Saturday, 23 November 2013

Perseverance pays off!

Usually when I am writing about our endeavours at home, it is all gloom and doom, with us feeling exhausted and fed up. The major project we started in May has gone on and on and on all through the summer. We have been working incredibly hard seven days a week for the last few weeks, because we have been very aware that our back was against the wall with the weather. But the weather has been incredibly kind to us with the sunshine continuing to the back end of November and we are more than pleased that we have finally, very nearly managed to finish the first half of a new courtyard type garden at the back of the house.

We began back in May of this year with a rough piece of garden with builders rubble, boulders and stone. It has taken us almost exactly 6 months of hard labour.

End of May - first low walls for raised beds in & digging tonnes of soil out of the way for the first shed
The ground when we began - complete with stones and boulders some of them a good foot down in the soil
All that needs to be done now, is to finish building the coffee table between the outdoor sofas, plant the new raised beds, put doors on the sheds we built and complete the paving - but it is too wet to do that after our recent storm. David is currently putting the door frames in, and I have taken the plants we have had in tubs all summer and replanted them in the new beds.I have no idea if they will survive the winter or not but they stand a better chance there than in the tubs. At least for now they look pretty and if they do survive then that will be a bonus.

As we are today with the paving and the coffee table to be finished
We will soon be going out and looking for some suitable plants. We want lots of climbers to give us privacy and to cover our rather tatty bamboo screen fence, and some really nice Mediterranean type plants to give us lots of vibrant colours. Unfortunately in Uzumlu there are a lot of plants that we can't grow, due to the frosts we have up here in the mountains. It is particular galling to see certain plants that we love growing quite happily down in Fethiye and Calis, but knowing that they just will not survive up here.

New raised beds awaiting some colourful shrubs and climbers
I love Bougainvillea but was told it would be very difficult to grow up here. Four years ago we tried to grow a purple one over our driveway arch, because we were told they were hardier than the other colours , but it didn't survive the winter. However, a Plumbago plant which we were also told would not survive the winter here has, so maybe as the garden becomes more enclosed we may be luckier with some plants. We also planted a baby lemon tree which is not supposed to grow here, but we managed to nurse it through last winter and this year it has grown on well. I think if we can get it through another winter it may just survive OK. Fingers crossed anyway.

In the UK we were very careful which plants we put together because of colour clashes. Here it doesn't seem to matter and we want some really vivid colours all mixed together because somehow in the sunshine it works. 

We like a hotch potch of bright colours ....................
............ and we've added the odd ornament .............
................... or two!
So many of you who read our blog have helped us more than you could ever know. When we have felt exhausted and low, your words of encouragement have spurred us on. When we despaired that it would ever be finished you convinced us that all the effort would be worthwhile. Thank you all for your kind words because we may well have abandoned ship without your support. 

It is always difficult when you have an idea in your head, but absolutely no experience in designing a garden from scratch. You do wonder if your ideas will work in reality. But we both love what we have done so far and wouldn't change a thing. But most important of all, the dog likes it and you can't receive a higher accolade than that!
Bebek gives our new outdoor sofa the seal of approval


  1. Well done - the garden looks fantastic. I can't grow bougainvillia in our village ( well I can , but it gets knocked back to soil level each winter) but like you, plumbago has always been successful. Roses also last a long time and dahlias come back year after year without having to lift the tubers. How about a wisteria to grow over your fence?

  2. Thank you B to B. It's interesting to hear which plants you have success with in your garden. We have a lot of roses in the front garden and they do well. In fact some of them have flowers now at the end of November. I am also interested to hear that dahlias come back and I have considered putting Wisteria somewhere, but it only flowers for such a short while. When and for how long does yours flower here in Turkey?

    1. You are right, wisteria only really flowers in Spring and a little in Autumn but it's so beautiful, I think it's worth it. Climbing roses only flower in Spring too but the other roses go for most of the year except August and January.