Let me quote here something I read recently. In 1220 King Henry III gave these instructions to his bailiff.
'to make round about the garden of our queen two walls, good and high, so that no one may be able to enter, with a becoming and honorable herbary near our fish pond, in which the same queen may be able to amuse herself'
Now, I am no queen and the idea here was not to keep people out but to keep out deer, and yes I do 'amuse' myself inside these walls, although many would not call it amusement. I don't have a fishpond, although I am so entranced by the tank ponds I see in my fellow blogging gardeners' gardens that I may just have to find a spot for a small one. In fact I think I may have just the spot!
Maybe Henry was the first to ask for such walls. If he was, then he started something because ever since then people have been building walls around their gardens. They may have used brick, stone, wood fences, tall hedges, but most houses have their 'walled' gardens. Ours may be a little different because they do not delineate the property, as many do, but rather create an oasis within our property.
The land slopes across the property and so the house, which is a single story, was built on three levels. Just a foot between each level. Then a long wall was built out from the where one level drops, with an archway and several 'windows'. This created a garden areas on the higher level, which we call our English garden, and our 'sunken garden' on the lower.
Here is a glimpse of what we had undertaken in asking for walls.
The walls were there but then it was up to us. You can see what we started with. We sit completely on solid ledge stone although they did bring in a load of 'red death'.
The first project was the short dry stone retaining wall which followed the curve of the wall. I saved every flat rock that was exposed during construction, making a huge pile, from which I built the wall.
This curved wall really set the stage for the rest of the garden. What do you do when you have several angles and a curved wall? The easiest thing is to make everything else circular. The brick came from the Habitat for Humanity re-store. A bargain for a palette of bricks donated by a builder. More flat stones from the property filled in the brick edging. This was a project we worked on together. No plans on paper, just a circle marked out on the ground using string and a stick. I always liked doing jigsaw puzzles.
Spring in the English Garden
David made the circular pavers to complement the other circles and used the left over brick to make bed edging and the bird bath circle.
We eat outside when at all possible and so created multiple places to eat at different times of the year. Although this wasn't the first project we tackled I really think it was the most rewarding.