I like to think ours is a Lancashire garden. Being hilly Lancashire, there are lots of levels and lots of stone walls and steps and being very lucky, I find myself living next to a mill lodge. I wanted to create a garden that would blend in with the stone, with the water, and with nearby trees.
Believe it or not, we actually don’t have very much gardening space. The areas to the front, side and rear of our house are either paved, tarmaced or water. We have surrounded ourselves with plants in containers – you name it, I’ll plant in it – buckets, bins, sacks, fire grates, bread trays and dolly tubs feature in our garden!
Container gardening involves a different approach to normal gardening. I do everything I can to conserve water, such as using big pots, clustering plants together, never leaving bare soil, not using drainage crocks. We have a hidden area (on tarmac) where we keep the bins, three compost bins and a huge soil box, where potting, dividing and soil recycling can take place. I am learning to cluster or repeat plants of the same type so that it looks like a border. This year I have been experimenting with all kinds of fruit and vegetable growing. I have rhubarb growing in an old coffee sack, potatoes in bags, lettuce in a fire grate and onions sets, each in its own pot, interspersed amongst the flowers. I have what I consider to be a small container-based orchard for soft fruits, and I’m optimistic for my small apple and plum trees producing a crop this year!
You might spot a table and chairs in these photos, but, like most gardeners, I don’t sit down much!