Plant of the Month 7/12 – Dahlia

Dahlia are beautiful and they come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes. They look good in pots (if you can tolerate the bugs… keep reading) and in a flower bed or on an allotment.

Lots of people think they are a bit dated, kinda blousey. I guess they do remind me of an 80’s blouse or something. But their bold, kitsch appearance is what I love about them.

True if you maybe over do it and go all Dahlia, your garden could resemble your nan’s… But if you dot them around your garden with some other plants they really inject a bit of colour and drama. They look especially nice up against a plain wall or fence.

So… I was starting to feel that I would never be pleased enough with my first ever Dahlias to be naming them a plant of the month. Oh how things change, because here they are!

They started out well as seedlings, but the ones which started to flower in my garden were covered in aphids, which lead to the plant pots being full of ants. Then some of the plants had gotten too heavy and had flopped over in the wind. Also, the slugs liked them. Cue grumpy gardener!

I had tried so hard to keep the ones in the garden pesticide free and using organic methods only, but after a bit of straight talking from Dad I accepted defeat and used some non-organic methods to get rid of the bugs.

I am now pleased to say that they are doing fantastically at the moment and they look beautiful. They add a real burst of colour into the yarden and I love them.

Now… on the other end of the scale… The Dahlia who live at the allotment.

They have given me no problems, not one. I guess, as they live on the open plot they get a bit more of a breeze which makes it harder for aphids to cling on. It’s less sheltered there too so they get full sun!

These guys are in full bloom next to my cosmos and they look fantastic too. I popped up the plot this afternoon to have a quick check before a weekend of camping and I was hit by an explosion of colour!

So there you have it. My 7th plant of this year. The wonderful, versatile, colourful Dahlia. I think there must be a version out there for everyone. Aside from the aphids and occasional slugs, they are pretty easy to look after, and let’s face it they’re a classic.

Thanks for reading.

Amy x

 

 

Sunny Sundays

Evening lovely readers! Also, a very happy PRIDE weekend to those who have been celebrating – Love really is everywhere. <3

We have spent this weekend basking in the sun and truly enjoying our newly created seating/dining area in the garden. Thanks again Dad & Andrew.

First up yesterday I moved lots of my potted plants into the new planters which not only look fabulous, it’s made more patio space, and has generally made the garden feel bigger.

We then jazzed up those reclaimed stools we bought while Dad was staying and now they look BLOODY AMAZING! It really ties the whole area in together, with the bird box and the bright flowers against the neutral colours of the planter and walls.

Don’t be frightened to inject a bit of colour into the garden, be bold and go for something bright. It can really add a bit of personality to your garden space. Ours now speaks volumes about us!

We still have bits to add, but the stools make such a difference. We also added a bit of interest by putting up some mirrors, one was given to us by my Nan earlier in the year and one I had lying around the house so I painted it up and they both look great.

Adding mirrors to an outdoor space can help create the illusion of more space, and when put at plant level it can reflect view of the garden you might not get to see normally.

Beautiful!

Andrew’s project has been sanding and varnishing our fabulous table, so that its got a smoother finish and is more weather proofed.

He managed to make a good start today, see where he has sanded down half the table?

The right side there has been smoothed down and the edges sanded, it feels and looks so much better.

Then Andrew covered the sanded half with wood preserver, which will keep the table looking nice for years to come.

It’s really brought out the grain, it looks beautiful and it is now ready for its coat of varnish. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

The lovely new space we have in the garden has allowed me to really start appreciating the plants I have.

My beautiful sweet peas are now starting to flower and I have big plans for them next year. Im thinking about sourcing a beautiful statement pot and an obelisk so I have a tower of sweet peas next time around.

I am excited for things to come and to spend more time in our fabulous new garden.

 

Thanks for reading!

Amy xxx

My Week in Words 7/7

Hello folks and Happy Friday to you all! Thank gawd right?!

I was off today with Dad, and we got the last few bits done before Dad goes back home tomorrow, boo!

First thing we did was measured up the bed so we could make an educated guess on how much compost we would need, then we went off shopping!

