Our Scottish Garden
Undergoing Constant Transformation
I discovered the joy of gardening a few years ago when we moved into our current home.
I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination and we have very little money to put into our garden, but it's a learning experience and with a lot of elbow grease our little patch of outdoors has been transformed into something much more unique and attractive than the condition it was in when we started.
I have recycled a lot of materials that were laying around the place, and In the page below I will be recording the changes that our garden has undergone (on an almost non existent budget) as well as the changes that will continue to take place going forward.
Do You Have A Garden To Love?
Primary Reasons For Wanting To Expand Our Garden
1. I really and truly enjoy working in our garden more than I ever thought I would.
2. It's a creative challenge in an area I've got little to no experience in.
3. I want to support an outdoors learning environment for my daughter.
The happiest memories that I have from my childhood were made outdoors. I grew up in rural Rhode Island (USA) which is absolutely full of all sorts of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects in addition to a wide variety of plants and I miss it every day. Where I live in Scotland is not at all similar. If I want to be able to capture the same wonder for my daughter as I had when I was a child I'm going to have to attract the beasties into our garden. I want her to be able to learn about the critters that live there and the flowers that grow. But first I need to make places for the critters to live and I need to plant all of the flowers.
Late Summer/Autumn 2011
You can see in this photo the majority of the grassy part of our garden. It is slightly wedge shaped.
The chiminea is sitting in the spot right before a little wall starts and then it goes down two steps onto a "patio" of hideous paving slabs which take you to my back door. That area is on the long term fix list.
in 2011 we decided to do something with all of the gross paving slabs which had been left all over the garden. I asked my husband to take a sledge hammer to them to make mosaic pieces which I then made into a sort of path up the side of the fence where we have a big moss problem because the fence provides a lot of shade directly onto that area.
I have been spending the past two years digging out around the mosaic pieces to inset the slabs in the lawn. When I started it was already autumn and then in 2012 I was too pregnant to do much so it's an on going process.
You can see in the photo below that we next spread wood chips along the front of the shed after removing the paving slabs and installed a lovely little hydrangea. A small plum tree was planted behind the hydrangea shortly after the photo was taken.
There were a bunch of large stones in a heap (not a rock garden, just a heap) in the corner where our bins sit when we moved in. Instead of getting rid of these we used them to ornament the large newly laid area of wood chips.
The ugly red fence also got its first coat of brown paint.
In the spring of 2012 I was enormously pregnant and in the summer I was a new mother so any plans I had for the garden were completely neglected however, my pregnant gardening wasn't a total failure.
I had planted a bunch of assorted gladiolas bulbs and iris bulbs that I had purchased at a discount store for much cheapness. It was my first experience with both types of plants and I didn't really expect them to grow but every single one I planted grew and bloomed, even with my complete neglect.
I was pleasantly amazed at how they looked so beautiful with zero effort.
I also purchased this cute train planter because it reminds me of my grandfather who is a train enthusiast and it makes me happy to see it.
Garden In Winter
We were given some gift vouchers for a garden shop at Christmas 2012 and we spent them on a bird feeder as well as accessories for the feeder.
It was an unplanned purchase as we did not go into the shop knowing what we were going to come out with but we're both really happy with the feathered visitors it has brought to our garden. We mostly have starlings passing through, however we also have a resident pigeon, some magpies, blue tits and sparrows.
First Flower Of The Year - (Snowdrop)
4/21/13 New Border Completed
The right side of our fence needed something. It was really boring and sort of ugly and it has taken me years of tossing ideas around to settle on making a border.
Fortunately it actually gets a lot of sun so it's an ideal place for things to grow which is wonderful in light of my planting a zillion bulbs in pots this year.
The little fence is made out of woven willow branches which are joined together in groups of four panels. They were sold as square vegetable planters and they were inexpensive so I bought them to re-purpose here instead. They are held upright by willow branches, literally hammered (with a rubber mallet) into the ground on either side.
4/27/13 Shed Project Completed-ish
The shed got a new coat of paint today. My husband put up the window planter, but I thought that once it was up it made the big centered planter look a bit cluttered so I changed the stones and pots into an asymmetrical arrangement underneath.
You can also see the adorable little wood store that my husband made out of scrap wood painted to match the shed on the right.
Since this photo was taken the window planter has been planted with two trailing fuchsias and an ivy.
My First Mother's Day Present
I received this planter that I had fallen in love with months before as a gift from my husband and daughter for Mother's Day. It's got the most adorable solar lantern on top.
It wasn't coping with the strong winds we have been having so my genius husband drilled holes in the slab it sits on and cable tied it down to the concrete! Take that mother nature!
You can see that the local birds have pulled apart the fibers on the baskets a bit for nesting material so they look sort of fuzzy but they're not ruined.
I've planted a trailing mini petunia in each of the baskets. I get these every year from a local hardware store. they bloom a dark pinky red color and have tons of flowers all summer long. I also planted a little ivy in the two larger baskets. I will update this photo when the flowers bloom.
I honestly can't remember what is planted in the pots that I have around the base of the planter, Mostly iris bulbs I think! The fluffy things are heather plants that I need to find a home for.
The giant plastic snail is something that I bought for myself with birthday money a few years ago. He is also a solar light. A bit tacky, I know.... but I do have a soft spot for solar lights and for snails.... he also has a really adorable face.
Snail At Night
Garden In May
Everything we planted outside is sprouting and blooming. This is the first year that we have managed to get more than one flower on our plum tree up the back left corner of the garden so I'm hoping that it might even bear fruit!
