An Introduction

House on the headland
The wooden house on the headland

My first blog about the cottage garden was posted in February 2012 and now I am introducing you to the garden we have created behind our “new house”, built in 2012, on the headland to the north of the original cottage. The cottage garden and the adjacent vegetable garden with polytunnel, fruit cages and orchard has always been the focus of my gardening attention, and although I am still maintaining the vegetable garden I will be spending more time in the new garden. Again the term “new” is a misnomer, as we began work on developing this garden in February 2014. Over the years I have written about some parts of the development of this garden and featured some of the plants grown in the alpine house. The Birthday Project blog shows the first stages of the creation of the garden and the Gardens in-between features the in-between garden in one of its early incarnations.
In the intervening years we have laid the foundations of the rock garden, built the lean-to-garden, constructed the shade bed, added the small shed and started work in the new project garden. We have just finished work on what I hope will be the final version of in-between garden and the initial phase of the new project garden is almost complete. As this has involved rather more building work and landscape construction than gardening, it has not featured prominently in my writing. It has not been all manual labour as we have been growing large numbers of bulbs and alpine plants from seed for our new garden.

Garden Plan

The plan is not to scale, but it will give you some idea of how the garden is arranged. It is on the east side of the house and on an almost exact north to south axis. There is no shelter from the wind, and the bedrock of Lewisian gneiss (a form of granite) is only just below the surface, and in some areas is exposed. I learnt a great deal about how to grow plants under difficult conditions from developing the cottage garden, but this site is much more difficult. However, for a true Polyanna, there are always compensations, the views are stunning!

13 thoughts on “An Introduction

  1. Luffy

    That looks like a real work of love, and your views are stunning! Do you have outdoor vegetable beds or are all the vegetables you grow in a polytunnel? It would be good to understand what grows well for you, as our conditions are very similar, albeit maybe with a bit more shelter.

    • I grow vegetables outdoors, but as our season is so short, the polytunnel extends our growing period and it is also essential for tomatoes, cucumbers etc. It is a while since I’ve featured the outdoors vegetables, so I’ll think about writing a post.

  2. Saila

    The views really are stunning! It will be lovely to see how this garden will develop and how you tackle the obstacles.

    • There is nothing nicer than leaning on the spade and looking beyond the garden fence to be revived by this beautiful landscape.
      I think this is the most challenging garden I have ever attempted to develop and I find it totally inspirational.

  3. What an amazing place to garden. With views like that you don’t even really need a garden. Just a seat.

    • I do have a garden seat, it is on the other side of the fence by the small shed overlooking the big rock garden. It does not have the stunning views, which is probably a good thing otherwise a 10 minute tea break could last all afternoon.
      There was some discussion about whether we would create a garden here, afterall who could compete with the glory of the machair in flower. However, this area of land was just some very tussocky grass over bedrock – impossible to mow or even cut with a scythe, and as we were unlikely to attract breeding albatrosses or penguins, the decision was made. We have tried to create a garden landscape in sympathy with the location, rather than try to compete.

  4. You have created a wonderful garden, in keeping with your surroundings, and showing ingenuity and ambition. I love it.

    • Thank you, you are generous in your praise. It is a work in progress and the pace of change is slow. This is usually because I’m waiting for it to stop raining, the wind to drop or both; but it does give me plenty of thinking time.

  5. I am still trying to wok out in my head where everything is in relation to what we saw when we visited, which was 2015. Had you just started the inbetween garden when we came or was that something different? I thought I could remember a spiral, but perhaps not. I could check out the photos I took but they are not on this laptop. I hope you plan to show us all the different parts in due course – I am really looking forward to it 🙂

    • I know the big shed was there, but I can’t remember if we ‘d started the in-between garden. More garden yours to follow.

  6. You are gardening in such challenging conditions. Always lovely to see plans/layouts because they help me try and get my head around the whole. So many blogs just show “a pretty flower” which is very nice, but not the complete picture.

    • I have a series of inter-connected small gardens, so a added a plan to help new visitors find their way around.

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