Original concept of Silverbells Steps Out

I set up the Silverbells Steps Out blog in April 2012 as a document of how I’ve been transforming my garden since I bought my house in November 2009. Before that time I had no idea I would find gardening an enjoyable and rewarding experience. I had been thinking purely in terms of my daughter and having some outdoor space of our own, rather than being restricted to days out to be outside.

Then something happened. I tried very hard to follow the advice of a colleague, who suggested I wait 12 months before doing anything in the garden, so that I knew exactly what was in it and what I wanted to keep or remove. Well, I did try. And I bought some compost and a potato growing kit, so that I could be doing something while I waited patiently for November 2010.

Thing was, I really didn’t like the bushes at the back of the garden. Or rather, the bushes that occupied the half of the garden that wasn’t lawn. The picture below was taken in the summer of 2010 and shows what I mean… unfortunately, I had already started digging before this was taken but it still shows the garden much as I bought it (minus the Wendy house, donated by my sister and used as a shed by me).

Back garden - summer 2010.

Back garden – summer 2010.

I had always known the bushes would have to go and once I started digging, plans for what to do next started to formulate. The new space became the vegetable patch, while I then got rid of the lawn. This meant that I had a lot of space for growing vegetables but I did also want space for other types of vegetation.

So, I was thrilled when I landed an allotment, as I thought I could grow more food there and have more space at home for flowers, albeit with wildlife in mind (and some food for us). However, the allotment proved to be an unsustainable idea in more ways that one. It was basically meadow which I needed to turn into cultivatable land – and I lived over ten miles away. So, after six months I waved bye bye to that.

This meant that I could focus once more on what I was doing at home and be truer to my ideals of living a more sustainable lifestyle. It also freed up time to read….. The upshot of which was that I discovered the concept of permaculture. Wow!

My aim had already been to find a natural (aka organic) way of improving soil fertility and getting the most food out of my garden. I had even discovered the concept of making it attractive to wildlife, including bees. But permaculture has captured my imagination because it takes gardening beyond the concept of a discreet hobby. Instead, it is part of a more holistic view of culture and society.

All in all, this is an interesting journey – maybe with no final destination?

Β© Helen Butt, November 2014

P.S. The photos as well as the text belong to me. I would be flattered if anyone quoted any of the material I have written on this blog but please could you respect the fact that it is my work and reference it appropriately. Thank you!


priceofliberty: Man replaces lawn with vegetable garden, holds… (priceofliberty.tumblr.com)

I fully endorse the actions of the man whose work is detailed in the tumblr post above. Grass is good for playing sport on but there is nothing like growing and sharing………..

59 Responses to Original concept of Silverbells Steps Out

  1. Thanks a Mill for following my blog, Silverbells. Now following you too πŸ™‚

  2. We all learn something new every day in gardening. I got a recipe book connected to what grows in your garden to make lovely meals with our produce!
    I just hope our high winds tonight does not wreck everything we had no time to stake up !! But I have tunnels I can work in anyway πŸ™‚
    If I can be of any help I will surely πŸ™‚ Nice to meet you silverbells!

    • I’ve seen cookbooks on the theme you mention. I hope the winds did not do any damage… wish I had room for a polytunnel but I need to get my name of the allotment list for more space.

  3. Hi there, I’ve been really enjoying your blog so please accept an award!

  4. Kea says:

    Hi Silverbells! I have always loved my garden, but found it stepped up a notch when i read ‘the permaculture home garden’ by Linda Woodrow… her blog is http://witcheskitchen.com.au/the-witches-kitchen-garden/ and the book explains how to pack a bunch of stuff in to one back yard garden. amazing and inspiring, i strongly recommend! found you via slow living essentials πŸ™‚ good luck with it all.

  5. I nominated your blog for the Sunshine Award. It is up to you if you would like to accept it or not. No pressure. Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your blog and what a fabulous job you are doing! Take Care.

  6. yup, it’s me again! I nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger award. It is up to you if you would like to accept it or not. Take your time. Just wanted to let you know that you are beautiful! πŸ™‚

  7. lizard100 says:

    I’ve nominated you for the Versatile blogger award. Have a great day!

