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).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?
© 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………..