The Garden

Last summer, I decided to change our front garden. PIL was in full agreement. One side of the driveway had already been done and was established and looking good, even if I do say so myself! It had that packed, cottage garden look that both PIL and I like.20160709_130151

The other side was a tatty bit of lawn that really was a bit of pain with having to drag the mower around from the back garden and mow a bit of lawn covered in bald patches.

Part of the front garden before we went on holiday to Florida at the beginning of July

Part of the front garden before we went on holiday to Florida at the beginning of July 2015

So last year I started on it. Now considering that it was a relatively small area, it’s taken an age to get it sorted but that really came down to time and the fact that a lot needed doing to it. I began by removing the remaining grass.

Front garden two weeks after our return from holiday

Front garden two weeks after our return from holiday

Rather than using chemicals, I just took off the top layer. It would mean that grass would sprout up in a few places again but it would be easy enough to pull out and it would eventually disappear completely.

The front garden just before I went to Wales at the end of August.

The front garden just before I went to Wales at the end of August.

Then I turned the soil over and removed all the rubble that the builders had buried. I then dug in some pea gravel to improve the drainage. It’s London clay around here so it’s like concrete when dry and an absolute bog when wet. After levelling out again, I covered it in half of ton of well rotted horse muck that I got from my sister. I could of done with another ton but I made do with what I had.20150918_134248

Horse muck dug in and ready to plant. It's now mid September!

Horse muck dug in and ready to plant. It’s now mid September 2015!

Then I began the process of planting up. I put in bulbs, I put a couple of hebes in but the main planting was of hardy perennials. I like perennials. You put them in the ground and they grow and they spread so every 3 or 4 years you divide them up and hey presto, free plants! Brilliant.

Planting up begins. It's now October.

Planting up begins. It’s now October 2015

20151007_114408I had an idea in my head of what I was trying to achieve. I was after a cottage garden effect again and that meant lots of plants but I had to be careful as plants spread if they’re happy and I had to leave space for that to happen. For instance, Echinacea or Cone flowers start off with a couple of flowering stems but quickly establish into a clump nearly 2 feet across. I also wanted to attract wild life into the garden. Attract insects and birds follow. Plant open flowers like cone flowers, geraniums and Rudbeckia and bees, butterflies and hover flies arrive in masses.20160803_120828

Now I read somewhere that bees “see” ultra violet as well as other colours and they are drawn towards purples and mauves so a lot of the plants in my garden are purple or mauve along with plenty of red splashed around with blobs of blue and yellow dotted here and there with some white flowers in the mix too. It sounds awful and I must admit I thought it would look terrible. I’ll let you decide.20160803_120839

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There are mistakes that I am in the process of rectifying. When the Lupins and Astibles planted in the centre died back at the end of July, there was no height in that particular section of the garden. I have plants out there that I can divide and replant that flower later in the year and provide some height. Fingers crossed that it works. I need to move the asters which are in flower now but are being crowded out. The sedum is also in flower and both it and asters are an excellent source of late season nectar for bugs. The sedum needs dividing though. Never mind, I’ll get another plant or two out of this!20160802_111236

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The best time to divide plants or move them is either now when the soil is still warm and roots can start to establish or in the spring once the ground has warmed up a bit. Of course, you can plant stuff all during the summer too.20160802_111230

 

20160812_091813Here’s a little snippet of information that I read recently that is of particular interest if you have any apple trees. We don’t, although some years ago we had about an acre of old orchard. We never actually did anything with it and that’s something I regret. One day, I’ll grow an apple tree or two. My sister has a couple so this will be of interest. Listen up Boo. Apples often suffer from “scab”, it doesn’t make the fruit inedible but it doesn’t look very nice. (what scab does?). Planting bulbs under the tree helps to stop scab and if those bulbs happen to be wild garlic, it can completely stop the appearance of scab on apples. Only one problem. Wild garlic spreads like Billy Oh so be careful. Mind you, wild garlic is pretty cool anyway. Eating the leaves raw or cooked is apparently very good for you, tastes good, smells good if you walk on it AND it keeps vampires at bay to boot! A miracle plant if ever there was one. The woods around here are full of it and I love walking through it all in the springtime. Next Spring, I intend cutting some leaves and bringing it home for use in the kitchen. (Mainly to disguise the smell of burning).

One of the nice things about flower gardens and cottage gardens in particular, is the way that a seed will settle somewhere, think to itself, “I like it here” and up pops a plant in the most unexpected and usually brilliant place.20160622_091658

Once I have the front sorted, it will be time to go and sort out the somewhat neglected back garden. Having said that, I quite like the slightly dishevelled look of our lawn. It’s full of daisies and clover and that, in turn, brings lots of bees and bugs into the garden. There is a hedgehog house out there now and a bird box to put up. I’m looking forward to it. Not so sure my back is though!

