Here’s something you probably don’t know about me. Before food blogging took over my life, I was really into gardening. The gardening bug bit when we bought our first flat which came with an absolutely enormous garden. Suddenly I found myself with a beautiful blank canvas and, armed with a boatload of gardening books, the enthusiasm of a total amateur and lots of free time, I planted with absolute abandon. Sadly, we sold the flat after two years, so I never got the chance to see the plants grow and flourish properly.
We upgraded to a three-bedroom house – which also happened to be falling apart (only reason we could afford it). Instead of gardening, all of our energy was focused on fixing up the house. And instead of an absolutely enormous garden, we were now faced with a relatively tiny space at the back, only accessible through a side door from the kitchen. At least, we assumed it was tiny – we couldn’t see much through the overgrown wilderness. It was so dense and unkempt that we discovered a bicycle rusting beneath the grass, weeds and mass of brambles that we eventually cleared away.
We made an effort to take control once the jungle had been cleared. A lawn was planted and I chose a multitude of unusual shrubs from London’s Columbia Road Flower Market to populate the empty beds. But unlike my previous garden, which was large enough to house an orchard, the new space was small and cursed with clay soil. After ten years, my untended shrubs (spot the toddler below among them) had grown so big they were fighting each other for space. As for the lawn – it had lost the good fight against the waterlogged soil, overhanging plants, NW aspect and resilient weeds.
A few days later, Chris dropped off two garden plan sketches for the beds and then the plants arrived, beautifully swaddled in their packaging to keep them in top condition. I felt like a kid on Christmas day – so many beautiful things to unwrap and plant. After some back-breaking digging up of the beds, we positioned the pots as per the garden sketches and got planting. Even though the garden is still in its infancy I am so excited to care for it and see it grow. Every new leaf and flower feels like a little miracle and I have finally found something that’s actually as fulfilling as baking!A huge thanks to Chris and the team at Waitrose Garden for their advice and support. I will be posting a follow up to this post in the spring once my garden has filled out a bit.