When we started to renovate the cottage garden we needed to trim a hawthorn hedge, and a drastically reduce a huge forsythia as well as clearing about 50 square metres of 4 foot tall nettles! Once the space was clear we weren't altogether clear about where to go next as we hadn't realised the space was so big. The only existing plant we kept was a 9ft tall Cardoon, and we took our planting inspiration from that. we had already decided that given that part of the garden was in the shade of the hedge and that once the Forsythia grows back it will be even shadier (there's also a mature Crab Apple tree ) a woodland style of planting would suit the area. When we cut back the hedge we noticed that one of the hawthorn bushes had died and had left an arch shaped gap behind. This gap gave me an idea which made the rest of the family think I was completely mad.....why not put a door in the hedge? The idea was to make it reminiscent of a hobbit hole/ fairy house /enchanted cottage, after the family stopped laughing the ideas flowed forth.
We laid a membrane over the entire are and then spread 6 cubic metres of bark chippings over the top, the door was made from old pallets the number and the handle cost me 80p from the local car boot sale, we then laid some stepping stone 'mini sleepers' (leftover decking boards from the deck project). We are still on the lookout for a lantern style solar light to hang at the door, and I plan to add some fancy gate hinges and a door knocker when we find something cheap enough.
Hubby and youngest son then made some hand carved rustic fungi to dot around the area, I really love them and they have enjoyed doing them.
All of the plants were bought at the local nursery from the reduced trolley, mostly ferns and white hellebore's which were 50p each. These were planted through the bark and membrane and will be joined in spring by snowdrops,wood anemone's and Solomon's seal. The total cost of the garden was about £150 and that was mostly for the woodchip, strangely the plants were the smallest element.
This little chap is a bronze otter which seems to fit with the 'tales from the riverbank' theme (I promise no plastic gnomes will be appearing), he has been in all of my gardens but never been as well suited as now. I hope you like the garden and none of you think I am mad!