Everything in my garden is not roses. It’s a long way from being a perfectly managed, under control garden and I doubt it ever will be. Because I’m not able to keep it like that. I just want you to know that, readers, if indeed there be readers of this post. Why do I feel the need to confess this now? Well, the other day, someone on a Facebook gardening group said that she’d try to get the courage up to show photos of her garden. I wondered why she needed courage? Are we so judgemental we can’t share our problems and failures for fear of people laughing us? That isn’t the spirit of gardening is it? We all have our triumphs and our failures, our good bits and our bad. I used to get so angry with the allotment committee when they went off on one about rules and tidiness. Of course there has to be a collective agreemment on standards and health and safety. But sometimes the most messy of gardeners produced the most food. That set me thinking about the fact that on gardening blogs and social media we generally only show our best side, our beautiful flowers in vases, our lovely bushes in full bloom, our buegeoning vegetables. Of course, we like to show our achievements, but no real garden is perfect and mine is no exception. Real gardens have warts, carbuncles even! A blog post and its photographs is nothing more than a blinkered view of reality, a cropped and edited snippet with the scruffy bits left off.
So in this blog post, I’m going to reveal all my less than savoury bits. I would say the seedy bits, but in fact they aren’t seedy, they’re weedy! What I’m about to expose is more shocking than anything you might see on Naked Gardening day, but if you still read my posts after I’ve revealed all, then you’re a good egg!
So let’s start with my Glory Hole! A Glory Hole was a term frequently used by my maternal grandmother. It was a place where you flung everything, often behind a door which you then closed and hoped it would all rearrange itself inside. A Glory Hole has a tendency of getting messier and messier until in desperation you try to squeeze the door closed and everything falls out every time you open it. My little shed and its environs are like this. Although I give it a tidy out once or twice a year it always seems to get so full I can’t get in to find things. The cats sleep in this shed and also find themselves climbing over bits of plastic sheet, jam jars, bags of string and other paraphenalia before they can get to their baskets. Sometimes they give me a pitying or withering look. In the summer, they generally give up and sleep in their airier accommodation in the porch. My sister-in-law gave me a delightful Welsh slate sign that says “The Potting Shed” Well I try, but not much gets potted in it!
The next delightfully unkempt area of my garden should be my most beautiful. This is the flower bed directly outside our front door. On the prospective plans, before the house was even built, a charming bougainvillea is to be seen scrambling up the side of the house. I was enchanted. Unfortunately Señor Faztudo had other ideas. There is no way anything is going to grow up the side of our house and allow the passage of geckos, ants, and other unmentionables onto our balcony! Discouraged, I have never decided what to grow in this bed and it’s a bit far from the hose and gets the full blast of the morning sun and the East wind. To date it has some very sad and holds only a couple of failing-to -thrive hibiscus and a Dama de Noite, so at least it smells enchanting at night. But I don’t water it or tend to it all enough and it looks awful. I still haven’t decided what to plant there in the long run, perhaps some beautiful Agapanthus, all suggestions gratefully received. But nothing that clings to walls or upsets foundations, please!
The next terrible-awful has been dubbed by my one and only husband as “Edwina Grundy’s farm” This is the area of the garden farthest away from the house, where I indulge my farming and permaculture techniques. I’m making raised beds here to collect all the rubbish, turn it into good soil and furthermore to keep chickens out and although I can see logically that raised beds shouldn’t do too well in hot climates, my first example has been producing courgettes and butternut squashes very successfully for weeks. Thing is, they don’t look very beautiful and I’m pondering how to improve their aesthetic. It certainly doesn’t look delightful at the moment in this heat, as I’ve employed old parasols in an endeavour to keep my butternut squashes going for a bit longer. I have also had to shelter a young avocado from the sun. I am going to develop this area into three raised beds for pumpkins, squash, and cucumber as it’s the sunniest are of the garden, until the fruit trees grow bigger at least.
Finally here is one of the very worst bits. I shall call it “The Dump” I have always been quite good at sweeping things under the carpet. To this end I have planted hedges as I know I’m an untidy gardener. I decided all my untidy bits can be hidden behind the hedge. This part of the garden is waiting for my new greenhouse which is being built by Señor F for my birthday in a couple of week’s time (actually I’m more likely to get it for Christmas now, and it was for last Christmas, but I am still very grateful) It’s full of all my carefully collected weeds waiting to go in the next raised bed, loads of bags of fresh horse poo kindly donated to me and all my fencing gubbins, along with several old chairs that I just can’t resist collecting from dumps. To me the chairs speak of the people who sat of them and I hate to see them thrown out. I like to line them up and imagine the old people sitting on them, although in fact the chickens use them as handy perches. I will paint them up and restore them one day, when I can make the time.
So there you have it. My worst bits. I’ve shown you mine, but will you show me yours?