We favour the wild, natural look and like the birds, butterflies, frogs and other small animals that inhabit our garden, but we want it to be looked after. We would prefer it if the slugs and butterflies kept away from the vegetable garden, but of course they don't. We don't mind a few weeds and have plenty of space for them, but we are in a constant battle to stop the nettles, docks and brambles from overunning us.

We aren't experts and but after a few years of learning we are almost managing to grow veg that look like the pictures on the packet. But we've discovered that the slug mats don't keep off all the slugs and butterflies find their way under the mesh, the cucumbers come all at once and we always end up too few carrots and too many tomatoes. And then there is the preserving: pickling, drying, freezing, bottling and jam making. A lot to learn for retired amateurs who took on the challenge to "grow you own".

But it isn't just fruit and veg. Despite objections from the webmaster who doesn't see the point, we have started work to improve the ornamental garden and add more colour and texture. it is a work in progress although the main focus is still on the veg patch.