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Hello I have spent some time reading different discussions and I'm sure that I'm in the right place to get all the help I need. 

I have recently inherited a small farm 53 acres most of the land has a tenant using it for his sheep not a problem.

But I have no gardening experience at all I'm young and still at Uni,

I'm looking for ideas advice of where to start I like the idea of cottage garden mixed veg and flowers and also wild flower meadow, I also want to be organic, Where do I would you start the plot is generally south facing but wraps right around the property so a bit of each.

Sorry forgot to mention it's East Sussex also has a pond and woods  :/


  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,585
    edited February 2019
    Hi Philomena,  what a beautiful property !  My first advice would be (as l'm a bit older than you :) ), is take it steady. I would start nearest to the house and work outwards, that way you can see the progress you are making, and be encouraged. You can certainly mix your veg in with the flowers, but you might like to consider a proper veg patch, fairly near to the kitchen door if that's pretty sunny. I could go on and on, but first thing is, do you know what the soil is like ? Oh yes, and welcome to the forum,  you will get lots of advice  :)
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,107
    What a lovely place! I would think your first task is to start strimming and chopping all that rampant growth around the house, especially anything growing too close that might be undermining the foundations or affecting the brickwork. There may be some shrubs and climbers there you want to keep, but until things are in flower (could that be a wisteria growing up the pole next to the balcony?) its difficult to know what everthing is this early in the year and what you might want to keep. Come back to us later on with close-up photos of individual plants if you want an ID for anything

    Once you have done the initial clean up it will become clearer what space you have around the house and you could start sketching up a rough plan to play with, incorporating all the elements you want. You can post your plan here if you need some design advice, then take it in stages to implement it.

    I think the first major change I would make is to create a sunny patio close to the house and a path to the front door - the latter doesn't have to be straight, it could meander, thus creating irregular areas to plant up later - essentially do the planning and the main hard landscaping first. Get that right, then the planting is the fun bit.

    Are you planning to live there, rent it out or just visit? I wouldn’t try to take on too much now, whilst you are still at uni, especially if thats some distance away...think about the time you can realistically devote to it without it having a deleterious effect on your studies and social life!
  • @AnniD
    I did think maybe I would have a veg garden there is a broken down greenhouse and what looks like an old vegetable garden.

    I can see I need to put pen to paper buy a tape measure and a soil testing kit, I have looked on the OS soil data map that shows the soil as slightly acidic but I will test it in a few places around the garden.

    I have been camping out at the house this week, wondering around and getting use to the idea that it's mine, I remember coming here as a young girl and playing in the garden but apparently the old aunt who owned it became a recluse and no one had seen her for years.

  • @Nollie
    Thank you and yes I do intend to live here.

    It's not to far from uni / London so I can commute and intend to spend every weekend here camping out until the house is up together  :)

    I also plan some garden party's soon friends and family to help uncover and clear away the brambles and long grass if they don't work they wont get fed or watered  :)

  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,585
    edited February 2019
    Excellent idea re: the "clearing party" Philomena,  bribery can be very useful, l find.  :)
    Just make sure that they know to come dressed appropriately, long sleeves,gloves etc. Brambles can be nasty things. I usually make sure there is antiseptic cream and plasters available just in case. I am sure you have things well organised, sorry if l sound patronising,  don't mean to. I am rather envious though! I suspect you may uncover the bones of a lovely garden under all that.
  • Hampshire_HogHampshire_Hog Hampshire Coast 100m from the seaPosts: 1,089
    @Philomena K  Hi and welcome to the forum.

    That's quite a project you have there and it's nice to hear you intend to live and work there it means as others have said you can take your time, I'm sure you don't need telling but use the web to get ideas and plans.

    The hard landscaping is the first thing once you have a plan but you will find I'm sure that it will change as you go on that's part of the fun in gardening it's forever changing.

    You mentioned organic when you get you garden party's together I would suggest you hire or purchase a garden shredder and a good lawn mower, cut the grass and shred all the brambles etc and just pile them into a big heap in a quiet sunny corner they will soon start to rot down and you will on your way to your first organic compost  :)

    I'm sure you will have lots of questions on your new journey and you will find garden experts hear to help you with everything I'm sure.

    "You don't stop gardening because you get old, you get old because you stop gardening." - The Hampshire Hog
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 20,889
    My OH’s ex was in the same position, she inherited a farm at aged 18,  gardening aside, my OH says beware of people giving you old furniture, people are very generous and may give you all sorts of stuff ‘to tide you over’ he was forever having to get rid of junk because they didn’t really want it,  just if you can learn to say ‘thank you but I’ve got one’. Or you could be inundated with rubbish. 
    The garden will look loving in a few years time.Lucky girl. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 32,997
    Stunning property. 
    Just to throw a "curve ball " in, Have you thought about selling it and buying something which might suit your age/ situation better? Just a thought.
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 3,788
    That’s a fabulous place. 

    Can I suggest you fast-forward two years so the garden is somewhat tamed and the buzz has worn off. The friends willing to pitch in to help you get the project underway are now baulking at 30/60/120 minute drives to see you. Local entertainment consists of harvest suppers and village quizzes, there are only two other people in your community in your age bracket and one is at university for most of the year and the other is just odd. The nearest cinema is 12 miles away and bus services stop at 6.00 pm. 

    Now that that may be an entirely unfair picturing of the locale but it rings true of where I live. I love it, but I am early retired.

    What if someone offered you £1.5 million? That would completely transform your life. I would speak to a local estate agent to get an idea of your options and to check out the extent to which your tenant farmer is rooted for life.

  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,287
    Welcome. Sorry about your aunt, sorry for your loss, but how lovely she left it to you, what a great place.
    i can't add to all the advice and options.

    Except. As it has been left a long time and it is coming up to bird nesting season, keep an eye out for them. The mild weather has got everything dashing about this end of the country. Although I suspect you won't have that much spare time to clear or tidy everything yet :)
    Watch out for hibernating hedgehogs, especially if you are using strimmers and working parties.
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