The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

The Bower

The BowerLast year I decided to work on our main herbaceous border. I planted it when I first came to the cottage many years ago. It is quite a big border, roughly 12 feet deep (4 metres) x 33 feet long (11 metres). It started off as 5 x 33 feet and gradually increased in depth for the first five years. I didn’t have a master plan as I knew so little about gardening at the time. I just bunged in stuff that I liked. Every year I planned to do something about it but never had the time.

So I made a start. The border is south facing with sun until mid afternoon. Standing in front of the border I twigged that a quick simple solution would be to divide it into two halves with a focal point in the middle. Create a focus and then work out from that.

I had been flirting with the idea of a bower for a couple of years. My sister had donated an unwanted Monet arch that had been kicking around in a couple of carrier bags for months. I’d bought a bench in a Homebase sale the Autumn before. It was lurking in the garden without a proper home. We hadn’t even sat on it as it looked out of place everywhere we tried it.

With all these ingredients, I hatched a plot. I could create A Bower. Seat and arch, with the glorious established honeysuckle in the spring. I also had a couple of clematis plants that I bought on the last day of Hampton Court Flower Show two years ago. They had survived in pots. Perfect, as they were clearly strong.

With some turf and baby box plants I created our bower. Sometimes I sit in the bower and contemplate why the Min Pins have chosen to pee on the new turf.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    I was lucky with this as trellis was already in place along the back of the border. What you can see is that the plum trees next door overhang the back of the border so it is very dry and I have to remember to water the clematis and summer flowering jasmine well every week.

    Also brambles are keen to grow behind the seat!

  2. Hi again,

    Yes it looks so tranquil and beautiful. A lovely place to sit and contemplate life. I too have a seat with an arch and now you have inspired me to make mine as beautiful as yours.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Thanks for dropping by, Sara, and for leaving such a positive comment.

    I am pleased with the way the bower has worked out. It is peaceful sitting there with a cup of tea and the Min Pins.

  4. What a beautiful photograph and a lovely story. Thanks for sharing it.
    Sara from farmingfriends

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