Lots of sofa time snuggling my newborn means I’m watching a lot more TV than usual and last week MrS and I were glued to the BBC coverage of the Chelsea Garden Show. How times change, I was barely aware of the show’s existence 2 years ago but this year it was unmissable viewing and we keenly debated the garden styles, plants and colours with regards to what would work in our garden. I loved that the wilder, cottage garden look seemed to be in fashion along with an abundance of deep purple flowers and ‘my favourite sticky up, pointy flowers’ such as foxgloves.
When we moved into our house nearly 3 years ago, our garden had no greenery or flowers and we’ve worked hard to develop it into somewhere all the family can enjoy spending time in. Here’s what it looked like before (the photo was one I grabbed from Rightmove so the quality isn’t great):
We’ve taken up the old paving and decking and laid a new patio with a little raised vegetable patch (ok we paid someone with heavy duty machinery to do those bits), laid a lawn, created flower beds, hung baskets and planted a variety of shrubs, flowers, fruit and vegetables. Here’s what it looks like now:
We’ve acquired plants along the way in a hit and miss fashion, from cuttings, seeds, bulbs, cheaply at church plant sales and from supermarkets and also spent a fortune at garden centres too. We were complete horticultural novices when we started and didn’t pay any attention to soil types, sunny spots versus shade and proper plant care so we’ve learnt the hard way with some planting mishaps. We’ve still got a huge amount to learn but we’re having fun along the way. I dream about getting rid of the ugly building at the back of the garden, or at least halving it and changing the aesthetics, and increasing the garden’s footprint. The building housed the business of the previous owners of the house but has primarily become a depository for our junk.
Here’s my favourite things happening in the garden in May:
The potato plants on the left are getting really big (you’re supposed to bury them again with soil when they start to come up but we forgot to do that again) and the peas on the right are coming up too. There’s carrots in the middle which have just been planted. After enjoying watering the garden last year, Seren has helped us to plant herbs, carrots and peas this year and is very proudly watching them grow.
The strawberry plant is flowering. For the past couple of years, we’ve ended up with several strawberry plants where they’ve multiplied but with very little fruit across them. We managed to kill all the other strawberry plants last summer by scorching them in our little greenhouse but this one survived and survived winter outside too. Fingers crossed for more berry bounty this year!
The raspberry plant is stirring too and has new shoots and leaves. We bought the plants as teeny, tiny ones last year and got about 3 raspberries. They are much bigger already this year so I’m hopeful for a better crop, though we’ve realised that the plants are in the shadiest part of the garden where even grass struggles to grow so we’ll probably move them in the autumn.
We’ve re-sown our herb window box with parsley, sage and thyme. We did quite well with this last year though by autumn the parsley had taken over. We’ve also sown rosemary and mint seeds in separate pots, coriander and basil inside on the window sill and the chive plant is flowering again (photo at the top of the post).
Courgette plants (top) from Charlotte and cherry tomato plants (bottom) to go outside.
Our geraniums from last year are re-flowering! That isn’t supposed to happen but we left them there over the winter as I was in the throws of morning sickness last autumn so never got round to clearing our the dead stuff and bedding plants. Apparently the mild winter means they have survived! It’s like nature knew we wouldn’t have time to plant a load of new plants this spring and has given us a helping hand.
I got stupidly excited about the appearance of daisies! I know they are weeds but to me it signals that our new lawn has really settled in and I think daisies are charming anyway. Seren likes to pick them and bring them to me!
Snapdragons in beautiful bold colours. My favourite ‘sticky up’ type of flower. I thought these were bedding plants last year but apparently they can come back and spread.
Perhaps my favourite thing at the moment is watching the two alium flowers uncurl their star shaped petals one by one. I’m sure we had three flowers last year so one hasn’t made it. They’re here so fleetingly too and will be gone by mid June so I am trying to appreciate them as much as possible.