I have been interested in gardening since my mid twenties but my practical activity has varied in the different gardens that came with the houses in which I have lived.
The first garden for which I was responsible was a one acre plot on a hillside overlooking Blantyre in Malawi. I spent three happy years experimenting with various flowers and vegetables but leaving all the hard work to my gardener.
Following my return to England in 1972 I became enthused with the ideas of self-sufficiency that were current at the time but unfortunately my first house in Springhill Road lived up to its name with heavy clay soil that turned into a bog throughout the winter.
A few years later I was able to move to to a decent plot 270 feet long with space for all the veggies I wanted. There was also plenty of room for lawns with flower borders and even a small orchard at the end. The only drawback was the bungalow which was on the small side so that when my two children reached their teens another move was indicated.
This time it was to a large victorian house set in a quarter acre garden. The house was on a bend in the road so the plot was roughly triangular with the building standing well back thus leaving little room for veggies at the rear. Despite this I did manage to grow runner beans and a few other crops together with tomatoes and grapes in the greenhouse.
Now that our children are long gone, my wife and I moved to our present house at the end of last year. The garden which lies east-west slopes gently down to a small stream at the bottom. On the left is a large wooden shed which the estate agent optimistically described as a summer house but which was used by the previous owner, who was a kitchen fitter, for storing his timber. The first few months have been spent waiting to see what would emerge in the borders and planning for major changes which will be carried out in the fall. High on the list are a wisteria and honeysuckle to cover the "summer house".
Hugh Harris-Evans is a retired 62 year old who divides his time between building his gardening web site The Garden Supplies Advisor and getting his hands dirty in his real world garden.