When I was a child I was obsessed by the book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Especially the part where Mary Lennox finds the door in the wall and the little robin helps her to locate the key. The suspense, as she opened the gate to find the most beautiful walled garden, used to totally captivate me and I’d spend the next few days thinking about nothing else and imagining myself there.
So, imagine my excitement when — five years ago — we came to view our home for the first time and realised that this funny, little house, with it’s tin roof, had its own secret garden.
A beautiful private space, surrounded by tall, red brick walls, screened from prying eyes.
It’s not the biggest garden in the world but it’s set over two levels so, as well as walls around the perimeter, there is another brick wall across the middle — with an arch in it — leading up to, what feels like, another garden.
Neither area is huge — they are just exactly the right size. The perfect amount of space for my boy to grow his vegetables, for our sons to play and for me to potter about in. There’s even space for the chicken coop too. It’s perfect for our little family.
I love it.
In the summer months the garden really comes into its own, as we treat it almost like another room. It’s perfect for sitting in, playing in… generally just bimbling about in.
And perfect for entertaining in too — which is good — as we host a summer barbecue for our family every year.
It’s been an annual ritual for the last 10 years or so but, in our old home, we had a much smaller garden — almost postage stamp sized. Come rain or shine, we’d have this barbecue — admittedly it’s not quite so easy when it’s howling down with rain and 20 or more people are squashed into the kitchen — but we never cancelled due to poor weather! There’s no point putting things off when you’re British is there? You’d end up never doing anything.
Thankfully, this year’s family barbecue was last weekend and it dawned bright and sunny and we were treated to a really beautiful day. Blue skies, with a light breeze, perfect for our family to descend on us en-masse.
This year, there were a few of our combined clans missing, so we had 15 adults and 2 children. Still no easy feat to seat everyone comfortably.
My boy made a fabulous table top one year, to fit over our little wooden patio table. You could fit 6 down each side and a couple either end then we’d bring all the kitchen and dining chairs into the garden.
This served us very well for a few years but when we moved here, we bought a gigantic outdoor dining set, to try and seat everyone.
It has a huge, glass topped, round table with curved benches that wrap around it. We can manage to get 16 round the table — at a push — so there’s only a few people left who need to use our old wooden table and chairs.
So picture the scene.
We’re all eating, chatting, enjoying a little too much Pimms and a lot of sunshine — then all of a sudden, there is an almighty CRACK as one of the the ancient wooden chairs, that my brother-in-law ‘was’ sitting on, collapses. Leaving him *almost* touching the ground.
Needless to say, ‘making do’ is no longer acceptable. We need to prevent this from happening, to some other poor unsuspecting soul and preserve their bottoms as well as their dignity.
So we’re on the look out for another set of chairs to go round the rickety little table.
Happily Asda are running a fab campaign* at the moment — they’ve just launched #ASDAOutdoors and are keen to get more people outdoors, enjoying their gardens this summer. They’ve put together a fab collection of lovely and affordable garden furniture and I’ve had a quick look to see if there’s anything that takes my eye.
- Retro Dining Chairs in Buttercup Yellow – Set of 2 — £40
- Heritage Folding Bistro Chair Green — £15
- Retro 3 Piece Moon Bistro Set — £99
- Heritage 3 Piece Classic Bistro Set in Cream & Heather — £119
- Jakarta Patio Arm Chairs Dark Linen – Set of 2 — £89
Number 5 has got my vote. Smart and comfy chairs — perfect for long, lazy lunches — that will sit around the existing table and tie in with the giant round table.
And be kind to bottoms too. Unlike their predecessors ;)
*Have a look out for their #AsdaOutdoors campaign — they’ve got a great range of garden furniture online to suit all tastes and all budgets.
This post was written in collaboration with Asda but all thoughts and words, as ever, are my own.