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Gill Bourbage, My Garden (B28)

Styles: English cottage, Suburban, Wildlife

Soil types: Clay

Soil drainage: Moisture-retentive

Soil pH: Neutral

Light: Partial Shade

Aspect: North

Exposure: Sheltered

Hardiness: Hardy (H4)

The garden has clay soil which is cold and wet in winter due to its northerly aspect. There is a drop the other side of the hedge so the garden is not overlooked making the aspect less of a problem in summer as its quite sunny. Plants have to earn their keep with various leaves, stems, berries, hips, as well as flowers. Bees and butterflies are important as well as the birds. Seating areas are important. I have a bench near the kitchen which is useful for 5 minutes with a cup of tea. There are tables and chairs in the sunnier area at the bottom of the garden which I can read or have lunch. It also doubles up as a potting bench in nice weather! The shed is a focal point from the house so I have painted it Wild Thyme from Cuprinol and always have a twig wreath on the door. I have gradually reduced the size and shape of the lawn, introducing curves to create mystery.

Gill Bourbage's garden plan

There is not a published plan for this garden yet.

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Plants in Gill Bourbage's garden

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Plants Gill Bourbage wants

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Plants Gill Bourbage wants

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Gill Bourbage

Gill Bourbage

About me
I am a passionate gardener living in Birmingham. I have a north facing garden measuring 22m by 7m. The soil is clay, neutral to slightly acidic. Its very cold and wet in winter, with frost and snow lingering for days in the shady parts. However, we are not overlooked so in summer its quite sunny especially as we live on top of a hill (the garden slopes slightly). I don't think about my garden style but I suppose 'cottagey' sums it up. I love flowers, soft colours, lots of texture and good foliage. I like plants to earn their keep so I look for foliage / flowers, flowers / berries, leaves / stems. Scent is very important and so is attracting wildlife. Although I love my garden, I dont want to be a slave to it so its quite easy to care for. I enjoy propagating both from seed and cuttings. My ideal afternoon would be pottering about deadheading and gentle tidying followed by tea and cake.

Gardening expertise
Very Keen

Biggest gardening accomplishments
My garden is my biggest accomplishment. I am very happy with it and love spending as much time as possible. My garden also provides inspiration for my photography and painting projects. Some of my photographs have been published in magazines and won competitions.

Biggest gardening frustrations
Slugs and snails. They attack so many plants that the list I have abandoned because of them grows longer all the time. I have discovered copper rings which helps many plants that normally struggle. Clematis is one example, the slugs nibble on the new growth and stops the plant thriving. The rings keep the slugs off. I also dislike the north facing aspect in winter.The garden is too wet to work on, plus no sun makes it miserable and cold. No dry sunny days for me.

The gardening project I am currently working on
I started a path through a wide border. This was for access to control weeds such as bindweed and couch grass which I couldn't get to. I was really pleased with it and will extend it through the entire border to make a circular path.


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