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On that note, it is time to go. My son is due at the station soon and I need to go pick him up. PIL is busy watching The Great British Bake-Off. She’s discovering new ways to burn stuff I think.

I hope you have a truly fantastic evening. Until the next time peeps…..

More Dick soon.

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15 responses to “The Garden

  1. Looking good! Hard work and planning (plus talent) has paid off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. It will look better next year when the planting is more established. Hard work? Yes, absolutely. Planning? Not so sure about that mate. I had a idea of what I wanted in my head and that has translated to the garden pretty well I think. Talent? NO! I garden but I’m no gardener. For me, gardening gives me a tremendous sense of well being. And a bad back! I enjoy seeing the fruit of my labour and I know that PIL likes to sit outside and contemplate it all as do I. She takes care of all the stuff we have in pots and does a pretty good job of that. The work continues! Have a great day mate

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  2. Looking very nice. I have lots of purple in my garden too, it is a nice colour. Good luck with the rest of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Gardening seems to be a never ending task but I don’t mind in the slightest. The next task is make the back garden child proof. My kids are grown up now but are forever outside playing football, basketball, cricket and lopping the flowers off Dads plants! The havoc they cause has to be seen to be believed. Have a bloody good day and I hope your new venture is going well

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, someone’s been busy. Looking very good Mr D.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Why thank you Lily. As you say, the devil makes work for idle hands and he’s certainly been busy with mine!
      I’m looking forward to next summer. By then it will have grown more and thickened up and you will be more than welcome to come and spend some time looking at and playing in my garden. July/August time would be best as after that it will start to get a bit overgrown and I’ll need to carefully prune it all back a bit.
      I hope you and Spawn are well and half term holidays aren’t driving you nuts.

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      • If it looks this good now, can you imagine just how beautiful it will look next summer?
        Half term hasn’t started yet (that’s next week) but whenever I think about it, I always have the theme to ‘Murder Most Horrid’ (random, I know) running through my head.
        Ooh, and thanks for the invite. I’m sure PIL will be only too glad to have a strange looking, incoherent woman turn up at her door demanding ice-tea. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • There are still things to do out there but right now it’s time to assemble the new shed. That’s stopped due to me not having 4 hands and seven feet! Bloody thing is impossible to put together on your own. PILs at home tomorrow, so looks like I’ll have supervision for the rest of the assembly. And sarcasm. Why am I not looking forward to tomorrow? I jest of course.
        Half term is next week? I bet you’re looking forward to that!
        Have a brilliant evening. xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Is October the official month of shed building, because you’re the 5th person I know that’s in the process of assembling one.
        I always look forward to the half term…sorry, I meant death. I always get those two mixed up.

        Have a fab weekend Mr D and good luck with your shed assembly.. xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • The shed assembly will be the subject of my next post I think. PIL took it pretty well considering. She laughed at my DIY ability several times. I’m glad she saw the funny side.
        Half term is always such fun and I know that really deep down somewhere in the unknown depths there is a tiny part of you that is actually looking forward to it. God help us, it’s also that American thingy that’s now over here called Halloween. Fortunately, despite hating it, there is a silver lining. I get to eat a shed load of chocolate meant for Trick or Treaters! PIL gets the hump cos there’s none left to give to the blighters and we get crazy foam sprayed through the letter box. My fault apparently. Nothing to do with the poor misunderstood yobs that did it. Xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am so rude.
        I hope you and Spawn have a bloody excellent weekend too xx

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  4. Your garden looks great!!!! I have left my garden in the hands of the “landscapers” this year, so it is rather bland. They are slowly trying to shape all my shrubs into little geometric shapes and gnome hats. I am not happy about this at all. I wish I could grow all the stuff you have in your garden, out here, but it is too blasted hot and dry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And I wish I could grow some of the plants you do but its too blasted cold and wet!
      I must admit I wouldn’t let “landscapers” near my garden. They always manage to make a garden look too formal and managed in my opinion. Mind you, better for your knees and back!

      Liked by 1 person

      • If I could convince someone to tackle the laundry, maybe I could work on the garden, but no one has stepped up to the plate. Lazy bastards (well, not really – well, maybe a little. Don’t tell them I said that).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha. I dont mind doing the laundry and often do but its ironing the bloody stuff that drives me nuts! Well it would if I did it but PIL takes care of that. She sighs a lot while she does it but I’m getting a bit deaf and pretend not to hear.
        Don’t worry, not a word to anyone

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