In contrast to the larder project which is full steam ahead now that there’s a bit of space to store stuff, the garden project is going into hibernation. I don’t mean that I am not going to do anything, I just mean that I am flipping back into an observation state whilst there is no (easy) place to create a garden.
There is of course the roof… Over the past year, I have been doing quite a bit of observation of the roof. It has a fabulous south facing wall which gets lots of sunlight. Alas it also has quite a few limiting factors. Limiting factor number one is the wind which comes right off the sea and whips around the rooftops. Will lost a compost bin over the side of the house which shook him up a lot (I’m not surprised), so consequently anything that goes up on the roof has to be properly lashed down. We’d also have to think about creating windbreaks and also choosing to grow just those plants that could tolerate wind and salty air.
Limiting factor number two is the general feeling of about-to-fall-off-ness (have a look at the picture) that you get when you’re up on the roof. If we were to be up there more often, we’d have to put in some infrastructure, like barriers. Which brings us to limiting factor number three, we’re don’t strictly have permission to be doing stuff up there… All in all it amounts to more of a challenge than I can deal with right now so the roof will remain a space for the washing (might as well use the wind for something) and sitting outside with a cup of tea on nice days.
So, I am without an outside space to grow things and I have decided to take it as an opportunity to go back to basics and really get some of the stuff that I don’t really know about growing knocked into my head once and for all so that next time I do have a garden I can get going with a lot more confidence.
I tried to give some structure to my thoughts by zoning them. I worked from the micro to the macro. I started with ‘soil and fertility’ and came up with a whole list of things that I wanted to learn about ending with ‘garden design.’
Soil and fertility —> Water —> Horticulture basics —> Guilds and beneficial connections —> Animals —> Permaculture Design principles —> Garden design
By garden design, I do mean ‘designing your garden to look pretty.’ It’s controversial, I know, but it’s important to me. I made a list of the functions of my future garden (in order of importance to me)…
1) To produce food for immediate consumption, for storing and for selling/giving away
2) To be beautiful
3) To be a place that relaxes and inspires
4) To be a home for animals and wildlife
…and was interested to find that ‘beauty’ was the second most important function that I wanted the garden to perform. I know that I won’t prioritise it over the function of the garden, but I am going to make a concerted effort to include it strongly in my future designs.
Next post: The plan of action