Tag: gardening

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!

Tuesday Treat – Autumn Cleaning

I’m not a big fan of spring cleaning. The weather is improving so I want to be outside, doing something fun. So I prefer to do my spring cleaning in autumn and am in full swing of getting everything tidy & sorted so that I can hibernate guilt free! I’ve given my study a complete overhaul, moved furniture, cleaned, organised, charity shopped, eBayed, the works. I’ve even given the pots in the garden an autumnal overhaul and planted a few lovely pansy plants to go alongside the cyclamens that are in full bloom at the moment.

Pansy and cyclamenNext weekend, we’ll be making a start on the spare room, which needs quite a bit of attention, specifically with storage. So I’m going to be looking out for good, budget friendly storage solutions to help keep that room organised. Is there anything more soothing than a good old clear out?!

How to completely change your garden

Or How renovating your garden requires blood, sweat and multiple trips to the tip.

When my OH & I bought our house over 3 years ago, it looked very different. We spent the first month pretty much painting everything we could. Trust me, it needed it. Our house is 160 years old. Throughout its history, some of the owners have lovingly looked after it. Some clearly hated it and practised their awful DIY skills on it! So we throughout the process, we’ve discovered some lovely bits and some hideous bits. But we left the garden alone. When we moved in, it looked like this.

BeforeIt was pretty neglected. Bit by bit, we started to tidy up. The more we tidied, the more junk we discovered. It was a long, arduous and uninspiring task. I can’t even think how many trips to the tip we’ve done. Whether it was the shed, the debris behind the shed, the dead bushes and shrubs… It goes on. But finally, all of that is behind us. This year, we’ve had a new fence and shed built. We’ve completely gutted the garden, with the exception of a very lonely magnolia tree. And we’ve only got about one more tip run to do with a few more bucket fulls of rubble (seriously, no idea where it keeps coming from!) We’re not finished, but we’re really close. Over the last few weekends we’ve been working really hard on the house. Here are a few things we’ve done:

wallWe found these bricks under the earth at the back of the garden. Amazingly, most of them are in great shape, so we built a small wall around the shed. The shed is on a raised plinth so we needed something around it. I’m pretty chuffed with this find. Not quite sure what the numbers represent, but they are now on proud display in the garden. (Huge thanks to my OH’s step-dad for building it!) We have an ongoing battle with weeds in the earth around the shed so wanted something to stop this. So we put down some heavy duty weed barrier and put these lovely pebbles over it. They look lush in the rain and we’re going to add some ferns in pots around the side too.

On Sunday morning, I was very anxious about the weather. I wanted to paint the original fence in the garden to spruce it up a bit. It really needs repairing or replacing but we’re running out of time and money. The weather report said cloudy all day so off out into the garden we went. It started the day looking like this:

Before_back Before_frontIt did rain while we were painting, but just as we were finishing up and it was the briefest of showers. I had to run out for more paint, as we used the whole 5L tin before we finished and these taller panels will need a second coat. Fingers crossed for no rain on Saturday! Not only did we paint the fence, but we also dug in a border on this side of the lawn. There was one there before, but when we took out all the dying shrubs, the grass took over. Three days later and my body is still in agony from the work we did! But it’s so worth it, don’t you think?

After_front

Quite the improvement! We’re going to build some raised beds out of all scaffolding boards from a local supplier. They’re going to go either side of the patio. We are also going to powerwash the patio and plant up loads of bulbs that my Mum bought me and then we’ll be done until Spring. We’ve spent most of this years budget and we’re pretty exhausted, as we’ve also been working on a few bits inside the house too. Have to say, I’m very much looking forward to planting next year and not moving any more earth! Talk about a labour of love! We’ve worked so hard on our garden and I just can’t wait for it to be finished.

A Crafty Garden – An update

We’ve been working really hard on getting our garden sorted. For weeks, it felt like all we did was work on the garden, which was fine as it also meant I could work on my tan* (See ‘tan’, think just less vampire-pale!) Anyway, we’ve not been able to do much over the last few weekends, with weddings & other commitments. Plus I think we were a little burnt out on gardening. We’ll be back out there next weekend though, as we’re really close to getting everything done, bar the planting, which will come later.

The main area we’ve been focusing on was the back of the garden. It’s overshadowed by a tree & it’s not an area we use particularly. We’ve decided to let it go wild & plant wild flower seeds. We’ve picked up some packs of seeds from Burford Garden Centre, that are suitable for a shady area like this, but will still attract bees & butterflies. At the moment, it’s only attracting Poppy & some cats!

Back of the gardenThere is a gap between the wall and the shed, which Poppy uses to bark at the cats that sit on the shed. When we plant the seeds, we’re going to try & block this area off from her. We’re hoping it’ll become a little area for nature. One that doesn’t require much weeding!

Soon to be wildWe moved the compost bin from the back & found, surprisingly, compost! So I’m hoping that we can carry on using it, but would love to ‘pretty up’ the bin a bit. If you know how I can do that, let me know! I also want to paint the fence, as it’s really tatty in place & we haven’t got the budget to replace it right now. We’re not sure what type of outdoor paint to use though, as it’s already been painted once. Again, any ideas, let me know as we need to do that before we plant.

Numbered bricksIn the space at the back of the garden, we found these adorable bricks. (We also found some very annoying reinforced concrete, which required a few tips to the trip to remove, but that’s another story!) We’re going to reuse a lot of the bricks we dug up throughout the garden, but what I’d like to know is why do these bricks have numbers in them? We’ve got quite a few. Why were they buried under ground? Who made them? So many questions arrise when your garden is over 150 years old!

Hanging BasketOne thing that has gone well are my plants! They’ve really bloomed. The hanging basket I planted up is my favourite. Everything was bought from Millets Farm & the plants were random & on offer so I’m not sure what they are, except that they’re pretty & the bees love them!

Planted potsThis is my favourite pot though. These have grown like wild fire & spread everywhere. They need a bit of tidy up at the moment, but nothing too taxing, which is why I like pots!

The end is in sight for the garden. We’ve got a deadline of the end of July to get all the major work completed, which is quite doable. Then we’ll focus on working out what to plant.