Exploring the gardens of Birkdale
- Credit: Linda Viney
Neighbours in Birkdale are creating beautiful but very different gardens.
Neighbours who have become friends through a love of gardening, Bob and Eunice Drummond and Dave and Christine McGarry. Bob and Eunice are both meticulous tidy people which shows in their garden. Dave and Christine moved in across the road six years ago and with a shared loved of gardening, they immediately built up a friendship. Now all retired they have more time to spend in their gardens.
WHAT AND WHERE
The two couples live in Birkdale so have free draining sandy soil and when faced with the same middle-sized plots, one backing on to the golf course, they have created two very different gardens. One is a mature kaleidoscope of colour set off with a backdrop of mature trees and shrubs which set off the circular lawn, the other is a fairly new developing garden with amusing little touches dotted between the planting.
Almost 20 colourful hanging baskets, which take Bob 70 watering cans full to water them while a sprinkler waters the immaculate circular lawn. This is mown three times a week in different directions each time and the edges are pristine. A fountain surrounded with meticulously spaced colourful begonias, forms the centrepiece to the lawn. There is a collection of hostas, many kept in pots and all looking perfect, from the tiniest to ‘Sum and Sunstance’ which has huge leaves. This has been in the garden for more than 20 years from which cuttings are regularly taken.
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Mature trees and shrubs shield the sub station which is at the far end, the use of evergreen plants with varying shades of green and textures, ensures there is always something to see from the kitchen window, even in the gloomiest months. Rhododendrons and azaleas give spring colour before the brightly coloured bedding comes into full display. Herbaceous plants are in the outer borders. A summerhouse is at the far end which is a place for them to sit and view the garden from a different aspect.
The newer garden across the road has a patio where Dave and Christine like to sit out with a glass of wine. A monolith water feature nestles under a pergola, built by Dave adjacent to the patio to give an air of tranquillity. They kept the original hawthorn for its maturity. At the far end Dave has a workshop, where he makes various objects that can found around the garden.
Not all garden interest is from the leaves and flowers and colourful bark adds an extra dimension.
There are no straight lines, with curves leading the eye round the garden drawing you in. The main lawn is edged with brick which enables it to be kept tidy and this is surrounded with mixed planting. Trees offer them privacy to the open area beyond.
Dave has created a ‘Tree of Life’ gateway which leads onto the golf course. They also have chainsaw carved creatures including a squirrel and owl.
Being next to the golf course means golf balls can often be found in the beds. Dave cuts, drills and paints them to create ladybirds, bees and small birds. They also have a ‘Bugsville’ to offer a home to the real insects.
For Christine and Dave it is to see their garden mature and evolve, for Eunice and Bob it is to tend and be proud of what they have achieved while sticking to tradition and introducing new plants gradually and not being afraid to remove them if they don’t feel they fit in.
WHAT YOU CAN TRY?
By using your imagination you can create features for your garden. Even without creating golf ball bugs, you can brighten up a pot whether terracotta or plastic by painting it.
This recipe for a liquid slug repellent does work, but making it can fill the kitchen with the strong smell of garlic. Crush one whole bulb of garlic in a pint of water, boil for 10-15 minutes, strain and top back up to one pint if any liquid has been lost. Reserve the concentrate in a plastic bottle and dilute one tablespoon to one gallon of water in a watering can and liberally apply over the foliage at monthly intervals. Can be used on vegetables as well as ornamentals.
GARDENS TO VISIT
Many gardens which were previously open to the public have closed because of the Covid-19 outbreak. Check the National Garden Scheme website - ngs.org.uk - before venturing out.