The Cottage Garden - Formerly The Hospital Bed.
The cottage garden was not always named as so. It is rather the name we gave it as we revamped and redesigned the space.
Prior to it becoming the Cottage Garden it was named and known as the Hospital Bed. I know, that’s an unusual and strange name to christen a garden but let me explain where it got the name and why.
So, as you know by now Turra Lodge Farm is upon the site of an abandoned coalmine. The soil is difficult to work with and not all plants can survive in such harsh conditions.
When we first began the gardens in 2002, we had little knowledge of the challenge that faced us. The fact that not all plants will tolerate the soil structure was something we were yet to discover.
As planting began it was noticed that particular plants struggled. Especially young plants. Leaving the struggling plants in harsh soil was not an option we were willing to take. Nobody wants to witness a new plant slowly dwindle away as it struggles in a home it doesn’t belong.
So, the solution… the hospital bed!
The hospital bed was essentially a giant raised bed. Surrounded by railway sleepers and filled of pure compost. It was any plants dream home.
The hospital bed was a stop off point for any plants that struggled to take root in the harsher conditions of the heavy clay and coal beds.
If a plant was looking a bit dodgy… dig it up and put it in the hospital…
New plant slips and divisions… put it in the hospital bed…
This gave the plants a place where they received a little TLC and allowed them to create a strong root system before we would dig them up once again and plant them into another flower bed.
After some years the hospital bed was used less and less as we had more rockeries and flower boarders to swap plants within. The hospital naturalised itself into a grass lawn which we began to mow but didn’t really utilise to its full potential.
That was when the idea of the cottage garden was born. Mum has a fondness of cottage garden planting and so decided to designate this unused area to the aesthetic.
We had some red brick that needed repurposing… they would provide the planting boarder.
A bough of the ash tree that had fallen during a storm provides a natural bench.
Some picket fence to add a quaint containment, and a rustic arch entrance to draw you in.
“All hands-on deck” and the area was transformed within a matter of days.
So now after being planted up with Mum’s choice of cottage style plants I have to say it is a little piece of heaven.
I enjoy the evening view from the garden as the sunset is framed by the entrance archway. The large ash tree provides summer shade, and the birds fill the hawthorn tree with natures song. Although there is not much seating in this particular garden, I have countless memories of us all gathered, sitting on the lawn with a cup of tea or an ice-cream in our hands.