Viv’s Garden, Sheffield

Viv’s Garden, Sheffield

Viv invited me to a tour of her back garden on a warm summer morning. She apologised that the drought and water restrictions, which had kept her from watering her garden, meant that the garden wasn’t looking its best. Despite this, quite a few plants were still blooming and hadn’t yet succumbed to the punishing weather conditions of an unexpected and extended British Summer Heatwave.


Viv’s Garden, Plan View


As with many Victorian built houses, dining room double doors lead to her garden patio which is paved with sandstone and has a table and chairs for al fresco summer meals and enjoying the garden. Terracotta pots of various sizes with shade-loving plants in need of special attention, such as hosta, are pleasingly clustered around.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Her gardening style is inspired by watching and helping her mother as a child and has inherited all of her grandmother’s garden tools. In keeping with the family theme, she has a deep purple rose bush that both she and her mother bought for their gardens which she treasures. Although simple in design, the layout of the garden is effective with a planted border to the left a gentle sweeping curve that gracefully widens towards the rear of the garden where it meets two raised brick beds. There is a great variety of green foliage which is planted in a cottage style: flowering plants and edible fruit plants are intermixed and a stunning teak bench which Viv rescued from the skip allows a peaceful seating area at the bottom of the garden. As with many of us, Viv refuses to use chemicals for pest control and so regularly enjoys bowls of loganberries, gooseberries, raspberries picked straight from the garden.


Many of her plants are gifts acquired over time and when she feels the urge to buy something new, often pops to Aldi for great for plant bargains – she bought an apple tree for only a few pounds and has since shaped it into an espalier.



Tips & Tricks from Viv 


  • Shopping for interesting plant varieties at The Range in Sheffield
  • Stacking of pots to elevate them helps give them height and is especially useful to keep them safe from predators
  • The upside-down wine bottle trick to water plants in pots: link


Questions for Viv


  1.   How do you use your garden?
  • Quiet space to sit and enjoy.
  • Entertaining (if the weather is good)
  • Exercise when gardening


  1.   What are this biggest improvements or accomplishments you’ve made in your garden?
  • New patio
  • Growing fruit – Espalier apple tree
  • Working in progress – Cottage style garden


  1.   Favourite time(s) of year and why? Favourite plants?
  • Sitting out in summer
  • Can’t pick a favourite plant. Maybe the blue purple rose or pink Camellia – Lady Macon, Aquilegia, Rodgersia


  1.   What have been some challenges you’ve experienced and how have you dealt with them?
  • Shade – I planted shady border then a neighborhood tree was chopped which means it’s no longer in shade
  • Weeds in the grass from squirrels burying them – with no solution


  1.   What advice would you give?
  • Just do it
  • Give everything two chances
  • Accept advice from others
  • Accept plants from other people’s gardens