Category: Home & Garden

A Finished Garden… Almost

When we moved into our house four years ago, we were really excited to make it our home. While the house is still a work in progress (more on that later), the garden is pretty much finished, bar a tree, some shady plants and a lick of paint. This is what it looked like before:

Garden Before

This is how it looks now:

Planted Borders

sunny garden

Finished Garden

Agapanthus

Purple PixieAtomic Red Ray                   Foxglove

Poppy enjoying the garden We put bark down in a bid to reduce mud in the house (Poppy likes to weave through the plants!), reduce weeding and slug attacks. We’re also working on improving the grass, as it’s patchy and has its fair share of weeds. We also need to buy a tree, probably a hawthorne, for the border above, as the birds like having somewhere to rest. The seeds sown at the back of the garden haven’t really worked, so we’re going to plant some ferns and shade loving plants there, and maybe some more grass. Poppy jumps up at the cats walking along it, so it’s probably for the best. The back of the house needs a lick of paint, as the white walls blind you whenever you go outside and we’re in desperate need of new table and chairs. But the other night, we sat out on new deckchairs and it was bliss! I can’t wait to see how the plants grow and develop.

The beds beside the patio are also finished, though we’ve filled one with pebbles to put pots on, which still need sprucing. The other looks like this:

Planting BedsFinished BedRaised BedI’d like to say a huge thank you to What You Sow for sending me some new gardening gloves! My other pair were worn through in the fingers so were useless but these new ones are awesome and were excellent at protecting my hands from all the digging!

All we have to do now is keep everything alive. Fingers crossed! What do you think? Not bad huh?!

Clothes Clear Out

I don’t know about you, but I seem to wear the same three or so outfits, despite having a wardrobe and chest of drawers I can’t actually clothes. Inspired by this post, which Rosie shared in a Facebook, I was determined to get myself organised. The problem I have is this: about a third of my clothes are a size too small (but I’m working on getting back into them), a third are worn out/gross and a third are only suitable for winter. I’d packed up all the clothes that were too small/out of season last year but decided that it would be a good idea to go through all my clothes and be thorough.

Clothes Pile

Here’s a snapshot of me going through everything. I found some little gems that I’d forgotten about, some that didn’t fit when I packed them away do now (though I’m still amazed how widely sizes vary) and I found some clothes that I should never have bought in the first place! The other thing I discovered was that I have an insane amount of pyjamas! I created a pile of charity shop donations, a pile of clothes needing repair and piles of clothes needing a good wash. I also tried things on as I went, which was great motivation, as some clothes are just a few Body Combat classes short of being wearable.

Charity Shop Donations

In the end, I bagged up seven bags worth of clothes for the charity shop, one bag of boots and shoes and one bag of clothes for recycling. I also gave up a few handbags that I never use and found a pen, a tissue and a pack of Love Hearts. I always seem to find these things in old handbags – never an odd £5 note though. In the end, I was left with this beautifully organised wardrobe and drawers I can close without losing a finger.

Tidy Wardrobe

(Note: I don’t think my wardrobe is lovely. It’s actually pretty rubbish, as the doors don’t close properly and everything gets dusty.)

I also made sure that I washed everything that needed washing straight away and I mended two cardigans, two dresses, a jumper and a hat. I’m hoping that this way, I’ll start wearing more of the clothes I actually have. If I haven’t worn it in six months, I plan to get rid of it. That way, it’ll stay organised. In theory!

How about you? How organised is your wardrobe? Do you declutter regularly?

Sowing Seeds

Our garden has been in a very sorry state since we moved in four years ago. It was overgrown, dark, crowded and in need general repair. It has taken sooooo much work to get it to this point, but we’re just a little way off being finished. Over winter, we did nothing in the garden. Not a thing. To be fair, it was too wet anyway and in a way, it’s a good thing, as we’ve changed our minds about what we want to do. The other morning, we went out to weed the borders and because of *all* the weeding we’ve done over the past few years, it didn’t take long to do the ones by the house and the patch at the back of the garden.

