Six on Saturday: Real Life

Early winter in the garden is the biggest reality check there is. I have big plans and high hopes for my garden next year, but for now I have to accept that it is a mushy mess. Earlier this year, Annabel from Life@no27 challenged her followers to post realistic shots of their gardens under the hashtag #MyRealView and this week my six are just shots of my back garden at the start of December – there isn’t that much to show, but there’s always potential.

  1. Pimp my shed

You can still see the remnants of last year’s attempts to pimp our shed. The solar powered lights that have lost their battery, the chain of mirror circles that flash weird light through the garden. But let’s face it, there’s some way to go. Those ladders need to be moved out of the picture for one. Leaves swept; random detritus tidied and something has to be done with the crumbling urn that was here when we moved in. In the middle of the night I started wondering if I could grow chamomile from seed in here (such are the night wakings of gardeners), but it is difficult to replace the spent compost without the whole thing falling to bits.

2. Pirate play ship

We were so lucky to have this wonderful pirate ship built earlier in the year, but as the days have grown shorter, the Little Weeds have shown less interest in it and now it is covered in a carpet of leaves. Next year I want to make it more appealing, especially to my girls who at eight and ten now want something more from the garden – a place to chill and read, I’m thinking bunting and bean bags.

3. Messy corner

A pile of compost is being kept in place (just about) by the wheelbarrows and I have never quite worked out what to do with this raised bed. Maybe next year I will have some inspiration and finally manage to turn this heap into a wooden bin.

4. The long view of the back of the garden

Weeds in the paving cracks, an abundance of cranesbill and comfrey and unswept leaves abound. But I do love the flamelike heart-shaped Spirea catching the sun, even if it is in need of a good prune.

5. Herbaceous bed

Fatsia japonica, geraniums, Ajuga and Crocosmia still provide greenery at this time of year, although it is hard to imagine the vibrant orange and blues of summer. In the winter months this part of our garden is in permanent shade and rather dank, although in summer it gets quite a bit of sun. I have plans to turn the old butler’s sink currently filled with plastic plant pots into a mini Cornish-themed succulents planter, but that is a project for warmer days.

6. Ferns and fence

The ferns are still looking great as December begins, although in a month or two they will be brown and ready to be cut down, before the new curling fronds appear and the growing season starts all over again.

How’s your garden looking on this first day of December? Have you managed to achieve winter sophistication, or is it feeling a bit sorry for itself? Whichever it is, don’t forget to visit The Propagator, who invites us to share six things from our garden each Saturday, and his followers whose gardens around the world provide inspiration throughout the year.

Published by


Writer and garden blogger.


  1. Your shed, catching the winter sun, looks like the place for comfy chair, cup of coffee and contemplation. Children permit/require a bit of whimsy in a garden, part of why your garden looks more lived in than mine. Very nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think your garden is lovely. We all have ladders that don’t fit in the shed, leaves multiplying, projects left in mid-stride. What your garden has is structure that can’t be hidden by all of the above. Definitely a garden for people, not show. Love that – #myrealview

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really nice 1st photo of your shed. Ivy climbing on the wall, lanterns … it gives a lively atmosphere and at the same time a little abandoned … The photo is nice.
    A chair, a tea, as Jim said, it could be nice!
    In the raised bed of #3, I would now plant tulips and add creeping plants all around in the spring.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So many of us seem less than pleased with the appearance of the garden in December. It is DECEMBER! Aren’t gardens allowed to look like this about now? I mean, things go dormant for the winter. Even in our mild climate, I expect some things to go bare. This is when I get much of the pruning done. The landscapes that I work in are not as interesting as yours are. I am more concerned with cleaning up after rain than working the garden. (Big redwoods make big messes when the rain starts.) I think that the winter look is as sophisticated as it should be.


  5. You start by saying “there isn’t much to show” and then immediately prove yourself wrong. There’s lots to see. OK, I doubt there is a gardener alive who can look at their garden without seeing a long to-do list but, as Jim said, put a comfy chair in the shed, make a cup of your favourite brew, ignore the jobs to be done and just relax and enjoy the view. Though you may need to clean the windows first! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m a sucker for a row of chinese lantern lights, love them. So true, our gardens generally look a little dishevelled at this time of year. I think it is just part of the cycle of things, it won’t be long before the sap will start following in our veins again. Love the ferns 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.