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I am already conscious after only a week of working at this web site that there will eventually be hundreds of photos for you to look at. However, as I have gone through we have been amazed at what has been done. It is surprising how soon one forgets what they have achieved and what it was like originally. I have tried to go through the process systematically, dealing with each 'garden' as we did it, but at times I have made diversions. It is local people who remember what it was like who constantly remind us of what we have done so that is heart warming Apart from the fencing around the garden area of which there is 800meteres, and the bed outside the fank we have had no help with the rest of it. I am ever conscious that I am not as fit as I use to be and seem to get tired more quickly but when I remember I am 62 this month and Nigel is now in his 50's I guess we are not doing badly
The first garden we created at Barochreal was the tiered garden. This was begun in June 2006. This had originally been a rough area of grass covered by the remains of a bonfire and builders mess. Even when cleared impossible to cut with a mower owing to the large boulders buried just below the surface, hence the reason for creating a tiered bed.
We went to our local farmer friend up at Scammadale farm and asked if we could dig out his midden. This we did and brought back three trailer loads of beautiful 'manure'. This gave the shrubs a good start. originally I had conceived the idea of having each one of the seven beds planted up in different colours, but nature will have her own way and it has not quite kept to the original plan. However, from the pictures below one can see that it has worked well.
Here the tiered garden two years later in August 08. Although as mentioned the colours are not quite as planned the overall effect is pleasing.
The tiered garden August 08.
June 2009 It is amazing to think that the area shown below now looks like this in just over three years.
THE ROSE GARDEN This photo not only shows the fank which was to become the Rose garden, in the background, but it also shows the area, where I was standing to take the photograph, that is now the tiered flower bed above.
In October 2006 I decided I wanted to create a FORMAL style Rose garden in what was one of the sheep fanks/folds. I was conscious that I would rarely be able to go down to east Sussex to visit my parents graves so I thought a memorial rose garden would be a nice idea. It was really due to my inheritance that the move to Scotland and living 'the dream' had been made possible. So the hard work began. This photo shows the north eastern corner.
This photo shows the south eastern side of the fank. There was a lot to do but the hard landscaping had been done by the end of the year and a few roses already planted.
Phase 1. The beds bordered off, the welsh plum slate paths laid.
Phase 2. Beds dug over, compost in and the first roses planted.
By June 2007 the idea was up and running. The bird bath in the centre mummy had given me years ago at Catbells and as the trunk is covered with carved Ivy, her name, and lots of little carved animals it seemed an appropriate centre piece. Also on the south facing wall I've planted espalier pear and plum trees. The arch is on the western boundary and will be covered with climbing roses and Clematis, the latter took off well in 2008.
August 2008 and the rose garden is looking a little more mature, the roses have filled out and the Obelisks in the centre of each one of the four beds have sweetpeas growing up them, mum's favourite flowers. The perfume in their can be quite something. I've also added lavender bushes in between the roses around the edge. The big green seat is dedicated to Alan Crabb, an old school friend of Dad's who left me some money in his will. So I've spent it on seating in this garden. Three seats, on the N,S,and Eastern boundaries.
Rose garden 2012
Looking over the rockery wall into the Rose garden. The rockery is shown further on.
The new Arch to the Rose garden. The original metal one had totally disintergrated.!!
This was built by Nigel in May 09. We liked the idea of a slate roof as we had some tiles left over from the building of the back porch.
I just had to include this taken from what is now the Terry and Jenny Moody bed with the rockery to the immediate right and the Rose garden over the wall right. The Alpine garden would be in front to the left and the tiered garden in front right. All the long bed by the fencing far right, see picture immediately below, the work in front of the back of the barn and the orchard tree area around the barn!!!!!!
June 2009 A similar view taken across the Alpine garden.
Alpine/ Rock garden 2010
Rock garden 2010
Views from the Rock/Alpine garden .
Rock garden looking East
The next project started in August 07 was to plant along the northern boundary fence line between two of the gates entering the field. In June 06 we had planted some trees, mainly Laburnum, Weeping Birch, Maple, and Lilac along with some shrubs, Rhododendrons, Buddleia, Hydrangea and Escallonia. However in 07 we added Dogwoods, Spirea and a few 'others'. it was at this time we were putting in the sarking as wooden boundaries between the gravel drives and grass. During this year we moved and spread some 52 tonnes of gravel.
