Spring is springing. Finally. Although we in the UK have been saved from the onslaught of the polar vortex, we have had masses of rain and I for one can’t wait to get out into the garden to get it looking smart. As we will be working with a new garden in the near future, I wanted to see if there was any advice out there for what to do when you don’t have a clean piece of paper or a clean bit of land but will be working with something that has already had attempts made on it.
I have done a blog post about planning a herb garden, and some of those ideas still stand. But today I want to write about the wider garden. How do we go about working out the best way for things to be?
First of all, you need to know where the sun falls and when that sun is in the garden. You also need to know the direction each of the borders faces and probably most importantly, what is the soil type. No point setting your heart on growing rhododendrons if you haven’t got ericaceous soil, because the plants will just get sick and die. That is not a nice thing to watch happen.
What do you actually want the garden for? For me and my family, the garden is an extension of the house. We love relaxing out there, entertaining, barbecuing as well. We also need the garden to work as a play space for children (and the dog!) and it has to be a productive growing space – herbs, veggies and flowers for the vase.
You also need to think about privacy. If you have a habit of sunbathing in the altogether, then presumably you need some privacy. This is soooo far outside of my personal experience, I think I will leave it there. I don’t like being able to see the whites of my neighbours eyes at the same time as I am weeding the borders. I am a big fan of 6 foot fences. And hedges. Hedges are great! A bit of hard work to keep in good nick, but fabulous fun.
Another thing to consider is an outside tap. If you are going to water your plants in the border, you need access to some source of water. At my present abode we ferry watering cans from the kitchen at the front of the house, through the living room and out to the back garden. In our soon to be home, there is an outside tap. You have no idea the levels of excitement at the thought of buying a hose. No, really. It is exciting. It is.
Of course there are other practicalities to think about. If you have children, is there somewhere for them play around? Are the plants in the ground safe for your pets? For example, if your garden has an amazing show of tree lilies, and you have cats, then the lilies have to go. The pollen is very dangerous, deadly in fact, to cats. You also need to consider the amount of storage you will need.
Next, you need to know what it already there in the garden. There is some merit in waiting for a year before you start to change things and add your own touch to the new garden. At this point, you need to think colour scheme as well. I like colour in my garden. As in “Oh goodness, turn the contrast down my eyes hurt” kind of colour. Mwahahahaha! I can hardly wait!!