Gardening, Gardens and Grandchildren

I have just come back from a wonderful weekend with Daughter #1 and her family.


The sun shone, the weather was warm and all in all it was a splendid time.   They recently moved and have inherited a garden that is completely overgrown.  Fortunately my daughter loves gardening and she certainly has a big task ahead of her.   Neighbours have informed her that before the last owners, it was always a beautiful garden,  but sadly it was left to it’s own devices in recent years.    There is ivy growing in abundance around all three sides, although it is quite a pretty variety with small variegated leaves edged in white, it has clogged up everything else that is also trying to grow up the fences.   We uncovered, honeysuckle, climbing roses and clematis.   The flowerbeds consist of hardy geraniums, montbretia, japanese anemones and foxgloves – all plants that spread prolifically and will need drastic thinning out.

The front garden is also full of a good variety of shrubs including a climber, which is entwined with an Albertine Rose, trained up the house wall.   It was one I didn’t recognise so turned to the wonderful Twitter gardeners who never fail to come up with the answer.  I took a photo on my mobile phone and tweeted for help.

Several answers came back suggesting it was a Mahonia.   We now believe it to be a Mahonia Aquifolium “Oregon Grape”.    If you beg to differ please let me know.

Saturday afternoon, we donned our wellies and gardening gloves and with the “help” of my grandchildren, we started to make some inroads into what is going to be a project and a half.   We were careful to bear in mind (is that bare or bear?)  that you should live with a new garden for a year to note:

(a)  Where the sun shines and the shadows fall during the year, and

(b)  What is actually growing.

My grandson loves being out in the garden and has his very own gardening tools and gloves… a gardener in the making!

At this stage, I apologise for the quality of some of the photographs.   I travelled down by train with a small bag and decided to leave my Nikon at home.

The afternoon was taken up by clearing dead leaves and cutting back shrubs.   Any one who has had to tackle an overgrown garden will know that you end up with several bags of garden waste and little to show for the hard work.     It is all too easy to feel despondent but as I kept saying to my daughter, it is an exciting time discovering shrubs and flowers and it will take one if not two years before the garden is really hers.   With junior gardeners in the making, she will have lots of help, from her children.


Sunday was an equally lovely day weatherwise and in the morning we took a walk down to the front.  I never tire of the view and it was such a calm day the sea was like a mill pond, with the coastline of Wales in the background I had to take yet more photos of Clevedon Pier.

In the afternoon, we went to the National Trust property at  Tyntesfield and picked up a play trail map for the children as we headed off toward the garden and woodland area.  The map was one of the excellent educational ideas for involving children at Tyntesfield, suggesting things to look for and listen to.   Great fun was had collecting twigs and leaves to make a nest for a small animal.

It was my intention to take lots of photos, having written about Tyntesfield in November but with two children who were chatting and wanting to move on to the next thing I decided it was better to spend time with them rather than taking lots of photos of flora and fauna.  Actually, there was very little to capture, with the few daffodils scattered around still in bud.  We made our way down towards the kitchen garden to see how they were getting on there.  The beds were almost empty with only garlic and rhubarb visible, it was at its bare bones stage.   My daughter’s artistic eye was caught by the fantail of the apricot being trained on the wall.   She liked the pattern of the vine eyes and said what a great picture they would make to put on a wall.

I give a very big thank you to my daughter who allowed me to publish photos of the children, without whom this post would not have been written.

Sadly, I live too far away from the family to visit for the day.  It would be lovely to be near enough to meet at Tyntesfield on a weekend afternoon just to wander around and chat.  My next visit will be in about 6 to 8 weeks time and I will be able to help my daughter and grandchildren with their garden again.  It is great, in the meantime, to always have something to look forward to and photos to look back on and share them with friends.

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  1. my idea of a perfect weekend …. i have grandchildren 2 and half hours away, so we only see them every 6 weeks or so, especially as they are my son’s children … i have noticed how generally women with daughters have more access to their grandchildren … however i am very lucky to have another son nearby and his little two year old is often here .. love the idea of discovering the old garden!


  2. What a delightful weekend! Focusing on the grandchildren rather than taking pictures was a wise decision 🙂 I hope you’ll be giving us updates on the progress of your daughter’s garden.


  3. Getting children back in touch with growing things, gardening and wildlife is one of the best life skills they could ever have. So much of this has been lost in our time.

    Recently on my allotment students turned up to clear a nearby overgrown area they wanted to cultivate. Their enthusiasm and idealism was really inspirational but was slightly dented by their near incomplete knowledge of how to clear weeds properly after digging, such a simple thing. They will learn if they keep at it but they have been severely deprived of basic knowledge on growing things.

    I hope they would not think this a put down for all the hard work and effort they put into that day. 🙂


  4. One of our daughters lives a 3 and half hour drive away and so we are like you with visits only every 2 to 3 months. Our next visit is in a couple of weeks time so we are really looking forward to that. We often get busy in her garden or allotment when we go, so we always pack wellies and old clothes! Gardening with grandchildren is great fun, you can teach them so much. It’s always so exciting having a new garden too, discovering hidden gems and maybe redesigning parts of it. I have to remember though it’s not my garden and not to get carried away–just do as I’m told!


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