Tag: planting

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!

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?


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.