This was two weeks into claiming a pasture wild into an English set of gardens in a foreign corner of the world called Latvia.Well foreign to me at that time. I had finished the inside of house and summer came hot and cloudless and one having spent all winter inside working I needed a break.
The field about third an acre ,flat looking to the eye but after close observation proved to show a slope down to the farm fields beyond the border. I just had to start and mow and see the lay of the land.
I had made the garden in front of house with rose tunnel across the established orchard of apple trees. Connected through gap in hedge to the gates I had planed in mind to this field.
The sun burnt any exposed part at 100f the day I started in full steam to get on with the job. Sad looked the site, over every inch brash ,tree saplings ,thistles and grasses 5 feet tall. A marron grass heaven with deer sleeping area in centre.
It took ages ,weeks in fact, inch by inch; mow. dig and pulling out roots in sun that burned my neck, hands and places I never knew sun could reach .
It was a fight for six days then in with blades to chop it down to roots. Mark and remove with spade and barrow it away to side. Stones too. Idea for waterfall in future. Five weeks later new grass ready to spike roll, spiked again and raked over came through bright green all over the field. On my own had worked it hard and saw for first time what would be a lawn in time from a cow field untouched by hand in perhaps 1000 years.
I was 64 and had made a few gardens in my life but never had to battle a wilderness. Time came to mark out borders .I saw after removing turf about inch deep that weed roots ran deeper and so the summer long dig of first three borders brought up sand, clay and boulders as big as footballs or wheelbarrow. for just one big one. I set these rocks to one side . Stone on ground wheelbarrow drop to ground on edge..Stakes of timber hammered behind stone. Roll the stone onto the inside edge of barrow and take hold of stakes and remove. Grab handles and with all my might lift to level with stone inside barrow now . In this fashion i lifted boulders of rare proportions each day. The Japanese waterfall garden came to my mind then some four years before ever it came to be as so many stones it made sense to use them.
I dug two spades deep the three plots and that was summer over . It was a start in right direction. Covered the plots over with black plastic and car wheels and tyres and left them to help kill weeds. The one piece of structure I concreted in was the postern gate. I knew why and where it should be but all else thought it silly. Postern is the back wall of a city like York and Rome and its the last gate out into safety in attack. Rear wall gate .Days of curfew in raids centuries past Postern gate was your last hope of escape. Hope that helps.
The day after plastic went on in November 2014 I planted the outside of field with Thuja Green Emerald young trees .You can see the line I first planted as hedge. Plus postern gate in photo. We built the brick columns to hold gates at entrance . I designed and made by Artis my blacksmith welder friend from next door. Peacock male tail is the design I drew as fan to decorate the two gates as one design.
At this time this was all I had managed to achieve. Then winter again. What I saw looking back was nothing like a garden for all the work given to it. I had only one wish and that was to continue . I had lined it all up to have sunset on the gates turning the whole picture blazing orange from gates down the rose arches tunnel in main garden to house . For some moments in July and for a period of 3 days sun hits this spot right on and golden fire light dazzles the eyes of beholders as sun sets. I planed it exact and thanked God for it. Little things like this make it all so worth while to me .
Winter had been long and hard minus 30c for almost all of month of February killing many of my roses from England . Mainly David Austin brand . One rose that stood up in total defiance was and is Debbs Delight from Bill Degrice nursery in Norfolk . This and yellow Absolutely Fabulous rose bush were all that survived of 56 roses I shipped here with me.
It was really hard to carry on here gardening of the edge. Then Spring turned into glorious summer lasting each day the same all season hot growing hotter at noon and climbing up to 8pm at 1o2f .The brain addled under straw hat and sweat but carried on until water ran out. All wells dry as bones. We all bought water in containers but plants we had to cart water in back of car in barrels from a pump some miles down the lanes after working each day followed the families around farming county to water pump in fields.
Mad Dogs and Englishmen came to mind as sun melted and bubbled paint on car bonnets. It seemed never ending watering plants that summer. But did achieve much even so. The garden folly frame went up in two days but the roof took four years to find a man to do it. Even then could not make Chinese style had to settle for what I could have.
You can see the timber frame of folly summer house through the gates and the first few plants in the well dug over soil. Heavily manured with farm yard midden muck some five years in the making. 50 euro a tractor trailer load .A few loads to make this garden sit up straight I used.
The bricks came from Munhousen home barn. That famous German Baron who made many a good story of impossible events seem real. His house is less than a mile as crow flies from this garden of mine. I hope those intending to make a garden draw some ideas from my work. I do not wish you the roots to hell and Aussie land as on here I faced .This land has been farm pasture perhaps since man first came to live here . A field it was. In fact only that it was flat I wanted to mow it down and from then the idea came to mind to create a garden to use what land is here . Maybe gardeners just have to garden as someone said once to me about Percy Thrower a long time garden guru on British TV .
Well my dears this is end of part one. Many more tales of garden build each Saturday to bring you up to date. Now and Again even show you it in years ahead of now as its evolving faster as it establishes each week .
I do so hope you would like to know more of this blog . A gardens in the making an historic event for years to come one hopes .Yours with love to you all, Sir Kevin
Copyright Kevin Parr Bt October 2021