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Middle age started early for me - I'm now interested in gardening (much to the surprise of my Dad, who would drag me kicking and screaming to his allotment). I started off small - despite having a huge garden, and was fully prepared to throw away the first version - design by prototype - that's what I do best.

Strangely, the plants shown here are still alive, except for the one on the left, which grew out of control, and was culled!

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Here's a glimpse into the jungle at the bottom of the garden. There's a shed at the end, you can't see it because its too shaded by trees. That is one aspect that's gone badly - I miss my jungle, and can't wait for my newly planted trees to grow as tall as the self sown ones that I ripped out.

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I ripped out most of the trees, and all of the brambles and tall grasses (behind the camera). Here's my garden in the summer of 2003 - this is after I've done a hell of a lot of work to it (the nice part is behind the camera).

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I didn't do it all on my own, I had helpers...

Can you spot the water feature? There's a bloody great pond right in front on the left.

I kept the pond, partly because I didn't want to dispose of masses of concrete, and also because as soon as I cleaned it out, and filled it with water, toads, newts and other wildlife moved in.

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In the past three years, my garden has gone from a wilderness of blackberry bushes, thistles and tall grass, to a pleasant, neat, geometric retreat.

I chose gravel, rather than grass, because I hate grass. Having to cut grass fortnightly when suffering from hayfever isn't pleasant. Since I wrote this, I discovered steroid based nasal sprays (such as Beconase) - its a miracle cure, much more effective than antihystamine tablets. If you have hayfever, ask your pharmacist about it.

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I'm very pleased with my bench. I made it out of three old window ledges that were lying around in my shed. My Dad told me that he got the wood from the local dump (Mum complained that he brought more home from the dump than he took there). It is top quality hardwood - and it makes a very sturdy bench.

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The garden now looks good enough to invite people round. This photo was taken on Father's Day 2005. There's me, my Dad (hiding behind the cordyline), my brother Steve (with his back to camera), and one of his kids, Matthew playing Coppit on the decking by the pond.

If you are wondering what that big blue hemi-sphere is doing there, it has two purposes.

  1. It stops your eye wandering down the garden into the wilderness beyond.
  2. It supports climbers which haven't grown yet.