This is the project I've been dreaming of doing for a while, for myself and my space and I'm excited to share my journey with you and hopefully inspire someone to see their small space as something with amazing potential! Firstly I wanted to give a bit of an outline of why I'm doing it, what I'm working with, where I'm starting from and a few little tangible goals to work on.
Why am I doing this?
When I was writing my book, I was constantly thinking about how I wished I’d had a book like this when I wanted to make a start on growing some things for myself. I’m super lucky to have my mum on hand who has taught me so much, but without her help and her large garden in a small countryside village, I don’t know where I would have started. I wanted to create the feeling in the pages of my book that you don’t need to have acres of land or a large sprawling garden to have some flowers in your garden and your home. The very act of sowing seeds, tending to them, planting them out, watching them produce flowers, cutting them and then bringing them inside is something so magical that no one should feel excluded from giving it a go. So it’s time to gift a bit of that magic to my own small space and myself.
What am I working with?
Around 7 years ago my partner and I moved into a lovely little terraced house in a nice area of Sheffield. It’s got its quirks, and with all older (1902) small city properties, it had little to no outside space to speak of. We live in a sort of quadrant with 3 houses in our terrace, all with a rectangle of land separated by fences. Our third of this little corner of the city also houses a shared shed which was once the outside toilet (glam!) and is floored with very basic concrete slabs. Ideally I’d like to change these one day, but the cost and upheaval are a little out of my budget at the moment, so we make do!
We also have a very tiny front garden which is basically a 2.5m by 1m bed which I put some hydrangeas in when we first moved in. (Anyone who knows the suburbs of Sheffield will know the hydrangea envy that comes with living here and looking at your neighbours front gardens!)
The main space is approx 18m by 10m and last year I knocked out a brick flower bed and an odd BBQ chimney thing that was in the corner. I also painted the shed and shed door to give it a bit of a glow up.
There is a pile of bricks that is slowly, one car journey at a time, making its way to the plot for paving, and once that’s all gone we’ll have a bit more of a blank space to work with.
My other half made these 2 planters for me last year, but I never really got to plant anything in them as it was a bit late in the year, so this is their first real year. I’ve filled them with a few english garden perennial staples, split from plants in my mum and mother in laws garden and a few bits I’ve purchased from a local nursery and garden centre.
I also have some tubs and pots, collected over the years that most of my other perennial bits go in.
I’ve built myself a little glass covered cold frame which is made from an old cupboard door and some of the pile of bricks, it's not much but until I can get a little lean-to greenhouse on the go it's a really useful way of starting some seeds and also hardening off the plants I’ve gotten going indoors.
What am I hoping to achieve?
I want colour, I want scent, I want to potter around my own space without having to drive anywhere and I want to have flowers in my house that I’ve not just got because I took them home as leftovers from an event. I want a space with purpose and I want to be able to sit out there on a lovely summer morning with a cup of tea and survey my progress and to eat my dinner out there on a warm evening surrounded by the scent of my own sweet peas.
Well, I mean, what better time? The book just came out, people have it in their homes and they’re thinking about how they can apply what’s in it to their spaces, so why shouldn’t I as well? It’s a great time for seed sowing, especially outdoors if you just don’t have greenhouse space, so I want to show people it's possible. As for why I’ve not really done it before? Well, I’ve not really had the time! Or more honestly, I’ve not made the time. Gardening is a laborious task and can be quite all consuming, it’s something many people do as a hobby, and I just haven’t really had any space in my life for a hobby, sad as that sounds. But I’m making time, because I deserve to do something I love and have a space I’m proud of and want to spend time in… after all, I spend all my money on living here, I should damn well enjoy it!
Setting some goals and intentions for the project
One big thing I’ve learnt from running my business and indeed, sorting my own house and life out a bit over the last few years, is that having a vision and a plan of how you want something to look and feel is so very important as a starting point. Of course I’m talking about researching and seeing what other people have done, but its also about how you want a space or achievement to feel that can really get you going. My goals are not only aesthetic or quantifiable things, they’re feelings and values, a little glimpse at how I’d like the space to function for me. I need to know what I want out of it and what I want to feel when I’m in it to really know how to tackle it.
My goals are to...
be able to pick a bunch of flowers, however small, for my house each week during summer
be able to cook (and make cocktails) with the fresh herbs from my garden this summer
sit out there in the mornings with my cup of tea and think about the day ahead, surrounded by flowers
be able to go out and enjoy dinner in the space
grow a variety of flowers, annual and perennial for enjoyment and make plans for next years flowers as well
be creative with my small space and nurture a lush and vibrant garden to enjoy rather than growing for anything business related
treasure the moments I get to spend in the garden and practice gratitude for even having a space to call my own
This Pinterest image 👇🏻 is the 'vibe' and I'll be sharing more of that soon...
Thanks for reading! I'll be delving a little more into my planning next time, including sharing some of my best tips for getting inspired with a new gardening project.
Until next time ✌🏻