We bought a selection of bits from the garden centre (Almondsbury, which is on the outskirts of Bristol) including, membrane for the planters, 15 bags of compost and manure (YES 15) and maybe a couple of extra plants…

After that we treated ourselves to a cake at the fab restaurant at Almondsbury, if you live nearby and you don’t like plants (why the heck are you reading this if you don’t like plants) you should definitely go and have some cake in the restaurant!

Our morning of shopping then took us to Ben’s Reclamation Yard, where Dad went yesterday. To a shop called Treaure Island which is on the same site, where I bought 3 reclaimed stools.

This is them…

Finally we went to B&Q for some paint to upcyle the stools and the we headed in home!

Here is Dad emptying the masses of compost and stinky horse shit into the planters. Now they are full and ready for me to transfer plants into at the weekend.

Last job of the day was a trip to the allotment, where Dad built me a compost heap and paved some of the area around the shed and I finally gave in and did some spraying in attempt to keep the weeds down. Fingers crossed it works!

Good days work for us, and now we are relaxing with a Cider in our local pub garden! That’s the life!

Thanks Dad!

Thanks for reading all, there possibly won’t be another post tomorrow as I have truly ran out of words. But the next post won’t be far off! Promise ๐Ÿ™‚

Amy xx

My Week in Words 6/7

Helloo – Sorry it’s late, my stupid bus home was late and then I was grouchy so I had to drink cider before cooking dinner etc, etc, blah, blah!

Anyway, I am much happier now and ready to blog. Mostly because of this spectacular creation today…

Look at that beauty! A chuffin’ wonderful table to match our planter and seating area, made from scaffold planks and a couple of pallets. Once again, a big thumbs up to Dad & Andrew who completed it this evening, in time for us to eat dinner around it!

So firstly, Dad bought the scaffold planks from a local reclamation yard (Ben’s Tiles and Reclamation, Bristol) and Andrew brought the pallets back from work. Finally I bought the cushions from Wilko and hey presto, it looks awesome!

We have worked out that the table cost roughly ยฃ40.00 – THAT IS A BARGAIN I TELL YOU!

So you could totally do this yourself at home!

Shopping list of items as follows and what we paid:

  • Scaffold Planks (ยฃ13 each + VAT, the ones on the table are about half a plank long)
  • Two matching pallets (FREE)
  • Black rectangular planter (ยฃ5)
  • Screws (ยฃ4.60 for a box, we used a handful)
  • Heavy duty coach bolts (FREE we recycled these)

You may wonder why the planter is empty in the middle?? Well… I wont be planting anything in it. When we have BBQs we will fill the planter with ice and keep our cider bottles cold in it… If that isn’t the BEST idea, I don’t know what is!?

So yes, I have a fabulous table made for next to nothing by my two favourite men. Lucky me!

So I treated them both with a homemade carbonara, which we ate at our new table (here they are waiting patiently for it to be ready).

Thank you both for your continued hard work – I am overjoyed with our garden so far!

Check in tomorrow for my last post of the 7 day blogging marathon!

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚ xxx

My Week in Words 5/7

Today sadly I was at work, so Dad had to work on his own, in the scorching heat! He managed to totally finish the structure today, which involved building a prep area for the BBQ and benches for our dining area.

I think it was a little tougher on him today, having had a hard day yesterday and no assistant today, plus the heat was rather intense. Our yarden, we have found, is like a little Mediterranean terrace, it traps the heat and crikey, its hot!

So anyway, back to the progress of today – much like yesterday there will be many photos and little talking.

Dad started off by continuing to fill the planters with the remaining concrete and gravel, as we had started doing yesterday.

He then started work on building the benches.

Then… it was complete!

It’s really stunning and I love the sleepers, we got a good selection. Dad is now planning our eating area, and there are mutterings of a table being made from scaffold planks and pallets. I’m so excited!

Thank you Daddy Willett – a fantastic job! I love it even more than I thought I would.

Looks like Mr Peach loves it too! ๐Ÿ™‚

Chat tomorrow, thanks for reading! xxx

My Week in Words 4/7

HUGE PROGRESS TODAY… YAAAS!

Todays blog will be mostly consisting of the photos I took, as I am too sleepy from all of our hard work to compose many decent sentences. I will try, but bare with!

So first, we had to clear out lots of the gravel, mud and hidden junk (gross) so we could make level spaces for the bottom sleepers. Years worth of buried crap came out of that mud, including bloody loads of crisp packets (why?!) and a lorry tarp… Yeah, I have no idea.

So Anyway, we binned all that and so the first sleepers went in.

Unsurprisingly, and much like the rest of the house, nothing in the garden is flat or straight, so we had to get a bit creative,ย see proof below of Dad consulting the plans!

So, after being rained on a few times, and a well needed tea break, we chugged along and crikey, it was looking great!

You may remember a couple of months ago when Andrew (wearing super safe open-toed sandals) cleared out loads of concrete. Well finally we are putting it to use, and we are filling the bottom of the planter with it so that we don’t have to waste money on excessive compost to fill it up!

So after another tea break (c’mon we are Brits, we are powered on tea) we powered on, and just before Andrew got home from work, we reached this stage.

With the added energy boost from Mr Peach, we finished up the planting area today. Yeah, you heard. FINISHED. Bloody champions aren’t we!?

Well done Dad, Andrew & Me! Now all Dad needs to do tomorrow is make the benches which will go along the front of the planter and an added prep space on one end for the BBQ area. Word on the street is that Dad may also be building us a table too, plus if I’m lucky we might work on the allotment before he goes home too! Crikey – we will have achieved loads.

Brilliant day! Super chuffed with our new planter, it looks wonderful! Thank you to my super Daddy ๐Ÿ™‚

If you want a planter as spectacular as this, and you like in the UK (ideally in Norfolk, so poor Dad doesn’t have travel to the other side of the country) check out my Dad’s Facebook page, and drop him a message!

Thanks for reading – check in tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

xxx

 

Week in Words 3/7 – Plant of the Month 6/12 โ€“ Sunflower

Ok so today’s post is a bit of a cheat because I was due a plant of the month post, but I figured I didn’t say this week had to ONLY be about the garden renovation, so… My blog, my rules!

This month I am honouring the beautiful SUNFLOWER, and my goodness isn’t it bea-u-tiful!!

These sun worshipping giants come in many varieties and all are super easy to grow and look amazing when they are in full flower.

The seeds can be sown from Marchย to May (some varieties can be later) and can be grown pretty much anywhere. If you have limited space like a small garden or balcony, they can be grown in pots. They like a nice spot along a wall or even on an allotment. Mine are currently being supported by canes, they will flop if their long stems don’t have anything to grow against, so a bamboo cane in the ground, trellis or wall is perfect!

Because they are sun lovers, they will turn to face the sun – so if youย are sat in the garden with them all day you will see that they move from East to West as the sun rotates around our great planet. Most flowers showย “heliotropism” (a tendency to move with the sun) but the larger size of the sunflower makes it a little more obvious to see! This does mean however that they don’t love shade, you make sure you find them somewhere the sun reaches ๐Ÿ™‚

They don’t all come in giant size either, my sunflower babies are about 4ft tall and thats as big as they will get, you can also get dwarf varieties which grow up to about 12 inches. So there is really a sunflower for any space.

These beauties are also HEAVENLY for Bees – yes! SAVE THE BEES! So if you are looking for a wildlife friendly plant, the sunflower is the one for you!

Finally, if you are health savvy, sunflower seeds can be dried and eaten as a tasty snack… Also can be used in baking and other recipes. Did you know that sunflower seeds are nearly 25% protein… Whaat!? You will know the seeds are nearly ready when the flower heads start to droop. This means the seeds are ripening, when the disk on the back of the flower head darkens to a brown/black, the seeds are ready to harvest. All you have to do then, is beat the pesky birds and squirrels to them!

So if you aren’t interested in how stunning sunflowers are (weirdo) at least you can eat them.

So go on – grow some sunflowers of your own, get your kids involved, grow loads! They are stunning, easy peasy to grow, edible (partially) and good for our wildlife! Winning!

Chat tomorrow ย ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

My Week in Words 2/7

Hello lovely people!

So yes, day two is here and it was a little less productive than day one. However it was a day of small successes, as I went up to the allotment this afternoon and lots of things made me smile.