As you can see the bed is filling out well. Although this will have to be replaced by a better photo in due course.
One can see from both one of the kitchen windows and one of the living room windows, facing north, a large area of raised ground. This was quite an unattractive area and needed to be planted up. However, it was obvious we had to have plants that didn't grow tall as the area was already approximately two foot high in some places. So I conceived the idea of having an Alpine/rock garden. I had already dug a narrow bed around the edge and filled that with small alpine plants.
Also on the far stone wall where already existed two or three nice small trees, including a Tulip tree, I had planted some climbing roses given to us by friends and a few other shrubs, but nothing that would obscure our views. So I designed this flower bed for the centre. In the middle is a solar panel operated fountain which bubbles beautifully out of a piece of Honnister slate. We had brought this fountain with us, originally being on our patio pond at Catbells.
This is the bed that now runs all around the edge of the Alpine garden. Look back 5 pictures and you'll see what was there or wasn't!
In August 07 I decided to remove all the grass and weeds that had been growing over the outer fank wall on the back lawn side. This wall not only followed the lines of the existing rose garden fank but the fanks behind, yet to be developed. As I pulled away the grass it revealed to me a natural rockery. Immediately I started to plant this up and this spring 08, with additional planting it has been a sight. Sorry I forgot to take photos.
This is the only photo I have at the moment taken in September 07, at least it gives an idea. This was simply a mass of colour this spring 08. The bed at the bottom of the slope which was dug at the same time is known as the Terry and Jenny Moody bed, simply because these friends donated all the shrubs that are in the bed.
This bed was dug out in front of the fank in February 07 and since then and October 08 it has gradually been planted up with shrubs.
THE TERRY and JENNY MOODY BED This bed was so named as all the shrubs in it were given to us by our friends terry and Jenny Moody. They also gave us a number of trees which we have planted on the back slope. The large boulder at the end of the bed actually came out of the back lawn and took Nigel and i a couple of hours to dig out and roll down here. many such boulders, rocks and stones have had to be dug out of lawn areas to prevent damage to the mower.
July 09
When we arrived the back of the barn had an area of scrub grass in front of it and old rusting farm implements leaning against it. We hired a skip just for all the metal there was lying around the place, mostly corrugated iron sheets used as fencing. There was a bit of old fencing at an odd angle too. This photo also clearly shows the bracken covered north hills of Barochreal.
This was cleared and Nigel built his first wall and we planted up with Twisted Willow and Wiegilia. Nigel in 2006 went on a dry stone dyking course different from walling as no cement is used.
Notice the hills cleared of bracken and the properly defined drive.
Please excuse the washing in the background.!!One always tries to get it out when they have the opportunity. All along the back of the house were two retaining walls obviously to support the banked lawns at the back. The one higher up the bank being the smaller Nigel had rebuilt in 07 and I planted it up behind with flowers. However, this one was a much larger job as it had to be totally reconstructed and built properly as it was falling down in places. So in April 08 Nigel started on this one.
This gives a good idea of the state of the wall the size of the stones/boulders and the random throwing together of it.
At the same time he took the opportunity of widening the drive at this point and building a flower bed both on top and at the base.
The walls and beds ready before planting.
Bottom bed planted up. This gives you some idea of the length of the wall, approximately 80ft. With some of the massive boulders it was very hard work.
This gives you some idea of the complexity of the work of dry stone dyking, especially if you have a lot of round stones and are also building on a slope some of the time. To get the top straight and even is not easy. The top bed is now planted up too. Doing this page in October I am amazed at how the beds have filled out already.
This gives you some idea of what the top bed built in 07 looks like planted up. Photo taken June 08. Will endeavour to get a better photo of both beds next year.
June 09 Top bed
July 09 bottom 2 beds.
At the house end of the wall just built above, and out side the conservatory, was this steep bank leading down to a burn. Incidentally the burn which provides us with our water supply. Our intention was to dig away the bank and create a terraced sitting area overlooking the burn. So the fence was erected first for safety reasons as there would be a steep drop.
