You may notice that, in some years, the Gardens area has relatively few posts. The long term plan is to work through all the old photographs and add, randomly, the missing material to fill in the gaps, so that it appears as if everything was recorded as it happened, regardless of when the post was made. This approach means the new posts may appear anywhere, not just at the top of the page. This means the best way to ensure you miss nothing is to visit the What's New page where you can find how to subscribe to our newsletter and get emails telling you when new material has been added.
For a number of years we have talked about the issues we have with keeping the inside of the house free of the leaves that get brought in on our shoes over the autumn and winter months. Today saw some spare paving slabs laid to form a path to the front door. The hope is that it will be far easier to sweep the paving and check that shoes are free of leaves before entering the house.
It had been almost five years since we returned a faulty gazebo to "The Range". It then took a long time to decide what should replace it. By July 2020 the decision was made. It was to be a more rustic oak framed affair with a solid roof. Before the men arrived to erect it the patio on which it was to stand had to be relaid. The trickiest part of the installation appeared to be fitting the ball on the apex of the roof.
With planning permission for our cart shed granted in March we were free to arrange the build. We decided it might be prudent to have a certain amount of tree pruning done, so the build itself finally commenced on 9 July. By the 22nd the main oak frame was in place. The day before our wedding, on 12 September, any spare timber was cleared from the site and the cart shed become the bar at our reception!
The replacement for the pergola is a metal affair was called a "Grill Gazebo" and it was finally erected and in place on 1 August. With the replacement decking around the main garden done I was free to move to that side of the house to build a brand new patio. This was intended to take another gazebo. Part way through putting its frame together a problem was discovered.
There's been lots of work going on around the grounds over the last couple of months. The bed against the southern wall of the house was created at the beginning of the year by the Green Team. Since then Diana has planted it and now her work is beginning to show fruit. Work is also going on to re-lay the patio after the pergola was taken down, all part of the preparations for the wedding in September!
In planning for the proposed Cart Shed we had decided we needed some of our trees. The surgeon turned up to do the job. While he was up the trees, we spent time thrusting the cut branches through his chipper, spraying the output into two large tarpaulins. He tackled the trees that would be either side of the new garage. We thought that cutting down large branches once the new building was underneath would not be the best idea!
I was out when a cold caller knocked on the door but the tale concludes with us ending up with our "Banana Bench". The plan was to place it on the "lawn" where the Ruston Bench had been since mid-February. By this time the decking around the lawn was beginning to collapse and it was clear would need to be replaced before our wedding. We had begun to remove the planks that were weakest so that no one could fall through them by accident.
The decision had finally been taken to remove the hedge. By the 3rd the sifting of the soil in the bed had been completed. The Green Team had also taken the chainsaw to all the lesser hawthorns and other shrubbery. The front was to be truly "Open Plan". One of the advantages that we hadn't really thought about in taking the decision to open up the front garden was that we would be able to see more of what was going on in the field opposite.
This time last year I was talking about the need for improvements in the front garden. By October much had been done with the ground prepared for the proposed garage, but that had left a decision to be made about how to deal with the newly created bed near the road. The recommendation was that grassing it would be the best plan.
On Sunday 15 February we began planting up the flower beds that had been created around the house the Previous October. The beds all needed a lot of digging to remove stones and hard core that had formed the bed of the fishing lake car park in earlier days. Round the side of the house are a pile of slabs, destined to become a new patio.
After the construction of the garage foundations work continued on the rest of the front garden project. By 12 November cementing in the brick edging was complete and most of the ground was covered in a fresh layer of gravel. We were still undecided about running tall fence from the font corner of the garage directly to the hedge at the front of the garden to create a utility area that would keep the oil tank out of sight and provide a space for compost bins.
We have a lack photographs of what was going on around the gardens, but there is one exception from late 2014 that shows a little of Diana's work on the patio behind the Music Room. It also shows the chiminea which had been bought recently. At this time we had also become concerned at what seemed to be a growing gap between the patio and back of the house and the decking at the quay heading appeared to be gradually bowing.
it was more than a year after moving that work finally begun on the garage. Gone was idea that it would include a third bay to act as replacement for the temporary shed. It was to be a simple two bay cart shed and, with confidence that may have been misplaced as we hadn't applied for planning permission, part of the brief to North Walsham Garden Centre was that they should construct a 6m x 7m base.
A lot of time was spent in creating and improving grounds rather than the gardens in our first couple of years. One exception was a new circular table and set of six chairs to go with it. The image below was taken on 21 august and was emailed to Diana who was on the Isle of Man the day it arrived!
The next interruption, on 19 April, to the gardening plan was the arrival at Ruston House of Just 17. At the time the plan was that she would go back in the water as soon as she had received a little TLC. However, although a start was made she stayed on site until being sold on 8 September 2018.
By 25 March there was photographic evidence that a clock, a Christmas present from Sylvia, adorned our front door, as did a decent post box, which replaced the old cool box we had been using. Also present in the front garden on that date was the large metal trunk found behind the reed bed in the grounds, and seen by the fence. It stayed by the gate for a while before going to the tip.
In early 2014 we still had a lot to do to tackle the garden area around the house and there were always things happening to distract us that had to be dealt with first.
When we moved in the plan was that Diana would look after "the garden" and Greg would look after "the grounds". The Garden was be all the open space around the house but not going beyond the decking at the rear. There wasn't really a garden to the front of the house. Apart from a shed that was disintegrating, it was entirely laid to gravel, the car park for the fishery that used to be run from Ruston House.
It was always our plan to have a garage built at Ruston House. Having it beside the house on the site where the previous owner had a shipping container was briefly considered but there was not enough space there for the double garage we wanted. Besides, immediately in front of the fence, which we were expecting to take down, was some of the plant that controlled the sewage treatment system for the house and neighbouring cottages.