The east garden lawn – keeping design simple

1 view from bedroomFarewell Christmas pine. Here is a shot of the east lawn of the farm, in July 2007.

Apart from the swing set that was a death trap to all but the spectacularly fool hardy. And the table and chairs painted a fetching green. We didn’t do much but ask a bulldozer driver to just lean on that lovely Christmas tree planted out one January in the 1990s.

By the look of it, it was planted halfway down the slope. Just above the now redundant underground spring.

2 east gardenIt’s funny how you can make some quick design decisions and others take years to evolve.

This tree went in the first weeks. But please don’t think me brutal. I usually plant two trees for every one I cut down. Or get ripped out by a passing bulldozer.

10 quincesBut this east lawn had just a few specimens: a fig tree, a walnut, two huge pines, and oh joy of joys, fourteen quince trees.

You can’t see them clearly. That is because they were never, ever pruned after planting.  And looked like bramble supports on a slope, rather than productive fruit trees.

First quincesIn their third year of our ownership they were given the mother of all prunings.

Cut back by a third, each and every one. And they rewarded us with some splendid blossom and eventually, fruit.

I don’t make quince paste. But our lovely neighbour Jean Daniel does. So I happily pick the fruit for him. And he makes a big batch for both of us.  There is more than enough to go round.

pickled quinceAnd when we tire of quince paste, I will happily make pickled quince and watch the colour change from pale to luscious pink over the course of a few months.

But back to the garden before I start to drool on the keyboard.

3 New wall near figThe lawn. It needed something to anchor it. To make it ‘speak’ to the rest of the stone walls and buildings around it.

A simple, small barely there stone wall.

I like to think of this wall as a full stop. A marker that says, we really are trying to make this farm less scruffy.

That may be pretentious tosh.

4 finished wallWe did have an excess of stones from a building project that year.

But I love this wall. And I immediately planted up alliums just beside the wall, and drifts of narcissus beyond.

6 camassias (3)And as for the lawn and slope itself; I decided to keep the design simple.  A few curves on one edge; and white Camassia planted at the base of the slope on the other side.

Flat expanses of grass are a rarity in these mountains. So it made sense to celebrate the lawn and keep things to the edges.

The only thing marring the view is when the quince season is in full swing and the heavy fruit fall down and roll down onto the lawn below. I could think of worse calamities in a garden setting.

12 afternoon sun