Beginnings

Beginnings

This is the story of a garden.

In February 1991 the family Simmons moved from temporary accommodation into their newly acquired house some 4 miles north of Carmarthen. A month after moving in, our second son was born, making our family of six children complete. Gardening was not high on our list of priorities.  The house sat like an island in a sea of grass.  We had grass out the front, grass round the back alongside a small patio, grass across the drive, otherwise known as the lawn and a further 2 acre field that was covered in meadow. Or grass.

2001 - some 10 years after the initial planting

We had a hover mover.  It was an electric one so we would need an extension cable of some considerable length if we were to cut all this little lot.  So we bought our first “ride on” mower and began the job of taming all that grass.  This was no mean feat as the ground had not been levelled particularly before seeding.  And so began the weekly round of grass cutting, which with almost 3 acres of grass could take over 3 hours.

It felt like we were living on a barren hill top, assailed by the westerly winds.  Indeed, some years later our neighbour thanked us for all the trees we had planted over the years as the wind break effect was considerable and had reduced the battering their house had previously experienced when subjected to the winter blasts.

Early on we had decided we needed to plant trees as a free fuel source and even prior to acquiring these 3 acres, we were aware that ash was the best hard wood fuel source available and had already determined that we would need a considerable coppice of ash if we were to become self sufficient.   During the autumn of 1991 we investigated suitable sources for young trees and found we could get ash for  11p per tree, so long as we bought 1,000.  One thousand seemed like a nice round number and therefore we ordered that number ash as well as a mixture of a further 600: a combination of deciduous and conifers to lay the foundations for the garden.

2001 - looking from the bottom pond towards Rhydareaeu Road

I had in mind the basic structure and this is undoubtedly why the gardens now have the maturity associated with larger trees.   In truth the trees are still young but then, the majority of trees we see in our landscape are young.  The excuse that it takes hundreds of years for trees to mature and that there is no point in planting trees is simply missguided.   While all our trees other than a few on the boundary are less than 20 years old, we have many whose trunks have a diameter of over 14 inches.   We have a huge eucalyptus tree because they ae relativly fast growing.  If we hadn’t planted it, we would not be enjoying that architectural height now.   It is never to late to plant a tree and while as individuals we may not enjoy the final grandeur, there will still much to enjoy as it grows and others who follow will thank us for our insight.

 


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