For the past few years I have tried to concentrate more on the edible side of gardening, looking for interesting plants with visual appeal and a fair amount of attraction to the bees and butterflies. Circumstances such as weather and temperature have hindered the start of the growing season this year again, but I was determined the time would not be wasted.
A neighbour gave me several pallets and collars, conjuring up all sorts ‘I could make’ thoughts. The initial idea was to have a raised bed to replace three containers. Then when a small pallet collar was amongst them, I thought that could replace smaller pots and I could have a mix of summer salad vegetables and maybe some herbs.
Two more pallets and their collars became raised beds, raised on rather wobbly legs. The winter vegetables sown in them were killed off by severe frost.
The front garden normally was forgotten about with only a few stray plants stuck in randomly, in order to keep them from being thrown out. It’s not the best growing area, the competition from bluebells, couch grass, daisies and dandelions can be a bit overwhelming. First I removed the juniper bush which opened up a little bit more space. I had already covered most of the ground with cardboard, weed control fabric and bark but not dealing with the odd little weed popping through the fabric last year, left me in no doubt, they intended staying.
I put my pallet collars down, shuffled them about a bit to see what the best use could be, then I worked on removing the stray weeds. My compost bin at the rear of the building was more of a spent compost store although on occasions we would add grass clippings and the odd vegetable or two. It would do as a filler, there were plenty of worms living in it and I hoped they had breathed some new life in it, I would then top it all with fresh compost. It was rather cold working outside so it was as quick as I could get the bed prepared and the plants put in. I intend it to be a country cottage garden style where anything goes. Get a plant, find a space and pop it in, a real mishmash floral bouquet in sight and smell. A banquet to help our little pollinators. Sadly bees were in the decline, so perhaps my little effort will keep a few colonies going. Added to that, I have a new neighbour who informed me he intends having beehives. How much better can it get?
I do like to use a bit of whimsy in the garden, it helps to fill the gaps the plants and flowers leave behind when they go into hibernation. The glue holding previous glass totems always seems to give way eventually and reassembly was often required. It all started with a little girl leaving a painted stone as a gift when I left out a tray of plants for people to help themselves to. It gave me the inspiration for a new totem bird bath on which I mounted the little stone. Another stone appeared on my wall, with a heart painted on it, so that has been incorporated inside one of the glass vases supporting the bird bath.
Elsewhere, my tomato plants are coming on slowly. Peas which had been sown and put in the greenhouse had germinated, popped through the compost and expired. I do always feel things happen for a reason and sometimes you are encouraged to make changes accordingly to suit nature. Re-sowing peas and beans has at long last got some results. Our long spell of very cold weather reminds me to try to keep to plants with less tropical need.
Although, this year has been a quick fix to get flowers blooming, it could all change again next year and the garden rewilded with native wildflower seeds, together with plantings of creeping thyme.