My garden – if this brings up a vision of a wide, green expanse, think again. My garden is a collection of around 40 pots and planters crammed onto a patio outside my ground floor flat and I love it dearly.
When I moved down here for my first job I was terribly homesick. Mum (who had the greenest of green fingers) included two ready-planted pots in my stuff when it was sent here. I didn't really have any interest in gardening then but those pots were a connection with home and I made sure I looked after them.
Money was tight for the first few years but then the delayed bug took hold and the number of pots has increased, gradually – my skill, interest and pleasure has increased with them.
What do I plant? Well, what I have at the moment is quite a mixture: fuschias, poppies, foxgloves, miniature roses, several varieties of scabius, pinks, aquilegia, clematis, sweet peas and quite a number of others. I also have box, a miniature fir, an acer and several other foliage plants. I've learnt what works and what I like by trial and error – nowadays I aim for plants which will last more than one season, attract bees and other pollinators, and have some height. I have no colour scheme – I have shades from the darkest purple through to white via orange, pink, red, blue and yellow. The overall effect is a cross between a cottage garden and a herbaceous border and I'm happy when plants spread beyond their planter and create more continuous effect.
I love the sense of peace and connection I get when I'm gardening and of course, I take pleasure in my successes. My neighbours probably wonder about me because I do have a habit of standing, looking at my plants while letting my mind wander. I'm fascinated by the insects I see – as are some of the birds …
My only issue with my garden is that it always seems larger in my mind - when I go buying plants I always seem to buy more than I need: that gap now seems have a couple of possible plants and it seems to have shrunk since I left … I also find it almost impossible to leave any garden I've visited (National Trust or otherwise) without buying a plant or two on the basis that there's always a corner somewhere that could do with something new. I could always buy a new planter if necessary...