Our garden has been in a very sorry state since we moved in four years ago. It was overgrown, dark, crowded and in need general repair. It has taken sooooo much work to get it to this point, but we’re just a little way off being finished. Over winter, we did nothing in the garden. Not a thing. To be fair, it was too wet anyway and in a way, it’s a good thing, as we’ve changed our minds about what we want to do. The other morning, we went out to weed the borders and because of *all* the weeding we’ve done over the past few years, it didn’t take long to do the ones by the house and the patch at the back of the garden.

Patch

Either side of the patio are quite large borders. Initially, we planned to build raised beds and grow veg in them. However, last summer, when our neighbours grew tomatoes on their side of the fence, it became clear that having Poppy and growing veg wasn’t going to work. She developed lots of different techniques to try and get the tomatoes, despite the fact that the plants made her face and paws itch. She became obsessive about it. So food in the garden is a big no-no. We decided that we’d plant a mixture of lavender, herbs and other bee friendly plants in one, and cover the other in the shingle to put pots on. We wanted to do this cheaply and as ethically as possible so we bought reclaimed scaffolding boards from Oxford Wood Recycling, who cut them to size for us. We built the edging using three pieces of scaffolding (we didn’t put any at the back because the fence posts are in the way and because they’re not proper raised beds, they don’t need to be that high), dug down and dropped them in.

Raised Bed

It didn’t take nearly as long as we thought it would, but isn’t that often the case with procrastination?! For the patch at the back of the garden, clearing that took no time at all. It’s quite a dark area, so we bought seeds that are suited to shady areas, and we also planted a few freebies that I picked up from Chelsea Flower Show, including lots of poppies! I am watching the little seedlings daily, willing them to grow big and strong for the bees and butterflies. This area is where we’ll keep our bins and our compost bin (which we’re keeping after much deliberation) so we’re going to add in a path that goes all the up from the patio.

shingle

At the moment, we’ve got issues with ants in that they are in love with our garden and keep trying to use our garden as their base, from which they’re planning world domination. We also had to clear about a million (not an exaggeration) slugs and snails. Boy are they persistent little critters. We’ve won this battle (by collecting them up and putting them in our garden waste bin), but the war is far from over! As they like our garden so much, I need help finding pet friendly, organic slug repellents. My Mum suggested egg shells, which would be great, but I think Poppy would eat them. So if you have any ideas, please let me know!

Seedlings

We’ve still got the borders on either side of the grass to clear and edge, but we’re already trying to decide what to plant. We’re quite lucky that it’s a south facing garden so we’ve got lots of choices, but balancing that up between what we can afford, what is Poppy safe and taking the bees and butterflies into account, we’ve got some thinking to do! Any suggestions are most definitely welcome!

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