September Garden Update

They say a photo speaks a thousand words so if I say we’ve gone from this:to this:

and this:

to this:

Well, I’m still not sure it conveys the amount of digging, moving, carrying, loading, unloading, building, muscle ache and expense. Or maybe it does. We’ve carried 3 bulk bags of ballast through, 2 of the red shingle, 1 of sand, 2 giant bulk bags of the cream/gold (below), and a pallet load of 20kg bags to make a whole ton of the Yorkshire Cream (up top), a pallet load of stones, and various smaller bags of bits and pieces. A neighbour shouted out to us the other week: “Every time I see you, you’re shovelling shingle.”

Raised beds to the left are for flowers. The beds to the right will be for a few veggies, or I’m thinking I’d like to grow blackberries and chard. We’ve shrubs in the back bed on the left, and grasses on the right. Don’t look like much now but give it a few months. We’ve planted two cypress trees.

The central back bed I decided to make decorative. I needed somewhere to put my seahorse. I’ve some more pieces I want to pick up for this — some glass floats, shells etc., but I love it so far. The light on the lighthouse revolves.

We’ve more screening to put up and I’ve some more plants I have my eye on. Also planning a seating area with a pergola so there will be some more updates to come.

August Garden Update

Long overdue but after another busy weekend I thought I’d provide an update on the rest of the tiers. Please excuse the lurking piles of rubbish.

To recap we’ve gone from this:

To out of control:

and now we’re finally fully tiered:


The top tier is my herb garden with a lower level mostly decorative. There’s a wollemi pine in the planter. Herbs include rosemary, various thymes, sorrel, chives, garlic chives, sage among others.

On the far left we’ve a bank of various lavenders at the top, blueberry plants and wild strawberries in the middle, and an embankment of many different foxgloves.

To create the tiers, we’ve used a mixture of rustic sleepers and Marshall’s croft stone walling. A layer of ballast had to be laid for each section of wall and back-filled with gravel for drainage.

More soon!

Garden update July 2017

A few weeks ago I promised to take anyone interested along with me in my latest and probably hardest garden project to date. I have to admit when we first saw our garden space we thought this was the smallest garden we’d ever had. Now it’s taking shape we’re realising it’s far larger than we first thought, and a lot harder work. There’s more than what I’m going to show today finished, but it’s difficult to reveal all at once when there’s stuff piled in the way making photo-taking impossible.

What I can show you is one side of our first three tiers, which, if you remember, we’ve taken from this (top view looking down):

with the help of these:

to this (view looking up):

Can’t wait for the plants to establish. Further along we’re getting on with the herb garden, and a lavender bed among other things. I’m shoveling dirt in my sleep and can barely keep my eyes open when awake.

Garden update June 2017

It’s been just over a month since I first mentioned my garden, usually the one part of my personal life I don’t mind sharing. Some, particularly those who hang out with me on Facebook, will know I’ve had many types of gardens including a large landscaped one. This time we’ve started with the smallest space we’ve ever had (a somewhat deliberate choice), and nothing more than a pile of…well, mostly clay. One cannot call it soil. There are ways to work the ground to make it nutrient rich but we’re not at that stage. First, we need to create tiers.

A month has gone by since I showed you an expanse of ‘dirt’, held up by choosing and awaiting delivery of supplies and the weather. We’ve had a lot of intermittent rain as evidenced by the sudden flash growth of unwanted greenery. To create the tiers we’ve decided to break the garden into thirds. One stone wall either side of the steps and a sleeper wall at the far end as we want a small veggie patch. The tiers will also be in thirds.

Before we even get to creating the tiers we’ve had to attack the plants that have taken over. These are dock leaves:

Dock leaves. Dock leaves everywhere!

No one wants these things. They grow large and the roots are thick and deep. Fortunately (or not depending on viewpoint), we’ve had a lot of digging out to do so taking this lot down was the least concern. May not seem like it, but it didn’t take long. That’s the Dear Husband with a spade and shovel hiding at the edge of the photo. He did the shovelling and I’ve been swinging the mattock (a type of pickaxe) to help ‘hook’ soil down so he can move it out of the way in order to create a trench.

This is only the beginning of the first. We need to fill this to a required height of ballast (arriving this week) and compact, then add a layer of sand to set the walling in, then back fill with gravel before packing the soil back to create the layers. We also need to mix the clay/soil with good manure and compost before shovelling it in, repeat three times to make three tiers. The good thing is, because of the required height and depth, we won’t be creating too much pressure. I’ll let you know how we got on.


My Garden Project

We’ve undergone a journey over the last four years, not of our own choosing. We’ve ended up somewhere, while not the exact place I would choose to live were money and other circumstances were not an issue, but it’s a close second and somewhere we could, at last, be happy. I may write more on that another time, but we’ve lots to do and two moves in four years took its toll on finances, physical, mental, and emotional well-being. We’ve a lot of healing to do as well as more tangible labour. We’ve worked hard the last few weeks to turn our new house into our ‘home’ and before the end of the month, we should see much of that come to fruition. What remains…is the garden. I’ve decided as there’s so much to do and we are starting with a blank slate, to share this part of the journey with others.

This is the smallest garden we have ever owned yet, it involves a lot of necessary work, not all of our own choosing. We have a slope that we need to tier. Were we to hold back the top layer with one retaining wall we’d be installing a wall of approximately 36 x 3.5 feet. We’re going to have three layers, which allows for less pressure on each tier.

The garden ‘problem’ (and it is a problem) is more complicated than needing some tiers. The ground is nothing but clay. What it needs is manure, preferably horse. Friends and neighbours have told us to look for some going free from local farmers. We’re in the countryside but free manure isn’t always as easy to find as many may think. Even if found, it’s often a case of pick up and take; not something we relish putting in the car, to be honest. There are many manure/compost compounds available to buy but there’s a limit to how much we can bring home any one time, and it’s difficult to judge exactly how much we’ll require. The good news is once we dig in and mix with clay the ground will become nutrient rich. Clay isn’t the bad news we believed it to be, but it does require preparation.

We’ve sourced many products and accounted for the expenditure (more than we were hoping for/wish to spend), and are awaiting the arrival of several deliveries including railway sleeps, stone walling, aggregate, and we still need to order some ballast, sand, back fill gravel, and planters.

The photos above are of what we’re starting with. Over the coming weeks, I’ll post an update when there’s improvement.