Our garden

Pete and I bought our garden, which came with a house that we also quite liked, because we wanted to create a new garden together. We moved in two days before Christmas 2008, and in February 2009 started work on creating a pond and stream. There was no way that we could restrain ourselves for the recommended year to see what plants the garden revealed, which was mostly laid to lawn with many overgrown and ageing shrubs.
Before we started digging the pond
We were lucky enough to have natural slopes at the back of the garden, which we made steeper with the spoil from the pond. These have proved to be wonderful areas to plant shade-loving woodland plants that tend to hang their heads, such as hellebores and snowdrops, and which are best appreciated from below. The only downside is that we failed to create footholds for easy weeding access, and several times I have nearly taken a tumble down 'Hellebore Hill' (we have a fondness for giving grand names to areas of the garden: the birch grove consists of only three trees, and the wildflower meadow measures less than 1.5 metres square).
Looking over the pond from Hellebore Hill in 2014
We have worked our way from the back of the garden towards the house, creating new planting areas as we go. We created a bog area around the pond which has been extended four times because of our love of the dramatic, large-leaved plants that like their roots in constant moisture, plus our growing collection of unusual primulas. We had decided that the fourth extension was the last, but I'm already itching to dig up more grass!
Before we started in 2009
From the wildflower meadow towards to the pond in 2014  
Because of the shade from the surrounding trees and the protection given by the sloping banks, we have been able to plant wonderful foliage plants such as trilliums, epimediums, hostas, meconopsis (the monocarpic type that produce amazing, evergreen, furry rosettes of leaves), podophyllums, hardy begonias, arums and painted ferns.
The underplanting around the birch trees
In the sunniest area we have planted a framework of grasses that are interplanted with camassia, alliums, eryngiums, agapanthus, watsonia, hemerocallis, kniphofia and crocosmia to name but a few!

We love variety and never plant in large drifts - we want to squeeze in as many different plants as possible! This runs contrary to classic garden wisdom, but we think that it works because of the repetition of foliage colour throughout the garden that creates a sense of harmony. We love to seek out unusual varieties and are not afraid to test out something that might not be hardy. Since we started the garden we have planted over 600 different types of perennials, trees and shrubs, and there will be more to come! I think that makes us deserving of the title plantaholics.

Since 2013 we have been opening the garden through the NGS to raise money for charity. We love sharing our garden with like-minded people, and we get great suggestions for new plants or gardens to visit for inspiration.