Close Up Of Perennial Flowers In Large Planter
Found this little fella under a stone. I don't care that snails eat plants, I can't help but love them. He was quite shy and wouldn't come out of his shell for a photo but I assure you, he was very much alive and squelching around inside!
I found an empty snail shell about 1/5 the size of the one in this photo too. We have tons of these tiny snails in our garden but I've yet to find one any larger.
Starling On Feeder With 3 Babies
This family of starlings first appeared at our feeder on evening of the 19th of May and they have made an appearance every day since. It appears to be one parent with three chicks. The chicks are able to fly, however they're still learning skills from mom/dad and follow the parent everywhere.
Usually they hang out at the bottom of the feeder waiting to be fed even though they're completely capable of feeding themselves.
Fluffy Baby Starlings
Here is a close up of our little chicks. They're obscenely cute. One day we were sitting outside with our daughter and they pecked around the ground not 10 feet away from us with no fear.
What Else Is Planned For 2013?
I need to acquire a new hydrangea to plant under the plum tree because the crazy winter totally and completely killed my beautiful little shrub.
My morning glories got too big too fast and they didn't take being hardened off outside very well. They all died except for the little tiny one pictured. It stopped growing at 3 inches tall and I didn't have the heart to throw it away. It then gave me a bud and bloomed! (Flower was less than an inch across) So I still have this little tiny windowsill morning glory.
I plan to paint the left side of the fence slowly and carefully so as to hopefully not disturb the awful red color on the neighbor's side.
In the autumn I would like to get a bunch of early spring bulbs (crocus and snowdrops) and plant them in clusters between all of the slabs. A lot of our old bulbs seem to have been killed off along with the hydrangea.
Black Russian Tomato Plants - TRUE Heirloom Seeds
I'm growing these little Black Russian tomato plants because they came from very special seeds.
In the 70's my grandfather had 6 Black Russian tomato seeds which he picked out of a tomato. He gave them to my great grandmother and asked her to try to get them to grow and she was successful.
So the plants you see in this photo were grown from true heirloom seeds as my grandfather has been selectively growing the plants that came from those first six tiny seeds for 40(ish) years, every year.
I've never successfully grown tomatoes, and Scotland is VERY different from Rhode Island in terms of growing veggies so I'm not 100% confident that I can get these babies up to the stage where they will bear fruit but I'm giving it my best effort!
Flowers In My Garden And Their Significance - I am in a perpetual state of homesickness, this is largely evident in my flower choices.
Every year I grow a Dahlia in memory of my step father who passed away in 2005. He loved to grow them and I truly wish I had paid more attention.
These flowers remind me of home back in Rhode Island where they would grow in water. I grew them for the first time in 2012 and will continue annually because it made me so happy to see them in full bloom.
These are my mother's favorite flowers. She has kept well made artificial ones on the table for years. I grow them because they remind me of her.
Lilacs have been special to me since I was a child with their beautiful shape and intoxicating scent. There are three lilac bushes that I have been nurturing from plug plants for two years in my garden. (none of which are purple because I couldn't find purple ones at the time that I purchased them) They have yet to yield flowers, but they're still babies.
There are four heather plants in the wood chips in front of my shed. I planted them there because they are low maintenance and they fill in boring spaces beautifully. Also you can't have a Scottish garden without heather!
I really love these bushes and coveted them for years before purchasing one. The color variation and the fact that the colors displayed are dependent upon the acidity of the soil is what I find most attractive about them.
When I was about 8 the house that I lived in had a giant Forsythia bush in the back yard that grew in an absolutely enormous dome that you could actually get inside of. It was just about magical. This memory has stuck with me for over 20 years and it's why I love them.
I have yet to grow these successfully, but one of my fondest memories from being a teenager is of the solid wall of morning glories that my mother managed to string across the end of the porch every year. They were just stunning and they remind me of home.
Cut Gladiolas From My Garden In Bloom - Stuck them in a pot with some soil and POOF
Flowers That I Really Would Like In My Garden
Also called English Violets.... they're my favorite flowers of all time and I can't find them to purchase in the UK. I've seen them growing, I saw them once in B&Q, I found them once available for mail order but delivery was only available in July and none of them were purple, you know.... VIOLET... someday I will have these in my garden, I even have a place set aside where they will live. (If anyone in the UK has a source for buying these I would love to hear from you)
I have recently fallen in love with these plants but have been a bit hesitant jumping into attempting to grow them from seed. Maybe next year!
For the last two years I have failed to get my morning glories planted outside successfully. Fingers crossed for next year.
Ideas For Future Expansion
What is likely
Dwarf magnolia in half barrel (I adore half barrel planters, and magnolias!)
Memorial plaque for my stepfather
Felt shingles for shed roof (to make it adorable)
Translucent window sticker for shed window (to make the clutter inside less apparent)
What is complete fantasy unless I find a whole lot of money under a rock
Replace all Fencing
Extend fencing so that bins can be stored on side of house
Install koi pond (just kidding)
Install decking over all of the uneven horrible filthy slabs in front of the back door
Replace or repair brick wall that is falling to pieces.
Non Religious Memorial Plaques For Gardens
As previously mentioned I grow a dahlia every year in memory of my stepfather.
I love the idea of memorial plaques for gardens and I have been thinking of getting one for years. I would like to make it official and make a special place for my Dahlia just as soon as I can find the perfect memorial plaque.
Iris In Bloom - Cheap bulbs with zero maintenance yielding gorgeous results
All photographs on this page were taken by myself or my husband (unless otherwise stated) and I do not give permission for them to be used elsewhere.