Garden sizes (split from potassium...)

Started by CG100, October 12, 2022, 11:53:52 PM

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Unfortunately, both the EU and UK have no allowances for anything - in the case of plants and seeds all imports require a phyto' and are subject to import charges (in at least Germany, things are even worse as there are charges for import inspection to add as well).

The scale of gardening is also very different compared to the US - the number of people who have room for and might want more than 3-5 of these plants will be tiny. Modern housing in the UK is built with around 8 dwellings per acre, and that includes the roads, everything. A plot with an older house of something like an eigth of an acre would be regarded by most people as huge, verging on vast. Indeed, older houses with very large gardens are a disappearing beast in much of the UK as they are frequently redeveloped to something approaching 8 dwellings per acre, and sometimes more if in an area of high property values.

David Pilling

I'd add that a million or more UK front gardens have been paved over to provide car parking.

We're a long way from when philanthropic industrialists dictated that their workers live in homes with gardens.

Land is in demand for forestation, re-wilding, wind turbines, solar farms, low impact farming, food security, and housing.

Nice gardens are not on that list. The allotment movement is still alive, you may need to get your name put down at birth to get one.

Whilst the UK government can say how much living space a chicken needs to be happy, they don't have a similar figure for people. Occasionally the BBC will taunt us with a programme saying gardening is good for mental health.


I should moderate things slightly by saying that redevelopment of housing is only likely within urban areas. Houses with large plots outside built-up areas would otherwise not get planning permission, but that makes such properties desirable and (far) more expensive than an equivalent dwelling on a small/modest plot within the local urban areas.

The building of any and all permanent (and some temporary) structures is strictly controlled within the UK, and usually strictly enforced. I strongly suspect that similar applies to the EU.

Anyway...........a long way from where the thread started...................


That makes me realize how fortunate I am.  I am on .85 acre; and most of my neighbors are on 3-5 acre plots. In addition my neighbor has given me permission to plant a 35' wide fire-break along my 350' west property line. His adjacent property is open woodlot. This gives me a huge shade garden in which I have built a 150' X30" recirculating brook with 2 small ponds..
Marc Rosenblum

Falls City, OR USA

I am in USDA zone 8b where temperatures almost never fall below 15F  -9.4C.  Rainfall 50"+  but none  June-September.  We seldom get snow; but when it comes we get 30" overnight.  soil is sandy loam with a lot of humus.  Oregon- where Dallas is NNW of Phoenix.

Martin Bohnet

Garden sizes around here in suburban southern Germany are a pain - I'm not sure if I mean it jokingly that I'd love to buy a neighbors house to tear it down. The one bordering west would be a good candidate. Especially since on the plot to the south-west there's such a huge 8 family monster blocking all of my evening sun in the darker half of the year. my whole plot is only 330 m² - house, - garage. I need more, and yet it feels new areas are even tighter cramped up. And as David already mentioned, people are forced to add parking space according to the number of parties the house is suitable for. And even then officials speak of cramping people closer together (Flächenverdichtung) instead of growing on the outskirts. I know I'm not fair towards those in need of affordable accommodation. Luckily, most of them want to live in the city - no idea why. 
Martin (pronouns: he/his/him)

David Pilling

Quote from: Martin Bohnet on October 15, 2022, 02:35:00 AMFlächenverdichtung

You have a word for everything. I looked it up "Area compaction" or "Area densification".

Table top bulb growing could be a popular thing.


Rural properties with large plots are always likely to have large plots in the UK because the only building that is at all likely to be allowed are changes to or replacement of the exisiting dwelling. But if the property is convenient for communting, the price will be (very) high.

Many town/city-dwellers do live in a fool's paradise though, having seen the prices for agricultural land, they dream of buying a field somewhere and building their own house on it. Unless you run a business from there (which really means some kind of livestock) which requires attention throughout the day, you would never get planning permission, and even then, the house that would be allowed would be modest.

There are large areas of the UK where local employment is scarce and/or low-paid, where housing with large plots are realatively cheap. You would have to like, or at least think nothing of, living very inconvenient distances from pretty much all services and ammenities though.

David Pilling

Could we say... the population of the UK is increasing, the number of houses is increasing, but the number of people involved in gardening is probably constant or declining slightly. Gardening is therefore less of a mainstream activity.

If you're keen enough then you can find a house with a large garden in the UK. But most people are not going to get a large garden with a new house.

I would guess growing food crops is more of an old fashioned thing. At first sight a good idea, but in practice, too much effort for most. Some might say it is not very efficient, wasting water and so on. A bit like land is best managed by experts and not by gardeners.

The tree I might plant given the chance, is not the right sort of tree.


Quote from: David Pilling on October 15, 2022, 04:13:24 AMYou have a word for everything. I looked it up "Area compaction" or "Area densification".

Table top bulb growing could be a popular thing.

Indeed, until you think about providing the needed conditions. How many miniature geophytes are there that will thrive in shade with moderate temperatures year 'round? Compared the number of miniatures that demand near full sun and seasonal temps?

Ah, city living. The lot is 36' x 118' (11m x 36m), the house is 28' x 55' (8.5m x 17m). So a fairly large lot for San Francisco, with a generous front setback (30'/9m), narrow shaded alleys between houses, and a backyard enclosed by 8'/2.5 fences. In the older parts of the city the houses adjoin, and there is little or no front garden, and may not be significant back yards either. In more suburban areas, lots get larger, sometimes much larger.

