We moved in to our new house at the end of June 2018, so last year there was no time to do much to the garden in the growing season. It became a bit of a dumping ground for boxes which would not fit into the house. We did build a pretty little shed, but I didn’t make any decisions about plants or beds, because there was so much going on inside. There still is, but at least there’s now time to take a breather. The garden we have here is little more than a large courtyard, but, through writing about gardens and talking to so many experts over the years, I’ve learned that even a small space can look good. So, I am going to try and fill this new-to-me garden with my favourite plants, flowers, colours and accessories. It will be a place to sit and relax, as well as pottering.
- The straw hat was a charity shop find, and the old cash box, planted with a sedum, came from a car boot sale. I liked the number on it. The ribbed zinc tub containing my clematis is from Morrisons.
There’s only room for one seating area – so better make it a good one! We have a basic set of rattan sofa and two chairs which are neutral and can be adapted to any style. In February, I repainted all the raised beds and our fences in Cuprinol’s Urban Slate. It’s an inky grey which makes my favourite blues and oranges stand out. My olive tree was looking a bit forlorn, so I underplanted this with some orange primulas and I’ll be feeding it in April and May. I must be doing something right because this one and our larger olive yielded some black olives last summer!
Muscari are lovely for early pops of blue, and after they’ve done their time in my lovely old zinc tub, I will plant them out in a bed near the house. Unfortunately our wall is made with modern brick, not old ones, but I have plans to disguise this with trellis, which I will embellish with solar lights. I found some pretty ones at Ikea at the weekend, and I have a lovely set of solar string lights from Homebase. All will be revealed soon!
This is our largest raised bed. Recently, I dug out the straggly shrubs which were in there, leaving only the nepeta (catmint) which I rather like. I have planted some grasses, and rosemary, and when the weather warms up, I want to add some orange geums. I might sprinkle some marigold seeds in there too, as I love orange with the misty blue of the nepeta. This is a combination I saw in an open garden last year. I love picking up ideas at open days.
By the back gate, we have two more raised beds, also painted in Urban Slate. I’ve kept one of the leafy bamboos which was already here, and removed everything else, as it was all well past its best. I am planting these bargainous everlasting sweet peas, because they should scramble nicely, some honeysuckles in rose and gold, and a climbing rose, Mme Alfred Carriere. I have not grown roses before, and I am learning as I go along, reading up about them. I have planted it, and added some manure pellets to the soil, and I have applied a mulch, but at the moment, it doesn’t look completely happy. I will keep nurturing it and see what happens. Gardening is a lot of trial and error and sometimes things don’t work out. I chose this particular rose because it is often mentioned by garden designers as a fast grower, with large creamy blooms. We shall see!
There’s so much early spring cheer already. I like to cluster my pots, and arrange them in groups, with solar lamps (mostly supermarket buys). The shed has been such a great addition. The colour is Cuprinol’s Dusky Gem, another favourite. My sign came from eBay.
Finally, there’s always got to be time for a tea break, and having a small garden means less graft and more cake (this one is passion fruit and lemon).
Front door details…(basket planter by Morrisons, winning in the garden accessories stakes this season!).
I’m now writing about my small town garden in a new column in Modern Gardens magazine. You can see more photos and catch up with my latest ideas, plants and plans each month in the magazine, which is packed with hundreds of simple ideas.