One of the things I love about this time of year is the subtle shift of focus from indoors to outdoors. It's still a bit early here to spend any great length of time outside, ie it's still bloomin' cold! But I am starting to spend little pockets of the day out in my backyard, pegging out the laundry, checking over my rather forlorn pots, pottering about with Little B. And it feels rather good.
I had a good squizzy into all of my pots this week to see what's alive and what's not. I'm happy to report that the honeysuckle is re-sprouting, as are the chives. The rosemary has bright new tips growing, and the mint is having a good think about waking up. Not too sure about the rest, lots of dead looking stuff, but then I did have a lot of annuals in the pots that are not supposed to carry on.
My Creative Mind is starting it's familiar annual journey into all things Outdoors. My head is buzzing with the possibilities, and it's simultaneously thrilling and exhausting. I am conjuring up all sorts of mental images (my Minds Eye is boggling!), plans to prettify. I'm thinking new bunting. Crochet seat pads. A bench (with cushions). More vertical planting involving trellis. More big planting involving erm..Big Things in Big Pots. Shrubbery? Small trees? I am hugely excited about it all.
One thing I think blogging is especially good for is Recording Progress and documenting Before-and-After endeavours. So with this in mind, I took a few photos in my back yard yesterday, even though at this time of year it all looks a bit grim. Consider this the "before" element of a work in progress.
I stood on a chair in the corner with the camera held above my head to take a photo so that you can get an idea of the scale. It's L shaped and tiny. Each stone square measures 60cm, so I've got about 12m² in the main bit as you come out the kitchen door and then a little bit more under the kitchen window.
This is the view directly out of the kitchen door. I love that old stone wall, although I would equally love to see some greenery scampering up there. Ivy perhaps?
This is the outer boundary wall that you'll probably be familiar with as this is where I plant up and photograph most of my summer annuals. Funny, I remember writing about this wall in one of my early posts about the back yard...here it is, June 2008. The ideas I had back then for topping the wall with a bit of fence and creating a narrow raised bed to grow climbers in are still in residence. I'm currently looking for a builder who can do clever things with stone as I've decided the raised bed must be made of stone. Like the house.
This is the view down to the teeny bit of "working" space I have outside, where I keep my pots and tools and gardening paraphernalia. It's not very pretty. But I'm visualising (in my busy Minds Eye) a weeny potting shed at the end there. Painted aqua blue and strung with bunting. Can you picture it?
And now we're looking back again, into the main square of space. To the left is the window into the dining room, my desk is under that window. I'm thinking of moving my herbs and putting a wooden bench under the window, as the sun hits that spot just in time for early morning coffee in the summer.
I have to say, although this is a small, humble little space, I really do quite like it. It has potential to be an awful lot more than it is, and isn't the Thought Of Potential one of lifes most exciting things??
J very frequently says how much he misses our old garden, which was quite a substantial corner plot. Lots of green hedges and flower borders, a large lawn, apple trees, a playhouse for the Little Peeps, a vegetable bed. Of course, he forgets how much work is involved with a garden. He forgets how irritated he used to get when the grass needed mowing and the hedge needed trimming and the large shrubs needed pruning. He says he feels guilty that Little B is growing up without a garden to play in. Pah, what rubbish I told him!! So to prove my point I took a whole load of photos and some (very sweet) video footage of Little B at play last week, to show him just how much fun can be had in our small back yard.
I filled an old washing up bowl with warm soapy water, and out came the watering can. Lots of watery, soapy fun was had.
The dumper truck was also brought outside, I wish you could hear the babble that accompanied this play. It was joyful!
A little water and a few pebbles, what good, clean fun.
We pottered and played with the water for a good while, then I decided to introduce a bit of dirty fun.
Ahhhhhhh yes, lets get dirty! Digging and filling up pots with damp earth, it was wonderful. A lovely little time spent outdoors before cold hands, wet clothes and sleepy eyes told us it was time to head back inside for afternoon nap.
And just as I was packing the play things away, I happened to notice the fresh buds on my sweet Little Nut Tree. Oh joy! I was given this small sappling in the summer when it was in leaf (it's a hazel tree) and of course being a deciduous tree it lost all it's leaves when the weather turned. I was very worried that it might've died, but I hoped with all my heart that it was just going to sleep. I am soooo excited about those leaves coming back again.
In fact, I am excited about an awful lot of things right now. So much Potential, so much creative fun to be had in the great outoors. I am brimming over with the thought of it all to come.