Tag Archives: cottage gardens

The Garden

I must admit to enjoying a bit of gardening. Unfortunately, I don’t spend as much time as I would like pottering around doing gardening stuff like dead heading, planting out new plants, taking cuttings and enjoying the physical effort involved. Some of this is down to work but more often it’s the rubbish English weather on my days off that stop me.gardener cartoon

I have been planning and plotting the other side of our front garden for some months now and progress has been slow.

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

Front garden two weeks after our return from holiday

Front garden two weeks after our return from holiday

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.

The front garden shortly after my return from Wales with a load of well rotted horse muck ready to be dug in

The front garden shortly after my return from Wales with a load of well rotted horse muck ready to be dug in

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!

Planting up begins. It's now October.

Planting up begins. It’s now October.

The dark patches show me where I've planted bulbs.

The dark patches show me where I’ve planted bulbs.

What I want to achieve is a “cottage” garden, which is very relaxed and informal. I think that’s what a garden is all about – somewhere to be relaxed and informal, just like the garden. There is still lots to do. I have 30 odd allium bulbs to plant, daffodils, the big thing you can see in the background in the first few photos with white daisy like flowers is being moved to the centre, there are plants in the back garden I want to move and then once spring has sprung, I’ll fill in gaps and move plants around because it looks like shit with colour clashes all over the place. I want lots of scent so two or three honeysuckles will be added to festoon themselves over the walls. But I’ll enjoy doing it.

I love the informality

I love the informality

cottage-garden-paths2

This is what I would like to achieve. A combination of these three would be ideal

This is what I would like to achieve. A combination of these three would be ideal

Other people prefer a more formal and regulated garden. Good for them. If that’s what they like then I’m not going to criticise them. When it comes to gardens, I firmly believe in “Whatever turns you on.” Want gnomes? As many as you want mate. Nothing but roses? Good for you.

One of the things I also try and do is encourage wildlife into our garden, particularly insects and bees. While I have been known to use weed killer on those pernicious perennial weeds like dandelions, I don’t use pesticides. Pesticides don’t discriminate between good bugs and bad bugs. It’s a bug so it dies. Not a good idea. I try to achieve a natural balance in our garden. Doing so, particularly if you have used pesticides, can take a couple of years and you never actually get rid of every bad bug but you do get levels of infestation that are manageable.

A hoverfly

A hoverfly

Hoverfly larvae scoffing an aphid

Hoverfly larvae scoffing an aphid

Taking bees aside, I try to encourage hover flies and lady birds into the garden. If you have roses in your garden or grow vegetables and have a problem with aphids, I suggest you do the same.

Yep. A lady bird

Yep. A lady bird

A ladybird larvae. Do NOT kill

A ladybird larvae. Do NOT kill just because it’s an ugly bastard

Ladybirds and their larvae will scoff upwards of 4000 aphids during their life cycle. That’s right! 4000! Hoverfly larvae will each munch their way through several hundred aphids before eventually becoming nectar eating hoverflies. So they are worth encouraging. Both hoverflies and lady birds like to feed on nectar but they need to do so on plants with fairly open flowers. Plants like ox-eye daisies, coreopsis, marigolds and Rudbeckia are ideal. If you’re happy to suffer a few aphids chomping your roses or lettuce, you will notice the difference in the wildlife attracted into your garden. More insects, often means more and different types of birds, hedgehogs, frogs and toads in the garden and that, to my mind, is a good thing. I have had sparrow hawks chasing blackbirds in my garden and that is a sight to behold.

Gardening can also be dangerous. It’s not just the tools like shears, secateurs, strimmers and mowers involved. It’s bloody zombie gardeners!

Dude. Do you have a spade. I need to dig a big hole

Dude. Do you have a spade? I need to dig a big hole.

They’ll stop at nothing to nick all the good stuff in your garden and transfer to their own.

Gardening can be a dangerous occupation. I always keep a spade handy. Just in case.

Gardening can be a dangerous occupation. I always keep a spade handy. Just in case.

They’ve been known to bump off a gardener or two and they pop up out of nowhere.

