The garden is my favourite room of our house. It’s the largest room, the brightest room, and best of all, it doesn’t require cleaning.
Untouched for over twelve years, it was a wild jungle of prickly weeds and glass shards when we moved in. I didn’t think I’d love my garden. In all honesty, I didn’t think it was possible to turn it around without investing a lot of money into it. New turf, new patio, hired professionals.
But I do love it.
I love the distinctively recognisable old factory wall that means you can instantly tell any photo that has been taken in our garden.
I love the reminder of the teamwork that went into this. The friends who generously gave us their time, vans, tools and man power and made us feel so grateful to have friends like these. With their help, we dug the whole thing up, put down new soil, planted grass seed, and together watched those seeds slowly grow into life.
I love the low fences that lend themselves so well for a chat with the neighbours. (Usually about how badly our respective childrens’ nap times went).
I love the historical secrets hidden by new growth . The Anderson shelter under the grass. The faint brick outline of the doorway to the factory. The path that, until recently, led up to that old doorway.
The middle section (where we dug up the path) is the best bit as the concrete path had prevented any deep-set roots from taking hold. The grass here is taller and greener, and so is affectionately refered to as ‘The Mohican’.
Our greatest garden moment is when we finally turned our garden into a garden.
It’s been a long time in the making, and we still have some way to go, but we are proud of what we’ve achieved in our first garden, with no gardening knowledge and zero budget. Proud of the grass that we have managed to create from a lawn of weeds and concrete, which once seemed an impossible feat. (It seems silly to think that not so long ago Sam and I would be out in the garden each evening for three weeks, crouched down scanning every inch of soil for any sign of grass shoots. We were convinced that the grass wasn’t going to grow.)
Most of all, we are proud that we created this fresh space for Arlo to enjoy in his first summer of proper outdoor exploration.
Arlo’s first snail.
Our garden is not perfect. But it does have a very strong sense of community. The faded evidence of the brick factory community who used to walk through here on their way to work. The community of snails and various other bugs who, in the absence of human life, had established themselves very nicely in the twelve years prior to our moving in. The reminder of the friends that helped us restore our garden. The chats with neighbours over the fences. In my eyes, our little space perfectly sums up some of the best qualities to be found in a British garden.
What do you think of our improvements? I wish I had more ‘before’ photos to show because I feel like I’m not doing justice to just how wild it was (when I took the photos of when we first moved in I was trying to avoid the really bad parts and show the garden in it’s best light!) I’m so happy to finally have a useable garden in time for the third summer since we’ve lived here! I know it’s still a bit rugged, but I’m really pleased with what we’ve managed to do with it, and Arlo absolutely loves having all that space to play.
This is my entry for Furniture Village’s Great Garden Moments competition. The prize is a lovely table and chairs set plus Waitrose vouchers so that the winner can host an awesome garden party. I had to enter because we would love to treat our friends and family to a big summer barbecue as a thank you for all their gardening help – not to mention that it would be amazing to get rid of our make-do wallpaper pasting table and plastic chair situation!