New Tropical Garden – Exciting times! Part 1

For the past few months I have been looking at a part of my garden which has always been a bit neglected. Twenty years ago when my family moved to Christchurch, the rear part of the back garden was sectioned off into a 20′ square area. Four apple trees were planted (too closely together), a ghastly hedge of evil Leylandii was erected to screen off the neighbours and some grass seed was sown. That’s pretty much all the gardening that the area had ever seen. As the years went on, the grass was mown (rarely), the apples were gathered (sometimes) and the Leylandii was hacked to a manageable height. However, in that time something was growing…


I was only twelve when I moved, and at that age, the only gardening I enjoyed was digging up worms to scare my sister (if you even call that gardening!). Years later I’m now a keen gardener, I’m no Monty Donn, but I love planting things and watching them grow, raising seeds into adulthood, growing food for the table as well as digging up worms to scare my sister.

Now I’m (cough) 35 and rather than looking at the end of the garden thinking “that grass needs cutting” or “I’d better rake those fallen apples” or “I’d better trim the Leylandii as the International Space Station will be getting snagged in it soon”, I thought I’d redesign the whole lot!

The Flattening

I decided I wanted a lushious, lusious, erm, leafy, verdant area full of tropical plants. Something out of Tarzan or The Jungle Book – a jungle! However, before I created my Christchurch Rain forest, I needed to remove everything that was there. A mammoth task was to unfold, alas no mammoths were available at the DIY store, so I had to do it. First the Leylandii went (woohoo!!), then the sky high grass was dug up. It was only then I found a small tribe of semi-nomadic people who’d been living in the grass for the past twelve years, they’d been living off fallen apples and feared the wrathful god they called ‘the giant raking man’. I digress.

Once the Leylandii and grass were gone and the tribe had moved to next door’s garden, I had the sad task of removing the apple trees. They’d always been sorry things, planted too close together next to evil conifers which sucked all the moisture out of the ground, they were stunted and misshapen. I removed the first two, the most misshapen and ‘in the way’ ones and then I had a change of heart so kept the other two. Here’s what I ended up with…

A member of a travelling fair was passing by at the time of the photo, you might notice him on the right. Find out what I did next in the second instalment of ‘New Tropical Garden – Exciting times!’

About James

I am a keen forager, gardener, cook and metal detectorist. I enjoy growing my own veg, using my smoker, foraging for all manner of flora and fungi and just love getting out in the wild.
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