Thank you to Rachel at Brecon & District Mind for this weeks blog post, sharing her experiences of gardening during the lockdown....
My name is Rachel Williams and I have worked as an Office Assistant at Brecon and District Mind since 2016. I have had mental health problems on and off for several years but partly due to my job I try to see it as experience, more than an illness or mental health condition, as psychology as a subject, intrigues me, although it can be severe at times. I came to Brecon and District Mind in 2014 and they have given me a lot of support over the last few years whether it has simply been a shoulder to cry on or like when they took me on as an employee for which I owe them a lot of thanks.
Due to suffering from mental health problems I had kind of lost interest in my garden when I lived in Crickhowell. But thanks to the fact I was feeling better due to attending Brecon and District Mind here I was in 2015 embarking on a new journey or path in changing and developing a garden in Llanfrynach, a quiet village on outskirts of Brecon. A new start.
I started in 2015 by clearing all the borders and added a bit of art by creating a chess board patio with paving slabs. I have always been keen on colour and straight away started by adding some daffodil bulbs to the soil in between paving slabs in order to provide colour in the spring. Then according to time of year, I made sure there was something eg. Lobelia or diacias in summer and cyclamen in autumn.
As I progressed year by year, I realised that the garden at front of the house was a big hot spot in the summer. So I couldn’t put things that needed to be cool like sweet peas. So I planted things such as aubretia that tolerated hot weather. Last year – 2019, I added more colour and comfort to the garden by painting the fence with trailing wisteria mediterranean blue and placed a bench in front of patio creating a peaceful area to sit in.
I also had to remove two peach trees which were not happy in their position in the back garden. I replaced them in February this year – 2020 with apple trees in each corner and clematis along back fence.
Whilst on holiday in February I discussed the possibility of making raised beds and growing my own vegetables, which until now I had never done, with my dad , as I had an empty area or free space at the back of house. So, when lock down happened in March it was an ideal opportunity. I started by painting my fences Mediterranean blue like at the front, then went on to create the raised beds.
The raised beds were actually made from a recycled wooden compost bin which split into 6 sections. I then painted each section blue which was easy with the hot weather and put them together as 3 raised beds. I then filled them with a mixture of manure and compost. Then I planted 6 lettuce plants in one, 2 courgette plants in another and a few sweet pea plants in another.
I have already had two complete rounds of lettuce leaves and one courgette. Obviously at beginning of lock down we were not sure about garden centres etc. But fortunately the garden centre in Three Cocks was taking orders so I was able to order some bedding plants, for my chess board patio, for this summer. I also planted some beetroot and radishes.
My next projects are firstly a green house, to replace my potting shed which is prone to getting damp and in order to grow more vegetables and fruit such as autumn raspberries which I like with my porridge for breakfast , then a new back fence to protect the clematis which gets nibbled by sheep. I will probably paint the fence blue like the benches and raised beds. Since moving to Llanfrynach I now love working in the garden and sitting on benches in the sun with cups of tea, which I have done a lot during lock down thanks to lovely weather. It really brings a good sense of satisfaction and pleasure to see what I have achieved.