Garden Diary: the story of its redesign

This is the story of my garden. It’s a rather long story, and one that hasn’t ended yet.

When we bought the house, the garden was blue. And I mean blue. It had blue plants, blue trellis, blue pots and grey pebbles. To be fair, the whole house was blue, but that’s another blog post. I tried to change the blue a bit, by bringing in different and brighter colours such as Marigolds, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Rocket and Comfrey. All of these are really good for bees as well. As bees are having a torrid time right now, I try to always include ‘bee positive’ plants in my gardens. See what I did there?

Anyway, I could live with a blue garden; however, the wall started to fall down. This was a problem because it was a retaining wall and I didn’t want to consider the insurance costs if our neighbour’s Mercedes 4×4 ended up in our raised beds. So, we started to investigate who actually owned the wall so they could contribute to the repairs. This was a long process because we live in Sheffield and Sheffield still has a lot of leasehold, freehold and unregistered land in it. We have all three around us. In the end, I gave up and handed the problem to some solicitors who essentially concluded nothing. This process took the best part of a year.

We paid for the wall to be rebuilt. This happened in April and as with all building works, took a lot longer to do than originally planned. The weather really didn’t help this as February and April were positively arctic up in Sheffield. We finally had a proper retaining wall by the beginning of April. It was beautiful and showed up how dingy and depressing the rest of the garden was. The fact that the builders had ripped out a lot of the older plants, such as a Mock Orange, Lemon Verbana and others made the garden look even sadder.

We had our kitchen redone last year – which took the best part of the year, but that’s another post. When excavating the floor, we found the original flags were underneath the current flooring and were in very good condition. We kept them in a secret location for the last year so that we could use them in the garden. While they still have red paint on them, I think that adds to the ‘rustic’ nature of the courtyard, and is true to their heritage.

Rolling on to July, we had JN Landscape Construction in to landscape the garden – although in truth, it’s more like a courtyard – which they are still doing. So far, they’ve built up a dividing wall between our garden and the neighbours, rebuilt the BBQ platform, widened the raised beds, and laid the old flags from our kitchen. They’ve done all of this in a week and in 30º Degree heat. I have so much admiration for them!

So, we are now in the position to start planting in the garden. I’m really excited about this, but also apprehensive as I’m a fairly novice gardener. Does anyone have any suggestions for plants that like Yorkshire climes, fairly windy aspects, good sunshine and good for bees?