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Diaries of a Gardening Novice
My father was an amazing gardener, from Callaloo to Corn he grew all types of local and tropical treats in our garden in the deepest darkest depths of Peckham, London. So you could say that gardening is in my blood.. I wouldn’t, just like his cooking skills, it seems this talent may have skipped my generation.
But I do have the passion.
This is the continuing journey of how our back garden will become a secret escape..
The vision is growing… I have seen the promised land, its just buried under all of this clay and brick. As I begin to dig, I ponder starting a Gardenise exercise class, surely everyone is over Zumba, and who doesn’t want toned arms? I make a personal note to email Gymbox the next day.
Ok…so gardening is not sexy. The previous thoughts of toned arms are long lost in the cold realities of British Winter time and dirty finger nails, but the progress is steady… Until it all turns a bit Stephen Kingish and everything comes to a sudden halt. As my mother is a history and archaeology fanatic, I have grown up with the delusion the Earth beneath our feet is just waiting to reveal its treasure. So what was history’s gift to me, well it seemed to have fur, a disregarded Victorian teddy bear perhaps? Alas no, on closer inspection I see a cat paw, as memories of Pet Cemetary flash before me I throw down my spade and seek sanctuary and sympathy in the arms of the Mr. This month’s personal note is to call the council’s special disposal unit. Gardening is definitely not sexy.
Encouraged by Sunshine, (imaginary) butterflies and the support of my fellow bloggers (Roses delight, Pam and Maria Mahreeaaah amongst others. 😉 I pushed the murky Stephen Kingesque past behind me and battled on.
And it is an ongoing battle. When I think of my ideal garden space, I dream of a flat, sunny, spacious affair… Alas just like me, my little patch is far less than perfect. Yet albeit, shady, sloped and wide, MLP seems to embrace it’s “challenging” label, and so, inspired by it’s non-conformist beauty I labour on. With memories of my time in Portugal, a terraced wonderland springs to mind, and the words “shovel”, “mallet” and “bad back” (amongst other less flowery words) spring to my lips.
It was however worth it, as this was my chance to put all of my “research” (pronounced “cyberspace procrastination”) into good use and start buying and planting :-). As you can see from the pictures, I didn’t go “craaayzey” (pronounced “like Solange in the lift“) with the purchases. With a baby and new mortgage on the way, I had to get “creative” with the budget. Fortunately, with my friends and family and freecycle.org, that wasn’t so difficult and actually quite fun!
My raking handy work had paid off…I had created perfectly flat platforms ready to go forth and prosper. Then my brain received a phone call..
“Hello….It’s the Brixton Housewife here and I think spontaneity is fun!”
In comes a change of plan and a quick google search for garden ponds…
After my last minute pond purchase, I felt that I also needed a Buddha… Yes random, but it looks down directly into the back bedroom sending peaceful energy and sweet dreams to all who reside there…OK that isn’t actually guaranteed, but as I bought the Buddha from a charity shop I know that my money has gone to a good cause! Bring on the Karma… and peaceful energy and sweet dreams.
I really enjoyed buying all the different plants; I searched local nurseries, markets and friends gardens for any and every cheap shade loving plant. Covering the soil with wood chip will hopefully save on weeding and also makes the garden look almost “finished” [Please imagine this last sentence being said in an expert gardener voice]
July, August and September
I’m beginning to think that all those last minute ‘random’ purchases may have been fuelled by all those ‘crazy’ pregnancy hormones .. Oh the joys of bump life! Fast forward to October and gone are the topiary dilemmas and enter the diaper demands. That said, I still kept a special place in my heart for my little patch of green and the gardening journey continued. So here are the latest pictures, and hopefully a picture will speak a thousand words (as the whole “new mum” thing meant I didn’t have time to write them).
Sorry no pictures for July, that’s when I started focusing on the nursery inside the house.. (The room that it just so happens is over looked by the Buddha)
The decking was really simple to lay. I purchased four decking sheets from a high street shop and told my husband to “make it work”.. and he certainly did. All in all, it took less than a day to lay and in total cost less than £100. Not bad, not bad at all.
This entry should really be called “The Woodchip Chronicles”. I can’t explain the joy of slashing open a bag of wood chip and sprinkling the little pieces of bark over the garden like fairy dust… And as if by magic, the purple flowers behind the pond bloomed as a complete surprise to me, this is why I love gardening. The black tail photo bombing in the foreground belongs to our pet Ceefor, and that’s why I love cats ;-).