The flower bed

For those of you who haven’t seen any of my “building a pond” video series, you won’t be aware of how frustrating my garden is.
It’s nice to live in the city, and it’s nice to have a garden while living in the city.
It’s also nice to have a friendly landlady, who will let you dig up her garden and plant things.
What isn’t so nice, is that when you start digging, you find a couple of inches of soil, then bricks, rubble, old bits of guttering, and any other crap the people who built the house couldn’t be bothered to take away with them.
There’s a tarmac road off one side of my garden. But if you dig pretty much anywhere in the garden, you’ll hit tarmac pretty quickly.

Today I started looking at a patch we’re not utilising. The patch between the pond and the back fence. Here it is:

That pond was hard work. Even with wet soil, it required a pick-axe to get through the rubble. The flowerbed on the left is actually only there because I couldn’t dig deep enough at the edge to put the pond there, due to a seam of solid immovable rock I hit.

A few weeks back, I rather stupidly suggested we dig the area between pond and back fence.
I had a go at this today, and the combination of poor soil, and severe lack of rain lately, has left it absolutely rock hard.

So, thought I – why not just build a raised bed?
I found a thing on Sainsburys’ website, which looks pretty good.
That’d almost exactly fill that space, but leave enough room to get to the compost bin. Perfect.

I’m impatient though, so I drove to Sainsburys, only to find they don’t stock them in store.
Then I went to B&Q, but they don’t have anything remotely like it.
I looked at some plant pots, but that just confirmed my fears that plant pots are either:
a) Expensive
b) Too small
c) Cheap-plastic-looking
d) All of the above.

So in B&Q, I picked up one of these liner sheets, for carrying things without getting your car boot dirty.

That was £1.

Next, I got some compost. Two of these 70 litre ones.



They were £3.98 each. Seems good value – I don’t buy compost often enough to know though.

Then I laid the boot liner out in the garden:

Problem is, it was really windy.

I guess with potato planters, and the Sainsburys product, that there is some sort of structure to keep it standing up straight.
I mean just look at it:

That maybe needs a little help to stay in position.

Luckily, I have some old bricks not doing anything, that I discovered while building a pond.


Much better.

Now I filled it with compost.
(Ok, it was two types of compost. I had half a bag of a different sort left over.)

At this point I realised a couple of things.
1. It still isn’t that sturdy
2. Boot liners don’t have holes in them. They’re designed to keep plants, compost, muddy shoes away from your expensive car’s carpet on the other side.

To solve both of these issues, I cut a bamboo cane into bits, and after using one piece to make holes in the bottom of the plastic, I hammered them through the liner and into the ground at various points.


Ok, so it’s a bit like a sandpit that’s gone very wrong.

Maybe it needs a few pots around it to hide the plastic nature of it.
And it’ll look better once it has some flowers growing in it. Maybe.

Update: 15th July.
Check me out.
After only 5 days, I’ve got shoots popping up out the flower bed. Not bad, considering I didn’t follow any of the instructions at all regarding propagating on window sills or anything. I literally just threw the seeds in, and watered them.


It functions.
And my girlfriend liked it, and said (without me even mentioning it), that it’ll help kill the rubbish grass underneath it (when we dig it out properly at a later date).

Update: 31st July.
Nearly 3 weeks since I did this, so thought I’d do another update.

It seems I have a slight issue, in that my soil has started to turn a bit…green, and the consistency of something you might find in a shady forest.
This could be down to insufficient drainage in the boot liner. There’s not that many holes in it really. I may attempt to make some more.

Plants looking fine though, except the ones on the left which have been nibbled by something.

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