The sunflowers are in full bloom and wow, they are so beautiful!

Not only are they beautiful but the wildlife are loving them ๐Ÿ™‚ Hoorah!

Next along the plot is the french beans… and they are growing, growing, growing! Exciting! Plus the little red flowers are in bloom too. Gorgeous!

Working our way along the plot, some of my broccoli plants are finally producing actual broccoli… I CANNOT wait until it’s all ready!! ๐Ÿ˜€

My onions are starting to look fab too – there were a couple which looked ready to come up, so I have risked it and pulled them up. Mostly for trial purposes, so I can see if i’m to early or if this is about right.

Also my nerves got the better of me and I pulled up the remaining carrots too. After pulling some up for a little sneaky peak last week, I had visions of carrot fly carnage, so up the rest came today!! They aren’t huge or particularly straight, but they are definitely carrots and not bad for a first attempt.

I will certainly be growing carrots again next year and will remember to space them properly and leave them a little longer in the hope I get monster sized carrots next time ๐Ÿ™‚

TahDah! – ACTUAL REAL LIFE VEG!

 

I have left the onions spaced out in the green house so they can dry out ready for hanging in a few weeks.

Last thing I did today was eat the carrots… yep! I made a delicious stir-fry using our fresh carrots plus other non-allotment veg ๐Ÿ™‚

Good day all round – but tomorrow Dad arrives and the real work starts ๐Ÿ™‚

Chat tomorrow xx

My Week in Words 1/7

Evening everyone! I say everyone, like there are loads of you reading this… I actually have no idea how many people read my ramblings. Feel free to comment so I can chat to you ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway… So this week, as mostly a thank you for sticking with me, and also an apology for blogging so little recently, I will be doing a post every day. For 7 whole days. I’m not sure I even know enough words to fill a weeks worth of blogging, but lets give it a go!

Today, we prepped our yarden, as from Monday my lovely father is going to be building us a monster planter and seating area… EEK!

So aside from moving stuff out of the way and selling some un-needed garden junk on Facebook, we painted our garden wall. We haven’t touched it since we moved in.

This was it before:

Bit gross hey?! It is supposed to be white, but as you can see, our wall was mostly grey. So it was time to freshen it up!

We used huge rollers and about half a tin of white masonry paint. It’s quite pricey stuff, so I would advise making it cover as best you can rather than paint it on heavy!

Well would you look at that! Much better! I swear when that sun poked its head out from behind the clouds, the wall was blinding.

So that was just one coat, and it takes a few hours to dry, so to pass the time we went down to harbourside in the City. I advise you do something similarly fun whilst waiting for paint to dry ๐Ÿ™‚

N.B Buying a dinosaur balloon isn’t the only way to have a fun day, but I do advise it, it works.

So the wall is now done, one coat was enough to brighten and tidy it up and when we got home it was dry. Dry enough to finally put up my glam bird house I painted months ago! Woo! Welcome birdies to ‘Birdie B&B’.

That’s it for today – check in tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

 

Reclaim, Reuse, Recycle

My big tip of this week, this month, this year… Forever, is to find as many reclaimed itemsย as you can.

As you will have seen on my Instagram feed recently, Andrew and I went to a farm clearance and bought loads of awesome old stuff which I have been using as planters in the garden.

Old buckets, old toilet potties, rusty dustpans, etc etc… Look how fabulous they are now!

Today my kind neighbour offered me some bits and bobs she didn’t need anymore and so I am recycling them for the garden!

She gave me two old wooden storage boxes and a beautiful metal plant stand.

The boxes I will line and sand down, I will then use them as planters.

The metal plant stand is already beautiful, I have wanted something like that for a while. I have now decided to paint the plant stand bright pink… Of course! When it’s done it will look amazingly kitsch, I can’t wait! I hope it will bring it back to life ๐Ÿ™‚

All of these brilliant reclaimed items were either free or super cheap! They will add so much character to your outdoor space too! Why buy everything new when you can have something with a story.

So yep that’s my super top tip of the day, reclaim, reuse and recycle items to make your garden look amazing.

Amy xx