North Garden – Elizabeth’s Walk, Meadow and Orchard
The meadow has probably not been ploughed for over 200 years. Apart from a generous addition of bulbs for the spring we have left it as meadow, taking the grass off every year. The anemones, wild orchids, cowslips, ox eye daisies and wild grasses have multiplied and reassure us we are doing a good thing here.
Very fashionable, cammassias. In the spring, when everywhere else is just emerging the meadow is the star of the garden, but we don’t open now in spring..
Then, after the camassias, the grass and a scattering of wild flowers takes over. It makes an essential quiet open space in the garden. Wild flowers are nice, but not as spectacular as some of their fans would have us think: lots of them are the weeds we remove from beds and borders. The trees down the middle are corylus colurna, clipped to make small standards. One of these looks poorly – what to do if it dies!?
We call the walk down the middle “Elizabeth’s Walk” in memory of Elizabeth Evans, who lived here through much of the 19th century. The 1880 census says that she is an ‘agricultural labourer’s widow and keeps a cow’ – the cow shed being the building at the far end of the house. Her mother in law lived in the cottage below (now gone) and a track is marked between the properties on one map. The name also reminds us of a favourite place in London: Queen Elizabeth Walk.
The orchard has three apple trees. Not much but when they fruit, more than enough for us.