Posted: 28/11/2011 at 18:43
I loved playing in my grandparents garden as a child, and admired our neighbour's lovely well tended garden, but the actual act of gardening was never something I was interested in at all. My first flat was a tenement in Edinburgh and when I moved back to Fife I got a house with a garden as I had 2 cats by that time. The garden had once been well loved and tended, but had been left to overgrow by the previous owners. I started to watch Groundforce, and Alan T's 'how to be a gardener', borrowed mum's readers digest plant encyclopeadia and started to try to identify the plants I had inherited. I was lucky because my back garden was nice and sunny, soil was clay but not too bad, and quite level. Then I met my husband, moved in with him, sold my beloved garden (the house was of no sentimental value) and did my best to make the best of his shady, boggy patch out front and concrete jungle at the back. Having a baby also meant I didn't have the same time to spend.
The opportunity to move house came up after 3 years and we jumped at the chance. The actual house was secondary to the garden - it had to be south facing, and as we bought a brand new plot it was a blank canvas. Little by little, I have removed the turf, and the builders rubble, improved the soil and planted all the plants I loved from my first garden, all the plants I couldn't have in our last shaded garden and discovered a fair few more. We've been here 5 years now and if it wasn't for our wee girl needing space to play I wouldn't have a single bit of lawn. I've got a greenhouse along the road at my parent's garden, raised beds for veg here as well as pots on the patio, and the rest is starting to fill out into a cottage garden inspired delight. Hubby talked me into getting a bird feeding station and now the whole experience is so rewarding - I never thought much about birds before now but when I first saw goldfinches at the feeder I was hooked - they come to our garden in ones, twos and threes, even up to 20 sometimes, and there's probably been over 20 different species of other birds at one time or another.
I can look out at the garden and see the rewards for my efforts, neighbours, friends and family admire it, and my wee girl and her pals enjoy the pea pods, and discovering where potatoes come from, they point out the worms and slugs, and caterpillars and help me pick sweetpeas, sometimes taking a handful back to their mummies.
But the best time of all in the garden is when it's just me, maybe after the Bairn's in bed, all other kids are indoors, hardly any noise and I can enjoy the peace and potter away to my heart's content til the daylight's gone.
Hubby wants us to get a dishwasher, and I'm reluctant - not cos I particularly enjoy washing up, but I do love the opportunity it gives me to look out at the garden, look forward to a certain month or season when my favourite plants are looking their best. Mind you, all of the plants in my garden are favourites :-)