Week in Words 3/7 – Plant of the Month 6/12 – 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 March 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 you 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 show “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 🙂

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  🙂 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 🙂 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!! 😀

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 🙂

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 🙂

Good day all round – but tomorrow Dad arrives and the real work starts 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂 xx

 

Reclaim, Reuse, Recycle

My big tip of this week, this month, this year… Forever, is to find as many reclaimed items 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 🙂

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

 

Plant of the Month 5/12 – Cosmos

Yes, Cosmos are my plant of the month for June! In particular my little ones which are now flowering on the allotment, Sensation Mixed.

Cosmos are part of the Asteraceae family, which includes daisies. They come in a variety of colours and sizes, so there is a variation for everyone!

My Sensation Mixed are fairly small annuals and form pink and white flowers.

I grew them from seed back in February in my propagator and now I am getting actual flowers which I can cut for display in the house!

This variety are half hardy so they aren’t too needy and they seem to have been easy enough to grow. I mean, I’m a novice and I have a good strong crop of them!

I urge everyone to grow some Cosmos! They are stunning and bloomin’ easy to grow! They make cute little displays for the dining table and make you feel super proud that you grew something that lovely!

Do it! Get some Cosmos seeds and grow them 🙂

Amy x

 

Fruit and Veggies A Go Go!

This bank holiday weekend has been a wet one at times. Minutes before writing this post I was washing compost from the whole lengths of my arms after potting up plants in the rain. Ick!

However our wet weather has been a flippin’ miracle for our plants after the warm spell we had last week!

In particlar my fruit and veggies have been loving this rain! They have gotten their grow on.

Firstly, and the reason I was so covered in compost, the baby tomatoes I was given by my parents were transferred into large veg grow bags with compost for vegetables. So hopefully in the next couple of months we will have actual edible tomatoes… Eek! 

Also my little strawberry plants are starting to grow some big fruits… I can’t wait for them to ripen!! Fresh strawberries with hot dark chocolate sauce… Ooh!

Finally, look at my potatoes – they have gone mad and gone into flower, yaas! Potato times are coming soon.

My fruits and veggies are all go! Looks like this wet weekend has perked them up. How are yours coming along?!

Amy x

Spring Evenings on the plot

Ahh, what a beautiful couple of days we have had here in Bristol. So warm that I popped up to the allotment this evening to give everything a good water.

The soil has gotten ridiculously dry since Sunday, so I was a little worried about my plant babies, but no disasters!

Everything is springing into life. My neighbours plot has masses of beautiful chives in flower, whilst my other neighbour has hundreds of pretty white flowers on their strawberry plants.

My plot is coming to life too, it’s actually starting to resemble an actual allotment and not a grass ridden wasteland!

Just look at those leeks for a start… Proper grown up looking vegetables!

But also, how nice to have half an hour in the sun after work. Taking in the sights of my successful plant growing and topping up my vitamin D at the same time.

Everyone should get an allotment, that little bit of outside time makes your soul feel good!

Amy x

 

The log store is complete!

After just a couple of weeks, our handmade log store is complete, and what a beauty it is!

It is made from a mixture of old fence panels, decking and pallets. The only new items being  the felt roof, paint and downpipe gutter. The rest was either found or given to us for free!

I think the total spend was around £40.00 which included the screws, brackets, felt, gutter fixings and downpipe, a tin of Cuprinol paint and a brilliant old well bucket to catch the water in. Andrew says this is more than he would have liked to spend but I think it was a bit of a bargain! You couldn’t buy a decent log store for that price, well maybe you could if you are in the know, haha, but seriously – how many people do you know with black-market log store connections?!

I’m super pleased with how Andrew’s project has turned out – so much so, I’ve put in an order for a bird box, coat hook storage and a display ladder for my plant pots! Ooh!

Would love to hear your feedback on our fantastic log store!

Progress photos below 🙂

Amy x

(Hooray – the pallet fits in the car)

(The roof!)

(FINISHED!)

My Plant of the Month 4/12 – Allium

Ooh yes, one of my absolute favourites! The Allium, specifically the purple variety.

The Allium was one of the first flowers I really noticed when I was working on BBC’s Gardeners’ World last year. It caught my attention in a big way!

I was lucky enough to spend a fair amount of time in Monty’s garden, where I watched these beauties bloom. I just love them!

They are really striking when planted amongst low growing plants, I particularly like their pairing with grasses, as the foliage at the base of the Alliums dies back quite quickly. So if they are surrounded by low level plants like grasses then they disguise the dying foliage. Smart!

I am growing a few in my tatty flower bed at the moment, which I planted out as bulbs in the autumn. They have started to flower now and by the end of the month they will form their striking purple ball of individual flowers! 


Even when the flower wither away, they leave a ghostly skeleton behind which is also beautiful.

They are fairly hardy, good for pots and flower beds, make wonderful cut flower displays and pretty easy to grow! What’s not to like?!

There you have it – my plant of the month! Happy May!

 

Amy x

Help from mum & dad

This Bank Holiday weekend we had my lovely parents visit and as normal they helped us out in both the yarden and allotment! Super parents!

Saturday we did a spot of work in the yarden. Mum & Dad brought us up some baby plants and lovely clay pots to add to our current collection!

So, whilst Andrew painted the log store and Dad drew up some plans for our future renovations, Mum & I went planting mad!

First up we moved some of my own Dahlia babies into pots, as well as potting some in the planter by the front door, accompanying them with some of my Cosmos babies too! I felt almost like a proud mother, moving my plant babies from seedling pots to real, big boy pots! *Sniffles*

We used some of the unneeded gravel from half of the yarden to top the pots. Not only does this look pretty but it also helps to keep weeds at bay! Pesky weeds!

 

We also potted up a selection of other bits and bobs, including some strawberries, lavender and sweet peas.

Look at those sweet peas all tied in, they look so smart!

 

We then had a revelation, that after smashing up all the concrete a couple weeks ago, we now don’t need someone to come and take it away! Because it was agreed by our garden designer, Dad, that we could put it all in the bottom of the planters when we build them. So we don’t have to fill the planters to the ground with expensive compost. Winning!

The remaining gravel and soil from half of the garden will also go in the planters to help fill the bases. Which will save us money and time. So now the design is all drawn up, dad is going to look at prices for the supplies. We may get our raised beds sooner than we thought! Yay!

Lots of plants potted up, rubbish cleared, designs drawn and log store finished!

 

So all in all – a good days work!

🙂