The gardens of New Town

The garden at New Town had several overgrown fruit trees and some very fertile soil, but it had been neglected for years and was overgrown with thorny prunus, long grass and mud. The first thing I did was to dig out the huge prunus root, leaving a big hole in the ground that became the vegie patch.

My nephew Alex, aged about 2 years, ‘helping’ me dig out the prunus root. He’s now a strapping lad well into his twenties.
The hole left by the prunus became a very productive vegie patch
The vegie patch was soon productive
My patented bird scarers (tin cans on strings)

The area outside the potting shed had some ready-made beds which I planted with herbs. Later additions included climbing frames and a vigorous Cecile Brunner rose.

The soon-to-be herb garden
Herb patch outside the laundry
Going for the full ‘cottage garden’ look here
Climbing geraniums and a Cecile Brunner rose hid the deteriorating shed
This is what Cecile Brunner looked like a few years later

The front yard consists of a strip of dirt just over a metre wide between the verandah and the footpath, and when I moved in, grass was the only thing growing, although later in winter the snowdrops started to emerge.

Snow drops emerging in the front yard

I planted several bare-rooted roses against the picket fence, which bloomed in their first spring. A couple of them (Eiffel Tower and Oaklahoma) are still going strong.

‘Elizabeth of Glamis’
‘Eiffel Tower’
My first cat Claude on the front steps, January 1995

Much later I planted climbing iceberg roses to cover the new front fence.

Iceberg roses climb over the new fence

From the vegie patch along the back of the garage and down the path to the gate was planted as a herbaceous border. In the first few years, annuals and perennials here included foxgloves, delphiniums, Asiatic lilies, a pineapple sage, sunflowers, gladiolus and the occasional vegetable. Fuchsias grew well in beds down the side of the garage.

Herbaceous border at the back of the garage
Summer colour in the border
Delphiniums and ranunculus providing summer colour
My second cat Oonagh inspects the border
Fuchsias thrived between the house and the garage
Asiatic lilies
Gladdies from the garden

A terrace was cleared of overgrown fruit trees leaving an established walnut tree (pickled walnuts became a regular feature of summer). New fruit trees – apricot, plums, lemon, quince and nectarine – were planted, along with beladonna lilies and spring bulbs.

Spring bulbs under the walnut tree
Fruit trees were planted around the garden
Blossom on the nectarine
Quinces on my tree, March 2021
From the quince tree
Spring in the garden
Spring in the garden

A small area under the walnut tree behind the shed had stone retaining walls but sloping ground, so I excavated it out to form a level courtyard. Paved with the bricks from the kitchen chimney, this spot was the focus of many celebrations over the years, as there wasn’t much room inside the house for entertaining.

Digging out the courtyard

Potted and seasonal colour is always useful and welcome in the garden. Early on, Mum gave me some pots of my Grandfather’s cymbidium orchids. She complained that they had never flowered for her, but they thrived in my garden on a diet of neglect, and continue to do so.

Orchids putting on a good show
Appledorn tulips
Sweet peas
Spring daffodils
Summer ranunculus
Pots of blue pansies and lobelia continue to be a favourite
Pots of basil are another summer constant, raised on the sunny enclosed front verandah
My nephew Alex again, a few years older, helping with the mowing
Harriette striking a pose in the branches of the walnut tree

When the time finally came to renovate the house, much of the back yard, and the garden, had to be cleared, and doing so was bittersweet, reflecting on the many joys the garden had brought, but knowing the new arrangements would provide a background for many more.

Clearing the garden to make way for renovations, early 2011

One Comment Add yours

  1. Mappie Pyper says:

    Much love and hard work in your garden there Andrew. The tulips brought back sweet memories. My Dad was a tulip grower and bulb exporter and we grew Apeldoorn tulips. 🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷

    Sent from my iPad


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