[Be warned this will be a very picture-heavy post as I'm taking you on a tour of the acres of grounds surrounding Jones Towers]
Further to yesterday's post when I announced the demise of my allotmenting days, I've been starting to think what I should do with the many-ish broad bean and pea seedlings that I'm nurturing in the plastic-houses:
If you've read my blog in the past, you'll probably be aware that I live in a three-storey, tall, thin end-of-terrace townhouse built in 1964. The builders shoe-horned the houses into the cul-de-sac where we live and gave us all the smallest possible gardens they could get away with. Fortunately we live on the side of the close which has the biggest gardens - my friends who live opposite have a teeny-tiny paved courtyard at the back of theirs which is just about big enough for a rotary washing line, some garden chairs (not that they get any sun in the back garden on that side of the street) and a few pots. At least we have a meagre amount of grass that we can call our own.
Plus the houses on our side of the street are built into the side of a hill so our garden has an element of terracing and verticality involved.
Look, I'll show you. And I'll make no apologies for the state of the garden at the moment - I know there's lots to be done, even in such a small space!
This is the patio bit which is on the ground floor outside our downstairs back door:
This picture was taken at about 12.30pm and this is the furthest the sun ever really gets into it - hence a bench placed where it is, under the study window. There are four pots with bamboos against the wall on that side to provide a bit of a screen. At the base of the wall facing the bench are planted ferns (the old brown fronds need cutting back) and hostas, because it's damp and shady there.
Standing now with my back to those bamboos facing the other way:
The top of the wall down here was, I think, used as a bed once but one of the previous owners (badly) laid bits of broken paving slab on it instead, so I use it as a place to put containers with tall growing plants in whose heads enjoy being in the sunshine but also don't mind a bit of shade. It's also the main thoroughfare through our garden for the local cats. Indeed, one of them has just knocked off a broken bit of paving slab:
You can also just make out the start of the first, steep, flight of steps that take you up from this ground floor level to another, small, area of patio and the bridge:
The bridge goes from our upstairs back door and leads onto this level of the garden:
On to the four steps leading up to the first bit of lawn, with young Bruno being helpful, as ever:
We have two areas of lawn, both very small. This is the first area and is the largest. Here I'm standing on the top step and taking pics from left to right:
On the left hand side I recently cleared some plants and did some hard pruning. I removed all the lower branches of the large conifer tree, cut down two smaller conifers but left their stumps and roots in the ground, and pruned back a large colourful bush whose name escapes me for the moment. As you can see to the left of the photo below, the soil here is very thin, full of roots and the ivy is just itching to get into it. Towards the right of the photo, there are Day Lilies, bluebells, a hellebore and a Chinese Peony. All crammed in that little space. This side of the garden barely gets direct sunlight and, if it does, it's not until evening.
The right hand side of this bit of lawn has 4 or 5 Callicarpus bushes which are there for the purple berries in autumn. The soil here is bad - let's face it, the soil's bad through the entire garden - and it's very dry:
At the end of this bit of lawn, there are two more steps leading to the upper bit of lawn where the tatty shed, the bird feeding station, and the plastic-houses live:
The other side looks like this:
This is where the plastic-houses and rusty incinerator live:
Immediately to the left of the plastic-houses there is a huge Fuschia bush that also needs pruning back to the ground. It takes up an awful lot of space but, having said that, its location is grim - there's a tall wall covered in ivy right behind it, a shed on one side and the fence on the other, so it doesn't get much sunlight in the afternoon but at least it's sheltered, I suppose:
I used the dalek compost maker for a while - it's tucked into a corner between the wall and shed - but found it only attracted rats which then made nests inside and underneath the shed. It also didn't make compost because it was in the shade!
The area to the other side of the shed is just sad. It's a dumping ground, pure and simple. It's where I've chucked my unloved and unneeded pots that won't fit in the shed itself, together with some larger prunings:
And down the side of the shed is even worse *hangs head in shame*:
So, standing with my back to the shed, looking back down the garden, it looks like this:
If you've made it this far you deserve a medal, and my thanks for joining me on this tour of the estate grounds. It's not going to appear in the RHS Yellow Book any time soon, is it?
And while it may look a bit like there's loads of space for me to plant the broad beans and peas into the ground, there isn't really. It's going to have to be containers, I think, unless any of you lovely readers have any other suggestions?