I have been asked a few times to feature my garden on here and share some of what I have learnt as a (very much) novice gardener since we moved into our home last Spring. Now that a full year has turned around in the garden, I feel that I’m gradually getting to know the place and the plants that reside here, plus I’ve gained more confidence in dealing with the various trees, shrubs and flowers that I’ve come to recognise. A year ago if you’d asked me what a herbaceous perennial was, I’d have thought you’d taken up a new foreign language. It really was Double Dutch to me.
So, as it’s the height of the growing season now and there’s more green lushness and splashes of colour about, I thought it the ideal time to show you around. I suppose it’s a decent enough size for a suburban garden, which is perfect for us, as it’s challenging enough without being overwhelming and there’s plenty of room for the kids to play outdoors, too.
Final point: as a complete novice, I have always found gardening to-do lists and jobs for the month incredibly useful for clarifying and prioritising what I should be investing my time on outside, so I’ve written up a little list of jobs for May at the end of the post, if you’re interested. So, all that remains is for you to pull on your wellies and come for a look around!
This is the view of the back garden from our patio, which is off the west-facing side of our kitchen. I bought the geranium along with some other summer annuals in my local Lidl (really healthy looking plants on sale there) and the tin planter is from Søstrene Grene who unfortunately don’t have an online store, however this one is similar.
We painted the patio furniture last year using Cuprinol Garden Shades in Coastal Mist. It’s a nice soft shade of blue that brightens up the area and is pretty much true to shade in the picture below. I suspended some jam jar tealight holders from a length of driftwood to add some ambience in the evening when you’re sitting out there after sundown. The chair cushions are these from TK Maxx.
It’s lovely to see the bluebells out in May, their presence, for me, signalling the start of summer. They add a welcome splash of colour now that the last tulips have died down, yet the roses and peonies aren’t quite ready to make an appearance.
Further down that side of the garden, we have a potting shed positioned in the corner, which we repainted last Spring (you can read about it here) in a soft grey, so that it blends in with the rest of the garden but yet remains a feature of its own. I have found it a handy place to grow seedling plants and am experimenting with some vegetables this year, including beetroot, radishes, broadbeans, cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes. I love the Japanese Acer sitting in front of the shed; it always guides your eye down the garden if you’re looking out from the kitchen window. The plant adorned with creamy white flowers in the forefront is a Japanese Snowball bush or Viburnum plicatum.
This is very much a working potting shed – when I looked on Pinterest for inspiration on painting it up last year, it was full of prettily decorated and immaculately organised sheds straight out of the pages of a gardening magazine or catalogue. Maybe someday! But for now, it’s a quiet spot to potter about in and on a cooler summer’s day you can sit in the doorway with a cup of coffee watching the birds hop about. We are very lucky to live in the suburbs of a busy city where all you usually hear is the local bird population!
The first rose buds are appearing about the place – I don’t know the names of any of them but I can vouch for this one’s beautiful scent when I cut it to bring indoors!
There is a small raised bed to the side of the potting shed that already had a healthy rosemary bush and clutch of strawberries growing there, but we cleared the rest of it out and planted some more strawberry plants, some culinary herbs and the annual veg plants. The chives look too pretty to pick, but you can scatter their flowerheads over a salad as they are fully edible.
This is another nice spot to sit at any time of day, but especially in the evening. We found the metal patio set in M&S last year – similar set here.
I have focused this post on the back garden, but at the front of our house, nestled amongst the creeping vine, is this stunner of a climber – I looked it up and it’s called a ‘Doctor Ruppel’ clematis. I recently painted the garage and front door blue and I love how it looks against it. Read about our front door makeover here.
I hope you enjoyed that brief tour of the back garden. Once I finish tidying up the front patch, I’ll show that to you, too. (Small steps, people, small steps!)
Finally, in the style of our very own Monty Don, if you’re a keen gardener, here are the jobs you need to be getting on with this month:
// GENERAL MAINTENANCE //
Weed, weed & weed!
Look out for pests/disease on plants and treat now
Keep pots well watered during dry periods
// LAWN //
Rake out mossy patches and re-seed if necessary, keeping well watered in dry weather
Remove any large weeds from grassed areas and treat with weedkiller and fertiliser if necessary
Water during dry spells
// FLOWERS & SHRUBS //
Clear spring flower beds
Deadhead tulips after flowering and lift them out for storage once the foliage has died back
Harden off indoor plants by taking them outside on warm days
Lift and divide clumps of daffodils and spring-flowering bulbs
Feed shrubs and roses
Plant out summer-flowering bulbs
Plant out summer bedding plants once danger of late frosts has passed
// FRUIT & VEG GARDEN //
Lay straw beneath strawberry plants to protect them from damp
Protect all young fruit and veg from birds
Sow seeds of cabbage, cauliflowers, broccoli & Brussels sprouts
Sow beetroot seeds
Plant out runner beans
Thin out seedling plants of carrots, spinach & lettuce
Prepare and plant out herb gardens now
Plant out courgettes at end of May
Always grow mint in a pot or bucket to prevent it spreading
That should keep you out of trouble for a while!