Sunday, 14 August 2022

What to do?

 The heat really got to me yesterday and I felt just plain ill.  Went to bed around 8pm.  I sleep on top of the duvet, haven't slept under it for weeks, Betty slept on the floor beside my bed, she seemed to find it cooler there.  I went to sleep virtually straight away (sheer exhaustion I think), woke up after about 3.5 hours and slept fitfully after that.  Feel a bit better this morning (as in not quite so ill) and it's cooler at the moment, although it's forecast to be 30-31 deg again.  Thankfully though, today is the last of the high temperatures.  We're back off to the caravan early this evening.

We've been thinking about what to do with the back garden next year, seeing as we've pretty much decided we won't be growing veg next year - well, hardly any.  Husband has lost his enthusiasm for veg gardening, and if the climate change hot summers trend continues, then it's hardly worth growing anything much, our harvest this year (apart from the dreaded courgettes, and even they're dying off now) has been dire, most things just haven't survived the heat and the fact that we're not at home half the time.

I think part of the problem for husband's (and my) lack of enthusiasm is the weird layout of our house and garden.  I suspect that when the houses were first built, in the early 1950s, there were no back gardens, the houses down our little lane all back onto the fields belonging to our landlords.  Consequently, we don't have back doors - I think the back gardens, and a little service road leading to the back gardens, were created later.  What is effectively our back door, the door leading out of the utility room (the utility rooms on each of our houses were added at a later date too, we think) open into the front gardens.  Therefore, to go into our back garden, we have to go out of the side gate in the front garden, down the little service road and into the back garden through the back gate.  So our back garden is almost detached, as it were, from the house, there's no direct access into the back garden from the house.  Why the builders/architects didn't put the door from the utility room at the BACK rather than the front, I don't know!  Unless the utility rooms were added before the back gardens were created from part of the fields, perhaps?

Anyway.....I went off at a bit of a tangent there.  If we don't grow veg next year, then there's the problem of what to do with the back garden, I don't want it left to become a jungle.  It's partly lawned with several (8 or 9) fairly large raised beds, and compost bins/storage areas down the bottom.  2 of the beds contain fruit trees, but with plenty of space underneath them.  I've been thinking about putting flowering shrubs that pretty much look after themselves out there, we could perhaps have a different theme for each raised bed - perhaps roses in one, flowering shrubs in one colour only in another, mixed colours in another, that sort of thing.  Something that will look nice from the windows at the back of the house, but won't need a lot of maintenance, perhaps just pruning once or twice a year.


  1. A lot of the old mining cottages up north are exactly as you describe. When we were house hunting we were amazed to find the back gardens were across the lane from the house.

  2. My fruits have done better than the salad items this summer, just a suggestion.

  3. Sounds like a good plan. If you "mulch" the beds with slate/gravel/bark there'll be very little weeding, too. My garden is mainly shrubs which need little attention. So I can do as much or as little as I want. I do need to cut a lot back this year, but that can wait. I'm not doing anything in the garden in this heat, except refreshing all the water bowls for the birds and wildlife. Even that drains me! Hope you sleep better tonight. xx

  4. It's a bit of an odd suggestion but what about succulents in one of the beds? You can get really pretty colourful ones and obviously they don't need much water.

  5. We once had a 'detached garden' and found that we rarely used it, so in the end it was just grassed all over and the only time I visited it was to actually cut the grass. If we sat outside we sat by the side door in a lovely little area. What a waste of a garden for us, but they just don't work as well unless you can step straight into them from the house do they.

    I think what I would do with your various beds is choose one stand out taller plant or shrub and then plant around that with easy to maintain shrubs, and in a month or so put some bulbs in so that you know you will have a splash of colour to welcome in Spring. Well that's my idea, it will be interesting to hear what you come up with.

  6. When we moved here I refused to buy a lovely house which my husband thought would suit us perfectly, but it was "upside down" and all the rooms you'd use during the day were detached from the garden.

    If you are not going to use the space could you ask the landlord if he wants to rent it to someone else as a small allotment and then you do not have the bother of maintaining it?


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