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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!

 

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!

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!