Ever since I was a child my dream was to one day to live in a cottage with a small garden full of classic English flowers such as delphiniums, foxgloves, cornflowers and roses mixed in with, salad vegetables, herbs for cooking, teas and for beauty products an household needs. I was brought up in a landscape garden and so when we found this, farmhouse in 1996, I realized, that have we could start transforming the small traditional Japanese country garden into my dream garden.
It took us five years to construct, the flower borders, stone paths terraces and to prepare the soil for planting. We tried to use recycled materials as much as possible so please notice, the recycled containers such as old cooking pots, wooden tubs and hibachis. The earth was very hard and acidic, so we dug up all the earth, removing many stones and mixed the earth with home made compost, ash from our ofuro, sand, and a little lime for the borders filled with alkaline loving plants.
Each window of the house downstairs looks out onto a different theme garden.
First you will see the Japanese style cottage garden filled with tea flowers, and medicinal herbs. There is a white and silver border and a salmon pink border. Around the entrance and front patio notice the climbing honeysuckle, wisteria on the walls. The border here is a purple and orange border, each border has its own colour theme, filled with perennials that bloom in rotation from spring to winter, so please notice the colour themes as you walk round
The next circular garden surrounds the Jizo-san Buddhist statues, this is full of English classic flowers, salad vegetables and flowering sages. Please notice the clematises growing up the maple trees.
To the north of the house is the forest garden full of shade loving plants and medicinal herbs.
As you go through the honeysuckle and jasmine arch, you will see our compost English style wooden bins and look up to see the beginning of the wall garden. Many Japanese herbs such as creeping sailor, thunberg geranium, pigs thigh are planted in the wall with many types of thyme and wild strawberries.
The garden you next see is the Spanish garden. The mosaic around the well is made from old chipped china I collected over the years. The containers here are filled with scented geraniums, medicinal herbs and frost tender herbs, such as lemon verbena and lemon grass. These I move inside in winter as Ohara temperatures drop sometimes below zero. This garden faces the west so I've chosen bold colour plants that look well in the hot afternoon sun.
The last garden is the wine garden, a place to drink wine, have a barbecue and enjoy the plants and shrubs which flower in red or rose or white wine colours. The terrace is made from recycled bricks from the old kitchen.
During the year the gardens change with the seasons, about two hundred daffodils appear in spring with crocuses, muscari and tulips appearing in between the perennial herbs. The end of May, the English garden flowers and European herbs bloom, followed by the hydrangeas and lilies in June. Summer is the time for the bee loving plants such as bergamot and flowering sages, followed by traditional Japanese garden classic flowers in Autumn ~ chrysanthemums, joe pye weed, balloon flower and tora no. Lastly winter is the time when the flowers die down and we mulch the borders. However many red berried shrubs such as nanten, manryo, senryo and holly give colour to the garden and the garden becomes a haven for the birds, when the snow falls in the winter months.