Tuesday, 9 September 2014

OUR GARDEN - THE HOME OF SNAILS & PARROTS

It seems a little strange writing a post about our garden since the summer is pretty much over but better late than never. Unfortunately there are no before and after pictures. Simply because it is far from being finished. My husband has put in a lot of hours to make the garden what it is today and it is getting there but we still have a long way to go.

Our garden was in a bad way (like the rest of the house) when we moved in but my favourite part about it is that it is secluded and feels private. The old trees at the bottom of the garden block any views to the neighbouring houses which is why it's one of my favourite features about this house. It is not huge but it looks leafy and rural, and therefore is the perfect complement to a modern house in my opinion.





It is also a great benefit that our garden is south east facing. When viewing houses few years ago we didn't really consider the benefits of a south facing garden versus a north facing one but it's actually something you should take into account. If you have a north facing garden it will not be ideal for growing fruit or flowers as they need plenty of sun. During the winter you will also notice the difference because sun won't be as high and the room facing north will feel much cooler. If you have a huge garden it's less of a problem but personally I am really glad we have a south east facing one mainly because I love relaxing in our sun loungers.


The sun loungers are from Argos (see the exact ones here) and I think they are good value so we got two in the end. If you are looking for more upmarket sun loungers, Luxdeco have a good selection with some unique styles as well. I was a little concerned about the cream coloured cushions, after all, I do have a toddler and a (messy) husband, but so far any dirt has been easy to wipe off although we do have a strict no shoes rule for them!

We are quite lucky with our garden as we actually get best of both worlds. There is almost always a bit of a shade thanks to our garage but I find this very handy when you have a toddler as you really don't want them exposed to sun all the time. The other question you should ask yourself is that are you willing to look after the garden? The bigger the garden, the more work there usually is.

Our garden is a territory that I don't (usually) touch. My husband enjoys doing the gardening and most importantly enjoys seeing the results of his hard work. Flowers had been previously planted but there were so many weeds it was impossible tell which is which. We also have a lovely apple tree but that meant that snails loved our garden and are still a really big problem for us. We had to dig out the weeds and replace the soil as there were snails everywhere. Unfortunately this also meant that some of the plants would get destroyed but we are planning to plant our own anyway. After all the weeds were removed, we used snail killer but I am still seeing a few here and there especially because our apples are ripe at the moment and falling on the ground. By the way, here are some good tips for anyone battling with weeds: Crocus: How to Win the War on Weeds. It's worth a read!



This is not a pet parrot but an uninvited guest who happens to live locally.

Our biggest enemy at the moment.. Snails!
Getting the grass to grow has also been a bit of a challenge which is really annoying as it really is the centre piece of our garden. Watering and seeding was simply not enough. Another issue we have is that the ground is not even. You wouldn't notice it first but if you take a closer look it's pretty obvious. Also the drainage system is not up to the current standards but that will need to be rectified once we build our extension. We have managed to get the grass looking quite good but it wasn't easy and I have to say that we were watering it very frequently during the summer in order to keep it looking healthy.

So now that we have gotten most of the weeds out we can start planting some of our own personal favourites. We planted a palm tree this summer only to find out that it should have been planted in different soil... Oh well you live and learn, right? We'll have to keep an eye on it to see whether it will survive (winters can be quite cold here). In general, we are planning to keep the garden much more simple than what it was before. I really don't like gardens that look like a wild forest but each to their own. We are planning to have most plants and flowers in pots so the garden will look neat and organised but most importantly will be easier to manage.





There is a good chance we will need to hire a professional gardener/landscaper in the future but at the moment we are just trying to see how much we can improve the garden ourselves. I have to say that English people seem to take their gardening pretty seriously. Of course not everyone but most gardens I've seen in our area look very groomed and perfectly symmetrical especially when comparing to the ones I've seen in the Nordic countries. I suppose the cold dark winters over there have something to do with it as well.

WHAT'S HAPPENING NEXT?

Our plans for next year will without a doubt change the way our garden looks. We are planning to build a single-storey extension facing our garden and as part of this we will also need to build a decking where we currently have paving. It is almost certain that the grass will get at least partially destroyed when this work is being carried out, therefore we are not having the garden landscaped yet. We will wait and see once the extension has been finished whether we want to keep the existing look or go for something a bit different. The extension will be built about 10 cm higher than the current conservatory and we will probably go for a raised timber decking.

I am very excited about this new 'project' and I am currently doing a lot of research to find out what will work best for us. I am hoping that the new extension will bring a whole new dimension to our house and provide wonderful views to our garden as well.
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