Gardens never stand still do they? I shaped this garden, bringing it into being with trees and flowers, water and stone.

The grape covered pergola with the bank of birches to the right and the pond beyond were dreamt up many years ago. A fantasy to frame the hills beyond.

Now the grapes hang in great, black bunches amongst the amber and scarlet leaves and the birch leaves have turned golden whilst on the pond the leaves of the water-lily have been transformed into a gilded rug laid across the water.

The island in is another story and although it began well 13 years ago when my friends created the pond, it is now a jungle where even Livingstone might think twice before venturing.

I had great plans for the island, wildly extravagant plans that were far beyond my pocket as it happened but it didn’t stop me from dreaming.

I took my inspiration from the Japanese snow viewing lantern that sits beside the pond and pictured a Japanese landscape in miniature.

I began with that most iconic and delicate of all trees, a Japanese acer. The wind blasted those delicate leaves and so I hastily removed it to a more sheltered spot.

A small pine followed as I pictured its inky green needles framing a model of Kyoto’s beautiful golden. On a visit to Japan many years ago I was mesmerised by the pavilion which shimmers in gold-leaf.

My model would have also accommodated a pair of Mandarin ducks because if you are going to dream you might as well dream big.

Sadly this was only ever an idea of the most romantic and impractical kind and was given up at the same time as the removal of the pine that had shot up to an astonishing height.

I did plant the species rose, R. richardii known as the holy rose of Abyssinia on the island and its single flowers still cascade romantically to the water’s edge. It was joined by a small grey willow, Salix cinerea that sheltered the rose. A goat willow, Salix caprea with its fluffy pussy willow flowers joined the party at about the same time as my grandsons adopted the island as their own hoisting a Jolly Roger and naming it ‘Pirate Island’.

This has been a year of extraordinary growth and in my absence over the summer the willows have formed an impenetrable jungle so I have done what any right-minded grandmother would do and dragooned the grandchildren into action.

Three stepping stones act as a bridge and so I urged Oliver on and handed him the loppers with which to do battle. It took all of his 11 year old strength to cut down the willows but with loud cries of encouragement from me he did it.

The boys carried the willow off in triumph to the donkeys who know that when the boys are around treats will inevitably follow. So a job well done with three happy boys and two satisfied donkeys who take their recycling job very seriously.