As requested by a few people, I am going to give you a peek into my back garden. It’s a town garden, with a paved patio area and 2 gravel sections with miniature wall around each one. The gravel areas have hard clay soil underneath. And when I moved in last year, the only plants already there were a mature white rose bush with some blue irises at its feet.
You can click on the pictures to see a bigger view of each of them.
It’s a small garden but I wanted to make the most of the space, and I wanted to have a go at growing fruits and vegetables. Last year, I’ve made the smaller of the 2 gravel areas into a mini orchard and planted a peach tree in the middle, raspberries plants on both sides, a fig tree in the back, and some strawberries in pots on the mini wall. I also planted a cherry tree in a corner of the bigger gravel area. This year, I’ve added a kiwi plant (after seeing the heavy crops on my dad’s kiwi trees), a redcurrant plant, and 2 gooseberry plants (in pots for now). The trees/plants planted last year have already fruited this year, I am particularly happy with the raspberries as I got plenty of them this summer and best of all they do spread which mean more fruits for us next year.
One of the things I did this year in order to brighten the space was to paint the garage wall (the garage is in the garden) in a bright lavender colour (velvet ribbon 6 by dulux) and the wooden fence (and shed) in bright blue (barleywood by cuprinol). I then bought one high raised wooden container for the strawberries, and had 3 other wooden raised beds custom built for the space (built by my partner), 2 of them lay on the patio and the other one (L shaped) is on the bigger gravel area. I also painted all the raised beds in bright blue.
This year, I planted nearly everything from seed. I don’t have a greenhouse so I started them in my kitchen, some were eaten straight away by slugs once I took them out so I can only show you the ones which made it. One raised bed has 2 yellow courgettes, 2 mini pumpkins and 1 yellow scallop squash, they are doing very well despite being crowded in the container. Another raised bed has 2 cucumbers, 4 borlotti beans (I had to keep re-sowing new ones as they kept being eaten by slugs), 2 aubergines (still small), plenty of pak choi and spring onions. The L shaped raised bed on the gravel has a section with 2 red kuri squashes, a butternut squash, alpine strawberries (white and red, the fruits are so small) and some volunteer tomatoes, the section along the garage wall has one giant sunflower, lots of cosmos, some lavatera and a few other flower plants; this bed is so crowded it looks like a jungle.
I have also planted lots of tomatoes, peppers and chilli plants (in pots) in the alley space (from the shed leading to the garage area). With flower plants in pots throughout the garden, the space looks crowded but I love it, it gives me so much joy to see all the colours and plants there. I am already thinking of new plants to try for next year, I want more fruit trees (plum, blueberries etc) and more raised vegetables beds.
I hope you enjoyed the mini tour, I wanted to show that it is possible to grow lots of the things you like in a small garden. And it doesn’t have to be expensive, in order to save money you can grow from seeds, buy the fruit trees from shops such as aldi/lidl/wilkinson, and make your own wooden raised beds (pallets can be obtained for free from freecycle sometimes or check your local timber yard as their prices are usually very competitive).
For next time, I will share an interview with the founder of japanese books Edition Paumes (formerly Jeu de Paume).