I love the smell of green, flowers, and grass stains on my knees.
Other than being fun, gardening is good for your mind (google it!) and creates homes for little bugs and bees!
2 years ago my husband and I bought our first apartment, and it came with a small garden. It was overgrown, muddy and kind of depressing to be honest, but a garden still, in Brighton, UK.
I have always liked a good challenge, and this garden was it. It had so much potential, several banana plants, palm trees, bamboo and other exotic plants.
First you need vision. What do you want the end result to be like? I knew I wanted a hidden space in the sun, which resembles a jungle. But I also wanted to try growing my own veggies.
So what happened?
Step one. I had to cut everything. It was February so a good time to prepare the garden for spring. These pictures were taken after I was let loose with a pair of scissors.
When I uncovered this nest of snails, I knew this project would be very difficult. Snails love gardens which makes me not like snails. I dropped them in public parks around town (evil, I know), but it felt like a better alternative to killing the poor things. Not that it stopped more from coming later on…
I don’t have many pictures of these plants in their original state. There were half a dozen stumps from banana plants, surrounding these bananas, and they were taking up a large space of the already small garden! I spent all day digging up what must have been around 20 kg of stumps and roots, and broke my shovel in the process.
Next I created a border from rocks, to make it look neat. Then get that ivy to grow over the soiil all around the base of the plants.
Lets do this!
You know those old onions and potatoes that were around a litle bit too long, and started growing stuff all over? Well, stick them in a bucket of soil and you’ll get another dozen of them or so.
I never knew potato flowers were so beautiful!
And yes, it was delicious! Roasted, with the skin washed, not peeled. I did this a few times, just make sure to leave a few potatoes going “bad”. Yum
I couldn’t believe my eyes! Bananas were actually growing, in my garden! I waited and waited but they never became big enough to eat. I guess the UK summer just wasn’t warm enough.
Getting better. I thought. Until the butternut squash (pic above) were eaten by snails. I learned to use copper tape to wrap around all my veggie pots. The copper is supposed to give a small electric shock to slugs and snails to stop them from climbing up and eating my veggies. It’s effectiveness can be debated, or is it just a sign of how hungry those snails were? But I still kept this up rather than using deadly traps which is recommended on gardening blogs.
Growing butternut squash is very interesting, If there are no bees around to do the job for you, you have to pollinate them yourself. The flowers are delicious, so after pollinating by hand, I would stuff them with soft cheese and cook them. Yum.
After attending a furniture painting workshop at DIY shabby chic (because why not?), I painted a cheap garden table and 2 chairs. First layer was pale yellow, and then a bright turquoise on top. I love that the paints used at the workshop (and which I bought) are made from chalk, which is non-toxic! They can be used on most surfaces, my garden furniture were metal.
I bought grapes. The plant became 2 years old in my possession and grew and wrapped itself around the fire escape in the garden. I wasn’t around long enough to see it beare fruit. 😦
What is a jungle garden without some berries? The raspberry plant grew very big and delicious. The snails agreed.
2 years after the project had begun, and the garden had been transformed, my husband an I decided to leave the country. We let the garden and gave away all the plants to a friend who had recently bought a house with garden. I hope the tenants take good care of the garden!
We don’t have a garden in our new place (try renting with a garden in Singapore ), but we have a closed balcony! This means greenhouse heat ofc, and tomatoes waiting to be planted!