Tuesday, 11 March 2014

That green bit out back...

What a weekend! We wholeheartedly deserved that glorious weather, and more of it, too (hear that, Mother Nature? I hope you have lots more in store...).

Computers, television and phones were turned off. The back door was opened wide and we spent the entire weekend out in the garden. Bliss!

The first picnic of the season
I am slowly reintroducing myself to my garden. It’s been a while, you see, since we’ve seen had proper, quality time together. I’m talking years.

I grew up in a decidedly non-gardening family. I didn’t have a garden in my twenties, renting my little place while I worked in the city. But marriage and a baby brought out the nurturing, nature-craving instinct in me, and as soon as we moved to our home, I was out in the garden, reading about plants and flowers, watching Gardener’s World religiously (oh, Monty!).

Little Flower planted bright anemones outside her playhouse this weekend
When Bunny was little, we built miniature raised vegetable beds, inspired by Carol Klein’s wonderful Grow Your Own Veg series. We planted seeds, we weeded, we picked, we ate...I transformed the raised border surrounding our patio into a magnificent herb garden, chock full of a variety of useful and tasty herbs for cooking and teas. (Yes, I do find edible gardening much more aspirational...)

But in 2009, after years of trying and then giving up, lo and behold I fell pregnant with Little Flower. I have big babies, so by summertime my five-foot frame was carrying a massive baby bump, and no way was I going to make it down to the ground to pull weeds. The raised beds became Weed Island, with all varieties of garden invaders making the pilgrimage to the haven.

2010: Little Flower is an infant and we take her to see her family in America for a big summer holiday. Facing all the overgrowth of weeds and mess from the previous summer, I turn a blind eye to my poor garden.

2011: No recollection of this summer. Must have baby brain.

2012: Rain, rain, rain...oh, and more rain.

2013: I assume, unfortunately, that we were in for more depressing weather, so I leave the garden to its own devices, furthering the violent coup by the invading weed army.

2014: Little Flower is four and keen to grow things; I’m so fed up with the rubbish wet winter that now I’m ready for battle! We venture to the garden centre to choose seeds and shrubs to replace one lost in the storms.

Unable to choose between a pink azalea and a white one, we buy both and plant them side by side.

We pick millions of tiny twigs from the hellebores, the ferns, the hydrangeas, the herbs...the strong winds blew our silver birch trees to smithereens. 

The trees are still standing, thankfully. Little Flower raked up the smaller garden shrapnel, while I handled the larger bits.

Of course I have little to show for this weekend’s toil other than large swathes of bare earth where grass used to grow, and piles and piles of kindling!

But I have promise: plants, seeds and the desire to get back to gardening after a long absence. This will be a good summer to reacquaint myself with that green bit out back, no matter what Mother Nature has in store (*more sunshine*, *more sunshine*, *more sunshine*...).

Chrissie x


  1. Good luck! We also plan to get to work on the garden this year! (Well, mainly the Lumberjack doing the labour - I plan to lounge on sunbeds admiring his good work!) ;o)
    Maria x

  2. I'm so excited for your garden! I do not come from a gardening background either but my husband does and he's got a lot of info to impart! My mother-in-law is a doctor of botany so I've got a great resource in her too. Funny you mention not using the TV or phone over the weekend because I was just thinking this morning that now that we have such nice weather most days, I haven't turned on the TV in several days! I'm so glad to be busy and spending time outside again.

  3. Just being out is great isn't it? You can't be good at everything Chrissie, there isn't time with singing, crocheting, loving and being an all round great blogger! Just tackle a bit at a time when you feel the urge. I am trying to think like that with the allotment, last Monday I planted onions, this Monday I planted parsnips who knows by Easter, row by row, I might have planted it all up!!

  4. Wasn't it nice to work in your garden!!! and perfect weather for it. Once Spring is in full motion and things start to bloom out, you will be so happy that you did! I've been doing the same thing today. Cutting back all the "dead" stuff out there. Phew....what a job but it will pay off later!
    xx Shari

  5. Lovely, I do hope it goes well and you all enjoy it. A garden can be so rewarding. Just as well, because it can be hard work as well!

