An expat life in the sun was long our dream: achieving it was no easy task. When we bought our property in Istria in 2004, the garden was a huge mud patch. Turning it into the beautiful garden we have today, has been a seven-year labour of love – and lots of hard work!
Little did I know when we bought our property quite what I was taking on. Until then, my largest garden had been 45m² – smaller than my swimming pool today. What little knowledge I had came from occasionally watching Gardener’s World and a couple of paperbacks. In other words, I knew basically nothing and was totally unprepared for the task ahead – in many ways, the perfect starting point!
I had always suspected I’d enjoy gardening – I grew up in the country and love being outside. And from my limited experience, I already knew I loved digging my hands in the soil. However, I never expected it to become an obsession. I didn’t realise that once you started, your garden screams at you for attention and, the more it gets, the more it demands.
My dream was always to have an English country garden. And without planning it that way, that’s what I’ve created – a garden full of flowers and colour. Luckily for me that was possible. Ourclimates aren’t too dissimilar, so the plants I wanted to grow do well here, sometimes better than further north.
I’m also lucky that Istria is a fantastic place to garden. It’s warm enough that, apart from the odd cold spell, I can be outdoors virtually all year round and I’m often out working in a T-shirt from late February. Another up-side for a gardener is that we have real seasons here, so there’s a natural succession of plants and colour as the year progresses.
- August’s garden diary – it was a hot one!
- A fig love affair
- Gardening crazy
- My Istrian garden awakens
- A few photos to give you a taste of my English garden with an Istrian twist
First posted September 2011