Garden Clutter and Aspirational Delusions

I catch the train a lot and love nosing at the back of people’s homes that we pass en route.



I can’t help myself from thinking over some of them, that half an hour of putting things away at the onset of autumn would make such a difference to the look of a garden that never look their best during the wet dull days of winter. Of course, fortunately loads of strangers can’t see my back garden from a train 😀

We only have a small back garden – a very typical Victorian ‘backyard’ with high 8ft walls.

The History Bit

In the UK, the Victorian period is so named after the period that Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 – 1901. (Great Great Grandmother to our current Queen Elizabeth II).

This was a period of mass movement to urban living. In the town I live in, the population quadrupled during that period and there are many many streets of terrace housing, back to back (where gardens back on to the terrace behind you with no other access other than through your own back door.)

You can often find traces of the old outdoor privy and in our’s also the original brick floor of the coal house.


Our backyard is a fairly typical 10ft x 16 feet wide (the width of the house) and doesn’t have any soil, just paving.

When I first moved here, on my own 12 years ago, this was my first garden and I fondly imaged that I would prove to be a keen gardener, despite never having shown a flicker of interest before. In fact I remember on first meeting the people who were eventually to become my in-laws, shortly after I moved, proudly talking about my ‘interest’ in gardening, lol.

garden pots 002

My Garden Clutter

Over the years I seemed to have collected a lot of pots (as the only means of growing plants), in part from my now in-laws full of plants but also my own annual spring burst of enthusiasm: a triumph of hope over realism.

Most died due to a combination of summer neglect and a massive snail and slug problem. I finally admitted to my self that the idea of me being a gardener   and collecting all the paraphernalia that comes with such an interest was typical aspirational hording!

I’ve stopped pretending.

Fortunately, my husband seems to have developed an interest in the garden in the last year or two but he has bought all his own pots to suit his fruit tree passions. So we’re left with a plethora of spare pots that won’t get reused.

A few weeks ago, we had a typical British trigger for de-cluttering the garden – a weekend of spring sunshine! While he happily tackled vigorous pruning I felt the urge to declutter.

garden pots 003

Pots gone via Freecycle

My husband is never keen on de-cluttering and seemed resistant at first to the idea, but I was greatly surprised how many he was able to let go of: I did my usual, “you c
an keep as many as you like, but let’s go through them one by one and just give me a quick yes or no as to whether you can let it go”.

By removing the stress by ensuring he understood I wouldn’t be pressuring him or disapproving of his choices he said “yes it can go” to nearly every one.

To the right is a picture of many of the pots we got rid of via freecycle that weekend


How’s the clutter in your garden?

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