The thing I love about gardening is its always evolving. Plants grow, some die off. A bulb you forgot you planted pops up to surprise you with a splash of colour. A small tree that was a few inches tall when you planted it, grows to give you shade through the summers.
I love my garden more and more. When we first moved here nearly 5 years ago, we had a dust bowl for a back garden, and the front sloped with broken plants and a crumbling retaining wall. The front garden is now landscaped with hardy plants and irrigation. It’s a nice, low-maintenance space, just requiring watering, the occasional weeding and a small patch of lawn to mow. The back garden, however, is something that is constantly changing.
It’s important to re-evaluate the functionality of your garden every so often. What worked for you a few years ago, might not work for you now. Maybe you don’t need the cubby house or trampoline any more, maybe you want a nice spot in the winter sunshine where you can sit and admire your garden, you may want to put in a few more garden beds, or maybe get rid of the lawn.
When we moved into our home, our back garden contained a large tree stump, a dilapidated gazebo, broken washing line, a rotting wooden fence, a crumbling stone wall and lots and lots of dirt. It was hot, dusty and not pleasant to be in. With young children, this was an area we wanted to fix pretty quickly. On our list of things to include was a large flat lawn for the children to play in, some garden beds for greenery and a small vegetable garden. Working to a modest budget, hubby levelled out the dirt by hand and put in treated pine sleepers to retain the garden beds. We replaced the washing line and got someone to grind down the stump. We then had some friends put in an irrigation system and install the lawn. I still remember when the lawn went down, it instantly felt like the temperature dropped 5 degrees, and seeing all that green made the garden look new and young again.
In the few years since then, I’ve put in rosemary, daisies and lavender along the garden bed. Then 12 months later ripped them out as they went leggy reaching for the sunlight. It’s a dodgy spot getting full shade in winter, and full sun in summer. Right now it has agapanthus, seaside daisies and daffodils which are all doing splendidly. The vegetable bed was maintained for a little while, then more often than not became a dirt bed. Distractions with babies and toddlers meant it got a lot of neglect. So after seeing nothing but a bare patch, it too was removed, a curve added to the bed and it now holds a lemon and orange tree, a young jasmine climber, some shrubs and bulbs. It’s still a work in progress.
I now want to include some more plants into the garden. As we have a fair amount of lawn, I’m running out of space to put plants in. So we’re looking at giving the garden another overhaul. With the new addition of chickens, we want to include a run for them to explore, so we’ll change the bottom corner of the garden for them, and then put in a new, longer garden bed so I can put in some more plants. This I’m hoping will add more colour and interest to the garden, and soften the fencing on the chicken run. I’m excited to see the changes.
With winter on its way out, now is the time to cast your eye over your garden and see whether it still works for you. Do you want to make any changes? If so, make a plan, write it down and once spring arrives with warmer weather, longer days and blissful sunshine, you’ll have a clear vision to work towards and time in summer to enjoy it.
What are your plans for the garden this spring?