Sunday, 13 July 2008

My Garden #1

Well, as you'll have noticed, my posting has been sporadic to say the least over the past weeks. Apologies for this!! I referred in an earlier post to the building work that was taking place here, thus forcing us out the house for a while. Well, this continued rather longer then expected and then I was out of the country again.

Things have calmed down somewhat now, though, and I thought it's about time I started sharing my garden here, the progress that's been made so far and the future plans for it. This first installment takes me back to a photograph that was taken almost a year ago today.

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This gives you a good idea of the starting point we inherited this garden in; namely, pretty blank. There was a circular patio that I took up, mostly because it was overgrown but also it seemed to be in rather a random place. The outline is still visible halfway down the lawn and the slabs stacked up under the tree in the top left corner.

Another intriguing feature of this garden is the absence of any boundary down one side. I say intriguing, it's actually not far short of downright annoying. The path that runs the length of the garden is effectively the boundary. This makes a garden design somewhat tricky as I've been having to contend with a garden that has no vertical dividing boundary. There are numerous difficulties with taking up the path and putting a boundary in, so the solution I'm working towards will work around it.

Some further background: the garden is around 30m in length and about 3.5m in width. So very long but very narrow. It's west-facing, so gets a fair amount of sunlight throughout the day.

So, this is the canvass that I started with.....and just to set your expectations progress has been slow so I'm not much further along. But I will be sharing the plans and will be looking forward to getting your thoughts and ideas as I get further along.

And if any of you have any experience of working without boundaries (literally in this case, not metaphorically), then I would be pleased to hear them.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Share Your Reading

I found this fantastic application the other day that finally persuaded me to open a twitter account.

It's called bkkeepr and can be found here. And it's really easy. All you do is send it updates with whatever you happen to be reading using the ISBN number and it'll log what you're reading (and update it to wherever you decide to put the code). You can even just use it to bookmark where you are in the book.

It seems like a really simple way of keeping track of your books and let other people know what you're reading. So you will now see the feed at the top of my blog.

And talking of reading and particularly gardening reading, if you haven't yet found it, check out Garden Monkey's spin-off site, Garden Monkey's Book Flange.

Friday, 30 May 2008

A Perfectly Good Reason Not To Do Anything

I was much encouraged by the RSPB's monthly "Home for Wildlife" e-newsletter that landed in my inbox this week. Their tip for the month was to leave an area of the lawn uncut!! For me, that's great news, as you'll see from this photo.

This is the bottom half of my very very narrow but long garden. The bottom half is the half I have yet to get to, having spent the last few months slowly (very slowly) building a patio at the top end - the first step in the gradual and intended transformation of this garden.

For now, thanks to the timely advice from the RSPB, I feel less guilty looking down the garden.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Get Well Soon, Monty!

I'm sure everyone in the UK (and possibly outside it!) will have heard the news about Monty Don's recent stroke and decision to step down from presenting Gardener's World.

There are already lots of well-wishing comments on various message boards, but this blogger wanted to add their own best wishes to Monty and to wish him a full and speedy recovery.

I'm Still Here!!

For the small number of you who have been kind enough to have left comments on this blog, and the even smaller number who have added this blog to various favourite lists....I just wanted to reassure you that I will be back on here more regularly soon.

Since my last post at the beginning of April, I have been overseas and also the victim of some extremely disruptive building work that has completely thrown any sense of normality or routine out of the window!

I hope that things will have settled back down in the next week or so and I will be resuming normal service soon after that when I can share a recent trip to South Africa and some hard landscaping much closer to home.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

This Blog Laid Bare

It’s been nearly a week now since I first published this blog. Being new to the world of blogging, I wasn’t sure what to expect. One thing I thought highly likely, however, was to go unread for quite some time and not get any comments for quite some time after that.

In this, I have been pleasantly surprised with my first comments arriving yesterday. Actually, “surprised” is something of an understatement; I was visibly thrilled when next to my first post there appeared a brand new shining “1 comment” link. My refresh button also breathed a sigh of relief having taken an anxious beating over the past few days in the quest for my first comment. (Thanks go to Barbee’, Zoë, and Nigel for this.)

Suddenly, my meandering memoranda had some kind of point, beyond the enjoyment of the writing itself. Indeed, one comment suggested that my writing was of some actual interest. Next, someone may claim to find it useful…sorry, must have slipped into a day-dream there.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about blogging, in the past few days, and reading a fraction of the thousands of gardening blogs that are out there. There’s some fantastic stuff and a huge variety too.

All of this has got me thinking about this blog and what I want it to be. On this, I devoured Kate’s blog that recently asked what it means to her (and received some 72 comments and counting in the process!) and agreed wholeheartedly with the conclusions that she reached: that her blog is for her, not to attract the largest numbers of readers.

At the back of my mind has been this niggling thought that every one of the blogs that I’ve read are so knowledgeable about gardening and the horticultural world. How am I to deliver on that?

Then I realised that sincerity and honesty in the blogging world are far more valuable than knowledge alone. (At least as far as this blogger is concerned.)

So, I have decided to let the circumstances of my horticultural life drive this blog. Namely that I am not only new to blogging, I’m new to gardening too!

Since moving out of a flat and into a house (with a garden!!) a year and a half ago, I have been getting increasingly interested in the subject. This has resulted in: a weekend course; money spent on shiny new tools; too much money spent on gardening books (books on various subjects being a passion of mine anyway); subscriptions to gardening magazines; membership of the RHS; enrolment (but little participation as yet) in a distance learning garden design course; one bed of bulbs planted at the end of 2006; some containers; and, a far-too-long-running patio build at the top of the garden, that is finally nearing completion!

As you will note – not much actual gardening as yet. But the enthusiasm is there.

And that’s what I think this blog will be…an enthusiastic view of gardening through the eyes of someone that’s new to it all. My garden is a blank canvass, having gone neglected for several years, and I will share its development with you all as I go along. There will be plenty of mistakes I’m sure, but hopefully some laughs along the way too.

Monday, 31 March 2008

Holiday Reading

Thanks to Garden Monkey’s recent Big Bash Books, posing the question, “What’s your favourite garden book and why?” three books arrived on my doorstep this morning:

· Karel Čapek’s The Gardener’s Year
· Beth Chatto’s Garden Notebook
· James Alexander-Sinclair’s 101 Bold and Beautiful Flowers

The first two emerged as favourites in the survey and therefore begged to be read. And 101 Bold and Beautiful Flowers has only just been published (which likely explains the lack of mentions in the Big Bash Books survey) and has been plugged on numerous blogs so joined the order list.

All three are timely arrivals as I have a lengthy journey to Cape Town later in the week, where I will be spending a few days.

I’m hoping to get the time to make it to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens but if anyone has any recommendations for other gardens worth visiting in that neck of the woods, then feel free to suggest them here!