Garden Blog - Blog Post

Time for a Refresh


Well, here is something I don’t do every day, week or even year. If you’re reading this on my usual website you may have noticed more than just a few changes, they’re more than skin deep as well.

While it’s been somewhat wet and cold in the garden over the last several weeks, the paperwork from the National Garden Scheme (NGS) recently came through and I took the opportunity to fill it out. Garden descriptions, opening dates, hours, ticket types, garden pictures, garden facilities and points of interest, a Risk Assessment were all part of the registration process for preparing to open in 2023.

A comfortable spot to pause in the garden

Currently I’m working with my local NGS County Organiser to fine-tune the garden description sections so that they fit comfortably in the venerable “Yellow Book” without it turning into the “Yellow Pages” (an old, British telephone directory, commonly used as a step stool).

As desperate as I am to give you a sneak preview of the text for this garden that will be appearing in the NGS literature along side others, I’ll hold off until it is all reviewed, made official and made live. The moment it goes up on the NGS web site as a bookable, visitable garden, you’ll be the first to know.

Along side this rather momentous accomplishment, I took the opportunity to overhaul my website with a brand new template, layout, theme, style and structure. Essentially I blew everything of the old site away, apart from the writing and images.

This is the new look after the dust settled.

A home-made “ginger dessert tasting platter” (I bake too, it’s required for the full NGS experience)

While I actually did like the previous site, it always felt a little old fashioned and dated and I thought the garden deserved better online representation, something more fitting with its status. People are going to be seeing the garden through pictures and blog posts first before coming in person so the saying, “first impressions count” was really taken to heart here.

The overhaul isn’t finished yet, there is still quite a bit of work to do but the main pages and sections of the website are back online and should be working normally (famous last words). I’ll be doing multiple passes over the design and content in the coming weeks.

I’ve had this blog site for over a decade and before I was garden blogging it was a personal website that I used as an online CV. I remember doing multiple redesigns of that too, way back when. With rose-tinted glasses I can say it felt much less complex back then. This current redesign is stretching the limits of my ability – much like the garden really.

Getting in garden furniture for guests

In both the garden and the website I hope you agree that one reflects the other and with no small amount of effort and swearing, both look spectacular.

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Visit the Garden at 13 Broom Acres on National Garden Scheme Open Days and by arrangement

author & gardener

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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Jayne 21/09/2022 - 11:38 am

This is so exciting! Carry on!

Sunil 21/09/2022 - 2:40 pm

Thanks, Jayne, and congratulations on being reader Number 1 to comment on the brand-new site! At least now I know that particular piece of the system is working.

Lynn Hunt 21/09/2022 - 2:43 pm

Love the new look! It is all going to be wonderful. What program did you use to update? I am still using Blogger and fear I don’t have the skills to change. Can’t wait for the sneak peek. So exciting!

Sunil 21/09/2022 - 4:30 pm

Thanks Lynn. I use WordPress but on top of that is bolted on a framework that is very customisable and on top of that are a series of templates and themes out of which I picked bits of some and parts of the other to assemble the pages. It’s taken a lot of time, sweat and swearing and sometimes I think the fact that it loads without falling over is a small miracle. My day job is in technology, but this really pushed at the limits of what I know.

Wendy Goodall 22/09/2022 - 5:45 pm

The anticipation is building! A brand new look blog to go with your garden achievements. Well done Sunil. Where do you find the time to garden, build new media, bake and still go out to work? I’m currently splitting 20 year old Agapanthus clumps which is a tough job. (yes I know they shouldn’t have been left as long as that!). Some parts of your garden are now looking mature, and ‘effortless’, but we who follow your blog know the huge amount of effort that has gone into that garden. I wish you all the best with your NGS open days, I wish I could visit and experience the garden and baking in 3d world.

Sunil 22/09/2022 - 7:05 pm

Hello Wendy, that’s really kind, thank you. The mature and “effortless’ look is exactly one aspect I want the garden to be/have. The garden should have a swan-like grace but you don’t see the frantic paddling underneath the water. As for “fitting it all in”, I’ll let you in on a secret: I’ve been working half-time for the last few years, down from full-time. Despite that, I still feel like I do less now than I used to – I’m definitely getting older. I don’t envy you splitting Agapanthus though. At 20 years old, I’d probably opt for the chainsaw. They’re really tough plants though. I’m sure they won’t even notice.

casa mariposa 27/09/2022 - 3:15 am

It looks great! Bravo!!

Sunil 01/10/2022 - 7:28 pm

Thanks, Tammy, I wish I could tart myself up this nicely.


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