A Students Garden
(Turning a weedpatch into a garden)
Updated: 10:06 - 26/10/2002
This year our daughter Crystal started her second year of her university
course, and moved into a rented house with 3 other students.
To my surprise and delight she said that she wanted to 'do something' with
the garden! It's only taken 21 years for someone else in my family to take
an interest in gardening, and so I very quickly said that we would be
delighted to go up and give her a hand.
Bearing in mind that in the end
she will be leaving everything behind for someone else's benefit - or left
to revert to weeds if the next tenants are not garden minded we did not
want to spend a lot.
Apart from a few 'cheap to clear' plants and other odds and ends, all the
plants were cuttings or divisions from my own garden.
We bought a large bag of potting compost, bonemeal and 6X, a bag each of
40 mm pebbles, pea gravel and agricultural grit. With the few plants I
bought it came to about £20.00 . We loaded up the car with the plants,
compost etc., and some gardening tools and set off one Sunday morning
in the pouring rain.
We arrived about 12:30pm - it was still raining. However we bravely donned
wellies and raincoats and set to work to dig out the weeds, of which there
were plenty. They were big ones too! We used some old wood to concoct a
makeshift compost heap, so that we had somewhere to chuck all the
While digging out the weeds we uncovered a little area sectioned off by
two rows of bricks. I thought this would be ideal for a mini vegetable
patch. My daughter had said she wanted some edible stuff in the garden,
and so I had taken up 3 cabbage plants, a few baby leeks, and a few onion
sets. These were promptly planted in the mini veg. patch.
Half the garden is paved with slabs, then a slabbed path leads off the
patio down the middle of the rest of the garden. To soften the edges a
bit we filled in the corners of the beds either side of the path with
pebbles, which we laid on a piece of weed suppressing sheeting.
| Crystal meanwhile busied herself making a brick circle outside the garden
shed, which at the moment is full of junk, but the students hope to
eventually be able to keep their bikes in there. As a result of making
the brick circle we ended up with a pile of excess soil. Utilising more
of the wood laying around we quickly concocted a little raised alpine
bed. Crystal planted this up with a few sedums and sempervivums, and with
a Georgia Blue Veronica and a purple toadflax to trail over the front edge
it should look very pretty next summer. She finished the surface off with
the pea gravel.
While she was busy doing that I got the rest of the plants in. A couple of
ferns and a scented violet plant on the shadier side. On the sunnier side a
buddliah, some montbretia, a few little hebes, some "Oriental Limelight" for
nice contrasting foliage interest, a geum, a speckled violet called
"Freckles", a mini rose (one of my "cheap to clears"!), Michaelmas daisy,
some dwarf crysanthemums, a few ornamental grasses and other odds and ends.
Then finally I filled in some of the spaces with a few wallflowers.
| Most of what we put in will die back in the winter, and so apart from
a bit of cutting back it will be fairly low maintenance - very important
for busy students!
Hopefully it will look very pretty next summer, and will be much nicer
surroundings for the B.B.Q.'s they hope to have than the weed patch that
I also took a pot of herbs for a housewarming present. It contains sage,
rosemary chives and thyme. This of course she will be able to take with
her when she leaves. She hopes to plant up a few more pots to brighten
up the rather large patio area. It means that any plants she really doesn't
want to leave can move with her.
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