New garden: September 2013

Last week we finally moved house! We’ve moved to a small village just outside Farnham (Surrey). And even though we are only a 5 minute drive from Farnham it feels like we’re miles away. It’s very quiet with lots of green space!

One of the most exciting things is that we now have a garden that’s completely ours. We had growing space where we lived before but not as much as we would have liked. We have a small front garden and a fairly large back garden with a patio area which you can’t really see in the photo below.Β Until a couple of days ago it looked like this:

Stone and concrete back garden

It was a bit soulless – there were no plants, no wildlife and all the fences looked knackered. On the plus side it was a blank canvas. I was keen to do a few bits before Winter because looking out at concrete and tired fencing for months would have be a bit depressing. It’s still work in progress but after a few days work it is looking better.

Back garden work in progress

Work in progress

Herb garden

Our herb garden with bird bath

Fence panels

My first job was to paint the fences. I cleaned all the muck off and gave them a coat of Cuprinol Fence Care in Rustic Brown. It was only a simple task but the garden now looks much less shabby.Β I only needed to apply one coat and our fence panels look as good as new. Even though the grey lichen covered panels on the right look good.

Word of warning – if you do use this stuff try not to get it all over your skin because it doesn’t completely wash off andΒ you’ll have to put up with people looking at the marks and trying to work out whether you have some sort of contagious skin disease (for days afterwards). And definitely remove little splatters of paint from your face before going to the post office.

Getting rid of the pebbles

We decided early on that the pebbles had to go as we wanted some vegetable growing space. I put a listing on freecycle.org and within 24 hours someone had come and taken half of them. The man who came was also a vegetable grower and later returned with some home grown garlic and a copy of River Cottage Handbook No.4 – Veg Patch for us!

Garlic and veg book

House warming rose bush

One of our house warming gifts was a yellow Laura Ford rose! I’ve always wanted a yellow rose bush, it’s one of my favourite flowers.

Yellow rose

Yellow Laura Ford (Chewarvel) rose

It’s a climbing rose so we are going to try and train it up the front of the house. Over the last week most of the buds have opened up and they smell divine.

Yellow Rose

Yellow Laura Ford (Chewarvel) rose

Terracotta pots

We’ve got a low wall that stretches around most of the garden so we’ve been buyings lots of terracotta pots.

Terracotta pots

We plan to have potted plants all along the wall and have a few on the patio area too.

Hydrangea on terracotta pot

Mophead hydrangea

Winter flowering plants

Our main goal for the new garden is to make it nature friendly rather than just looking nice for humans. One of the issues I wanted to tackle was providing pollinators with food over the Winter months when generally, little is flowering and food is harder to come by. I found Winter flowering heather which ticked alot of boxes.

Purple and white Winter flowering heather

This heather flowers from August – December and I’ve ordered some others from the Guardian Garden Centre which flower from December – February.

Aside from helping the bees, these plants will also help to inject some colour into the garden over Winter which will be nice!

Shade loving plants?

One area of our garden is shady. I’ve only had experience of growing plants that like full sun. Can anyone recommend any shade loving plants, flowers or vegetables? Thank you!

22 Comments

  1. Ahh your garden is looking beautiful Gemma. I can’t wait to see it. I have a fairly shady garden too so I’m always looking for nice shade loving plants. My holly bush seems to thrive, as well silver euonymus and hanging baskets filled with ivy and cyclamen! They look especially nice over winter πŸ™‚ Xx

    • Thank you Jena πŸ™‚ We have big plans for it over the coming months! I’ll have a look at silver euonymus and cyclamen too.

  2. Wow. What a transformation! I’d love to live in the countryside with a big garden to really plan and enjoy. We have raised beds at the moment but moving is on he cards πŸ™‚

    I love the herb garden and bird bath!!! Such a great use of the space!
    Popping over from How Does Your Garden Grow over at Mammasaurus’ blog πŸ™‚ x

    • Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚ We eat alot of fresh herbs so I was eager to get them in and growing as soon as possible!

  3. Ahhh it looks so good already – great to start with a blank canvas. Love the terracotta pots, that wall is going to come in very handy indeed. There’s nothing quite like having a garden of your own. Yellow roses are one of my favourites too, ah imagine how great the smell will be in a few years once it’s grown and multiplied!

    What a nice freecycling chap, homegrown garlic – yum. Thanks ever so much for sharing, it’s a lovely space you have ( and I really love your photos) x

    • Thanks Annie! I also said the same thing about the roses yesterday. Hopefully when they get large enough we’ll be able to smell them as we walk up the path. Hoping to have a gazillion terracotta pots eventually πŸ™‚

  4. Oh How exciting! Fresh new canvas! I would have had those pebbles too! I love freecycle and that what a lovely gift in return! I’m guessing the painty splatters looked like fake tan gone wrong! For shade, I love japanese maples, and ferns, but they will hide in the winter, so not so great year round.

    • Haha, it’s more like fake tan applied left handed with a trowel! Thank you for the plant recommendations, I’ll take a look.

  5. oh what a difference you have made already!! love everything you added. i little sanctuary it will be in those dreary winter months

    • Thanks Claudia, that’s what we’re hoping. My hunt for Winter flowering plants continues πŸ™‚

  6. What an amazing start you’ve made in transforming your blank canvas. Freecycle can be so hit and miss, it’s lovely to hear that you had such a great experience. I look forward to seeing your progress as you settle in and the seasons change.

  7. Wow you’ve done so much Gemma, you’ve made a huge difference already. Your wall will be transformed with all those terracotta pots. It sounds like you’re settling in well there. I’m in Guildford funnily enough, have traffic buzz but the compromise is a decent sized garden!

  8. Wow it’s amazing how a few plants can transform a garden, I think its looking fantastic already. The rose is a beautiful colour, I’m sure it will look fantastic growing up the front of your house.

    • Thanks Jenni. Just having the herb garden done has made a big difference, even though it’s only a tiny patch of green!

  9. I can’t wait to see all your herbs spreading out over the next year Gemma, they will look and smell amazing. Like you I’m a huge yellow rose fan. I have a rhododendron that grows really well in the shade, if you keep them in pots they don’t get too out of control and you can shape them a bit too. There are some nice hostas with beautiful leaves that love the shade too.

    • Thanks for the plant recommendations Nichola. Rhododendrons are beautiful. I didn’t realise you could grow them in pots because the ones I always see are about 6ft tall πŸ™‚

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