Now that spring is here, whenever I’m at home and away from the Internet, you’re most likely to find me hiding in the garden. It’s the place where I can truly relax, slow the pace a little and indulge in a few of my most guilty pleasures – combining some of my re-purposed carboot-sale finds with my favourite plants and tucking myself in a corner with a never-ending pot of tea.
Not even broken crockery is safe from the floral treatment.
…or worn-out wellies that are way past their Best Before date
I love this garden. We bought the house almost twelve years ago. It was new and came with a plain fence and lawn. Some might call it a blank canvas. It was definitely that. In a short amount of time it’s become a suburban paradise for wildlife, where blackbirds have nested for the last three years. Regular visitors have included sparrows, finches and blue tits and last year we were lucky to have a bumblebee nest too. We have also seen bats circling above the trees at dusk, catching insects on the wing.
I’m no expert gardener but I love how we’ve somehow managed to pull together a planting scheme that provides cut flowers throughout the year. Except for my annual indulgence in daffodils, I now rarely buy bunches of flowers. It changes each year but favourite blooms that I bring indoors typically include lilac, hydrangea, wallflowers, Sweet William and alliums.
But it’s not just flowers. As well as our annual helping of tomatoes, blackberries, red gooseberries and more recently rhubarb, this year I hope we’ll also see some beetroot, swiss chard, courgettes and pumpkins. That’s if we can squeeze it all into our small patch of garden and if I can actually win this year’s battle of Woman versus Slug. If I do, we may even see another attempt at salad leaves.
Of course, there’s something else that a self-respecting suburban waste-busting garden could never be without and that’s a compost bin or two. Although, you probably can’t even see this one in the photo below – it’s in there somewhere, I promise – one of those black ‘dalek’ types, tucked behind the willow screen.
And our other one is disguised as a beehive, which doesn’t half make some of our unsuspecting visitors either nervous or uber-impressed that we keep bees. They’re then very much relieved or disappointed that it’s just full of worms quietly making compost.
But then again, keep them long enough and there’s a chance they might discover that turning last year’s peelings into compost is just as impressive. And as for small amounts of food waste… there’s even a wormery that can tackle that, tucked away in one of the borders.
And if it rains – aha, on a warm day there’s a plan for that – a sheltered retreat in a corner of the garden, home to nothing but a comfortable space for one woman to hide with a good book.