Banishing my back garden blues

A couple of weeks ago MsV kindly came over to help me have a real go at my back garden, out beyond the veg patch where it was all a bit of a mess. (‘Before’ pics are from April – it looked a lot worse than this!)

Scruffy back garden


It’s been depressing at times, thinking about the amount of time and money I’ve spent on this area and it hasn’t been enough because my weekends and evenings are spent doing things other than gardening. This part of the garden has sulked at me and reproached me for long enough.

Scruffy garden


In order for MsV and I to do what needed to be done I had to accept that my aspirations for my garden were unrealistic. I have had to admit that my time, energy and, let’s be honest, inclination does not allow for the beautiful deep sweeping borders I wanted and the fact that they were overgrown with grass self-seeded in from the nearby meadow was a testament to that fact.

So first of all we dug out from among the grass anything rescuable (mostly some sedums, a white rugosa rose and some knautia) and then I strimmed the grass into submission. We hand weeded a patch around the two trees I planted early in my time here (a Rowan and a Malus ‘John Downie’) and planted the rescuables into them, and then we spread some bark chip on the new and much smaller beds.

Garden after tidying

Getting there!

We’ll be strimming, mowing and grass seeding the old borders until they resemble lawn. This is not the method for a good lawn, I know, but the existing grass here is so shockingly lumpy and weedy anyway that you won’t be able to tell the difference by the end of the year. I know this is such a contrast to my approach to turf at the Towers but the grass here is barely ‘lawn’; it’s just areas of green stuff for lounging on. It is definitely not a sward! I’m a little sad to have lost my nicely shaped lawn (even if the turf was dire) and gone over to a ‘bit of grass with chunks of border cut out of it’ type shape, but it’s a small price to pay.

I know this is hardly dream garden territory but it feels SO much better to have this area done and its demands cut down to size.

Tidier garden


I still need to go over the beds to get the pesky weeds we missed, I’ll probably need to bulk up the planting later and there’s still a bit of bark to go down, but with this and the Christo bed done, I feel like the back garden is nearly there.  Oh there are regular maintenance bits I need to do – the herb garden needs weeding for example – but the stuff that was looming at me is done. Phew!


2 responses to “Banishing my back garden blues

  1. patientgardener

    Goodness I was surprised but I suppose it abit like the ‘Doctor heal yourself’ thing where plumbers/builders etc are rubbish at their own properties. I think if I gardened all day as a job I would want to do something different when I was out of work. I know that I have explored making gardening my job but decided I didn’t want to loose my enjoyment of my hobby.

    The important thing is to have something that doesnt stress you, a space you can enjoy and relax in.

    • My Dad refers to it as the ‘cobbler’s boots syndrome’. You’re right about needing space to relax in, and I’d been making a rod for my own back with it. Realising that has been difficult. I love gardening as my day job but in the future I’ll bear in mind that I use up most of my gardening capacity at work, and would much rather read a book with a cuppa in my home outdoor space.

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