i love my garden, it makes me very happy. it’s repaid many times over the effort that went into planning and building it, even though it’s been sadly neglected over the last few years. it’s also gradually filled with various odds and ends, tiles and bricks, and discarded kitchen utensils, that might be planted, or used in planters at some unspecified future point. personally i feel it adds to the charm, to the feeling of a victorian garden gone to seed. even though the only things that are as we found them 5 years ago are the boundary walls/fences, shed and washing line, parts of it look as though they’ve been here forever.
we did all of the work of breaking concrete, laying paving, mixing mortar and building walls ourselves. we had an optimistic plan of work that had us sipping g&ts on the patio on day 10
we used reclaimed slates and tiles and handmade bricks throughout. the tiles are the victorian ones used in all the houses around here – we have them on our dining room and hall floors, not as extravagant as the colourful encaustic ones in the bigger houses, but easier to live with i think. my textile fetish shows a little in the variety of patterns incorporated in the brick and tilework everywhere. i deliberately planned the paving where possible to be porous – to conserve water and to allow mosses and other plants to seed in the gaps. this worked a treat although the recent dry weather isn’t seeing them at their best. to echo this we laid fireplace tiles in the paving gaps in the section nearest the house – i figured then something would always be green in the garden.
it’s planted partly for produce – we have an appple tree, rhubarb, grape vine (which had grapes last year! a single miniature bunch, about 3 inches long
) and a succession of various herbs, most notably rosemaries which grow like a weed around here. the remainder of the plants are mainly what i think of as typically victorian – ferns, ivy (which does it’s own thing, but i actively encourage it in places), honeysuckle, lilac, many different clematis, jasmine and roses. there is an oversized white/pink rambler that grows over the pergola and shed that blooms at my birthday, only for a few weeks but prolifically. nearer the house we have a few plants with a spikier, almost tropical feel.
when we took out the previous plants, many of which were well established i wanted to replicate the shady corner down by the shed created by a large (unidentified) shrub. so we put in the (now rusted, natch) pergola, with a permanent seat underneath. this is such a wonderful place to be, now the mosaic of scented plants have grown over it. there’s room to put a table and chairs or spread out a blanket on the tiles, and it’s totally secluded and calm.
M has her own amenities too – a sandpit and playhouse, the latter rather grudgingly at the expense of my little camomile lawn which had begun to establish itself well. we even have space for a decent sized compost heap, which goes back into planters and raised beds twice a year (or when i remember…). we’re totally organic, with a healthy and varied insect population, although most years we seem to get a plague of some sort – last year it was caterpillars, the year before aphids, and we’re constantly battling slugs, hence the copper tape on the planters which is patinating beautifully.