrub and over the last few years my poor specimen has struggled to produce even just a couple of flowers atop its ravaged lace-like leaves.

Now, at last! my hard work has paid off and this year I have a beautiful shrub with umpteen snowball like flower heads and not a trace of my arch enemy. What shall I do now that I have all that spare time on my hands? Shall I spend time looking with joy at my newly resurrected bush? No! - for I have just spotted a lily beetle demolishing my Lilium superbum – let the killing commence!

For more information about the Viburnum beetle check out these links: