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Container Gardening

How to Turn a Back Yard into a Garden on a Budget

You may remember that when we moved home last year, one of my concerns was how we could quickly and easily create an outdoor space that was as lovely as the garden we had gradually established in our old home. If I could have relocated that garden with me I would have done!

We did what we could with what we had last year, but a combination of busy schedules taking up most of our time and the need to wait until all the weeds had been killed off meant that we were limited in our choices. Aside from putting a few plants in pots, it remained very much a grey and blank concrete yard…

The garden is a blank canvas

I can’t actually describe just how much of an effect this has had on me. I grew up with a beautiful garden that my mum and dad maintained and developed throughout the years (their garden now contains a mini orchard as well as a veg plot and multiple borders and water features – it is like a little haven), so I really miss having a garden full of life the whole year through.

But, of course, we live in a rented home and as much as I’d love to develop the garden fully I do not want to invest huge amounts of time and money into something that we will likely leave again within the next 5 years. Which is why I am pleased to say that we have managed to create an almost complete transformation overnight with hardly any outlay at all, thanks to my dad’s experience and my bargain hunting at the garden centre. And I thought it might be helpful to share some of our tips with you, just in case you are feeling as overwhelmed as I was when looking at a blank back yard and wondering how to turn it into a beautiful garden space.

How to Turn a Back Yard into a Beautiful Garden on a budget

1. Ask your friends and family if they can help

I know that I am very lucky that my dad is so enthusiastic about gardening and brings over 30 years’ experience with him – not everybody has a father to supply them with enough bedding plants to fill a blank square of their garden! But the reality is that even if no-one in your family is a gardener, chances are someone you know is and they may well have spare plants they would be more than happy to give you. Last year a colleague of mine gave me a whole tray full of marigolds she had going spare, and this was someone I had only known for about a month at the time!

Alternative options may be to ask friends and family to buy you some bedding plants as a gift (housewarming, birthday, etc) instead of the usual token gifts we often receive but don’t actually need. You can pick up some lovely bedding plants at most supermarkets now, so they don’t even need to go out of their way to the garden centre to buy them, making it easy to swap that bar of chocolates for a pack of petunias!

Bedding Plants

The plants above were all grown by my dad from seed and so cost us nothing. We have sprinkled random seeds around the area too, in the hope that something may take. Some of the seeds came from our old garden, some we picked up in the bargain aisle over the years. Obviously the seeds will take much longer to appear, but having bedding plants put has completely changed the entire look of this area of our garden.

2. Scour the clearance section and budget stores

Did you know that most garden centres have a clearance section where they place plants (and other seasonal products) that are past their “best dates” or looking worse for wear? It’s just like the clearance section in a supermarket where items that are close to their expiry date or end of season get reduced drastically for a quick sale.

I love the clearance section and always head there before looking at anything else. Sometimes you have to hunt quite hard for it as it is often hidden away at the back of the store, but when you find it you’ll be happy that you looked. Over the years I have found some wonderful bargains here, from herbs that looked like there was no life left in them to trees in pots that just needed to go to a new home asap. Some of the things I have bought have not survived, but most of them have with a little bit of TLC, and it has been a great way to fill out our garden on a budget.

Clearance Section Bargain Buys Garden Plants Sweet Peas 25p

These came from the clearance section in a couple of places we visited lately – as you can see, the sweet peas were a mere 25p! I love sweet peas as they remind me of my childhood, but I have never had much luck with them in the past. How could I possibly pass up the chance to try again at that price? The most expensive of my bargain buys lately have been a marrow and garden pea plants, but both only cost £1 each, so again a total steal!

3. Think Outside The Box (which might include a box or two!)

Don’t think that just because you have a tiny back yard with no lawn and hardly any soil you cannot create a colour garden, because you can! We’ve been growing plants in pots ever since we moved into our very first flat together. In those days it was simply a trough on the windowsill, but it was still something that we had grown.

In every other move since we have grown vegetables in large boxes, because digging a vegetable patch in a rented garden is not necessarily the easiest of things to do. There are so many herbs and vegetables that will grow quite happily in containers, so long as the soil is both well watered and has good drainage. You don’t even have to go out and buy fancy pots, ours grow in old plastic storage boxes which we drilled holes into the bottom of.

Growing Vegetables in Pots

We’ve currently got courgettes, carrots, beetroot, spring onions, lettuce, and two types of radishes planted in the blue boxes and tomatoes growing in pots along the wall. We’ve had huge successes with this kind of vegetable growing in the past, especially the year I was pregnant with Little Man when we had a real bountiful harvest and I was picking tomatoes off the plant to nibble on throughout the day.

4. Use What You Already Have

This may sound like an obvious one, but actually it’s often easy to overlook what you already have. As I’ve already mentioned, old plastic boxes can make excellent planters for your garden, as can old buckets, and even large tin cans. They may not be the most beautiful objects, they will soon be filled with greenery of all sorts, so it doesn’t really matter that much.

You will also find that, over time, you begin to collect quite a selection of plant pots of varying sizes, as you plant things in different spaces. That small, black plant pot that housed the bargain garden peas? Why not fill it with compost and plant some herbs? Herbs are one of those things that grow so well in pots and are actually much easier to maintain in a smaller garden by keeping them in pots rather than in the ground where they can expand and take over in a short amount of time.

Container Gardening

We have lots of plant pots that we have amassed over the years, from our own buys and from family and friends passing them on to us. As such we now have a lovely little selection of patio pots containing a wide range of herbs, ornamental grasses, lavender, a rose, and even some strawberries. It is so lovely to look out of my kitchen window and see this area blooming so well.

5. Small Steps Make Big Changes!

Remember that gardens are always going to be a work in progress – there is always something more that you can do, so dream big and slowly but surely you will get there! Our last garden was just getting to the place where I wanted it to be after 5 years there, so I don’t expect our current garden to be exactly what I want it to be in just our second year. But with each small step we take it becomes a much more pleasant place to sit.

Tomatoes growing in pots

My current plans include gradually adding more and more top soil to the borders and patch of land underneath the vegetable boxes. We are taking this slowly in order to remain on a budget – yes, we could go and buy a load of top soil today but actually we have a family friend who has a surplus he can give us every now and again when he is in our area, so we are not going to turn down that offer. The beauty of growing vegetables in boxes this year means that we can continue to place more and more top soil under and around the boxes so that next year we can plant straight into the ground and use those boxes for even more plants further down the garden. Slowly, but surely, we will get there.

And I hope that you get there with your garden space too. Do tell me what you have growing where you live and how you make the most of the space you have. And if you want to follow along with our journey in more detail, follow me on instagram where I often share little updates on a day to day basis.


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Border Plants

Getting to Grips with Our New Garden

Hasn’t the weather been truly gorgeous the past few days? Might summer finally be here? Little Man seems to think so, although even he was a little hesitant when asking me this afternoon if it really was summer!

But with the sun shining bright and hot, it really does feel like summer has finally arrived and that means I have an even greater yearning to be out in the garden as much as possible. But, like our new house, our new garden is still very much in disarray as life has been pretty crazy of late and it just hasn’t been high on the agenda.

The beginnings of a container garden

So this afternoon TJ and I decided that we really needed to get cracking and make a start on turning our new garden into a place of retreat and refuge. You might remember that I loved our old garden and I do miss it a little bit right at this moment in time. But this new outdoor space we have is actually much more promising than the old place ever was. It feels more enclosed, meaning Little Man can go and play whilst we sit and relax or work in the garden, and we won’t need to worry about him tripping up or getting into mischief as much.

The garden is a blank canvas

This isn’t really the best shot (TJ was busy hanging out the washing as you can’t really miss the chance to dry your laundry outside on a day like today, can you?) but it does help me to keep tabs on what we started with so I can see the progress we make over time with this space.

My dad has been really helpful in trying to rid us of all the weeds that have taken over the patio and soil areas of the garden. Until then, we’re planning on growing everything in containers and will decide next year whether to add extra soil to the very shallow areas of garden to grow veg there or just keep it simple with border plants in the ground and veg in the containers.

Border Plants

In the meantime we have a range of plants to brighten up the garden. Geraniums, the smell of which neither TJ nor I liked as children, bought because that exact same smell reminds us of childhood! Marigolds grown by one of my new colleagues, which I am so grateful for as I love the colour they bring to the garden. And a few others bits I now forget the names of (one day I will get better at plant names!)

Container Vegetable Gardening

And then there are these – the runner beans which desperately need planting into a bigger pot and given canes to grow up, and kale which again needs planting in a proper container as it isn’t really having much luck whilst we aren’t giving it the care and attention it deserves. We were given these from a friend when we moved in, so they are well overdue replanting. We were also given a courgette plant, which the snails in this garden have obliterated, and a butternut squash which the kids manage to tip out and lose. Maybe next year we’ll have more success with those!

Oh and there are the outdoor tomatoes that my dad gave us, currently protected from the snails by pellets. We have tons of them and I just don’t know how else to deter them from eating our plants, so if anyone has any ideas then please do share them with us…

Until then, I am looking forward to getting these all planted into bigger containers, cleaning up the table and chairs, and eating as many meals as we possibly can in the garden over the summer months. That’s what it’s all about, don’t you think?

Flowering Cherry

Moving Home: How Do You Relocate A Garden?

Moving is, apparently, one of the most stressful life events we can face. Along with changing jobs. So I guess it’s fair to say that there is a certain amount of stress in my life right now as I attempt to do both.

But it’s not just the “big” things that concern me, it’s the smaller things too. Like how on earth are we going to dig up and relocate some of the plants in our garden which we just cannot bear to leave behind?

You see, we have been in this house for over 4.5 years now, and in that time we have put a lot of time, energy and love into this garden. We have developed it and helped it flourish, and are happy to leave most of it for the next tenant to enjoy.

We’ve established a border where the grass simply did not grow well…

Evolution of Garden Border

 

And we’ve created a thriving herb garden from just a few original pots we brought with us…

Herb GardenWe’re leaving some really beautiful plants in this garden, and it’s a pleasure to do so because it makes the garden feel so alive in the summer!

Beautiful Blooms

But there are a few things that I am really, really hoping that we can take with us.

It doesn’t sound that difficult, does it, to move a few plants? And for the most part it won’t be. We can take some of the herbs in pots, and our strawberries are already in a big tub. I’m also assuming that the rhubarb (which was a wedding gift to us from a friend off his allotment) will also be reasonably simple to relocate.

But what about the trees?

We have three trees in our garden, all of which we have planted here.

Willow

There’s this beautiful willow, whose bare branches look just a elegant in the winter as they do in the summer when full of leaves. We rescued her from the back of a garden centre, looking worse for wear and like she may not survive. I love finding plants that need a little TLC and seeing them go on to bloom and grow, so I hate to think of leaving her here.

Flowering Cherry

Then there’s the flowering cherry. We planted this one when our neighbours cut down the gorgeous pear tree in their garden. It felt so bare with the overhanging branches gone, and so we decided to plant a new (much smaller) tree in its place.

This one we would leave behind quite happily, but there’s a part of me that thinks if we manage to relocate the other two trees then we may as well take this one too…

Unknown Tree

And then there’s this one. This is my baby.

I’m not even sure exactly what tree it is (my best guess is some kind of Plane?) You see, before we moved here we lived opposite an old village church, whose graveyard was filled with Yews, Holly and some of these trees. And one day, I found a tiny seedling growing right next to our front door.

I had to move it, there was no way it would have survived taking root so close to the house’s foundations. So I gently eased it out of the ground and placed it elsewhere in the garden. When we moved from there, I eased it out of the ground again and placed it in a pot. I had dreams of it being a tree that came with us to our “forever home” to grow with any children I might go on to have.

Well, it has certainly grown! It is now almost as tall as me, and I am a little concerned that its roots may be too deep for me to transport again.

So, what do you think? Have you ever relocated trees from one garden to another? Do you have any tips or advice for us? We’d really appreciate any thoughts you have!

 

Nature Baby

I'm sure most of you have figured out by now that TJ and I love nature. But what you might not know is that Little Man is also developing a real love of being outdoors, digging his hands into the dirt, watching the bees buzzing around, watering the plants in the garden,  and generally enjoying every last minute he can before he is called indoors for dinner or bed.

If he wants to go out he will grab my hand and drag me to the back door, or bring me his shoes to put on. There have been times when he has gone into the garden with the most fetching of outfits, just a nappy and his wellies!! I have never known a child get so worked up over the time it takes to put shoes on or grab the keys from the front door… he is just so desperate to get out there!

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He is fascinated by the fact plants grow high above his head, but is perhaps  more perplexed by the fact his "twirly whirlies" (that would be the windmills) are up there too… he's seen them in the garden but what are they doing all the way up there?

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Note the pen grasped firmly in his hand… this is another "obsession" of his!

He has this game he plays where he walks right to the top of the garden, his back against the fence, and shouts "ready, steady, go" before running down the path (swerving around the strawberry planter and washing on the rotary airer) and having an explore of another part of the garden before he goes back to the fence to start again.

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It isn't just the plants he loves… he will play with anything, so long as it is outside! Here he is "scrubbing" the dirt on the floor after he found the two scrubbing brushes I had thrown out the door (when emptying the bucket) earlier that day after cleaning the kitchen floor.

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He'll creep into the smallest places to have a peek (one of his favourite places being between the dustbin and the recycling bin, but I am always too busy coaxing him out of there to take a photo!)

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And he most definitely loves getting right in there between the plants and having a dig around. His version of weeding currently consists of his grabbing one handful of soil after another and throwing them onto the path.

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He's my nature baby and he can't wait to show me all the wonderful things he has found outdoors!

 

 

Out in the Garden

Oh my… hasn't it been wonderful to have a little bit of sunshine the odd few days over the past week or two? I was beginning to think that we'd never see the end of Winter!

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I never realised how much the weather affected my mood until we had such a long, drawn-out Winter and I felt the desperate need for a bit of Spring air. And now it is here, my mood has lifted magnificently.

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The combination of a bit of warmth and Real Nappy Week has reminded me of the good things in life, the reason I want to look after our beautiful earth, and has inspired me to get out in the garden and plant, plant, plant.

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We have a tiny garden, and today we are having a new fence put up at the back. The soil is very heavy clay and a nightmare to work. But when the sun shines it is a little sun-trap and I want us to make the most of it.

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Little Man has thoroughly enjoyed spending time outdoors, and I hope to make the garden somewhere we can spend a fair bit of time. I took a million photos and am going to do a big photo dump today, because the photos just make me so happy. I've fallen off the bandwagon with Mamtography (I take the photos but rarely find time to post them regularly) so hopefully this will make up for the lack of photos lately.

Enjoy!

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The Garden: Summer 2012

TJ and I haven't had much experience with gardening.

Our first year together we lived in a flat with no garden. Our second year we lived in a lovely village but due to our commuting times we had hardly any chance to make the most of it. Our third year was taken up with a relocation and preparation for our wedding. Our fourth year was blighted by my pregnancy and Hyperemesis. So this year we've really gone all out to try and make our garden feel like "ours". 

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We planted roses…

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so full of promise.

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We added lavender… lots of it!

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My dad gave us lots of bits from his garden, most of which I cannot name…

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but it all really helps brighten up the garden.

If we've done so well this year, despite all the funny weather and our lack of experience, then I cannot wait to see how much more we might get from the garden in future years. Isn't it exciting!

Our bountiful harvest!

Hi there! 

I've been meaning to post an update on the garden for some time now, but never seem to remember to take the camera into the garden with me (and actually I now need to remember to put it straight back in my hospital bag!!) But today I remembered and so I can finally share some of the wonderful things that have grown in our little patch this year.

Our tomatoes are perhaps the most bountiful crop this year. Grown from seed (by my dad) and then left to grow in old plastic boxes filled with compost outside our back door, they have just flourished.

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And they are all as sweet and juicy as can be. I often just pick one and eat it before getting anywhere close to using it in an actual recipe… yum!

Then there are the courgettes… we've had the glut already but a few remain on the plants

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And our runner beans are still going strong, with plenty of flowers to turn into beans yet!

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Our beetroot are small, but still an achievement…

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But nothing compared to the growth of our rhubarb this year (planted only last autumn!)

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We don't have a very large garden…

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And the tomatoes are grown in old plastic boxes…

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But we go get a lovely harvest!

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And we have even made chutney… yum. 

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I hope you enjoyed seeing the veggies we've managed to grow. We are still very new to this whole gardening business, but it is going well. I'll show you the flowers we've been growing next week!

Plants in Need

Say hello to my latest garden additions, starting with this dwarf pink!

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I found it at our local DIY store in the clearance section, feeling mightily sorry for itself and begging to be rescued. And it wasn't alone… look what else I found!

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I completely forget what this one is called, but it doesn't matter as I love it just the same.

I also love the clearance section of these places because not only do I grab a bargain (the entire lot – 6 plants in all – cost me no more than £8) but I also get to give something a chance at life that would just die away otherwise. Since they came home with me they have been outside enjoying a spot of sunshine mixed with a lot of rain and they are ready to be planted into the ground now.

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Buying from the clearance section is always a gamble… some things just won't survive or flourish to their maximum. But, I have found that plants are much hardier than we often give them credit for, and I expect several of these buys will grow quite spectacularly over the coming years.

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This little conifer, for example, is supposed to be able to grow to a height of about 10m or 30ft. Now, I'm not going to let it do that as our garden is nowhere near big enough to sustain that! But I will be hoping it has a chance to grow a little bit bigger once it is given the space. 

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I'm not so sure these dwarf french beans have much of a chance, but I'm all for giving them a go. I'll keep you updated on their progress, so send some positive thinking their way, won't you?

Have a lovely day and don't forget to check out the clearance section at your own local DIY or garden centre to see what bargains you can find and what plants you can rescue!

 

Getting to grips with the garden

Morning all!

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Haven't we been having some glorious weather lately? I love sunny days with blue skies, although I have to say that I have been rather pleased to see some welcome rain for our parched garden of late too. And let's not even begin to mention how much hotter the weather feels when lugging around a bump that seems to grow daily… I have spent far more time sitting around trying to cool off than enjoying the sun when it has been visiting. But I still love seeing it make an appearance every now and again.

A sunny day means I can get out in the garden and take some photos that really show off what we have been up to (or rather what Tim and my parents have been up to… my role in it all has generally been to sit on a chair and order everyone else about). But, after all their hard work, we are finally getting to grips with what works and what doesn't in our little garden and are beginning to enjoy it as it is already and plan for next year's growth too.

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Here are the lettuces that have been providing a huge amount of amusement for my family. My dad, who has been a keen gardener for many, many years now, mixed up his seeds and thought he had sown some Asters, so was rather surprised to find lettuces growing instead. Some people have ornamental cabbages in their borders, but my family have chosen to have ornamental lettuces this year!

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And here are the beginnings of our runner beans. My dad has provided us with runner bean plants for 3 years now and Tim and I are becoming dab hands at growing them. We've had varying success with other veggies thanks to slugs and snails and finding the best spot for planting and growing, but the beans always seem to grow no matter what. 

We are gradually getting better at growing other vegetables, although we have had to rely heavily on the products of my dad's potting of seeds, because many of the seeds we tried planting simply didn't grow. We think this is because we are trying to grow them on windowsill propogators and the way our house lies means that they either get too little sun or too much and just dry out. But we'll get there, and until we do we'll enjoy those few plants that we do manage to grow from seed, like this courgette plant that is already flowering (and, to our pride, doing so earlier than the ones my dad brought us!)

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Of course, if it weren't for my dad's helpful hints and tips as well as his provision of many different plants for our garden, we'd be taken a lot longer to figure it all out. It is under his guidance that we chose where to plant our veggies, and also his suggestion that saw us digging up half of the lawn which was mostly moss and turning it into a lovely new flowerbed. And it is his provision of bedding plants that has helped to get the flower bed going…

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It looks a bit bare right now, but it's started! We have sunflowers and sweet peas near the fence, with marigolds, petunias and some other flower I forget the name of. Added to those which you see here are some summer bulbs and a "shake and rake" seed mix which we hope might add to it as time goes on. We've also relocated our heathers here and are already thinking about which kind of perennials we'd like to add as time goes on.

In future years I hope to add a clematis and maybe a climbing rose to grow along the fence, as we had these in our previous house but as they had been neglected for several years I spent most of my time trying to tame them and gradually teach them to grow more steadily across the fence. I'm hoping that if I can get some started myself I can enjoy nurturing them over the years to cover the fence beautifully. 

But that's for the future, for now we are working with what we have, and what we have in abundance right now are Granny's Bonnets…

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They have finished flowering and I wish I had thought to take a photo a week or two ago as we have the most glorious combination of colours in our garden. They were here when we came and so I am simply letting them go to seed this year in the hope that they will spread even further across the garden adding more and more colour for next year.

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We also have several areas with this pink flower in and one small area with the yellow in. I love them both, but especially the yellow (I forget what it is called, but do know my parents have a red version in their garden and I may have to find out if there is any way of getting some red for my garden too!) I am not entirely sure how to get more of this in the garden and although I dislike the fact it is all tangled up with the pink flowers, I am loathe to do anything to it and lose it. I think that's my next question for my local gardening expert AKA my dad!

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Which reminds me that I went off on a tangent and forgot to mention all of the plants my dad brought us, including several different varieties of mint to replace ours which unfortunately died during our relocation last year. We now have garden mint, spearmint, chocolate mint and one or two others that I forget. I love picking mint to put with potatoes and peas, and I shall have to look at other recipes I can use our wealth of mint in now we have lots to play with.

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And we mustn't forget the tomatoes as we have more than a dozen of those dotted around the garden now too. This must be our favourite addition to the garden as Tim and I adore tomatoes and eat them regularly in salads or just on their own for a quick snack. I cannot wait to see how many we manage to produce this year and what the different varieties turn out like. Ours are all outdoor growing varieties as we do not have a greenhouse, however I still feel vaguely confident with them as I have been trusted to look after my dad's tomatoes in previous years when I have been at home and my parents have been on holiday. I know to keep them well watered, as well as to wash my hands after touching them before touching my nose, lest I want to start sneezing uncontrollably!

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Of course, I have spoken a lot about my dad in this post because he is the main gardener of the family, but my mum has been just as helpful in getting the garden growing and can be found picking out weeds, deadheading the flowers, or simply lending a hand wherever she is needed. And she is the one who must be thanked for planting these wall hangers which were slightly too high for me to reach comfortably with my dodgy back and hips right now. We bought the planters from our local Aldi to hang from some hooks that were already on the kitchen wall when we moved here, and I am so glad we did because they already make the place look happy and more colourful and they aren't even in full bloom yet. 

So there you have it… lots going on in our garden, mostly done by someone other than me this year, but I had to share it anyway because it is bringing me so much pleasure right now. I'll keep you updated as things grow and our plans for the garden grow with them. Now, please excuse me while I go and have another look at the garden to see what has changed overnight!

Spring has Sprung!

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We planted tons of Spring bulbs back in the autumn, hoping that they would indeed spring out of the ground during this month. And look… we have purple and yellow crocuses…

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…bright yellow daffodils…

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…and a fairy surrounded by loveliness!

Our snowdrops and tulips haven't really done much, but that may be the soil. We are still getting to know the soil here and what works well and what doesn't, and I am already planning the plants we can add for the summer, autumn, winter and next spring!

