One good thing about life at the Gulag is the large garden (coming from a postage stamp it seems like acres!)

This time last year the back garden was home to a variety of builder’s stuff; cement mixer, scaffolding etc and the final indignity was having a huge hole dug to fit the SUDS tank. I covered the bare soil with tarpaulins for the winter and have been gradually peeling it back.

I don’t have the physical or financial capacity to transform the space in one hit, so like an allotment I’m digging and planting. Here’s 6 things either completed, in progress or planned in my head.

  1. View from the patio

The grass is lush again and the plan is to continue the grassy steps along the right hand fence in line with the stone path. There will much less grass and a lot more growing space.

2. The north border

This is to the right of the shot above and is the only planted border. I’ve doubled the depth of the border and took my cue from the two ferns already there and carried on the theme. I’ve been amazed by how many plants prefer a shady spot and I’m in love with ferns. I’ve also had a go at creating a stumpery – I think it needs more height but I’ll let the plants settle in before deciding what else to do. What else do you think I can do with it?

3. Planning ahead

To the left of the first picture is going to be my ‘herbaceous border of dreams’ Not quite of the scale of RHS Wisley but at 1.5m deep and 7m long it’s the biggest border I’ve ever had and you’ll note it’s empty. I’ve been taking advantage of end-of-season bargains: Hayloft’s offer of 10 perennials for £30 and Squire’s bargain bench. There is a lot of propagation in my immediate future.

4. Patio

This is a sunny spot for breakfast and lunch but I need to sort out fixings for a sun shade for next year. The walls will be painted the same stone colour as the fence panels and the sleeper planter will be dark grey. I’ve named the planter the sarcophagus as it’s big enough for a body! I’ve recycled the sleepers from the previous owner’s design where they formed a large rectangle full of white gravel (also recycled as hardcore) Eventually there’ll be something climbing and trailing in there – I’m open to ideas on what specifically. The current occupier is a compost stowaway – cape gooseberry and the tumbling tomato needs to sit on the edge for more cascade space.

5. Bulbs

In the north border I’ve added erythronium in yellow and white and anemones and bluebells in the patches of dappled afternoon shade. There’s more for the west facing front garden, including foxtail lillies, waiting for a dry spell (not that I’m complaining)

6. How it was

I think there has been some improvement since February

And finally, this is a sad week. The first without the Queen, a truly remarkable woman who loved her garden. RIP your Majesty.

Remember to visit The Propagator’s page to see the other Sixes.