Sunday, 19 July 2009

a garden post...

I took some photos of my back-yard a couple of weeks ago and meant to post them on this blog only I mislaid my USB cable in the chaos of my work-room. This morning, during the epic venture that goes by the name of house-work and tidying up, I recovered said piece of equipment, and since it is raining dismally this afternoon, have whiled-away a few hours editing and uploading my pics.

I'm rather pleased with the way my humble patch has shaped up this spring/summer. When I moved to this property (18 months ago), I had little hope for this dingy, dank, North-facing, slug & snail-infested, trash-strewn concrete, corner - lacking in both substrate and sunshine. I began filling little pockets with soil and leaf mould which I planted-up with ferns and wood-land flora. Come spring time I brought out the tubs and crammed them with whatever I felt might stand up to the slugs and the gloom. As anticipated, there were a few casualties but, thanks to that mini 'heat-wave' late spring, the flowering plants got a head start.

I'm fortunate in having lovely next-door-neighbours. I like their solution to the lack of greenery - fake turf!

As you can see, it's a far from grand space but it still makes me happy. Once I had 12 acres to tend. Now I have 12 square feet. I would make do with a window box or a secret corner in a local park if need be. Small spaces demand attention to detail - something I'm fairly proficient at!

My daughter bought the candle-holder from a car-boot sale. It looked incongruous in the house but it seems at home amongst the fern fronds.
I've been nurturing this amazing foxglove for over a year, anticipating the flower-spike. It's much sturdier and fleshier than the regular variety and the colour is more muted.

One benefit of drippy walls is that they provide an ideal habitat for spore-bearing plants. There are several different ferns and over a dozen species of mosses and lichens on this one alone.

An ivy plant making its ascent from a pot.

I'm particularly fond of the moss cushions that form around the base of my drain pipes. It's the sort of thing my father would spend hours scouring away!

I know petunias are a bit of a cliche but with the right colour combination (avoid the day-glo ones in cool-climes) they're an endless cascade of sweet-scented joy.

Pineapple lillies: divided into 3 since last year!
A fabulous funnel-web.

I bought this Spanish moss as a jovial Santa's beard at Christmas. It's currently on the washing-line, enjoying the warm-wet weather. It looks like a lichen but in fact it's a Tillandsia; an epiphytic plant that takes its nutrients from the air.

The cactus was rescued from a friend (it was the size of a shrivelled french-bean in march), repotted and revived. On a sunny day, I can sit at my mosaic table-top with a glass and just about convince myself that I'm not in Yorkshire.
Not that there's anything wrong with Yorkshire - 'God's own county'!


  1. Excellent, puts my garden to shame, though in my defence it's less a garden more a meadow and it takes all my meagre spare time just to keep the hawthorn, brambles and nettles from reclaiming the house. Roll on winter when me and my over worked mower can breath a sigh of relief.

  2. Lovely to see your garden. It reminds me of the times we had nubbut but a scrape of yard etc. Ours at the moment is a mere 1/7th of an acre - I started getting wet seeing this:

    And in my most favourite corner of the planet too.

    Hope you're all keeping well. Dx

  3. Morte - Thankyou. I actually rather miss the encroaching wilderness. My previous 'garden' (actually several small fields) required seasonal organising of tractors/ploughs/grazing animals and my 'small' kitchen-garden (1/3 acre) was forever at the mercy of rampant brambles/ground-elder/bamboo-width couch-grass and the occaisional stray goat. I don't even weed this little corner - any living thing, no matter how humble and lowly, is a benison.

    D - Can't seem to get that link to work (pasted it into google but nothing found).
    So, sorry 'bout that.
    The small-girl has already flown away (yesterday evening) so I'm frantically attempting to cram the day and night with all those things I haven't found time to do these past few months. I also committed myself to an extra day at CAB plus writing up social-policy reports (starting to regret that already).
    But yes, I'm doing remarkably well at the moment although rather worried that if I stand-still to catch my breath, I might fall-down.
    Hope you're bearing up too. It's your wild-weekend soon isn't it? I might just 'get lost' on the motorway next week and find myself in Wales (given my utter navigational ineptness, noone would be in the least bit surprised).

  4. Hi Kate

    Ok, two amendments, first try this: and 2nd wild wales weekend is from fri 31st july til mon tues maybe wednesday in august. If you get lost, then I hope you've got my number. Would be lovely to meet you.

    Take care, Dx

  5. sorry silly google doesn't link to what yer linking to. I will send an email. It is all probably just as well. Dx

  6. You've made the kind of space I imagine maybe having. I love the ferns in the wall, and I'm a bit obsessed with mosses and lichens, I have a book about moss gardening with the most luscious pictures.
    I might have to do a garden post, though my current 'garden' is cracks in the pavement and plants in the guttering. I have an affection for 'weeds' that grow so stubbornly absolutely anywhere they can.
    x x

  7. Thanks Werehorse,
    I think the passion for moses and lichens originated when, as a little girl, I used them to make trees and miniature landscapes for my grandfather's epic model train-set. I also used to lie on the ground and stare at cracks in the ground/rockery/wall, imagining entire worlds to reside in them. I love rock-pools for the same reason and so want to live near the sea.
    The best botanical art work I've come across was by a student who lived in a tower block. She painted the 'weeds' that grew through cracks and railings. With a little imagination, it's possible to make a 'garden' anywhere. Like I said, the smaller the space, the more you attend to the detail.
    I look forward to your post!