The Cactus

I have always had an interest in cacti, my grandparents used to have a corridor leading to a music/play room in their house, it was like a conservatory as it was mostly made from glass. Along the corridor were shelves with cacti all along them.

I remember when I was little I used to run down the corridor to the play room as fast as I could so that the prickles couldn’t get me on the way past. Fond memories, I have always found cacti fascinating!

This cute little cactus has been with us in two homes now, and it’s so very easy to look after! In our old flat we had it in the bathroom and the steam seemed to be enough moisture for it, so I never had to water it! Now we keep it on the windowsill in the kitchen, right near the sink, and it’s happy as Larry there too!

If you have shortage of outdoor space, why don’t you look at getting a little cactus or even a few to put around your home.

You can get them from most garden centres, or if you want something more specialised you can find a range of specialist growers online. My local chap is called Tony Irons, which is who I bought my succulents from. You can see his website here.

Obviously, make sure you keep them out of the reach of children and pets to avoid a prickly surprise!

 

The other project…


Let me just set the scene, after moving to Bristol only a couple of years ago, Andrew and I buy our first home, which is a deshevelled 1900s cottage needing lots of work. We also start to think about working on the garden, plus I start a card making hobby/business to help make some pennies and give me a creative outlet. We both have full time jobs which often push our work hours above the standard 9-5. So the logical thing to do on top of all of this…

I signed up for an allotment in the village. Yes.

I have no experience of any real gardening, everything I had learnt about plants came from listening intently from colleagues when I worked on BBC’s Gardeners’ World or from my parents, and yet I took on an allotment.

Ok, so it isn’t huge (about 80 square metres), it’s much smaller than most on the site, but it was very overgrown. It certainly was a challenge for someone with very little spare time. Call me crazy, but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have my own allotment.

There is something wonderful about the thought of growing your own food. I’m not expecting a vegetable miracle but it would be fantastic to be able to grow one successful crop. So that is the main reason I went ahead with the plot.

We haven’t had a lot of time to get down there and clear the brambles and mess so it was becoming a little overwhelming. But mum and I managed to spend the whole day there last Saturday. We cleared all of the brambles and dying fruit bushes and turned over a nice area for me to start planting up.

I can breathe a sigh of relief now that I actually have made a start on the allotment and we can think about what we want to grow.

Keep posted for more updates on the ‘other project’.

Amy x

 

 

My Plant of the Month 1/12 – Snowdrops

Ok… so I missed the first month of this year, that means I can double up when there are too many beautiful plants to choose from.

My chosen favourite plant for February HAS to be the Snowdrop (Galanthus). Its one of the first signs that Spring may be on it’s way soon.

They are so dainty and look stunning in patches of dewy grass when the winter sunlight catches them.

They flower January to March and are quite hardy little plants.

If you want some of these gorgeous little flowers in your garden next year, plant them up in the late Spring, (April/May) and have a look on the RHS website for all the info you will need.

Also, the National Trust have a fantastic list of the ‘Top Spots for Snowdrops’ in the UK. Perfect for a wintery weekend walk!

Image credit – National Trust / Marina Rule

Project Decking

So… This weekend we took on the huge and necessary task of taking up all the decking in the garden. It had been patched up by the previous owners, but was in a bit of a state. It was rotten in most places so was a little dangerous underfoot. As well as this, our garden retains a lot of damp due to it being walled on two sides, it stays shaded much of the time so the decking rarely has a chance to dry up fully and is always slippery.

I left the job in the capable hands of Andrew and my Dad… Mostly I was terrified about what we might find underneath the rotten old decking. In reality, it was just a couple of toads and a lot of muck and rubbish.

Now its up and most of the dirt is swept away, It might not be pretty but its given us a safer space to use whilst we plan the other big jobs in the yarden. The next stage is to work out wether to dig out the gravel to the right-hand side to level it all out or not…

There is no real rush at this stage, I’m just pleased I can walk in the garden without falling over.

Amy x

Where did we start…

Although we moved into our new home and inherited our ‘Yarden’ a few months ago now, we have only now started to think about how we want it to look and feel. With the house screaming out for attention, the garden was left to do it’s own thing for a long time, but the New Year has given us a kick up the backside to get cracking on our valuable outdoor space.

Back in the autumn however, we did spend a couple of hours at my new favourite place, Brackenwood Garden Centre, which is just down the road from us. Somewhere in between Ashton court and Pill/Ham Green. It is a cute little family ran garden centre with all kinds of plants for any garden, but my favourites by far were the ferns.

We purchased a couple of bits, including this beautiful little fern (Dicksonia antarctica) to help spruce up our sorry looking garden. It wasn’t until I had planted it up I realised it was actually a tree fern. Which can grow up to 6m in the right conditions… Not quite what I had in mind, and my first gardening mistake.

Skip forward to now, it looks like being uncovered over winter hasn’t done it any good, as expected, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I haven’t killed it. In the meantime, we will move onto fixing some of the bigger jobs in our yarden.

Amy x

 

Mini fact: 

Ferns grow well in shaded, sheltered and humid environments, so are great plants for a walled or shaded garden.

Where to buy:

Plants and planter bought from Brackenwood Plant and Garden Centre

Meerkat figurine bought from Downham Home and Garden Store