Oh to relax


There is a particular significance to this photograph.  It  heralds a new approach to my garden and how I spend time in it – well I hope so.  I have never had anywhere to sit in the garden, aside from a bench on the patio by the back-door.  I often sit on the bottom step of the steps at the top of the garden as I like being surrounded by the plant but I have never had a proper seat.  The main reason is because there hasn’t been anywhere to put one.  However, when we put the workshop in last summer it seemed to me that the area adjacent was crying out for a seat but the levels were all higgeldy piggeldy.  Over the last few weeks my eldest has done some levelling, put in a couple of steps and, just so we can have a bench, has moved the stone wall back.


One of my goals for my week off work was to finish off this area.  As you can see I have cleared the slope of plants aside from one Thalictrum which I have decided to leave in situ.  The soil was improved with composted wood chip from the path above and it was all dug over and raked.

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Over the last few months I have been collecting plants for the slope from various garden and nursery visits.  I want to the theme to be good foliage along the hardy exotic theme. The border is quite shady at the end furthest from the workshop and relatively sunny the other end so quite a spectrum and to be honest it isn’t that big a space.  I thought a lot about what would go where so hopefully I won’t be moving everything around in a year’ time – which will make a nice change.  The plants included are:

Fatsia japonica Spiders Web
Polystichum setiflerum ‘Plumosum-Bevis’
Euphorbia stygiana
Osmanthus Het- Goshiki
Impatiens stenantha
Melianthus major
Asarum splendens
Veratrum nigrum
Buddleja salvifolia
Tetrapanax papyrifera rex

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There is a largeish gap in the middle of the border and I want to add some hardy gingers here with lots of lush foliage so when you sit on the bench it feel enclosed.  I also need something very leafy to go on the lower part of the slope by the shed.  I was thinking a fern, there is already one which has self-seeded into the ground at the base of the slope and is quite large so another one might tie it together – any excuse for another fern.

I still need to gravel the whole area but as I am only just getting over the cold/flu I had a week ago I decided that lugging a tonne of gravel up the garden might not be my best idea and it can wait for a few weeks until I have some help to hand and more energy.

I have already spent some relaxing time sitting on the bench and I love the atmosphere around it.  Overhead are branches of the Prunus which is currently heaving with blossom and buzzing with bees.  I can see that I will be able to sit and read here or just sit and relax and this will be good for me as I need to slow down and enjoy looking more.






22 Comments on “Oh to relax

  1. That looks like a lovely place for a bench, I’m sure you will spend many happy hours sitting contemplating your planting here – and no doubt leaping up and down to hoik out a weed or adjust something nearby :). The area is really coming together nicely, and that sounds like a great plantlist – your new planting should fill out to be very enjoyable. Well done for all your hard work – and that of your sons!

    • Hi Sara
      I managed to sit there for 30 mins without twitching but there are currently no weeds on the area, how long this will last is another matter

  2. At last, a proper place for you to sit and enjoy your garden, and in time for the Easter weekend too. It sounds like a perfect spot under the Prunus.

  3. Helen I agree there is nothing like relaxing in the garden. My gazebo is a great spot for sitting protected from mosquitoes but I have wanted another bench in the garden somewhere….i love what you have done with the slope garden.

  4. Now that’s the hard bit – sitting without itching to get up and do something! It’s a start – and hopefully you will be able to relax at least a little over the holiday w/e Helen

  5. I think we all need to sit and contemplate more, as opposed to just getting stuck in. It looks as if you have created a lovely space there and the foliage will make it feel really restful and enveloping. Keep us posted on how it grows! Dan

  6. It looks lovely! I have a picnic bench at the top of the wood under a wild cherry – I often do some potting on there and it is lovely 🙂

  7. I have a hard time sitting still out in the garden too. I even have lounge chairs out there on the patio, but seldom sit. Kudos to your son for the work he did. I like your choices for the bed and look forward to seeing it when it’s settled in.

  8. I have a cheap plastic chair that I move around the garden depending on where I’ve just been working! I definitely need to work on seating in my garden too…..I recently bought a secondhand adirondack style chair that I’m planning to put in the new cutting garden or herb garden. I have a lot of work to before I get to sit in it!!!! Your seat looks very inviting 🙂

  9. The bench is perfect- I like to end a hard day of gardening with an apple cider and garden magazine. It’s lovely because I sit on my outdoor sofa and watch all my progress. But yes, I often do suddenly find myself pulling out a weed or pruning back a vine. Looks like you’ve put a lot of work into your garden- I can’t wait to watch it grow!

  10. Sometimes the problem when sitting is seeing all you want to do – don’t fall into that trap! Diary some sitting and contemplating time! Enjoy. Will be good to see the progress of the plans! Sunny today after the tail end of Cyclone Eta whipped us yesterday, gales, rooves off, car wobbling coming back from the airport, debris everywhere, Tamaki Drive along the auckland – main road in from beach suburbs, waves and sea flooding over and into houses, boats swept ashore! Now lovely day – that’s weather for you! Not cold tho’ a tropical cyclone (or the tail end of it)

  11. What is this world, if full of care we have no time, to stand and stare – can’t remember who wrote that but your bench brought it to mind. What a lovely spot

  12. I know exactly what you mean with regard to always working in the garden, rather than sitting and relaxing.
    I have worked obsessively on our garden for the last 2 and a half years and despite probably several thousand hours of hard slog, there is not a seat or bench to be seen anywhere, except below the garden in the courtyard (with the seat facing the house)! I would really like to put a bench in the garden but have yet to settle on the right spot.
    Love your new dry stone wall and the timber retainer behind it! You’ve done a great job

  13. I hope you really do manage to sit down and relax in your super new sitting area! We have four sitting areas, but how often do we actually sit and relax, not very often, but I try to have coffee, lunch and afternoon tea sitting in the garden!

  14. The perpetual challenge of the avid gardener, how to actually enjoy the garden without leaping up and down to pull up those weeds! Not sure there is a solution reading all these comments, perhaps the answer is that our joy comes from the doing more than the looking?!

  15. One of the best things about a bench in the garden is you can always imagine yourself sitting there, even when you don’t have time. You’ve made a real go of this idea and the planting sounds perfect.

  16. Gorgeous. This will be so serene and tranquil when the plants have cozied in nicely! Lots of work there — congratulations.

  17. That looks great, I like this new seating program, and I think the gravel will really dress up the area and make it even more inviting. Any plans for a planter by the bench? I seem to remember something to that effect.
    Contrary to most opinions I have no problems finding a spot to sit down on and then spend 20 minutes in idle nothingness. If you can get past the guilt (not a problem for me!) spring is the perfect time for sitting around.

    • Hi bittster
      I have an old tin bath which I am contemplating making into a small pond to collect the rain runoff from the shed, plus I can fit a few small pots in front of the bench but I need to do the gravel first

  18. It’s looking great! How long you manage to stay seated for remains to be seen – I very rarely manage it. Despite my garden benches, I still love step sitting because they’re right in the middle of the garden. Here I do manage to sit still for a while, but I’m always contemplating what to do with the garden next, so that probably doesn’t count as relaxation.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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