Creating a new gravel garden – breaking ground


Blisters. Both hands.

Not good. I have spent a week with pencil and paper plotting this marvellous new garden. I even came up with a plan.

Want to see it?


Yep. I’ve reduced all my exhaustive research to a bit of scribble. A swirl. Some circles and a vague notion of flow.

But weirdly, that was all I needed to launch myself at the garden. Enough of lists.

I started with the measuring string just to see how much work I had ahead.

Forty metres long and four metres wide. (131 feet by 13). Gulp.


But I have decided, for the sake of the expensive medical intervention I might incur, that I would start with creating a 20 metre long garden first.

With a fence. There are badgers and wild boar about. I didn’t factor that in my plan. But as the plants aren’t coming until next week, that isn’t my problem just yet.


I grabbed the old climbing ropes and made a swirly path.

I love my curves on this straight long narrow terrace laden farm.


And then like a cricketer going out to bat, I took my favourite bulldog fork and approached the wicket.

I had visions of turning over the turf in a day or so. And getting back to the planting plan I hadn’t quite sorted.


Digging my fork into the dry drought-stricken compacted by builders ground I managed to get the prongs about an inch in. No more. It felt like solid rock.

Pause for a cup of tea and a weep.

Actually I didn’t weep but suddenly I realized that this was going to be a monster project and some heavy lifting gear was called for.

Not a bulldozer (I yearn for one) but a heavy mattock.

It did the trick.


Well, it sort of did the trick. I had to kneel on the ground to swing the mattock and my arms are shaking from the work. And the blisters are impressive.

But at least I could get the hoe end of the mattock further into the earth.


By the end of the day I had a path sort of dug out. And the edge of one bed bruised by my hoe.

But I must confess I had to go and plant the lavenders just to give myself a break from brown.

These are the Lavender Headcotes that need to balance out the guest house garden edge.


That felt rather good. I sat back on my aching haunches and thought. Damn good work. But oh what a long way to go.