Thursday 13 September 2018

Front garden - 3 months in

New front garden

The front garden seems to have come a long way since the landscaping was done in June.

Before the landscaping:

After the landscaping (view from above as I seem to have not taken a photo from the same position as above/below):

Plants added in:


The circle and hole in the middle is because this is where the Quince tree goes when it comes in November. I got the landscaper to dig the hole because it's extremely hard clay and it made sense to use his muscles! I have four Stipa tenuissima there in pots, to go around the edge of the Quince border, then I will be adding bulbs and and corms, like Anemone blanda blue, Narcissi falconet, and some snowdrops.

The path is for both function and form. It makes accessing different parts of the border for maintenance easier, and I hope it invites you to want to wander around and explore what plants are in the ground.

I have added the new Acer Griseum tree. Again, I got the landscaper to dig the hole so when the plant arrived it wasn't too taxing on my limited energy to get it in. In the below photograph, it's in the top middle, but I think it's hard to see if you don't know it's there. It's a young tree but will grow and become much more noticeable. I've planted it just where the afternoon sun in winter will hit it to highlight the beautiful paperbark branches (it's known as the paperbark maple).

The wooden structure is the bin store. As time goes on the plants will grow around this more. I've got some Allium purple sensation to go along here as I thought they are tall enough to stand out well against the wood.

It's starting to fill in a bit, but I can see some gaps, even allowing for the eventual full size of those plants currently in the border. So I guess this means I'll have to buy some more plants - what a shame!

The large planter has three different lavender in it, but they are currently swamped by the nasturtiums, which have attempted world domination. I'm hoping the nasturtiums will self seed around the front garden. Eventually I want it to look like a sunny hot jungle. Well, maybe not jungle, this is Sheffield after all. But the primary colour scheme, reds, yellows and oranges, along with the secondary, blues and purples, should look nice and hot.

Still to go in are lots of bulbs, plus some Primulas, more yellows and oranges. And I think I'll have to add a couple of yellow hellebores. Along with the different grasses, I'm trying to give it structure and colour all year around. Also planted are two Sarcococcas, S. confusa and S. hookeriana var. digyna 'Purple Stem', near the path/front door, so we can savour the fragrance going in and out of the house.

I'm really pleased with how it's going along. It's more attractive to me, to bees and butterflies. And to Goldfinches. I daily have flocks, nay, gangs(!) of Goldfinches descend on the bird feeder, which I can see from sitting on the sofa in the lounge room.

Oh, I really need to add some new plants into the Gwenfar's Garden box! I'll get there.

Sunday 2 September 2018

Cars are mobility aids too

People can be incredibly judgemental about people who use mobility aids. They think you are cheating if you suddenly get out of your wheelchair, scooter etc, that you are faking it (often the thought extends to thinking you are lying to get benefits). Disabilities are complex, and they can fluctuate so one day you need your wheelchair to get around, yet a week later you can manage some walking without it. For example, I use a mobility scooter so that I waste less energy getting from A-B, say to the supermarket, so that I have energy to do the task, such as shopping, or meeting a friend for lunch.

After all, you get in and out of a car, a bus, a plane. Sometimes you use a bicycle, other times a train. These allow you to do everything, from getting to and from work, to travelling the world. They help you live your life, to be able to do the things you need or want to do. How is this any different to someone who gets in and out of their wheelchair?

People with any type of disability are frequently criticised for 'relying' on their mobility aids. Yet no-one questions the reliance on cars or public transport. In fact, any type of transport, anything that helps you get from A-B, is a form of mobility aid. Hell, your legs are mobility aids! Just because cars are ubiquitous, doesn't make them any less a mobility aid than a wheelchair or walking stick.

So next time you see someone getting in and out of their mobility scooter, or you find you sometimes see them with a walking stick and other times they aren't using it, before making any judgements, just remember, cars are mobility aids too.


I've created this simple poster (I'm no designer!) to try and express the above. Feel free to download, use it, share, etc. 

My thanks to my dear friends Kate and J-P, whose discussion with me about whether I should get a mobility scooter or not, brought up the idea that cars are mobility aids too yet no-one questions this. This idea totally changed my perspective and getting a scooter has meant I'm much less house-bound or reliant on my partner. It's literally changed my life.