It seems to amuse people when we say that having a garden was one of the things that excited us about moving to London. Apparently that's not usually why people move here. But for us it's been a really big deal, neither of us have ever had a garden of our very own before. In Glasgow we shared a garden with 50 other flat. It was alright to sit in on a hot day but it was dark, full of abandoned plastic toys and oft littered with dog poo. Oh, and we lived four stories above it, so you had to really want to spend time in it to make it down there.
Now we have two gardens of our very own, a little south facing front one and 50 (not quite as sunny) feet at the back. And by some miracle of property and plant placement, the back garden is surrounded by established trees barely overlooked by the neighbouring buildings, which is pretty unusual for a London terrace.
Nye is particularly dedicated to our new plots of land. When we moved in neither were in bad condition, not compared to some of the houses we looked at, but neither were to our taste either. The front garden was home to a horrible palm tree and was laid with shingle that made a very appealing litter tray for all of the cats in the neighbourhood. The palm tree was one of the first things to go and has been replaced with a beautiful olive from Seagrave nurseries. The shingle has also been dug up and bagged (a fun and fragrant job) and Nye has build a raised bed for berries and salads. The rest of the front garden will be planted with wild flower seeds for a tiny, 8x4ft flower meadow.
The back garden was a bigger job. It was pretty neglected with a scattering of completely overgrown shrubs and bushes and a few nicer flowering plants hidden behind them which had been planted and forgotten about, never to be pruned or looked after. We've set about hacking back the bushes, liberating the roses and clematis that were hidden and moving trees that were planted in obscure and dark corners. It's been fun.
We've also planted some bulbs, helebores, baby fruit trees and a greenhouse and are continuing to buy a steady stream of new plants and seeds. I'm finding hard to get my head round spending so much money on what are essentially sticks in pots but I'm assured that in a couple of months time they going to start growing leaves and stuff.
February in the garden is a funny time, some things are completely dormant, others are starting to waken up. Tiny buds and signs of life are appearing on certain plants, others remain depressingly bare. It's a quiet time and I'm trying to enjoy it for what it is before the riot of spring begins.