Thoughts on Gardening with Rowen & Wren

If you asked me what my thoughts were on gardening just twelve months ago, I would have turned up my nose and sent you in the direction of my grandpa. What a difference a year makes! Since we got the keys to our new house, just two months ago, we've been working hard in the garden while the builders transformed the interior of the house. I've found myself looking forward to the long, lazy summer days that I'll be able to spend in our garden, collecting salad for dinner, weeding our flower beds and just spending time outdoors, surrounded by nature that we planted ourselves.

I've been planning this post for a while, as I've been enjoying spending time in our garden and wanted to share the benefits of gardening with my readers. I've always loved to be outdoors, but until recently, I really did think of gardening as something that old people do. I could have wrote this before we moved house, as I'd already found myself craving a garden of my very own, filled with flowers and vegetables - but I just couldn't justify writing about gardening without photos to accompany it. So I've been waiting for the leaves to appear back on the trees, the blossom to flourish and the plants to start inching their way out of the ground - and what better time to write about gardening that midway through National Gardening Week?

When I was first thinking about our new garden, I have to admit that I felt overwhelmed by the amount of work involved. Luckily, my boyfriend was keen to jump straight in and start digging up vegetable patches and leveling patios, while I could step back and think about trivial things like what colour flowers to plant in front of the house. I wanted this to be something I enjoyed, not a chore that I'd begin to dread, so we considered the actual usability of our outdoor space before starting the transformation.

Our entire plot of land is on a hillside; our back garden is loosely terraced with a precarious stone path leading up to the top, there's an uneven patio on the side of the house, sloping flower beds between the house and the garage, and a large sloping front garden. Currently, we've leveled out the patio on the side, planted veg, salad, herbs and fruit trees in the back and dedicated the front lawn to be a place to lounge on the slope. Future plans include decking the front of the house, taking the stone steps all the way from the bottom to the top of the garden. and generally adding more trees, flowers and bushes.

As we've been digging, planting and just hanging out outside, hiding from the dust & rubble indoors, I've been carting this cute yet practical Rowen & Wren stool around the garden with me. When you have a garden with a tricky layout and can't retreat inside for a brew, you need somewhere to rest your drink, gardening gloves, plant pots, seed packets and other miscellaneous gardening tools that end up being lugged around with you. As I'm not that strong, I needed something that was easy to lug up and down our shaky stone steps - and this was perfect. It also fits in with that English country garden aesthetic that we're going for with our space - everything is a little bit rugged and slightly unkempt so we knew we wanted garden furniture that was wooden and a little bit rustic, with Scandinavian design elements that would tie it in with the plans we have for the house itself.

Back to the act of gardening itself, and the benefits of getting yourself outdoors and getting your hands dirty. There's something just so primal and instinctive about planting your own food, and I'd highly recommend it for anyone seeking to live a more sustainable life. The food we grow will hopefully carry on giving for years to come and doesn't come unnecessarily wrapped in layers of plastic. Rather, we'll pull it up from the ground with our own hands when it's time to consume it. We're growing everything from salad and herbs to potatoes and beetroot, even attempting a few fruit trees and berry bushes. We're also lucky to live in an amazing town that pioneered a movement called Incredible Edible. I'm going to write a much more detailed post about this soon, but it's basically a scheme where local volunteers plant edible plants all around the town, that can be picked and eaten by anyone. 

There's more to gardening that just consuming the produce that you grow. We're also growing flowers, maintaining our outdoor space and just generally creating an outdoor area where we will love to spend time. The act of gardening itself is surprisingly relaxing (not including the parts when you're digging massive holes in rock hard ground) and I'm finding it the perfect time to quietly reflect on my thoughts and process the day's events or mull over ideas. It's almost meditative, especially when you're working alone or doing something repetitive such as planting flowers or weeding. 

I'm also loving being surrounded by nature - I swear the birds sing louder in the countryside! We've already spotted unusual birds that we've never seen before hopping around in the garden (does anyone know what a striking large bright blue bird might have been?) and at night, hedgehogs crawl across the patio while owls hoot in the trees and bats fly around our heads. Our neighbours tell us that there are deer and badgers in the land to the side and back of the house. Other than the noise of the trains trundling past (which we've already got used to) the soundtrack to our gardening is basically the calls of birds and the wind rustling the leaves in the trees. Bliss.

I'm going to stop rambling on about gardening now, but I'll share more photos from our garden soon, as everything starts to (hopefully) grow. For now, here are a few close-up shots (disclaimer: some of these were taken in my boyfriend's parents garden while ours is still in the growing stage).

I was gifted this stool by Rowen & Wren, but all words and thoughts are my own.