For the first proper post on Honey and Eggs, I thought it might be a good idea to paint a picture of what I’m working with garden-wise.
When we moved in
The garden was a major selling point for the house – and before we had seen either, the glossy brochure at the estate agents showed a secluded green oasis, with full privacy and mature trees. It even boasted “mature fruit trees” – at this point I was swooning and already planning the decor.
However, reading is not seeing, and when we eventually saw the house, it was clear the garden was not in the Edenic state suggested by the brochure. To put it lightly:
- the grass was about four foot tall
- many of the mature trees were dead or diseased and competing with each other
- the conifers at the back of the garden had been topped (ugly, but come to think about it, a good thing)
- ground ivy was everywhere
- the world’s most dilapidated shed was full of junk and ready to collapse.
But I still loved the garden. I could see the same potential that I saw in the wood-chipped, damp and draughty Victorian house that came with it. At this point, Roy and I were keen for an outdoor space of our own. We lived on a top floor flat next to the dodgiest park and our motivation for buying a place was purely to enjoy the luxury of sitting outside with a drink after work.
After the house viewing, I left planning where the vegetable patch was going to go and where the chickens were going to live. I’m sure Roy was just thinking about the cost!
What we’ve done
Unlike many, the first priority was the garden. The day after we moved in, it was all hands on deck for clearing away overgrown weeds and bushes that wrapped around the house. There was major damp in nearly every room, and there was an urgent need to allow the house to ‘breathe’.
All of the drains and vents around the house were blocked, by concrete or soil and the water was seeping through the stone. So we dug a trench around the house and borrowed a pickaxe to break up the concrete that covered a blocked drain.
We’ve been in over a year now, and we’ve cleared a lot. The ivy has been cut back, the borders have been cleared, and last year the shed was pulled apart. (Literally pulled – the wood was so rotten that a bad storm could’ve brought it down).
Where it is now
As for February 2017? Well, it’s now looking a little bare, and messy. Now we have no shed or garage, the garden is becoming a bit of a dumping ground. Obviously, it is February so the garden will naturally look a little bare, but when I was out clearing the ground for the chickens and the sleet was falling, it all felt very grim.
Despite the work ahead and the February grimness, I take comfort in the fact that in the next few weeks, the daffodils will be opening and chickens will be pottering.
The jobs for the next few weeks are hopefully going to be:
- cutting down the giant conifers to make room for a small patio and plant a couple of trees
- cleaning and building the chicken coop (!)
- sowing some seeds under cover
- general tidying and multiple skip-runs
- figuring out how to compost.
What was your garden like when you moved in?