Friday, 2 July 2021

A Very Average English Garden

Hi all, today I'm sharing my garden with you all, in photo but also in video, if you scroll to the end ;)

I call my garden "average" because it's not too small and it's not too big, it's just right. It's pretty average size for a garden plot in the UK, it's about 1/20th of an acre, and about 180square metres. We also have a front garden, but that's far smaller, and very much still in it's early stages. 

I felt nervous about sharing my garden with you, because it's so much in its infancy, the plants are still so little, and some just so new that the borders don't look as lush and full or as lovely as I want yet. But, there's something so miraculous about the journey of learning in any garden, that I wanted to share that today.

I've been gardening for a long time now, I had my first allotment (which die-hard fans may remember) when I was 23, and I've always longed to grow more of my own food. And then when I was 25 I got the opportunity to work with Sarah Raven, a woman and a company that I completely respect and which taught me a huge deal about growing flowers as well as vegetables. 

However, I haven't always been particularly 'green-fingered' - I used to, and I still do, kill plants on occasion, but I think that much of gardening is learnt through trial and error, through sticking your hands in the soil and moving things about. Each plant has it's own needs, and each garden also can offer something different, in terms of nutrients, water, drainage, and most importantly sunlight.

One of the things that attracted us to our home was the gorgeous old oak tree at the end of the garden, and it's a protected tree which means no-one can chop it down, including us. We have our fences built around it, and in the summer it provides the most fantastic shade to keep us all cool. However, it does present a challenge, as there's one simple strip of our garden that gets full sun, and so I have to be really picky about what plants I keep in that part. The rest of the garden is a bit of trial and error, some parts get full shade, others part shade, others bright morning sunshine, other can get very dry right under the shelter of the tree. So, it's been a fun learning journey! 

We've got quite a few pots, so I can extend the 'full sun' part of the garden a bit, and maximise what we can grow there. And there are so many things that grow so well in pots that I'm a bit spoilt for choice, but I do love my campanula and my strawberries the most!

I'm really inspired by traditional English cottage gardens, as well as permaculture principles. So, there's a bit of companion planting in there, but I'm also a massive collector of plants, so not everything is completely functional. The compost bin was a major step in the right direction last year, and hopefully next year we can get a more effective rain storage system in place.

We do love our lawn though, especially to sit and have picnics with the children, or play Kubb with our friends (it's just big enough!). 

Many of the plants have been chosen at random, based simply on how they look. There's not been much planning! I just know that with my garden most things will find a spot as long as it says semi-shade/part-shade on the label!

They are almost all perennial plants, as I don't have much space at all for starting things from seed. And as such, the garden is taking a while to establish itself. Thankfully that means if they aren't seeming to thrive in one spot, I can dig them out and move them to a different spot. The same for if I've accidentally put things too close together, or put something too tall at the front, or vice versa. Plants are very forgiving! I've learnt to be more confident and learn about the resilience of things.

I could go on and on about how much more the garden has taught me, especially things about patience and hope. But I'll save that for another post another day...

So there you have it... if you want to see plant specifics, I've named things throughout the YouTube video below, so I hope you enjoy!

Thanks for reading, I'd love if you would give me a comment below and share this with your other garden friends :)


  1. I so loved reading this and watching your garden video! SO beautiful, you have such a lovely space! I'm thoroughly jealous of your gorgeous oak tree and all the great shade it provides. Our space is far too sunny really, which is good for some of the plants but makes it a pain to provide enough water and cooling for most of them. And I'm totally in love with your foxgloves! Keep up the good work, madam gardener! ;)

  2. How delightful, our garden is in its infancy as when we moved in a decade ago we didnt know a perennial from an annual. So we have made so many mistakes, but we grow strawberries and raspberries with a little wormery and watching my daugheters pick the fruit and wander around eating it is just so lovely. Thank you for sharing.


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