I recently wrote here about my first garden, and the large allotments outside the back gate. After 6 years, for various reasons, we had to move and I had to give up the allotments.
We moved an hour south, to a house that had a small walled garden. The house was the back part of what had once been a large Georgian house. It had later been used as a nunnery, then a school, then it had become derelict. A property developer divided it up and we moved in to the part which included a Victorian verandah. This would once have had a magnificent view, out over walled kitchen gardens, Victorian glasshouses, and a rural vista between an avenue of elms.
But over time these gardens were slowly whittled away. Where the vista had been was now a site for Tesco, where the elms had been was now a Morrisons, and where the walled garden had been was now a domineering block of retirement flats (which, thankfully, hid the supermarkets and their car parks). A small piece of the original garden remained, tucked away, sheltered behind walls. A patch of grass amongst the gravel and tarmac.
This is what it looked like the day the developer moved out and we moved in:
Over the next few years I spent a lot of time in that garden… and not nearly enough time relaxing on the verandah! The house had a lower ground floor that I converted into a self-catering holiday let. Without a back garden, or an allotment, I had to figure out how to grow vegetables and fruit so that they thrived AND create a front garden that was fit for paying visitors to sit in and enjoy.
Here’s some photos, three years after we arrived (and just before we had to move again!). It is amazing what you can grow in 4 small raised beds, and in amongst flower borders. The alpine strawberries, prolific and tasty on the north side of the wall, under the bushes, were a particular favourite of mine, as were the sweetcorn and tomatoes that thrived in the protected warmth of a walled town garden…