A Castle in the Sky

In March 2013, after years of talking about it we eventually sell up and move out of the city with our 2 year old, Gracie. We both grew up in the countryside and this is what we want for our daughter. So we swap a 2 bed flat in London for a small country pile on the west coast of Scotland that needs a lot of work. I've done a bit of interior design and my partner, Ed has a good knowledge of the outdoors – but we're on a tight budget and we've both got a lot to learn. It's a life time's project and this is a record of our adventure…


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Wild pickings (Jul 20)

Gracie and I go for a walk and find wild raspberries growing along the side of our drive…

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Uncovering the secrets of the walled garden (Jul 16)

When we first moved here just thinking about the amount of work that needed doing to the walled garden was overwhelming.  See – The Walled Garden (Easter Weekend – Mar 30, 2013).     The old vegetable patches hadn’t been tended for years, the green house was filthy and many of the glass planes broken, the orchard looked like it had never been pruned and that winter, before we arrived, the north wall had been seriously damaged in a storm.

Below – the back of the north wall. The repairs were meant to have been carried out by the previous owners…

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 Nearly all the garden was rough grass

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April – and Ed gets started on one of the 2 overgrown vegetable patches…

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The unloved orchard surrounded by mole hills

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Despite the daunting task ahead, we were smitten – and one step at a time, our secret garden is starting to bloom.   Ed has worked a year of magic on it and walking up the winding path to the garden door is now more exciting than ever as there’s such a treat in store…

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We now have 4 impressive plots of burgeoning green; fruit as well as vegetable patches.   This is our main veggie patch

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The green house has had a total make-over and is currently the happy home to 5 tomato vines

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At long last the north wall has been properly fixed with stone and lime mortar; a massive job that the previous owners eventually paid for…

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The moles hills have also gone, the apple trees have been fed and pruned, and the meadow patches are underway – and there’s so much more to come; hedges and paths, flower borders and a DIY summer house, restored railings and replacing a section of ancient tumble-down wall with old barn doors as gates (the search is on…).   It’s a vision of loveliness.   We are one year in and it’s already taking shape.


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Wildflower meadow patch update (Jul 5)

Hot off the plane from our holiday… I go straight up to the walled garden to check on the progress of our wildflower patch.    Visions of poppies and cornflowers dance in my head – but I’m sad to say  it’s not good news.

Something – mouse? rabbit? dog? –  has dug up nearly all of my lovingly planted seed beds.  Now just 3 out of the 18 perfectly formed little plots remain. Oh dear…

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“That’s gardening for you!” is Ed’s reaction which is wonderfully encouraging.

He’s suggesting that I plant some knapweed (thistle family) seedlings he’s been nurturing in the greenhouse instead – but right now I haven’t the heart.   I’m downing all tools while I reconsider my fledgling gardening career.