What’s lurking at the end of the garden

The rear of our long, narrow paved garden is book-ended by a shed, which has a Narnia-like door now boarded up at the back. We realised that this was the short-cut that the house’s previous owner used to reach his plot on the allotments behind the building, which we can see from our upstairs windows.

When we first moved in we were madly keen to put our names down on the waiting list for our own allotment, but sanity intervened and we thought we’d try to sort out the house first. And the bloody pond.

By a lucky coincidence we found out that the vendor intended to leave all the koi in the pond which takes up about a third of the space at the end of the garden. To put it mildly, we were horrified – well it wasn’t like he was leaving his cat (we would have been fine with that) – and so he arranged for a charity to collect them. Everyone said ‘Oh but they’re really valuable!” Yeah, but you can’t eBay live animals. And the cats would have treated it like a buffet. So we were left with a pond, and stupidly in hindsight, no pump. It’s now full of water and is going to need to be emptied after all the recent heavy rain so I’m really relishing the thought of going at that with a bucket. Not.

It’s 360cm x 160cm at its widest so it’s taking up quite a bit of real estate. The one practical thing that we can think of to do with the pond is to make it, or the space it takes up into a raised bed so we can start a veggie garden and see how we go with it. Quite how we’d access the back of the area, I haven’t worked out yet but I’m going to consult with the parents when they’re over, as it’s their forte. A bed will be less demanding than an allotment obviously but will be a good barometer of our skill and commitment. So we lose a pond, and gain a bed. Enough space to have a go, and see how far our enthusiasm runs. 

If you’ve had success with a small urban garden (especially in south-east England), I’d love to hear from you.

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If you’re thinking of getting into gardening, here are some resources I’ve found helpful:

Gardening tips for beginners – we’ll have less space at first but this is inspiring and I like the idea of 

Quirky ideas with containers – our back garden is mostly paved so containers might be fun

Value for Space Rating (VSR) – choosing what to grow in terms of how much space it takes and the cost to buy it, and how home grown quality compares to what you can find in the shops

Penny Golightly – great tips on kitchen gardens, especially from a budgeting perspective.

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