Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

10 Perfect plans for the smaller garden

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

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Having a smaller garden may seem like a huge drawback with limited options but there are ways to spruce up your garden so that you can enjoy it no matter what size it is. Knowing how to decorate and plan for a small garden will ensure that no space goes to waste – these ten tips will help you to bring your garden to life regardless of its shape and size.

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  1. Growing Herbs

No matter how small your garden is, there will always be enough room to grow your own herbs. People grow them in their apartments, balconies, windowsills and patios. There are lots of different herbs you can easily grow, such as basil, parsley, coriander and thyme; all perfect for picking and adding to your cooking.

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  1. Make a Pond

You can attract wildlife and nature into your garden by building a small pond. Choose an area that gets a lot of sunshine and try to keep the pond as clean as possible so that your creature friends can enjoy their new home.

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  1. Layered Steps

With limited space, there may not be enough room for steps that go outwards, which is why layered steps that go up instead are the perfect feature for a small garden. It will add a touch of sophistication to your garden and kids will love using the steps as stepping stones while they are outside playing.

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  1. Climbing Plants

If you can’t grow flowers and plants on the ground, then why not grow them up your walls and fences instead? Birds adore climbing plants such as ivy and may even choose to make a nest in yours.

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  1. Composting

According to nationalgardeningweek.org if you want your garden to be alive with wildlife, building a compost heap is a sure way to attract them whilst also enriching your soil.

Fairy lights in a small gardencredit

  1. Lighting

Add some light into your garden at night with outdoor lanterns and fairy lights. If you ever feel like having a party, turning the lights on outside will add a nice romantic ambience.

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  1. Flowers

Flowers instantly brighten up our homes and gardens, which is why they are something of a garden necessity. Having a small garden doesn’t mean that you can’t have flowers. Use small pots and position them in a way that saves the most space. Flowering plants such as this great example are great at attracting wildlife such as butterflies and bees to your garden.

White modernist chairs in a small gardencredit

  1. Garden Furniture

Adding a small garden bench to your garden will provide you with a place to sit and enjoy the view. If you have enough space, you could also add a small table and a few extra garden chairs.

Moss-covered stone bird bathcredit

  1. Garden Ornaments

Adding a few ornaments can make your garden appear more welcoming and complete. There are thousands to choose from, including sculptures, stone bird baths, saddlestones etc.

White-painted walls in a small patiocredit

  1. Lighter Walls

According to UKTV, you can create the illusion of a larger garden by painting brick walls white. It is thought that by choosing lighter paving slabs and lighter exterior paint, you can make a small space seem bigger and more spacious.

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Gimme Five! Perennials to plant in the summer

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

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five perennials to plant in the summer

Did you watch any of the Chelsea Flower Show last month? Were you lucky enough to visit in person? We were glued to the screen on every day. We were in agreement that Dan Pearson’s garden should win best in show.

However, it was the flower marquee that effected the most ‘oohs’ & ‘ahhs’ from us. The colourful, perfectly poker straight lupins; the bright, almost radioactive daffodils; the delicate lilies and all the exotic & alien-looking blooms shipped in from around the world.

The sights made us feel slightly inferior about our own outside area. Our flowering dolly tubs that began flowering way back in January have now just about gone over. We’re now thinking about what perennials we can add to extend the colour and structure beyond June.

As we’ve said in the past, we love planting bulbs and seeds that can just be left to flower, die back and reappear again even bigger & stronger the following year. Here are some perennials to plant in the summer that we have our eye on.

  1. Chinese lantern ‘alkekengi‘ – 200 seeds: 99p, eBay
  2. Himalayan blue poppy ‘meconopsis baileyi’ Hensol Violet – 40 seeds: £2.99, Thompson Morgan
  3. Foxglove ‘digitalis’ Woodlanders Mix – 500 seeds: £1.99, Marshalls Seeds
  4. Teasel ‘dispacus fullonum’ – 160 seeds: £2.49, Suttons
  5. Noble lupin collection: £14.99, Crocus

Allotment Diary: April & May

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

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cow parsley growing on our allotment

We’ve not done an Allotment Diary post for quite a while – that’s not to say we’ve not been busy.

