pond with goldfish

Appreciating our garden

Gardens are wonderful spaces, like ini parks. No matter what size they are, it's a privilege to have an outside space that I've come to appreciate so much more over the course of the current pandemic the world is facing.

Our previous property only had a very small balcony, so the thought of an expanse of greenery was one of the key factors in choosing this property. Since moving here many years ago I’ve always enjoyed our garden, but I’ve come to really appreciate it over the lockdowns of this past year. Even a brisk stroll to the end of the garden and back is refreshing, just having somewhere outside to escape for a few minutes really helps to clear the mind. Add in the plants and chance to watch the garden wildlife and each trip outside can be a mini-adventure.

Our back garden is not huge, although the way I talk about it one might imagine a vast country estate. It is, however, larger than average for our area thanks to our 1930’s built house being sited on a corner. The whole plot, when viewed from above resembles the shape of a lamb chop which means the rear garden is an odd shape. This adds to the joy a, from our house, you cannot see the whole garden. With some thoughtful planting, along with some hard landscaping, we’ve subtly divided the garden into three parts to create visual intrigue.

Stepping from the house, the patio is a social space, looking out over the grasslands – actually, a lawn lined by shrubs and bushes. The shape of the grass leads you to a second patio. This one is circular and encased by very tall bamboo which makes a beautiful sound when there’s a gentle breeze. This space is multi-functional, it’s a lovely social area that benefits from being bathed in sunlight throughout the day and into the evening. This is why it’s also home to our washing line most of the time. Why, on garden makeover programs, do they never consider washing lines in the designs? From the house, this circular area appears to be the end of the garden. However, once on the circle you’ll notice a bridge leading to the final section of the garden. This bridge spans the vast natural lake – a pond dug by me. It’s only a meter and a half across, but the pond does stretch nearly the width of the garden. In the pond, there are numerous fish, newts and seasonal toads, plus the other visitors. Once over the bridge, on the other side of the pond is a practical space for storing all the garden ‘stuff’ like wood, plant pots and wheels. Everyone has lots of spare car wheels, don’t they, no? Just me then? They are all stored neatly and covered so that the area doesn’t resemble a junkyard.  This area is also home to our shed. Just a common garden shed, but with the door open you can sit and enjoy watching the pond life.

We must be doing something right with our garden as there is an abundance of daily visitors. Form the different waves of birds, squirrels and other small mammals and the previously mentioned amphibians too. Although I’ve always enjoyed our garden, the lockdown has made me appreciate this outside space so much more.

Latest thoughts

Mental Health Week: How photography helped me

During the second half of 2017, I hit a psychological wall. Not suddenly, it had been building for a while. I’d lost interest in almost everything outside of my family. At work, everything was going fine, but I was on autopilot. I was struggling to understand what was going on. I no longer wanted to socialise, go to car shows, build cars, make photographs, paint or cycle – all things that had been a massive part of my life up until then. Was it burn out? Mid-life crisis? All I knew was that I felt sad and unable to find joy in any of my interests.

Thinking about time moving forward

Having free days, for three weeks, has allowed me to appreciate the the enjoyment of not being beholden to a schedule. Not having to think about when the next Zoom call is lifts a massive weight from my mind.

What if… I stayed home?

What if I didn’t return to work next week, could I cope with the situation? Would I be able to handle not working and what might happen if I took the decision to pause for longer?