When we moved here 23 years ago this bed was a rockery of sorts where a garage had been demolished. Herbs seem thrive in the poor, free-draining soil which is full of debris, clinker, broken bricks and a few bits of broken glass.
Broken paving slabs and pieces of a concrete coal bunker had been used to build the low retaining wall around the bed. Over the years, we've considered changing the shape of the bed and reconstructing it using railway sleepers but it's about right as it is and the weathered recycled slabs blend in with the garden.
To bring it all together we decide to put paving slabs along the top of the low wall. When we get to the local B&Q DIY store I'm delighted to discover that it's possible to buy natural sandstone. Seven 30 cm x 60 cm (1 ft x 2 ft) slabs, which are as many as we can reasonably expect the car to carry, are all it takes to cover the length of wall.
We don't spend any time trying to select slabs that will 'match': each slab has its own individual character. With my interest in geology I'd rather look at the most-mismatched of natural sandstone slabs than a 'perfect' but uniform row of artificial replicas.
At only £4.48 each, so the whole length costs only a little over £31.
Richard Bell, email@example.com