My back garden is typical of many I suppose, being somewhat on the small side. When I say small, I don’t mean magazine or Gardener’s World small, I mean really small, especially by my working standards. It would snugly fit in a corner of one of Monty’s garden areas, and I’m sure if he could see it he’d say oh, well, is this it?!
Now, before I introduce it, I will say that I know it is unremarkably average. I’ll also say that design and creativity where gardens are concerned aren’t an issue; it is my day job after all. The reason however for my early excuses are that my back garden, along with the property is rented. Not entirely unique, but it does mean that my creative ambitions are, shall we say, restrained.
Immediately outside of the back door is a double strip of three by two paving slabs, leading to a square paved area set centrally in the garden. Along one side, a long six foot high brick wall curves at the end to enclose the garden, with the third boundary line being a timber fence. Apart from a poor quality lawn and slimline perimeter borders, there are but four original shrubs: Viburnum × bodnantense ‘Dawn’, Euonymus fortunei, a Pyracantha and a straggly old white flowered Lavender.
Naturally, I’ve played with the garden ever since we moved in, although quite gently I have to say due to rental restrictions. I have though imposed some restriction myself as I’ve not wished to plant anything that I would regret leaving behind should we choose to move on.
I remember about two years ago, in a burst of confidence I expanded the borders, enriched the soil, and dug in some structural herbaceous plants – not exactly a rebel… I also tried to be clever with the established shrubs, tying stems down and training along canes; they’re now linking up nicely and clothing some of the boundary wall very effectively.
I’ve also introduced containers to add structural interest – what gardener doesn’t have a wide array of pots?! Regulars for me include Box, Olive, Lavender and another favourite Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’. Between these I have the evergreen Carex comans bronze, an exotic Hosta or three, and a range of potted herbaceous plants. I’d be quick to add that it is a random gardener’s collection, as opposed to a designed display.
Sounds like a mish-mash, but does it work? I hear you say. Well, as far as an eclectic collection of plants go; it works for me, for now, as I have something in flower every day of the year. It’s a compact space, it’s not exactly mine really, but it’s my retreat and I love it for what it is. I’m proud to have cared for it, and to have moved it on even just a little, and I hope to see it develop for at least another year.
Would I change it given the opportunity? Too right I would – out would go the lawn for a start! Anyway, that’s a rapid run through my unimpressive but much loved back garden…
Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I have an equally eclectic side border, and a beautiful Birch tree just outside the garden wall – but that will have to keep until next time! Until then, I hope you find time to appreciate your containers, balcony, allotment or garden spaces wherever they are. I’d love to hear about them, or to hear if your garden situation shares any resemblance to mine.