‘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 twoย  10 litre boxes for ยฃ4.00 and a can of black spray paint for around ยฃ6.00 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 ยฃ10.00 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Plant of the Month – Jan 18′

Hello folks!

So back we are again, in January and I am starting off my ‘Plant of the Month’, although I don’t think I even made it to 12 last year… Oops!

Anyway… January. Most things are just starting to come back to life again and everything else is brown and twig-like. However, inside the house, my indoor plants are giving me life!

The indoor plant (in all of its guises) gives me joy on a grey day like today. I have a wide range of indoor plants, cacti, aloe, succulents, lithops and air plants.

They are all so easy to look after, most require watering once or twice a year and the air plants don’t need watering ever… EVER! Well unless you live in an uber dry place. The kitchen is a good place for them, the moisture in the room from cooking is all they need.

I got these cute little air plants from my parents at Christmas and they look fab next to my other indoor guys!

I am keen to expand my indoor plant collection to other rooms in the house, and there is a cute new plant store opened up in Bristol which sell loads of house plants, so I have to visit!

Until then, I will be admiring my small collection and enjoying the greenery during these dark grey days in January!

Thanks for reading,

Amy x

Farewell to plot ‘fifty seven a’

Happy New Year to you all!

Wasn’t the holiday break just the best thing ever?! I don’t know about all of you but I had the BEST time! Seeing family and friends, eating everything in sight… What could be better?!

However… Hasn’t the January blues hit us all with full force?! This January feels longer than ever before, I’m not sure quite how that is possible, but it certainly feels it! Aside from moping around at work and getting up and going home in the dark, I have made some serious decisions about the house, the yarden and the allotment.

This year am going to focus my mind on the place we live and try and put some time into decorating our guest room and saving up for the other big work which needs to be done. We are keen to get our pub shed in the yarden this spring too (exciting) and get some nice new paving so its basically done and I can then just merrily garden and we can BBQ until our hearts are content and enjoy the space we have.

This means that I have decided to hand my allotment back over to the association. If I’m honest I had taken on too much too soon. There isn’t the time I would like to spend up there getting everything as I would like and so the poor plot has suffered a little. I’m a firm believer of ‘do something properly or don’t do it at all’, so for the next few years at least I will not be an allotment holder.

I was sad to say goodbye to the little plot today but I know it’s the right choice for me at this moment in time, so although initially I was upset, now I feel that this huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I was getting worked up and stressed over it and how little time I had been able to spend on the plot, which was making me want to go up there less. So the plot was getting worse. A vicious circle when you think about it! A hobby shouldn’t make you feel stressed out or under pressure. Otherwise it’s no longer a hobby, it’s like work.

This doesn’t mean that my blog will stop though, if anything I have more time now to write and take photos of the gardens I visit and of course our own little yarden! I am keen to move some of my allotment ideas into the garden and change one of my large flower beds into a mini veg patch. I will be doing my cut flower border in the flower beds too, plus growing more potatoes and carrots in growing bags! I will be testing my small space to the max and will show you how much you can really grow in a teenie yard.

I’m so excited for this year. I am growing (pardon the pun) as a gardener and I am looking forward to the new things I will learn in 2018!

Can’t wait for you all to join me along the way!

Lots of love,

Amy x

P.S. New ‘plant of the month’ coming up this weekend and throughout the year I will be sharing my favourite design tips for a small space, will also try and get to some NGS gardens and share my ‘take away’ items from each garden!

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 ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Plant of the Month 9/12 – Trees

Hello lovely people!

Super apologies for the long wait between posts, things in life have been busy and also it’s been so wet recently, I’ve barely had any time outside. Boo!

We managed to find some sun last weekend and got out for a walk at Leigh Woods which is just 5 mins down the road from us. A beautiful woodland, great for summer picnics and dog walks! It was on this walk that I decided I would break the rules a little and celebrate a whole family for my ‘plant of the month’.

You can’t go through the autumn months without noticing the changing colours all around. The beautiful chilly mornings, with the low sun shining through tones of copper.

Yes, you got it. Trees are my celebrated plant for October and I am not picky. I love all trees, but I think my favourite might be the traditional Oak. There is something wonderful about seeing a huge, grand, old oak on a woodland walk and thinking, I wonder what you have seen in your long life? Imagine, some of the big Oaks you can see around the UK have been around for nearly 1000 years. Most for hundreds. How much change they must have seen and lived through in that amount of time is incredible.

I am not very knowledgeable about trees generally, Andrew knows a lot about them and points things out to me on our walks and teaches me new things. But I have an appreciation for them and a huge respect for how intricate and important they are. Aside from the obvious, which is that they provide us with the oxygen we need to breathe, they are important eco systems. They are homes for many insects, animals and birds.

There are so many more things they do, things you could never imagine. I think when you look at a huge tree, you almost forget that it’s a living thing. The intricate science which happens within them is outstanding.

Andrew is currently reading a fantastic book about them called, “The Hidden Life of Trees: What they Feel, How they Communicate” by Peter Wohlleben. It talks about how they can communicate with one another, how they live in a society and how they communicate within themselves.

All trees have something fascinating about them, some make good habitats, some great building materials, some a unique way of spreading their seeds. Like I said, I am not knowledgeable about trees, so I cannot teach you about them. But I urge you to go out and learn, particularly at this colourful time of the year. Go, enjoy them and maybe find a small one you can plant in your garden at home. I did, and it’s my favourite plant in the garden.

Happy Autumn folks! Happy exploring! ๐Ÿ‚

Plant of the Month 8/12 – Viola

Now when I started out on this plant adventure I was a bit snobby about bedding plants. I’m not really sure why, but I suppose the bedding plants I always had in mind where plants I remember grandparents having in hanging baskets and I guess they feel a bit old fashioned to me. I don’t know, maybe I thought I was too trendy for bedding plants.

Turns out, I’m not. When the summer is ending and you walk around the garden centre with less and less colour jumping out at you, you realise that most of the remaining colour you can see is in the bedding plant section.

I filled my lovely new flower beds with annuals which are now either dead or dying back and I was craving some colour in there still. So I went for it… I bought some bedding plants. Viola to be exact, and boy, do I love them!

I bought these purple & white guys and then some striking black ones. I am entertained by the fact they look like tiny angry faces and y’know, it was Viola’s in Alice in Wonderland wasn’t it? The scene where Alice is small and all the flowers sing to her, I’m sure I remember little Viola’s in that.

Aside from their funny little face-like petals, they are cheap and cheerful too. I think I only paid a few quid for a tray of 6 plants and there were loads of colours to choose from! A bargain really if you ask me! I think you could find any colour you would wish for.

I don’t really have much else to say on these, I mean bedding plants are bedding plants. There are lots of different types, and they really help to inject a bit of colour to your outdoor patch. Also I guess I have to also say that I am no longer a bedding snob… I will actively seek it out in the future!

 

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 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