  6. Oh I do hope Mother Nature has more sunshine in store for us!!! I love the garden when I go out there, I don't want to come in again.
    I hang on Monty's every word, I pruned my roses this week because Monty said so! ;)

  7. Good luck with your gardening this year. I'm itching to get out in mine but everything is still a bit soggy here. I love your pink spade.
    S xx

  8. It was a fabulous weekend wasn't it? Your garden is looking so pretty and Springy (is that a word??). I love Hellebores in the Spring - they seem to pop up in everyone's garden, but I never tire of them. xCathy

  9. I hope that you get to spend lots of time outside enjoying the garden this year! Oh and Monty!!! I agree! xx

  10. OH I did enjoy this read Chrissie - and what a wonderful way to spend your weekend - I'm so happy for you all! I'm sure you'll soon get into a routine whereby you can fit in a regular session of gardening but in the meantime just think of all the other happy pastimes that have been filling your life - and we have been so blessed through your lovely posts - and realise that you can't do it all, all of the time! Now I'm looking forward to your lovely garden shots when spring/summer really gets going and we are in the midst of winter and dormant gardens over here! Much love, Joy xo

  11. So good of you do revive your garden! Hopefully it will be a summer to be outdoors a lot!
    I love that spade by the way ... ;-).

  12. All of that hard work WILL pay off Chrissie and it will look beautiful soon ...... Yes sunshine please!
    love Jooles x x x

  13. A busy weekend, the weather has been lovely & I do hope it is here to stay.

  14. How lovely that you are getting the gardening urge again! You've managed it before so you'll do it again, and this time it sounds like you'll have willing little helpers.
    I've always loved gardening, tis in my blood I think with a grandfather and great-grandfather both being professional gardeners, but some years I lose the urge, especially if the weather is naff! And there have been many years when I've just been too busy working and looking after family to have much time for it.
    Looks like you're off to a great start this year Chrissie, lets hope for lots of sun!
    Gill xx

  15. Enjoy rediscovering your garden Chrissie. A weekend in the glorious sunshine here too, kicked off by the return of Monty on Friday evening, what more could a girl want? Have a lovely week.
    Jane x

  16. How lovely to re discover your garden - I love gardening (we only have a small plot - I may feel differently if it was huge!). The only problem is it's really difficult to relax in the garden if you're a gardener and you keep jumping up when you spot something that is out of place/needs doing!! When I first started gardening I used to get butterflies in my tummy when the theme tune to Gardener's World came on (in those days it was geoff presenting - my hero), and I was only in my mid twenties!!! xXx

  17. What a lovely post. You've inspired me too. I did spend a lot of time in our garden last year, and it was the happiest summer I've had. Fruit, veg, beautiful flowers, happy children and freshly cut grass. Lets hope Mother NAture is on our side this year. I'm off to buy another azelea....in pink!

  18. I love gardening or simply visit garden centers and I was raised in a 9th floor...It's a lot of work but pleasure too...
    Nice pictures you posted...
    Have a nice day !

  19. Your garden is looking good and you did make me chuckle "baby brain"......however not wishing to be controversial, personally I've always had a soft spot for Alan. Sarah xo

  20. I too love gardening. I believe that flowers are food for the soul. This lovely sunshine has encouraged the spring flowers to bloom in my garden this week. Enjoy your gardening. Best wishes, Pj x

  21. It sounds wonderful to be out in the garden getting your hands dirty. Its not planting season here in Texas yet but I can't wait for it. Enjoy your time outside.

  22. What a lovely and personal post! Enjoy your time in the garden. Oh and I love your pictures of the daffodils! Anna x

  23. A lovely post, Chrissie...I love gardens and hearing about other people's gardening too! It's lovely you can enjoy gardening again now, especially with your girls. Wishing you lots of sunny, happy garden days.
    Helen xox

  24. I hope that you're garden blooms for youthis summer. I went through exactly the same job last summer and my gqrden rewarded me kindly. This week I also began getting rid of all the winters overgrowth. I cant belive how many flowers are already springing from the earth.

  25. Hasn't it been glorious, I'm glad you're enjoying the sunshine. X

  26. Having the sunshine has been amazing, it always makes me feel more productive!! I do loads and loads of washing, I feel energized and clean the house more, making it feel fresh.....waking everything out of hibernation!!

    Great to see you are getting back on track with your gardening!!

  27. Anonymous11:18 am GMT

    I think this little patch of sunshine has brought all of us Brits out into the garden, sounds as if you've been really busy - hope you didn't ache afterwards!


  28. yes indeed.....more sunshine please. Looking forward to seeing how "the green bit out the back" develops through the spring and the summer.

  29. How exciting your garden is coming back to life!! Looking forward to seeing the progress throughout the summer. I love Monty too!

  30. Isn't is just lovely for the family to be in the garden together and do a little joint effort to make things pretty and nice. We had a similar afternoon when we returned for our picnic on Sunday and it was so lovely that the kids helped me plant a few plants, sadly I am now paying for doing too much on Sunday, but hey it was good whilst it lasted. I absolutely love Azaleas and I have a white one which must be around 5 years old now, one of my faves and I am just a little jealous that you have a pink one too!! I suppose its a good substitute for the pink smeg and needed to be done! xoxo