  8. I just clicked on the link (lawn to garden). Must have missed it on my first read. I love it!

  9. I’m in the market for a new place. The only thing that makes it’s easier to leave my current home is, knowing I’ll have a garden. Want to try my hand at herbs and vegetables

  10. Thank you for the blog visit and comment πŸ™‚ Nice to meet you and to find your blog in return. Beth

  11. You and your blog have been nominated for Dragon’s Loyalty Award.
    Β http://sliceofheaveninsweden.wordpress.com/?p=1081&preview=true

  12. drofmit4108 says:

    Just read your comment after mine, on Amelia’s blogpost about her garden in September.
    Our allotment was over by the cricket and rugby grounds in Burley/Headingley.
    I can understand how a ten mile drag was difficult/impossible….
    we could see our greenhouse from the top bedroom….
    but the Leeds/Harrogate line was in the way….
    so it was a mile either way to get to the plot…
    down and back up via Burley Park station…
    up and back down via the bridge up by the rugby ground…
    it was tedious, difficult with equipment and you couldn’t “impulse” pick.
    So we bought a 2CV from someone nearby….
    and ended up living in France!!
    Here we have cultivated the same area of ground as two allotments….
    but just a stagger out of the backdoor…
    like your back garden plot, we can pick veggies and have them on the table in a couple of shakes…
    Bonne chance…

    • Helen says:

      Merci! I know that railway line well from both travelling along it and having my plot next to it. Like you say, so much better to able to just walk outside to pick what you want. What a great transition you’ve made. J’adore la France πŸ™‚

  13. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find
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    Does one offer guest writers to write content for you?
    I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on most
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  14. Cecilia says:

    Gardening projects are always so fulfilling, aren’t they.

  15. afarmingartist says:

    Hello. I have been following your blog and I love reading about your different gardening experiences. I thought you would be a good nominee for the love/hate challenge. You can check out the details at :https://afarmingartist.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/challenge-accepted/

  16. A Really Small Farm says:

    Thanks for following my blog. Best of luck with the garlic bulblets, too!

  17. Welcome to the world of gardeners! I mix flowers and edibles together. I admit that a lot of my flowers are also herbs. Double duty is good. Since your plot is small, fruiting shrubs are big producers and bloom prettily. Keep tall things on the north side. Wild Violets under shrubs are the best green for salads and are native across the US.
    They do fine in shade and are easier than
    other greens. After 50 years of gardening, every day is still a new day…

    • Helen says:

      Yes, with gardening there is always something new!

      Anyway, thanks for your advice and suggestions. I have found nasturtium to be a marvellous alternative to greens – just had some for my evening meal. I have not come across wild violets before – I wonder if they grow in the UK?

  18. Tanveer Rauf says:

    life is book of experiences πŸ™‚ we learn something new every day. Your post is very interesting

  19. Jenny says:

    I love your post,. It’s so easy to get lost in the garden and to emerge with a cross-fertilisation of fresh ideas on life – and of course, produce. My own gardening journey is a ramble or a scramble, There is no major plan. Flowers and vegies mingle and all beneficial insects are welcome. There’s never any shortage of material to blog about.

    • Helen says:

      I’m glad you appreciate my post, Jenny. Maybe I would have made more progress more quickly but I don’t think I would have enjoyed the journey half as much or ultimately learned as much!

  20. Great blog. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  21. cobgoddess says:

    Love your story. Our journey with our property started in 2008. And we are working ever since.
    What I have learned is that the land itself will tell you which way would like to become. We only have to watch and listen.Looking forward to see your progress.

    • Helen says:

      So you’ve been at it a year longer than me then!

      It’s a long but interesting journey…. Wise words about the land telling us what it wants πŸ™‚

      Anyway, thank you for reading and commenting.

  22. SallyAnn says:

    I stumbled on your site and wanted to say… great blog, thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  23. Helen, when did you change your blog name to Growing Out of Chaos? I’ve just noticed it today. I like it! I follow you via BlogLovin which still refers to your posts as Silver Bells Steps Out.

    I am sorry to read about your depression. I know how debilitating that can be. My heart goes out to you.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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