Destinations Magazine

The One That Unlocks the Garden

By Alternativeeden @markngaz
As we entered into spring we made a list of things to do and projects to be done during the coming warmer months. Some were exciting and pretty to do, whilst some were more functional but necessary. 

The One That Unlocks the Garden

The entrance into the utility/working area

Doing something that will directly make the garden 'pretty', if you may call it that may be more exciting and tempting to do first but such activities doesn't necessarily make for a good priority. Sometimes you have to prioritise more functional projects first.
The thing is in our garden there are three major areas that still needed a makeover: the new garden (with the koi pond), the top patio (nearest to the back of the house), and the front garden (and a tiny one too, with barely enough space to park two cars off the street). And with the narrow access way to the back garden from the front and limited amount of space (and resource too mind you) we could only do one area at a time...

The One That Unlocks the Garden

The New Area (blast from the past photo, as it was June 2010)

The One That Unlocks the Garden

The Top Patio (photo courtesy of Loree of Danger Garden)

The One That Unlocks the Garden

The Front Garden (if you can call it that!)

And it has to be on the right order: the new area first, then the top patio, and last would be the front garden. Why does it have to be in this order if you ask? Because the new area, of the three is the furthest from the house so that has to be done first. En route to there you have to pass by the top patio, which includes wheeling a barrow through it. If we make over the middle area first then it will be at risk of being damaged as we wheel and carry heavy materials constantly through it as we sort out the new area. And whilst we do the work on the new area where do we store the landscaping materials? Out in the front garden (which makes for a front garden that looks untidy almost all the time, not giving the best of impressions to anyone who passes by). It's not an ideal situation to stack things at the front but where else can we put them whilst we're doing some work, with lack of space elsewhere and all. So...

The One That Unlocks the Garden

These things have to be stacked somewhere, and with limited space it had to be at the front garden. Not ideal but hey ho...

Before it gets too confusing I'm glad to say that after almost three years the new area is now finished; koi pond done, three raised beds done, pergola and decking done, a huge tick off the major trilogy of area makeovers and from there we can finally turn our attention to the other two....

But oops, not quite, not yet! What about the working/utility area right down at the bottom of the new area? Okay, it is technically segregated from the 'new area' but it is still part of it and it needs attention and doing to it just as much as the rest. It is not an area of beauty and aesthetics yes, but an area of function and necessity that if done will help make the rest of the garden look nicer. An area of storage and to nurture plants (and fish). So indirectly, it is still a project for garden aesthetics and beauty.

In smaller gardens (like ours, relatively speaking), if you don't have a working/utility area then you have to do your potting up and other chores in one of your 'tidy' areas of the garden, wherein you have to tidy up after every time you do work in it, ideally almost immediately. And not only that, you have to be creative where you store your tools, excess pots, compost, and in displaying all the plants that you have so you don't have to sacrifice the limited space you have to the mercy of a working mess.

The One That Unlocks the Garden

Something had to give. While the working area was being sorted, the top patio was 'decomisioned' and became a temporary working area. You can see Twinkles in action there

But if you have a designated working area...

So it had to be prioritised. It's not a 'pretty, pretty' sort of project but it has to be done for it is the one that unlocks the garden. And I'm glad to say that the plant side of this working area is now completed (the pond side, the smaller greenhouse is a bonus but still needs doing soon of course).

The One That Unlocks the Garden

The 'plant side' is now finished. Which means I have space to store plants now that are not meant for display this year

The One That Unlocks the Garden

The 'pond side' still to follow but no big rush for this one

In this area I can carry on and do all of my repotting, store pots and compost, and store plants that are not meant to be displayed in the garden this year. So instead of having loads of random pots scattered around, they can all be stored in one area instead.

The One That Unlocks the Garden

The 'unglamorous' side of the Filtration House, the side facing the working area. The ledge however is a permanent storage space potted plants.

The One That Unlocks the Garden

A recent visitor took as much interest in the plants in the working area as much as the plants out in the garden...

The One That Unlocks the Garden

and you can tell that this visitor is definitely a plantsman. For a plantsman takes as much interest on the plants that are hidden away as much as the ones on display.

The One That Unlocks the Garden

A glimpse of what's currently occupying the greenhouse

The One That Unlocks the Garden

Each plant has it's own story why they are stored away. Either they are genuine extra plants, they need extra TLC this summer, they need growing on first before they get planted out, and anything else in between.

The working area will help make the rest of the garden look tidy, unlocking areas that were temporarily taken out of use whilst storage and utility work were done there.

And once the pond side of this area has been finished then that's it, the entire new area is finished. A huge tick off the trilogy. And we can move on to the other two.

Mark :-)

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