Garden transformation

Bor Borren permaculture

Marianne from Mijdrecht, the Netherlands, asked me if I could help her with transforming her front garden into an edible garden. As she is a bird lover, she also wanted to attract insects and birds with her new garden. But, her garden only exists out of tiles made out of gravel, so how do you start such transformation? Well, by breaking all the tiles! On a sunny afternoon we spend three hours on designing her new garden. While sketching, talking and searching for the right plants, we created a plan: A curved path made out of the old gravel tiles, a pergola with climbing plants, small trees, bushes and a little pond.

After a few weeks I already received a message that the garden is almost finished!

Dear Bor,

It is unbelievable, but the garden is almost finished! We used your design as guideline, made the curved path out of the gravel tiles and little clinkers, constructed the pond and placed the fencing. The only thing that wasn’t possible due to a lack of space, was the keyhole, so I arranged that a little different. I’m still waiting on the two Cape golden berry bushes, because I had to order these. I used Douglas wood for the fence and for the pergola, I used hardwood, of course approved by you ;-).

On the side of the street, I placed climbing roses with rosehips. Between the neighbours and me, the Maule’s quince is located and against the wall I placed a climbing hydrangea, because that spot never has any sun. Planting a salal wasn’t possible because the soil is not appropriate for this plant. I also had to get less bushes, the garden was a little smaller than we expected.

In front of the Maule’s quince, I planted two mahogany bushes. The medlar, cooking pear, usual pear, gooseberry and redcurrant are also planted, and underneath I placed several herbs, lavender and strawberries. In the ‘waves’, which you can see on one of the photos, I planted vegetables and cacao shells, and it smells lovely. Next to the waves, there are little trunks and I also placed these all over the garden, together with woodchips, to stimulate insects.

In the little pond, there’s water mint and a floatable container with cattail. At the bottom there is an oxygen plant, which I don’t remember the name of. I also placed some daylilies between the bushes and trees. The first one already flourished this morning! Next to the poles of the pergola, I planted hardy kiwis, blackberries without thorns, loganberries, wild honeysuckle and runner beans (which are hopefully going to flourish soon).

The reactions of friends, neighbours, but also strangers are great. Everyone thinks it is original and beautiful! The gardener also enjoyed doing it. It was the first time he planted such a garden, but he is proud of me and of the garden (and I’m proud of him due to all the hard work).

I’ll send you some photos of the results and I want to thank you again for all the help. Without you the results wouldn’t have been this great. Now I just need to have patience and I am hoping that everything is going to grow well so I can harvest soon. The birds already love the garden and we already ate some strawberries and gooseberries. In the fruit trees, you can already see little pieces of fruit growing, how fun!