Sab's Secret Garden

OK, encouraged by Jacqueline and Catherine, here we go.

I have just taken some pics, scaring the hell out of myself, as I went out of the living room French windows I suppose they would be called, then wandered round to the front door, which I found, curiously, locked.

Major panic (having forgotten that I’d come out of the French windows. That’s how I roll. Attention deficit melding mightily with short term memory (especially on matters relating to emptying of dish washers and hanging out of clothes…), it’s quite a combination.

So after hitting myself over the head for a while with the idea of breaking a window to get into my own house or sleep on the joke of a lawn for the weekend (partner’s away), I eventually saw what was going on and just caught the French window before it slammed shut with the wind and then I WOULD have been in the doo-doos…

All of that, just to have some text to wrap around these pics of the disaster of a garden which I’d like some help with.

I have the heart of a gardener. Honestly, I really do. It’s just that I’d rather be drinking, thinking, painting or even fainting than turning my hand to something as down-to-goodness natural as digging. But I’d love to, really. I’m sure it would do me the world of good. Get me out and about, like.

But let me make this quite clear. I know nothing. Like Manuel in Fawlty Towers, I know NOTHING about gardening…

I’m not even sure which way round to hold a wheelbarrow.

Initial comments? Do I need to dig? Replace? Don’t seeds come into the equation somewhere? Should the lawn be replaced? And borders. What. About. Borders. This is where I am. Is it a hopeless case docteur?

Hi Everyone! I have to apologise for disappearing off the face of the garden there for a couple of weeks! Just started a new job (no contract, in fact no company - just gone bust and ‘readjusting’) as director of studies (DOS!) for a language school in Paris so all of a sudden had approx zero time for messing around on the interweb :frowning:

I really appreciate all your comments. Hilary, I think you’re quite a few light years beyond me with your suggestions there! I’m at the stage of needing help knowing which way round to hold a spade, and not whack myself in the head with the rake, so just a few tips like what grass seed to buy and whether I should buy a whole load of new top soil for this mess of a garden or not would be great!

More later! Sab

LOL - I wish ours looked as good as that too! In our first house which had a very small bit of green, my husband did make it look superb using that method. It was noticeably the best in the street. We now have an orchard that is scratched (and manured) by chickens and mown by ducks and a goose, but will never be lawn!

That was a great link - very helpful, Jacqueline! Actually, I thought the grass Monty was treating looked just fine - I think I should reclassify my own patch as ´meadow´ and not grass!

Wow that is brilliant Hilary!

I have to say from a purely personal opinion I would leave the lawn (maybe change shape by cutting beds or putting in features) but new turf/seed is going to cost, and need time, attention and water, and the weeds will be back! Your little one will also need to run and play and in time ruin your new turf! By raking out any moss (with a wire rake), aerating it with a garden fork, then brushing sand into the holes and feeding it with grass feed you can rejuvenate it (and lose a kilo or two as raking is a great work out!). This will be quite a task, but do it in stages you will see the benefits. See here for Monty Don’s demo!

If you post a plan (you can download them free, from - 1:100 if poss), mark it with positions of windows, doors, garden entrances and where the photos were taken from. I’ll see if I can do a basic plan for you, suggesting layout, but leaving you to choose how. For example, I might mark a potential focal point * on the plan and you could bring your artistic talents into play to create the focal point. It would be good to design the garden with your son’s development in mind. Also need info such as do you need a washing line etc? Add some ‘dream’ photos with comments on what you’d like to see and why and I’ll work on it.

  • Hilary

Hi Hilary, thanks for the reply! About digging, well, that’s what you do with gardens, isn’t it? Plus get rid of a few extra kilos.
About the garden, I don’t like its plainness and also the soil is pretty grim and the lawn is a complete mess - more weeds than grass.
To look like? Something artistic. As I have an artistic bent, even a bit of fantasy would be nice. Or failing that just a couple of little winding paths or something, with something reasonably pleasant for them to wind through. Then again, I have a little boy - 18 months - who will need a lawn to play on with maybe a sand pit or paddling pool from time to time.
I guess in the end I’d just like to have a bit of fun by creating something nicer than what’s there now, but my main problem is I don’t know much about soil or plants or flowers or stuff like that. My mum’s pretty into all that so I might draft her in, but as she can’t move much it’ll be just intellectual advice, not actually dirty hands stuff.
I’m just to the south of Paris, so the weather’s… temperate, I guess.
Oh, and I quite fancy a vegetable patch too, but, guess what… I don’t know anything about vegetables either.

Nice bit of text around your pics Sab! Well done - made me laugh!! A few questions - why do you want to dig? What do you like/ dislike about your garden? What do you want it to look like? is there anything (within reason and respectability please) you’d like to do/ see in your garden that you can’t do/ see now. Whereabouts are you? - Hilary