Tag: gardening

The Garden in the Summer

It’s been just over a year since we completed our garden. We weren’t sure which plants would survive over winter, especially as we didn’t do anything to protect plants or cut back last autumn. Not all the plants made it. Some didn’t even make it to winter, so I’ve got a few replacement plants, including a buddleja, which we had before we renovated the garden, but it had gone out of control so we got rid of it. However, since then, we’ve noticed that the birds missed it and it’s such a great plant for butterflies that when a friend offered a plant to me, I accepted. It’s growing really well and has flowers on it already. I moved a few plants, including the iris plants we bought, as they’d outgrown the space we planted them in last year.

Summer plants Garden in the summer Summer in the garden Poppy in the garden

We didn’t really know what plants to get for the garden when we planted it up last summer. I know we need to add more spring plants, as it took until May for most of the plants to flower. We didn’t get around to planting any bulbs last autumn, but I really want to make time for that this year. It felt that it took that garden ages to wake up from winter so spring bulbs are a must! I think there are a few plants that I’d still like to move, and more to buy next year. I’d like a row of alliums along the fence and maybe another few peony plants, because you can never have too many peonies!

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


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?!

Tuesday Treat – Green Fingers

Blimey! How has a week passed since I last blog?! Things have been crazy busy here at Crafty Chai towers, so time for anything, let alone blogging, is rare at the moment. One of the main things we’ve been working on is our garden, and if you follow me on Facebook, you’ll have seen that we finally got to plant actual plants into the ground on Sunday! Yay!

Green Fingers

I was so excited to go to the Garden Centre on Saturday, then the weather turned and it was really unpredictable so we waited until Sunday morning to plant everything. Deciding what to plant was quite tricky and I spent ages umming and ahing over to what to buy. In the end, for the bed by the patio, we just went and picked things we liked the look of. I’ll blog about it in more detail, but we did get some herbs, some beautiful flowers and great grasses. We’ve still got the borders on either side of the lawn to do, but we’ll be getting some bigger plants and shrubs to help fill these spaces. And boy oh boy are plants pricey! We got quite a good chunk of money off by getting deals, but it still cost quite a bit. Another reason why we’ll be going for more shrubs in the borders! I can’t tell you how happy this has made me. Having outdoor space that is pleasing to the eye is such a luxury and it’s taken four years and plenty of blood, sweat, tears and swears to get us to this point. Oh, and about a million trips to the tip. That’s not an exaggeration! One thing we’d really like to get is new garden furniture. We’re currently using some very rickety second hand stuff so if you know of any great deals, let me know!

What are your top planting tips? I’d really like to know how to keep slugs and snails at bay, in an organic way that Poppy won’t eat!

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.


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.


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!


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!