I hope that by sharing the tiny garden with you it inspires you to grow something to taste, smell, admire, or just make a bee happy. I want to show you that no matter how busy your life/career is, or how small your space is, you can grow something. North, south, east or west, indoors or outdoors, front garden or back, even if you’re in a windowless basement you can use a grow light!
I post only unfiltered photos to give you an accurate picture of the true colours, plants and life in the garden if you fancy growing any of the varieties yourself. Unless it’s a #inatinygardenprogression or #plantprogression series where I post an old photo along with a current one, I will be posting what is happening/what I’m sowing on the day or during the week it happens.
A bit about the tiny garden and my relationship with it…
The garden is located in London, U.K. and I have been passionately learning about horticulture in my evenings and weekends since I was fortunate enough to move to a place with an outdoor patch in 2014. The tiny garden is still my favourite teacher. In my previous London flat I was growing herbs at the foot of the bed near a window in a narrow pot. I had to climb over the bed to get out of the room but it worked! I have a busy full time job in the art world so my time in the garden is precious to me. It ceases to amaze me that I discover something new everyday I can get out there. This morning (mid April) after being away only 1 night, I discovered that the ceanothus is in full bloom and there are new flower buds on the red gooseberries (I pruned it incorrectly the first time and didn’t have berries last year). The scent of the clematis ‘fragrant oberon’ is now so intoxicating I never want to leave.
There is a constant negotiation between the edibles and the non edibles. I go through phases of thinking why on earth haven’t I planted solely fruit, veg and herbs? But then the blue echinops blooms and I see how happy the bees are and the moths with the night scented climbers, or the season changes to winter where structural evergreens shine and I am happy with the mixture I have.
I made sure we had a garden with at least some sun so I could grow a variety of vegetables (but few each due to space). This is done in about a third of the bed and the sunny ‘patio’ is covered in pots of fruit bushes, herbs and more veg. Unlike an allotment, when I am home I have the pleasure of seeing the garden most of the time as it’s through windowed bi-fold doors in the kitchen/dining area/sitting room. This means I want it to look good all year round like a moving picture on the drizzly London days. I am from a part of Canada where we had defined 4 seasons. I wanted to recreate some of this essence in miniature so this is where my little maple comes in. It’s not exactly ‘useful’ but it was the first to go in and would be the last to come out. The variety I chose gets the full array of colour before blazing orange and red and falling to the ground.
To fit the space I try to source dwarf or Japanese varieties where I can, that way I can have more. Open pollinators as well to encourage bees. Scent is important to me so I research which are the most highly scented and will give up space for them. For example the peonies I have will knock your socks off. Yes, despite not having space to, I grow peonies which are already getting too big in their second year. I am a sucker for their scent, some lemony, some rosy and some like candy floss.
I have spent nearly all of my spare time in the last two years either thinking about the garden, working in it, visiting other gardens, or researching plants. I. Am. Addicted. I couldn’t sleep the night before my first trip to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2015 I was so excited. I am enamoured with growing and appreciate the delicate environment even more now (and I am becoming increasingly more political about it). I crave knowledge of the plant I’m admiring or eating. I am still of course an amateur and unless I change career paths to re train I always will be. But I am bursting to share with whoever will listen what I have learned and about what I grow. I have opened this public account just for the garden so my friends can now opt out of my endless ramblings whenever they want. I also did it for you, who I hope is a budding enthusiast, worrying that their urban space isn’t big enough. Perhaps in the winter, depending on the interest, I might talk about my indoor ‘jungle’ too for those of you without an outdoor space.
My partner doesn’t garden although features a few times in shot and has helped with the grass cutting (which takes all of 1 minute). Some might wonder how I’ve managed to still have a patch of grass if I’m so excited about plants, to this I say, we are 3 years through the 5 year wait list for an allotment so I know I’ll have more space eventually. It has already shrank since I first ‘designed’ it. More importantly I share the garden with a bicycle enthusiast who needs space to clean and work outside and I respect this (and their wish to sit or lie down in the garden once in awhile). If the grass comes out it’s never going back in again so for now it stays.
I will need to explore time efficient ways of growing an abundance when I get the allotment. At the moment the tiny garden keeps me occupied so I admit I’m pretty nervous but each month I want it more and more. I am jealous of those growing their own asparagus which would be wholly impractical for me right now. On that note, I am stupidly growing a globe artichoke. It’s steadily getting bigger and bigger since being planted out in September 2016 and still no sign of a flower. It’s my absolute favourite vegetable and I just couldn’t wait another year to give it a go. There will be a lot less harvesting generally from the sunny bed area this year but fingers crossed it’s worth it… it’s so big it might get its own name soon.
in a tiny garden’s dimensions:
Entire outdoor space (garden + patio): 490 x 428 cm
Garden: 300 x 428 cm
Patio: 190 x 428 cm
I hope you enjoy and please do get in touch to ask me any questions or to comment x
This site is currently only feeding from my instagram so it’s best to follow @inatinygarden for updates. I plan to develop the website down the line, starting with a plant and seed list suitable for small gardens. All photos are taken by me (or my partner if I’m in them) so please credit @inatinygarden if you borrow one.
Published 8th April 2017 – (Update: I got keys to the new allotment in September 2018 and the Globe Artichoke turned out to be a Cardoon!)