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But for now, I am going to sit in this sunny corner by the flowers and crochet to my hearts content. I have a lot of projects to plan and finish now that the morning sickness is finally starting to abate, so I can see many afternoons spent sitting here, especially if I can find a comfier chair to sit in!

I hope Spring has well and truly sprung wherever you are too!

Spring is Coming…

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We planted these bulbs (along with many others) last autumn, and were surprised when the shoots started coming up long before Christmas. We really hoped that they would survive the frosts and snow, and it seems as if they have.

This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, and already the shoots have tripled in number and I cannot wait to see the spring blooms start to appear, from snowdrops and bluebells, to daffodils and tulips. Our little garden is going to be awash with colour, and will be a true inspiration for us both. After all, if they could survive the harsh winter to become beautiful and bright, then so can we!

I hope to share many more photos and tales from the garden over the coming year, as we get to grips with the type of soil we have (very clay-like) and what will grow well in it. I also hope we manage to avoid having so many red ants on the lawn too, because it would be a wonderful thing to sit on the grass in the sun and read a good book or simply be.

Spring truly is on its way, and with it the promise of so many wonderful things… don't you just love this time of year?

No garden too small

This is the view I have of our little garden from just outside the kitchen door. Isn’t it lovely?

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I was very lucky to grow up in a home where the garden was large and well-loved. I ate homegrown vegetables and watched as my parents turned it into the garden of their dreams. I never really understood the interest in garden centres and weeding the garden until we moved to our first flat and we had no garden to escape to. Let’s just say that the gardening bug well and truly bit me in our last house and I plan on making the most of this little garden of ours…

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It started with potted herbs from our last home – rosemary and thyme. We then added the sage and chives from the local B&Q clearance section…

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It continued with some runner beans that my dad planted for us – look at them grow!

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We also have courgettes (zucchini) that my dad grew from seed and I am looking forward to eating the lovely things once they’re grown… that’s if the slugs don’t get there first!

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My darling dad also grew us some tomatoes that will survive outside – aren’t we lucky?

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We added some beetroot plugs we got from the clearance section as well – I do love a good clearance section, don’t you?

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They are currently growing in the boxes we used in our last garden, but next year we plan on expanding the border between the fence and lawn so that we can plant proper rows of veg in the garden. Talking about the lawn – it needs a bit of weeding and TLC too!

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We’re also looking forward to trying some of the pears that are growing on the branch hanging over our fence from next door’s garden. There is building work going on next door at the moment, so I don’t know who to ask if they mind us having a few, but seeing as though there is an absolute abundance of pears on both side of the fence I’m sure it won’t be to big a deal.

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And talking about trees… does anyone know what kind of tree this is (on the left… the Buddleia on the right kind of planted itself and I haven’t decided what to do with it yet). The tree on the left was found in the front of our house, having seeded itself in the border. As we used to live opposite an old church I can only assume that something blew over from there. It has grown so big in the year since I pulled it up and potted it and I am still not 100% sure what kind of tree it is… our tree book suggests something like a sycamore or maple family but further than that we are stumped.

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Not that we need to know to appreciate it.  A little bit of unknown magic is a lovely thing in a garden, just like this little fairy who was a gift from my parents in our last home. She came with us and now sits by the Feverfew, watching all that goes on and protecting our little visitors…

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…the birds! I mentioned to my parents that I had seen a couple of sparrows in the garden and so they bought us this bird feeding station as a house-warming gift. It took a few days for the birds to find it, but yesterday they were well and truly loving it. We had a sparrow, a chaffinch (I think, I need a bird book to be sure) and a wood pigeon all enjoying the combination of treats. You should have seen the wood pigeon trying to land on it!!

Yes, our little garden is flourishing already and we have only been here a couple of weeks. I do hope that it will become a real haven for us and maybe, just maybe, we’ll inspire you to try and make the most of even the smallest part of your own garden because there really is “no garden too small”.