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Sitting on the Grass


I’m getting more efficient at mowing the large expanse of grass we have with the small domestic electric mower we bought with us from the previous house. Exhausted after the latest mowing session, I took a minute to have a good sit down in the middle of the lawn.


This is a treat, I don’t get to do this very often, mainly because the ground is so wet and drains so slowly that I would end up with wet pants even a week after light drizzle. When I do manage to get a cat’s eye view of the garden, I feel as though I am sat surrounded by parkland, the large swathe of sloping grass that runs from the patio, down the length of the garden to the trees at the back evoke old memories of going to parks to sit and have picnics. In my younger days I used to live minutes from a large suburban park, which is probably where this feeling comes from.


Looking towards the trees at the back shows an area that’s perfect for a woodland style garden, if only there wasn’t that eight foot pile of rubbish and several discard/compost heaps to deal with first.

I do have grand plans for the back of the garden, but that’s where the majority of the restoration work will be needed. I am generally restoring/working/gardening from the house and sweeping systematically along towards the back so it could be some time before I reach the trees. Until then I can continue to occasionally sit on the grass and simply imagine what it all might look like in years to come.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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Alain 19/06/2014 - 10:17 pm

There are years of hard work but also of pleasure lined up! It looks like a wonderful place. You are lucky to have such a garden in an urban area! It will be interesting to follow the evolution of your new garden.

Sunil 20/06/2014 - 7:50 am

Hi Alain, thank you. I did have a much smaller garden than this previously in which I did a similar transformation over the five years I was there. I am now coming to this much larger garden and having to start from scratch again but I now have experience to help me.

casa mariposa 20/06/2014 - 2:48 am

You have such a deep lot! So much potential. What is that giant shrub in the grass? Are you going to keep it?

Sunil 20/06/2014 - 7:54 am

Hi Tammy, it is pretty long. On the grass I am actually sat just less than halfway down, because it gets messy at the far end, it looks shorter than it actually is. The shrub in the grass is actually a mass of rambling rose (single, climbing/rambler, unknown), camellia, honeysuckle, sycamore seedlings, carex grass, crocosmia, kniphofia and and several unknown tree seedlings! That’s another spot that I can feel my attention is about to glare upon.

gardeninacity 20/06/2014 - 4:49 am

A couple of big shrubs would be perfect for hiding the rubbish pile.

Sunil 20/06/2014 - 7:57 am

Hi Jason, I do plan to eventually get rid of it by various means, mainly just by letting it rot down then digging it into the new borders. There was another similar pile in front of the patio that I reduced to chips using a shredder, that’s now on a make-shift compost heap.

susan maclean 20/06/2014 - 8:53 am

Oooh! Big! Your garden is bigger than mine now, best of luck because here I am 12 years later……….. haha! What fun though, working on a new plot and seeing it come along. I love that feeling. Today the bloke who helps me with the heavy stuff is coming to build the first of a series of wood edged raised beds down a side path. I planted, last year, two shrubs that will become very tall. A black alder and a dark red smoke tree. This is in an attempt to shield me from the garage of my neighbour, which I can see whilst sitting in the summer house. These beds, which will not be regular in size, will hold mostly shrubs of different kinds and form a background to my big border (which I am going to take a picture of very shortly). I have a path that just gets mowed down there, so it has always been a bit wild. Had to loose some wild flowers to start this, but hopefully the seeds are still in the ground and they will come up in between the raised beds.. Just thinking about your grass. If it does not drain well, are you on clay soil? Is is worth sinking a few pipes so that the water goes down further?

Sunil 22/06/2014 - 8:35 pm

Hi Mrs Mac, don’t forget to show me your new raised beds so I can nab possible ideas. The shrubs as a background to a border should look really good. I believe I am on heavy and compacted clay and it will need a lot of digging, aerating and organic matter incorporated to loosen it up so water has a chance of draining. I’m hoping that with enough of this work, I won’t have to sink pipes into the ground.

susan maclean 22/06/2014 - 9:25 pm

Eeek. We have a layer of clay good enough to make pots… but it is about 6ft down, so the soil above it is enough to drain. But we do know that in flood conditions water will come back up as of course, it will not drain through the clay, but has to work its way horizontally until there is a gap in the clay. But as you say, you can add stuff and losen up what you have, and also grow stuff that is not fussy.

Sunil 23/06/2014 - 9:21 pm

Hi Mrs Mac, it’s going to take a lot of work to loosen it up. It’s heavily compacted and there’s no air in it. When I dig it I get suction noises from the spade and when it is dug up it has a light foetid smell because of the anaerobic bacteria in the soil, since there’s no air in it. It’s going to need a lot of help getting back to being something that I would be happy putting plants into.

lynngator 20/06/2014 - 8:30 pm

These photos give me a much better idea of how much room you have to work with. Oh the possibilities! (Oh the shrinking pocketbook!) I’m glad I am along for the fun.

Sunil 22/06/2014 - 8:27 pm

Hi Lynn, it’s a fair amount of room isn’t it? Make sure your seatbelt is fastened, the seat is in the upright position and your folding tray is up, now that you’re sitting comfortably, this is going to be a long, but hopefully interesting journey.

Jayne on Weed Street 22/06/2014 - 8:01 pm

Now this is exciting! While the expanse of lawn is beautiful just as is, like a lovely park, I have a feeling that you will be carving it up to suit your love of plants and beautiful design in the garden! I love the stone wall, and the red brick of the house will be a wonderful color back drop to whatever you do!

Sunil 22/06/2014 - 8:30 pm

Hi Jayne, thank you, as you’ll see in a later post, the patio wall was hidden behind a thick layer of rampant ivy, it was only discovered when I began to pull the ivy out and clear the soil and debris that had accumulated. I’ve also already begun laying out possible border shapes in the grass and then looking from one of the upstairs windows to see how it looks from on high. You’re right in that it’s not going to stay as all grass, I’m planning to eventually dig much of it up for borders.


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