‘DIY compost box’ – perfect for small gardens!

Hello folks!

This weekend has been one for ‘making things’, I spent much of yesterday evening making dream catchers for the house… Also considering selling them, but thats a decision for another day and blog haha.

Today we made our own compost boxes for the garden.

Now, I know what you are thinking, why make one when you can buy a perfectly good compost bin from a store?! Well, with the limited space we have in our teenie yarden, we need something equally teenie. Plus, we don’t have LOADS of plants so a huge compost bin would be redundant.

So I picked up two  10 litre boxes for £4.00 and a can of black spray paint for around £6.00 from B&M Home Stores. Now, for the composting to happen properly, it needs to be kept dark and warm, so a clear box won’t really work. B&M didn’t have any opaque boxes, but these had black lids so I figured I could just paint the clear boxes… Genius!

So yes, you can do this at home too, either by buying opaque boxes, or painting them like us!

If you do paint them, make sure you spray on a covered surface in the garden or in a well ventilated area. They need an hour or so between coats and around 24 hours to be fully dry.

Once dry, you need to drill holes in the bottom, this lets moisture drain out so you don’t get mushy compost! I used a battery operated drill and started with small holes and then moved up to larger ones to avoid the plastic cracking.

It should then look something like this…

Once fully dry and with the lids on, these guys will be ready to go out into the garden. You can compost lots of things really; vegetable peelings, egg shells, plant cuttings and old soil.

Next weekend I’m going to pop these in the garden and start to fill it with compostable goodness… Plus I’m going to scout out a few worms to pop in there too!

Not bad for £10.00 🙂

Top tip: Make sure you turn over the contents of your compost box/bin every so often. It helps with the breakdown of matter.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Amy xx

RHS Rosemoor – Our day out

Hello lovely people!

I feel that once again I need to apologise for my lack of posts over the past month. I have had lots of changes with my job which has made me feel unsettled, which has left me no brain space to think about all the things I enjoy, and so my blog has been taking a back seat. My poor allotment has been abandoned too, but I mostly blame the pants weather for that! Hasn’t it been awful?!

Apologies aside, I am still here, the blog is still very much active, and I promise it will be more of a priority in the New Year!

Moving on… This month was Andrew & my 3 year anniversary (how he has put up with me that long is beyond me) so we booked a long weekend away in Devon. We stayed in this BEAUTIFUL renovated shepherds hut, which overlooked a private woodland. The weather was awful but we managed to get a walk through the woods and avoid the rain, and it was fantastic!

As well as our lovely walk in the woods and lots of snuggling with the fire on and a hot chocolate in hand, we braved the poor weather and decided to go to RHS Rosemoor.

Since my time on Gardeners’ World, I have been keen to visit the RHS sites, Rosemoor in particular, as we filmed a lot of inserts for the show there. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I can tell you that I was not disappointed. Rosemoor has something for everyone, from formal gardens to woodland walks, and even a hobbit house built by the workers.

We were fortunate to visit the weekend before they opened a sculpture display around the garden, which meant that many of the sculptures were already in place. Which really added something extra to the gardens, particularly at a time of year when  the large grey and dark skies are overbearing.

(I do realise that there is a patch of blue sky in this photo, probably the only bit we saw all day!)

The gardens are truly beautiful, with lots of variety, they are well kept and maintained and the staff are also really friendly! I feel I should stop rambling about it and pop some more photos into this post so you can see what it was like!

(Down by the lake)

(Sculpture made from car parts)

(View from the entrance)

(More sculptures)

(Me!)

Take a look at my Instagram for more photos! I will pop some more up 🙂

So yes, RHS Rosemoor was inspiring and we managed to stay dry too! If you are ever in Devon or nearby, do take a trip and visit, you can buy tickets online for less than you would expect and the cafe is good too!! Plus, do check out Witherdon Wood Shepherds Hut, which is where we stayed! You will be sure to have an amazing time as we did!

Promise my next post won’t be so long awaited!

Amy xx

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! 🙂

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, 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 🙂

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 🙂

xxx

 

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!

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!

 

Weekend clear-up

The big garden renovations are on hold whilst we save up for some even bigger renovations on the house… But we will still be progressing slowly. In the meantime, I’m just trying to keep our yard looking ok.

The weeds have had a mad growth spurt, in the gravel and planters. Mostly its that sticky weed stuff which I remember kids throwing at each other at school. 

Although the yard is in a bit of a state generally, I couldn’t let the weeds run riot, so I embraced the beautiful sunshine and got rid of them all.

The lovely weather and slight improvement to the garden also gave me a chance to measure up the space we have and start putting some design thoughts together. Mood board will be coming your way very soon!

Miniature Greenhouse

It seems I am still just about young enough to wangle a gift for Easter, and my lovely mum & dad bought me a mini greenhouse this year! I know it isn’t quite Easter yet, but I have seedlings in need.

This 4 tiered mini greenhouse is from Argos and cost only £24.99 – so far, so good. I have fastened it to the fence at the top and bottom so that it doesn’t fall over in the wind, and put a couple of rocks on the bottom shelf for good measure.

I will be putting my little seedlings in there in a couple of weeks time when the risk of frost has passed, but I may still tuck them up with some fleece at night.

This little greenhouse is a great addition to my gardening supplies, plus I’ve now got somewhere dry to keep my trowel and gloves!

 

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