Saturday, 26 April 2014

Grandpa's Gardening

"Grandpa's Gardening" is a term my mum coined to describe sitting (or sleeping) in the garden and calling it gardening. I had an excellent time "gardening" today, whilst Emily along with the lovely Peta Evans of Living Image Gardens, transformed our garden.

Before: patio
Peta repositioned the patio stones
over sand and plum slate
Our garden is long and narrow, and mostly in shade. The patio end is never in direct sunlight. Peta helped Emily to choose alpines and other plans that would thrive without much light. The plan was to create a rockery on the right of this image, and a barbecue space on the left. We don't own the house, so couldn't go for a full garden redesign, but these changes have turned what we have from just a neat garden a really special place to be.

The materials and plants came from B&Q. The slate is "plum slate" in two sizes (small and large), laid over sharp sand to form the barbecue pit (the sand was also added to our chalky soil to help out the alpines). The barbecue is Longley by Blooma.
The completed barbecue pit
To create the rockery, Peta used timber to frame the bed, and filled it with a mix of the soil that was taken away from the barbecue pit, compost, and sand. Three larger stones created a space for a raised bed at the back. There were some large cobbles in the garden that they used to add interest around the plants.

The rockery is framed and raised with timber beams; large stones add another level
The final touches were three lamps for citronella candles (Blooma at B&Q) and the gorgeous reconditioned, cast iron bench Emily found at the South Bucks Hospice shop at Aston Clinton. We also have some lovely solar dragonfly lamps and post lamps to bring some colour to the garden at night.

I am really looking forward to summer in our gorgeous garden. One of the things I really love is sitting in the garden and working or reading outside with the cat. When I had the choice as a child I would always work outside. I haven't done any gardening myself for over ten years, but the sight and smell of summer flowers relaxes me. When I am having difficulties with my mental health, I find that sunshine is good for me, but hard to force myself into. Having a lovely setting, and somewhere to sit, makes even the worst of days that little bit brighter. 

The completed rockery and reconditioned bench