Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A Garden for Free

Oot the front
When we bought our first house last year, one of the main things we were looking for, having previously been constrained to shared back yards, was a decent bit of outdoor space. We hit the jackpot a little bit as we've a paved area and a sort of rockless rockery out the front, and a decent bit of lawn out back. I spent part of a very pleasant day today tidying up, so I thought I'd bung up some pics.
The front was in danger of being overrun by sticky willy (this is where my almost total lack of knowledge regarding plants that are not vegetables should become apparent), so I hoiked out as much of it as I could without also taking out more desirable specimens. Old friends such as dandelions and docks were abundant, although much less so once I'd finished.

At the back end of last year I'd dug up some sections of this front patch and planted in some herbs. At that point I didn't realise what perennials and bulbs lurked within. A nice blast of colour has since erupted, partly overrunning the herbs. No matter. These are Bluebells, right?

Daffs are very much in retreat.

Whereas what I take to be tulips are a riot of colour.

I'm guessing these white things are snowdrops?

The chives I planted out in the autumn are having to co-exist with some other species!

The sage and rosemary have a bit more space to themselves.

We've also got an (unpictured) mini bay tree, some thyme and the above, which is sweet cicely. This stuff is fantastic, it comes back year after year having lived in various pots. It has a great aniseed taste and can be used to reduce the amount of sugar required in various preparations and preserves.

Oot back
Out the back needs some serious tackling soon, as the hedges threaten to grow into the lawn and dandelions take over the borders completely. In the meantime, and especially with the weather having been quite as shit-hot as it has over the bank holiday, it has been fantastic being able to sit out and enjoy it.  I'm not the only one who thinks so either.

Any advice, or particularly recommended sources of wisdom on actual house gardening as opposed to allotment gardening would be most welcome. I reckon we've got at least a bit of an idea when it comes to veg these days, but stuff you can't eat remains, for the most part, a total mystery!


  1. I think your garden looks lovely as it is. I kind of like that overgrown look. It's quite a good size....ever thought about keeping bees?? There's plenty of room for a hive there.

    That is twice today i have heard of this ' sweet cicely' stuff and up until that point I had never heard of it so i am going to have to look into getting some for the soon to be beautiful herb patch on the bee plot!!!

    The white things though...pretty sure they aren't snowdrops....can't really tell what they are in the picture though maybe someone a bit more knowledgable than me will know!!

    1. My sister's boyfriend has started keeping bees, can't wait to see how the honey tastes. Sounds like quite a commitment, we'll maybe get into one day. I'm reading your apiary related posts with interest!

  2. Nice!

    Sticky Willy = Cleavers or Goosegrass. Officially Galium aparine. You can cook and eat it (as long as no one has used weedkiller on it).

    1. Yeah, I read that about 5 minutes after I'd put it all in the garden waste bin. Next time...

  3. The white flowers are in fact white bluebells. There are pink varieties too. Unfortunately though you have Spanish rather than native bluebells. I say unfortunately as in the wild they are a threat to the native species as they cross pollinate with them.

    As for the back - just watch carefully what you have inherited before digging things up that you don't recognise.

    1. Thanks Sue. What should we be watching for especially?!

  4. If it were me, I'd soon have most of the grass in the back garden taken up, and replaced by some raised beds for growing veg!
    If you are looking for inspiration, you should find plenty in Sue Garrett's blog!

    1. I think we're going to keep the lawn; we've plenty of veg-growing real estate on the allotment now! Sue's blog is ace, I've learned plenty by checking it out over the last year or so.


All comments gratefully received. Sorry about the word verification thing, but I've started getting bombed by spam.

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