I manage to fit a broad collection into the space, although things get crowded spring and fall when both the summer and winter plants need garden space. Inside, there are a handful of miniature (geophyte) aroids under lights.

in San Francisco, where the summer is progressing from No Sky July and Fogust, to Septembrrrr and Fogtober. No Indian Summer this year to give a late burst of growth to the summer bulbs.

Judy Glattstein

I live in western New Jersey, which could be considered east coast urban. Our "side" of the state (which is taller north to south, narrow east to west) has been changing from farms raising soy beans, wheat, oats, in tractor trailer quantities to "growing" houses, McMansions on lots that seem undersized to us.

We moved here 20+ years ago. Looked for 18 months before finding something we could both agree on - I had veto rights for the outdoors, Himself for house. Taxes are high for what we have as services are close to nil - a good percentage go for schools (there's a grade school and middle school but high school is sending district from several communities) and they do plow the roads in winter. We pay to have driveway plowed. I think current zoning is for minimum 6 acres, to allow for septic. Our township has no police, no fire dept, no post office. We have a well and septic system, pay for private trash pickup and ditto recyclables. There is a 1,000 gallon in-ground propane tank which fuels house heat, hot water, kitchen stove.

We have about 9 acres of mostly unimproved woodland - oak, black walnut, maples, and now the ash are dead - on a very sloping lot. Soil is heavy clay loam with shale.

There are deer, raccoons, opossums, skunks, chipmunks, voles, rabbits, the infrequent / occasional bear.

I'm getting beyond the point where it is possible for me to cope with multiflora roses, Japanese stilt grass, and other obnoxious invasives. The literally thousands of hardy bulbs I planted when we first arrived are still quite happy - galanthus, Leucojum vernum, Eranthis hiemalis, scillas, assorted narcissus, colchicum and more.

So I'm (mostly) happy too. We like that once the trees leaf out in spring we cannot see the neighbors. They move back into view as the leaves drop.


Such properties do not really exist in the UK and if they did, the dwelling would probably be very large, and prices would vary hugely depending on geographical location.
I doubt that any would be available for less than £1M, unless the dwelling was a neglected hovel in the back end of beyond, and in a favoured location, would be several £M's.
Such properties are not being built in the UK, or only exceedingly rarely, by the very wealthy, and usually by redeveloping an existing dwelling that was built before planning laws existed (pre 1950's??).
An interesting comment about septic tanks.......
Many old rural properties here have septic tank drainage and some dwellings can be "cheek by jowl". Today, if an old agricultural building was being converted to a dweling, for instance, foul water drainage would have to go to what is known here as a packet treatment works - basically a tiny equivalent to a conventional sewerage treatment works using aerobic digestion rather than anaerobic (which is what a septic tank achieves).

Martin Bohnet

Quote from: David Pilling on October 15, 2022, 09:06:10 AMThe tree I might plant given the chance, is not the right sort of tree.

If I had room for another tree I'd try a PawPaw - but I can't see a way for that.

But really, dear Americans, you have no IDEA how much space you have. On the other hand this explains why at least in my area of Germany deer are no horticultural problem. Around Berlin they seem to have a very problematic wild bore population it seems.
Martin (pronouns: he/his/him)

David Pilling

Quote from: Martin Bohnet on October 16, 2022, 12:43:23 AMIf I had room for another tree

Gardeners' World is a programme on BBC2 on a Friday night and has been for 60 years. Anyway on the last episode there was a guy who had spent 20 years planting unusual trees - it was very interesting:

(Gardeners' World 2022 Episode 30 - YouTube, uploaded by someone in the USA)

Judy Glattstein

When we moved east from Pittsburgh (western side of Pennsylvania) we bought out first, "starter" home in Connecticut. It was on a 50 ft X 100 ft lot, which is an eighth of an acre. House, driveway down one side, garage sort of underground (I seem to fixate on sloping properties.) Population there, back then (1968), was about 40,000.

In 1973 (I was agitating for more land) we moved about 20 miles to a 1.06 acre property with a nice house and fabulous potential for a garden. This became the garden of my heart. Wonderful site with that mythical moist but well drained soil, had 5 mature white oak trees, native Cornus florida. I thought I was a superb gardener but it was really the site which enabled me to grow the plants. Population was 17,000.

Husband's company relocated to New Jersey and the commute was exhausting him. There was a company van so he only had to drive once every other week. But it meant leaving very early in the morning and getting back home very late. Next option was working four 10-hour days and spending Monday - Wednesday night in a company apartment. So we moved.

If I was independently wealthy and had staff this could be a very lovely place. But I'm not and it isn't. Population when we moved here was 1,700.

So every time we move the property seems to go up by an order of magnitude, and the population drops the same.

What's next? Move to Wyoming where everyone drives a pickup with a camper cap because - as we speculate when we've been there on a rock garden society annual meeting - you have to camp out overnight to go grocery shopping.


Quote from: Judy Glattstein on October 16, 2022, 09:19:07 AMWhat's next? Move to Wyoming where everyone drives a pickup with a camper cap because - as we speculate when we've been there on a rock garden society annual meeting - you have to camp out overnight to go grocery shopping.