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!

🙂

Tip top tap

One of my top tips for keeping on top of your ever growing garden is to get a garden tap fitted if you haven’t already!

Ok… So a bit boring I know, but it will save numerous trips into the house to fill up a watering can and you can attach a hose pipe and won’t need to use a can at all (well except for when the hosepipe bans come in… Boo).

We actually did have an outdoor tap but it was so old, the hosepipe wouldn’t fit on it, so we asked our lovely plumber, Pete, to swap it for something newer and shinier!

Hoorah for the super handy garden tap!

Make notes…

Something I wish I had started doing as soon as I purchased my first plants and bulbs was to write them down.

As someone who is learning about plants as I go along, I have only now realised how valuable it is to make notes the whole time. I stupidly planted out bulbs last autumn and potted up plants – with no reference to the date I did so or even the types of bulbs or plants I buried in the soil. Rookie Mistake!

I now have shoots popping up in the flower beds, and I honestly couldn’t tell if they are weeds or not. Having no knowledge of what i’ve planted, I have no reference to check what to pull up and what to leave. I have veggies sown from seed and I cant remember the type I bought or when I should expect them to be ready… Bloody nightmare!

Last week however, I finally purchased a small note book (although you could keep your notes on a computer or tablet) and started listing the full names of seeds/bulbs/plants I have in my garden & allotment, date planted, in pots or direct in the ground, when they first showed shoots, when I topped up the compost & when they should be ready to harvest (veggies) or cut if decorative flowers. Literally everything I think might be useful.

My newly updated, cheap and cheerful (85p from the post office) notebook will give me a good place to start next year when it comes to growing again. I can see what worked and what didn’t, what to expect, tips I tried this year that improved the process… See – invaluable!

It doesn’t matter if you scribble it down in a book or type it up neatly, what order you write it or anything. So long as it’s coherent enough that it makes sense next time you read it, thats all that counts!

Super handy tip, from one novice gardener to another! You’re welcome!

Amy x

Weekend of successes!

This weekend has been a brilliant triumph – we got loads of little jobs done, as well as one huge job!

Fence panels have been dropped to stop dust and muck blowing into the yard, garden furniture painted, concrete swept, bug hotel painted, log store started and finally – huge concrete demolition! Woo!

So, the concrete demolition… Our yard had these weird little concrete borders… No idea why. Our next-door neighbour has them in her garden too. They are super ugly, super pointless and super in the way of my grand renovation plans. They had to go!

I enlisted help from my handsome chappy and a splitting axe with a sledge hammer on the back of the blade. The demolition commenced.

*I should add – sandals are not appropriate sledge-hammering footwear. Tut, Tut*

After much smashing, and a couple of tea-breaks all of the concrete borders are out, leaving a ditch between the flat concrete part of the garden and the raised gravel section. Also leaving us with a fair few heavy bags of rubble to take to the tip next weekend.

Now the awful concrete borders are gone we can dig out all of the gravel and soil to level it out and match the concrete floor. There will then be a flat area to look at paving with something a bit prettier!! Phew!

Amy x

Brighten things up

I have been recently inspired by a book, called ‘How to Grow’ by Hollie Newton, to embrace my inner-kitsch. I should add, her book has also given me some great tips for growing vegetables, fruit and plants too!

As you will see in Hollie’s book – if you buy it, which quite frankly every aspiring gardener should, she has jazzed up her London garden with bright pieces of furniture and accessories. Lots of which she painted herself – which, by the way, is much cheaper and way more creative than just buying it!

After having a good old read last weekend I randomly purchased a bright pink, flamingo shaped watering can this week on my way home from work. I only say randomly, because until now my garden design had included a lot of green (obviously) but also neutral tones, whites, greys, browns and the odd deep purple flower thrown in.


So that’s why my purchase of a flamingo watering can was a bit of a surprise, as it doesn’t really go with my initial designs. But hey ho… looks like there might be some tweaks to my design now. Which is sort of the beauty of creating a moodboard and really taking the time to think about how you want your garden to look. It can change at any time to incorporate new ideas. There are no rules really… You can do whatever you want with your space. Even when the garden’s ‘finished’ it will never really be finished, you can add to it and change it whenever you like!

The flamingo watering can was just the start… I have just also purchased a wooden bird box from the garden… what’s so kitsch about that I hear you ask… well I’ve painted it.

Personally, I think its the coolest bird box in the village… maybe even in the West Country. A bold claim I know!

I do know that the colour of the bird box makes no difference to our winged visitors, but it will add a needed splash of colour to our white washed yard walls. It is also one of many touches I hope to add to help bring wildlife into the yarden. In a world when species are going extinct and becoming endangered left, right and centre, I would like to do my bit by making my yarden wildlife friendly, a sanctuary even.

So go on everyone – paint something bright and pop it in your garden, be it a chair, a bird box or even some pots!

Go for it – grab your paintbrushes!

Amy x

 

 

If you want to buy the same bird box as me, mine came from the old trusty Wilko for £5.00

Paints came from Wilko too – and they are just tester pots by Cuprinol. I have ‘Beach Blue’ and ‘Pansy Purple’ on my bird box. Both were plenty to give it 3 coats and only £1.50 each

‘How to Grow: A guide for gardeners who can’t garden yet’ can be bought from any good book retailler, but I bought mine from Amazon for £6.99 plus P&P. Bargain!