We’ve lived in our top floor masonette in South East London for nearly 5 years. We have the balcony by no garden.
We live in a close with masonettes and a block of flats built in a rectangle, with our front gardens creating a big area of grass in the middle. The people in the upstairs maisonettes own the front gardens, so I’ve always taken care of ours; when we moved in, it was just grass so I cut in a flower bed along the front and grew some dahlias from seed, which now come back every summer and look beautiful. They really do make me smile when I open the front door each morning in the summer and early autumn.
I’ve always noticed there was a small patch of over grown garden with a greenhouse fenced off with a gate next door to our neighbours flat and to my annoyance, I’d never been able to work out which masonette it went with – until one day in summer 2015 I was sitting on my balcony that looks out to the front gardens, and I’d noticed a couple of people in there, clearing it. I started to listen to their conversation with one of the older guys in the close that chats to everyone, and it became apparent that they were looking for someone to take care of the garden. I couldn’t believe my luck and shamelessly shouted over my balcony that I’d love to, and rushed down to discuss.
The couple are landlords and rent the flat to our neighbours who have quite a large back garden that this side garden is joined on to, so weren’t fussed about this part. The landlord explained that they will probably move back in a few years when they retire but we could have it to use until that happened. We were renting our place then rather than owning it (..that’s another story) so it seemed perfect for us, I happily agreed.
We spent a weekend laying turf and I planted up lots of flowers in the flower bed and it looked really lovely, we enjoyed a few BBQ’s before the weather got cold and thoroughly enjoyed having a nice bit of outdoor space.
Spring 2016 I grew all kinds of things, I made a mini vegetable patch where I grew courgettes and ended up with so many I didn’t know what to do with them, I grew carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, chilis and aubergines in the Greenhouse, all with varying success, and produced a really good crop of potatoes in a potato grow-bag! It was brilliant. My favourite thing to grow was my dahlia’s. I branched out from the pompom variety in my front garden and grew larger ones, which were beautiful, and along with lots of wild flowers I planted, I had lovely vases of flowers indoors all summer and early autumn.
I hadn’t had a proper hobby for a few years and quickly realised this was something that I really loved, but I always had in the back of my mind that it wasn’t my garden, and if the landlord decided to sell up or move back in themselves, it would no longer be mine, so I didn’t do as much as I wanted so as not to potentially waste money. Which is what got me thinking about the allotments that I knew were less than a 10 minute walk from us….. but that will be my next blog. Thanks for reading :o)