Green and white all over

A plot of bare earth, with a pond, a table and two chairs, and containers backed with trellises at one side.
A work in progress. We've got a lot of grasses and hostas on order to fill the dirt.

We have finally given up trying to maintain our veg patch. The usual cycle would be enthusiasm in spring > early summer growth > ATTACK OF THE WEEDS > pretend we can’t see the veg patch for the rest of the year. And so we’re turning it into a space we’ll use. 

We have a longish but narrow back garden. It faces south, so it gets full sun, and there’s a patio nearest the house. We’ve always had a table and chairs on the patio – various styles over the years – as we enjoy eating outside on warm evenings, or having a mojito in the sun on a Saturday summer afternoon. On the patio are plenty of flower-filled ceramic pots in terracotta or shiny cobalt blue, plus things like aubergines and blueberries because I like growing things I can eat, even if pound sterling spent for pound in weight consumed they’re hideously uneconomical. After that there’s a bit of lawn (and a rotary washing line, no dryer for us) with flower beds either side. Those have had a consistent colour scheme for years, fiery colours plus accents of blue. 

 While the patio and main garden are distinct areas – the patio is paved and the fence there is blue, the garden is grass and the fence there is green – I’ve tried to give them a sense of unity by carrying the colours of the flowers across. We could just have decided to do more of the same at the end, but Mr Robot fancied another little sitting area, somewhere to have his morning coffee, and I wanted to do something a little different. We’re going to turn the end of the garden into a green-and-white garden, larger plants and white flowers only, with a small pond. We were already using old bricks (from a wall between us and next door, demolished years before we bought the house but left behind the old shed) to edge the vegpatch, so some shuffling around has turned those into a terrace. 
An even earlier shot, with unpainted shed. The fatsia in its pot is now in the bottom-right corner, where it can grow nice and big.

I’ve always tried to avoid making the main part of the garden look too flat and gaudy. I want colour, but not a garden like a municipal roundabout. Because of that there are already plenty of taller plants and perennials, like peonies, foxgloves and delphiniums. And I’ve tried to bring in appealing foliage to break things up, heucheras and hostas. So the new area will have more of the latter, plus similar perennials to the colourful garden but in white. Different colour, familiar shapes. A white peony’s already in place, though I'm not expecting it to flower till next year, and I’ll definitely introduce some white delphiniums. We want some bigger, more dramatic foliage plants too. Currently we’ve got a fatsia and a bamboo, both in pots because we don’t want to spend our lives pruning the former back and digging up the latter. (Bamboo is horribly invasive, keep it in a pot!) And the terracotta pots echo those on the patio. 

We’ve got a couple of trellises which should help the ‘secret garden’ feeling along. I’ve wanted a kiwi fruit plant for a while. I’ve ordered two, one per trellis, so should have my own kiwis in a few years. I’ve also got some gardenias on their way. The glossy, dark green evergreen leaves will stop it all looking too bare in winter, and the flowers will smell utterly heavenly in summer. And that’s the beauty of this garden: white flowers show up better in moonlight, so this will be a night garden too. It’s a work in progress, obviously. It’s not going to look really good for a few years at least. But it’ll be better than the vegpatch in August!

On the subject of works in progress, since my last ilness – the stomach cramps – resulted in me losing a couple of pounds, mainly because I couldn't eat, I've decided to try calorie counting again. I hit 15 stone earlier this year, and my first goal is to get to under 14 by the time we go to a gig in Cardiff at the end of May. The calorie counting and the gym are starting to have an effect, and I think I'll hit that goal. (After that, my next target will be under 13 by the time of my wedding anniversary trip in September. My knees and cardiovascular system will be grateful!) I've found I'm reluctant to even try a lot of things in my wardrobe on, but hopefully once I've hit that first goal I'll be ready to see how they hang. I have at least been working on my tweed waistcoat. Hobbits are supposed to be portly!
A piece of green tweed going through a sewing machine

PSA: Sewing Bee starts tonight! 

Anyway, here's to works in progress – we spend time on them because they're worth it!


  1. I'm so excited about The Bee!! Your garden plans sound fantastic, I love gardens with a colour scheme, it's so easy to get carried away in garden centres and end up with council planting (and Jon knows all about that, he worked in Parks and recreation before rock stardom beckoned).
    Great idea to have an area for morney coffee, too. We have drinking seats in different parts of the garden, too - morning coffee, lunchtime Moroccan mint tea and sundowner beers. Keep nus posted with how things go.
    Well done on shifting some weight, your goals sound very sensible and I know you can do it.
    Enjoy The Bee! xxx

    1. The Bee was good - though I did wonder that they couldn't have got people with a little more experience on the show as some seemed underskilled, to put it kindly.

      Pete's still working from home, so having different bits of the garden at least allows him to vary his breaks. And the cats like the new table and chairs...

  2. Yes to works in progress! A green and white garden sounds absolutely perfect! Heucheras and Hostas will have a great and instant impact (if the slugs don't shred the latter) and there's a great choice of white flowered perennials around. We haven't got much white in our garden - more's the pity - but I love our Clematis Guernsey Cream which has creamy white flowers with a touch of green!
    Well done on almost reaching your first weight target! xxx

    1. I used nematodes last year and early this year to keep the slugs down - I'll give it all another dose later in the summer. Slugs are an absolute menace!

  3. Good luck with the garden. I love the idea of white flowers in the moonlight!

  4. Your garden plans sound fab. Much better to use the space and not let it go to waste or to the creepy crawlies who eat your veg.

    Good luck with the weight reduction; it's not easy, I know but you'll get there...I'm so pleased 'The Sewing Bee' is back. I learn something every episode!

    1. Yeah, I don't mind the creepy crawlies having a bit of space, but they don't need a quarter of the garden. Our wood stack looks like a giant version of one of those 'bug hotels' anyway...

  5. Oh, your garden is going to be so nice when it's lush and grown! I love that you've called it on the veggie patch. I attempted one (once) with the same results: got excited, planted, then forgot about it.

    That's a nice side effect of your illness and I hope you reach your goals, Mim! You can do it!

    1. Heh, I know you did it. I shall keep reminding myself that. I've just started HRT and it's amazing how much more energy and motivation it's given me.

  6. Good to know your obsession about gardening. Best of luck with it! Nothing is more beautiful than a lively garden.


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