Patch

Either side of the patio are quite large borders. Initially, we planned to build raised beds and grow veg in them. However, last summer, when our neighbours grew tomatoes on their side of the fence, it became clear that having Poppy and growing veg wasn’t going to work. She developed lots of different techniques to try and get the tomatoes, despite the fact that the plants made her face and paws itch. She became obsessive about it. So food in the garden is a big no-no. We decided that we’d plant a mixture of lavender, herbs and other bee friendly plants in one, and cover the other in the shingle to put pots on. We wanted to do this cheaply and as ethically as possible so we bought reclaimed scaffolding boards from Oxford Wood Recycling, who cut them to size for us. We built the edging using three pieces of scaffolding (we didn’t put any at the back because the fence posts are in the way and because they’re not proper raised beds, they don’t need to be that high), dug down and dropped them in.

Raised Bed

It didn’t take nearly as long as we thought it would, but isn’t that often the case with procrastination?! For the patch at the back of the garden, clearing that took no time at all. It’s quite a dark area, so we bought seeds that are suited to shady areas, and we also planted a few freebies that I picked up from Chelsea Flower Show, including lots of poppies! I am watching the little seedlings daily, willing them to grow big and strong for the bees and butterflies. This area is where we’ll keep our bins and our compost bin (which we’re keeping after much deliberation) so we’re going to add in a path that goes all the up from the patio.

shingle

At the moment, we’ve got issues with ants in that they are in love with our garden and keep trying to use our garden as their base, from which they’re planning world domination. We also had to clear about a million (not an exaggeration) slugs and snails. Boy are they persistent little critters. We’ve won this battle (by collecting them up and putting them in our garden waste bin), but the war is far from over! As they like our garden so much, I need help finding pet friendly, organic slug repellents. My Mum suggested egg shells, which would be great, but I think Poppy would eat them. So if you have any ideas, please let me know!

Seedlings

We’ve still got the borders on either side of the grass to clear and edge, but we’re already trying to decide what to plant. We’re quite lucky that it’s a south facing garden so we’ve got lots of choices, but balancing that up between what we can afford, what is Poppy safe and taking the bees and butterflies into account, we’ve got some thinking to do! Any suggestions are most definitely welcome!

A Crafty Chai at Chelsea Flower Show

Last weekend was quite the whirlwind! Not only did I celebrate my birthday on the Friday and visit Harry Potter, but on the Saturday, thanks to Interflora, I headed to Chelsea Flowers Show with my friend Anna. I’d won tickets through their Pinterest competition and was so excited to go. I was so surprised to win – to be honest, I would’ve been chuffed to win some flowers, but this was way better!

It was a fairly early start to get into London before the crowds and more importantly, before the rain! We were fairly lucky on that score, being that we managed to dodge any showers until we were heading home. The crowds were more difficult to dodge – it was packed! I’ve never been shoulder barged by quite so many pensioners! Sometimes it was so busy, you couldn’t see the garden and lots of my photos have heads in. Nonetheless, it was an epic day and I took soooooo many photos, that I’ve had to put them on Flickr. Here are a few of my favourite snaps from the day.

Moss

Allium

Carnivores

Cape Town

Purples White flowers Potters Garden

Garden

Interflora Display Me in the Interflora display

This is me standing in the winning Interflora display. Despite me nearly destroying the display and the florists having such a busy week, they talked me through the display quite happily. There were so many amazing displays of flowers, from growers, countries, trade stands and designers. It gave me so much inspiration for my own garden and I think we’re going to go with a country cottage style garden, with lots of alliums, poppies, wild flowers and a few other select plants, like peonies, lily of the valley and some ornamental grasses. Watch this space!

It was an overwhelming, brilliant, amazing, exhausting, attack on all the senses experience. I loved it! I’d definitely go again, though I think I’d like to go during the week instead. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Julia at Interflora for getting in touch about the competition and passing on the good news of my win!