One of the great things about a garden is that it gives free rein to your creativity. You can create a wildlife haven, build a tree house or plant a little glade of trees with snowdrops and primroses beneath. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and maybe by your pocket.
You can spend a lot or next to nothing and yet, whatever your purse, have a dramatic impact upon your overall home environment. In the few months we have lived at Flintstones, my mind has been overflowing with the possibilities and they are still queuing up now.
Sorting out the threat posed by our collapsing wooden retaining wall was a practical and urgent issue. Heavy rainfall and freezing conditions could easily result in a serious collapse that would greatly damage the tiered structure of the garden. That story is told in my first blog here.
On the slate
The retaining wall project knocked on into a need to improve the central pathway that runs alongside it as it curves across the centre of the garden and then down to the waterfall. It used to be surfaced with boring grey slabs fringed by 20mm gravel – practical but not exactly inspiring. In their place we now have a layer of plum-coloured slate with weed suppressant beneath. The great thing about slate is that it changes from a soft light colour in dry weather to a beautiful glossy sheen when it’s wet.
If you want to be a serious gardener then you simply have to get into composting. Your soil is a fragile and hungry resource that needs to be fed if you expect it to carry on giving you its goodness. It may look like an inanimate mess but it is in reality teeming with bugs that make an ongoing supply of essential nutrients. There is nowt better to do the job than compost – and the good news is that its free and just waiting to be made from stuff you otherwise throw away. There’s a blog coming on that one and another on the virtues of harvesting your rainwater.
A shed is by no means essential – unless you are a man! We adore them because they take us back to childhood when we used to make what we then called “camps”. As an adult (and women sometimes get it too) it’s a place to escape and think. And that makes it a great garden HQ. I will tell you about mine in a future blog.
And for me there has to be a greenhouse as well because I aspire to grow stuff from seed and often to start both veg and flowers when the weather isn’t really ready and to keep going in the autumn. And then there’s the allotment with all its own jobs. If you get gardening there really is no shortage of projects to fill your available hobby time. It’s just a question of how much you can give it.
Credit where due
The skilled construction work that went with repairing the previously collapsing wall that holds up the main terrace is down to Jonny Hodges (I can give you his number). The electrics for shed, pond and lighting come courtesy of Matt Craker of Next Phase Electrical. Jim Fossey made a lovely job of the outside decorating. All come highly recommended.