Helping Harriet three years on

This photograph does not begin to do justice to what is a long low old farmhouse, set in the middle of fields with sheep and a white horse.     Not an unattractive thing to be seen., which is rare nowadays.     There is an old red brick wall running down the left hand side, and behind it is a greenhouse, with a vegetable garden, including roses and dahlias.

In the beginning I was brutal with Harriet and said that I was not going to help her unless she took everything that was there out.    I expected that to be the end of it, but rather to my surprise she called me about a month later to say that she had done it.     So Polly and I went over there (she is only about 10 minutes away) to have a look as to what could be done.     We had to remember that she had a man called Ronald one day a week, small children, now one is at boarding school, and the  two gardeners were Harriet and Justin, when they had time.     Harriet (and Justin’s) enthusiasm was catching, and Polly and I began to enjoy ourselves.

Against the red brick wall we have placed two green buttresses of beech, and the second wall the same.     Polly and I get annoyed sometimes as everything seems to grow so well for Harriet as she has very good soil, and few failures.     They have also made a swimming pool, which is more difficult to plant as the bed was not really deep enough, though luckily the swimming pool is disguised as it is at the back and side of the house so you do not see it.   I do not really like swimming pools or tennis courts in gardens, they are alright in the south of France.     She is quite funny Harriet, as she gets wildly excited when I say something is rare or that no one else has it!     At the front of the house we have placed about three yew balls, with a Cytisus Battandieri (the pineapple plant) going up the wall.     Along the bottom are some lovely tulips that came from me.     I have told Polly  that I should not have given them to Harriet as I decided I liked them too much!