Working on our allotment in May 2015

We’re bringing you what we did in April & May… all in one go!

Justin digging beds on our allotment in May 2015

We cleared more overgrown areas for planting crops.

Adelle securing tomato plants on our allotment in May 2015

Some lovely young tomato plants donated to us by Trudi next door went into this bed.

Making pots from newspapers for potting on seedlings

We’ve also been planting lots of seeds at home where we can keep an eye on the young plants. Adelle spent an afternoon making these little pots out of old newspapers to accommodate some of them…

Growing radish seedlings for our allotment in April 2015

…and seed trays are full to bursting.

Growing bean seedlings on our allotment in May 2015

Young plants are then taken to the allotment to plant out – French beans in an old bathtub here!

Growing squash seedlings under a cloche on our allotment in May 2015

And these little butternut squash seedlings have found a new home under their cavernous cloche.

Chitted seed potatoes being planted in trenches on our allotment in April 2015

The potatoes we chitted and planted a few weeks ago are doing really well – no frost, thank goodness!

Potato plants thriving on our allotment in May 2015

We have them dotted all over the place in beds & bags – Jersey Royals, Maris Peer and King Eddies.

Strawberry plants flowering on our allotment in April 2015

Strawberries are developing flowers that should become nice juicy fruits. This is another bathtub project which we’re very hopeful of – keeping them slightly elevated under nets should keep slugs and birds at bay.

Last year's celery still growing on our allotment in May 2015

We left these celery plants in their beds at the end of last year – they seem to be growing nice new stalks this spring, so we’ll see what happens.

Currants on our allotment in May 2015

Fruit bushes are looking very healthy this year – these redcurrants should be full to bursting come September.

Creature proofing our allotment

We’re started putting up protection after last year’s crop devastation. Also, a network of canes are in place along bed edges at the moment. This is an attempt to teach our dog Fudge to walk along designated paths like Nigel the Golden Retriever on Gardeners’ World!

Woodpile on our allotment in May 2015

Other jobs included sweeping the very last of autumn’s leaves and cutting back overhanging branches which shade the plot. More sunshine for the plants and a bit of firewood for us!

Flowers on our allotment in May 2015

We like to keep some areas on the allotment over for flowers – they look pretty and are great for wildlife. Many of them self-seed, so it’s just a case of giving them loose boundaries and transplanting where required.

Training a rose bush on an arch on our allotment in May 2015

We inherited a rather tangled and untidy rose bush which grew almost horizontally through the undergrowth. This metal arch should give it more structure and opportunity to flower – the brick path will eventually be extended beneath which should look great.

Robin perched on a spade handle on our allotment in May 2015

One beneficiary of some natural areas are the birds. We might not want them eating our strawberries, but there are plenty of insects that they can get stuck into. We get all kinds of finches, tits and thrushes. Our friend the robin has been a permanent fixture on our visits. You can’t leave your tools unattended for long without it using them as the perfect vantage point for freshly uncovered worms. We do have one bird problem though. We’re fans of Mark Radcliffe & Stuart Maconie on 6Music. Unfortunately, we caught one episode where they said that the wood pigeon’s call sounds like “My toe hurts Betty”. It drives us nuts now – we just can’t get it out of our heads!

Picking stinging nettles on our allotment in May 2015

It’s not just wildlife that benefits from the untouched corners of the allotment. These nettles are growing in a rusty old trough at the far end of the plot. The young tips make great soup… and nettle bread was one of our recent Cakes & Bakes posts.

The robin perched on a fence on our allotment in May 2015

It’s certainly been beneficial to get going a bit earlier this time round – hopefully we’ll reap the benefits later in the year!