Saturday, 21 February 2015

And so it begins….garden metamorphosis and first writings.

Happy Saturday wishes to everyone! 

Back border
Once upon a time, I had a front garden, side garden and a back garden. This series of blog posts will be about the metamorphosis of my back garden over the last two decades and is likely to be produced from today... right through to around August 2015.

Exciting things are happening!

But first some my back ground. 

In 1989, the summer after I moved into my house, my back garden was completely laid out as a large vegetable plot used for growing all kinds of seasonal root vegetables and summer fruits. There were apple trees, raspberry canes, blackcurrant and redcurrant bushes, very prickly gooseberries and loads of deliciously fine strawberries. The excellent potato crop was matched by strings of onions, carrots, cabbage….You name it and I probably tried it, including Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus and many herbs. (Sadly, I can't easily lay my hands on any photos of this stage of my back garden, but if they surface I'll add them.)

For around a decade, I tried to keep the back vegetable garden going but it became a huge problem for many different reasons. The veggies were too plentiful to eat fresh so they were frozen and popped into my huge 15 cubic feet chest freezer. Some of these were in the freezer till the next crop appeared because the family had fled the nest to university. However, my primary teaching job meant a huge time commitment and left me little time to garden except during school holidays – which was also the only time to take long holidays away from home.

I wanted to get away for a few weeks in July but it meant coming back to a horrendous weedy mess! Anyone who gardens knows what I’m talking about.

Another reason surfaced to take my time away from back garden maintenance. In 1999, I also undertook my first ever writing project that wasn’t preparation of my own class materials. The project was called ‘Locos 99’. The task set for me was to make a book of photocopiable teaching materials that could be used for ages approximately 7 through 10 – the subject being the railway locomotive works in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, which operated from around 1896 through to the late 1950s. Funding for the project was seriously limited so I voluntarily took it on and used my own time and resources to create the package.

Since I’m not a born and bred local, I had to do a lot of very enjoyable research. My husband, Alan, helped greatly with this since he was keen to help me with the computer skills needed to self- publish the materials. Yes, it was also my very first foray into self-publishing though I didn’t really realise it at the time.

When I wasn’t snatching a few hours to keep the garden in order, I produced a 100 page (A4 size) document of worksheets for use on school photocopy machines. Along with the worksheets, the pack included ‘An Image Gallery’ of old photograph copies of steam engines; a cassette tape of memories of ex-‘Loco’ workers - the Inverurie works lovingly known as the ‘LOCO’ works. An innovative addition to the pack was also a home produced CD-Rom version of all of the worksheets and background information which could be used on the then School BBC computers. 50 packs of the Locos 99 materials and just before school resumed in August 1999 I delivered the packs to the most local libraries and the rest to the primary schools around the Garioch area of Aberdeenshire
Raised beds and patio
The summer days vanished but it proved to be time well spent and I learned a lot about writing a non-fiction work.

That year my back garden was somewhat neglected but doing the Locos 99 project was also a catalyst for change. The following year I got rid of the vegetable patch and turned the whole area into a shrub border with a lawn area. I also (personally) built a raised flower bed and back patio with space for an outside barbeque. The barbeque was underused since we still preferred to barbeque in the front garden which, though it may not sound like it, is a more private area.

Easier maintenance of the back garden continued till 2014 when plans for my back garden changed, hugely. At the beginning of February 2014, my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter moved in to my house – the plan being for them to use my back garden to build a new house of their own. My grandson was born in March 2014 swelling our household numbers to 6 but planning permission just isn't so predictable.

September 2014
My 'Gonna build a house!' series now begins... Here is #1 post 

A new house was going to appear but only after the first red tape was sorted out.

Months passed when basic back garden  maintenance was done, till eventually in September 2014 the digger came for the first time. To make the extent of the site more easily assessed the back garden was stripped of the plantings.

The trees and bushes were yanked out. The patio slabs were removed and the brickwork of the raised beds pulled apart.

September 2014
It was a day of mixed feelings for me. It had taken me around 3 weeks to build the hard landscaping but the digger took about 3 hours to rip apart the whole back garden.

Were there tears? Not too many. No gardening during the autumn months was quite appealing.
More months passed. Eventually, by November, the planning permits were granted but the building warrants still had to be processed.

November 2014

Stay tuned for the realities of house building!


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