The steps lead up to the sloping lawns that the new wall supports. All this area in the middle of the picture had to be cleared.
And so it was that in June 2008 Nigel hired this digger. It was not only to do this work but other things as well, shown later and on the 'Land' page. It was in this bank that we discovered the Chiff Chaff's nest, shown on the wild life page, and had to stop operations finishing the work by hand a few weeks later.
The finished terraced area in August 2008. The bank to the left has been planted up where the bare earth shows but we want to keep it fairly natural here.
Looking at the south of the house from the new terrace. One can see the conservatory and new back porch that was built with the conservatory. At this stage the steps down to the burn had yet to be built, the lowere bank left planted up which it has been with turf, bulbs and heather, and of course the bridge over the burn.
By September the steps from the terrace down to the burn had been built and the bridge over it. Apart from humans the first creature to cross it was a red squirrel. We hope he weill make his home in the Sitca Spruce.
Here you can just see the steps leading up to the terrace.
View from the bridge down the burn flowing westwards. Nigel had to build all the retaining wall to the left in the burn before he could put the bridge in. Is it any wonder he can only work at the garage in Oban 3 days a week?
View from bridge looking up the burn. Photo after a period of heavy rain one can see the peat in the water. Unfortunately it has to flow under a track at the back. Outside the fence line this track suitable for vehicles leads up into the forest. So an enormous pipe had to be laid to carry water under this track. We have endeavoured to disguise it as much as possible, and in time with greenery we hope it won't show too much. When in full spate we can hear the roar of the burn in the house despite the double glazing and thick walls.
October 23rd. 08 After a night of heavy rain.
After even more rain October 25th. 08.
View taken from the bridge in January 2010. This the burn which is our water supply. Fortunately the water kept flowing under the ice and so we never lost our supply to the house.
As above January 2010
So back to the front of the house. here in 05. Not only was there the front lawn to tidy and drive to define but all this front bank. It had a nice Korean pine shown in the front. A Scots pine and a larch, for the moment left. An ornamental cherry and some rhododendrons. We cleared the bank of weeds and in may 2006 planted a number more Rhododendrons which have already tripled in size. There were also many little Christmas tree type conifers which we moved to allow for easier mowing of this strip.
May 2007 before the new entrance with the tarmac and low walling. This just about shows some of the small new rhodi's.
Just a different view.
May 2006. This will certainly need an update next season as this area has filled out so much. We left the one Christmas tree, but at least I can get the old mower along here now.
In January 07 This was the area behind the Rose garden Fank/sheepfold. Literally two collapsed gathering pens, overgrown with brambles etc. Much of the stone in the middle was cleared to use to repair other walling. This view looking north.
Another view looking south this time.
Next to it was the sheep dip and round holding pen. Nigel seriously started to clear this site in June 08 when he had the digger.
Also to be cleared was the path to get to the area along the fence line and up passed the rose garden fank.
This was the track cleared in June then grassed and in the Autumn we planted trees and shrubs along the fence line. I'll add photos later this year when they are in blossom. Sadly with the unusually cold winter of 08/09 they died, so we will have to try again in Autumn 09.
The fank area being cleared for the green house etc.
In February/March 2009 Nigel started to rebuild all the walls of the fank and build the foundations for the greenhouse.
So today Friday 13th. March with the help of our friend Andrew the foundations are laid.
So now mid April 09 the greenhouse is finished. We are just landscaping the area around it. I love Nigel's attention to detail in his stone walling the base to fit in with the fank walls!!!
Screening trellis to the right to hide compost bins.
Looking across towards the greenhouse July 09
June 2009 One of the views from the top of the garden looking towards the hill Cor Leathad. If you are coming to visit suggest you do soon as we have a fight on our hands as there is the threat of a Wind Farm which will be seen on this ridge to the left of the hill ugh! They are ruining Argyll particularly, and Scotland with WF's as they are springing up everywhere. Scotland doesn't benefit as the energy goes straight into the national Grid. Still I won't bore you with my views here.
This lovely Lupin Tree now sits up on the back fence line. Sadly lost in the severe winter of 2010.