I always keep a few tools handy just in case some of the zombies round here start to go into one and launch a surprise raid to try and nick my lobelias.in_case_of_zombies_gardening

So far I’ve been lucky and managed to beat any ZGRs (Zombie Garden Raiders) off with a sharp spade to the head.zombie gardener2

I must admit it’s a bit of a pain disposing of a zombie head but, like with slugs and snails, I usually lob them into next doors garden and they ┬áhave a moan and a groan:

“Oi Terry! Them bloody zombies have been fighting in our garden again. There’s fucking zombie heads all over the lawn.”zombie head

“I bloody told you Chardonnay, them bleedin’ hollyhocks you wanted planted up attract those buggers like flies to a dog dump.”

“Are you sayin’ it’s my bloody fault we always find zombie heads in our garden? How come that bloke next door never gets any?”

“Coz he ain’t got any fuckin’ ‘olly’ocks in his garden you silly cow!”

“Silly cow? You bastard. That’s it! I’m staying round me mums. You can sod off.”

“Oh that’s right. Leave it to me to clear up all the bloody gore and brains again, then take it down the council tip and hope they don’t notice. Thanks a bunch you selfish old moo.”

“Stick it up your bum Terry. I’ve had enough. Where are the car keys………”

All over a bloody stray zombie head. See what I mean? Zombie gardeners are bloody dangerous. Pinch your plants, bury a trowel in your head and cause matrimonial conflict. Bastards.

Finally, a quick message for SDG. I’m afraid the slug deterrent experiment will have to wait until next year now. By the time I got round to trying out the nettle juice and smuggling the hostas out of PILs sight, they had all started to die back and slugs wouldn’t have been interested. Looks like we’ll have to wait until 2016 to make our fortunes.

On that note, it is time for me to leave.

Have a great day.

More Dick soon.auto

Holiday

Tomorrow morning at shit o’clock, the whole tribe is leaving for Gatport Airwick to get on a plane to take us to Florida. Yaaaaaaaaay!

We will stay there for two weeks when we will have to return home. Boo! Then two days later it’s back to work BOOOOO!

In the meantime however, we are going to have a great time. PIL and I will spend many, many hours on the Cup and Saucer roundabout at Magic Kingdom while the kids go bonkers elsewhere.cup and saucer

We will go to Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon and spend the day pretending to be whales. Well, I will anyway as everyone else is trim and fit. One of the those places has the most God awful water slides. You have to have oxygen to get to the top and then slide down the bloody thing. It has a speed trap on it so you see how fast you went – 50-60 mph!!! You then spend the next twenty minutes extracting your trunks from your bum as it gives you the worlds biggest wedgie. You then join the queue of other hapless humans to go to the toilet as it also gives you the worlds biggest enema! Accordingly, I will go on this several times each hour. The kids will too.BlizzardBeachSlide

Cape Canaveral is on our list as is Daytona.

Perhaps they will let us have a go!

Perhaps they will let us have a go!

No rocket launches scheduled nor any races but got to worth a visit. PIL and CJ will drag us off shopping. We will eat like we’ve never eaten before. Great. I may even take this old steam-powered Apple and post a post or two while we’re there.

In the meantime plans are afoot for our return. The front garden is sitting ready to be dug over, top soil added and planted up.

Ready for topsoil and planting

Ready for topsoil and planting

I’m going for a cottage garden effect with loads of scent. The backdrop will be a couple of Honeysuckles and the bed itself will have loads of perennials plus bulbs of assorted kinds including a load of tulips that CJ got for me from Amsterdam when she was on a school hockey tour to Holland.

This is the kind of effect I'm after

This is the kind of effect I’m after

No roses though. I am not a great fan of roses. Bloody hard work. Aphids, black spot, thorns that cut you to ribbons, gross feeders and a pain in the arse.

Or this

Or this

Unfortunately, my experiment with a slug deterrent will have to wait until we get back as I’ve run out of time. Sorry SDG but I will let you know how it goes so we can make our fortunes.

Dexter is staying in kennels while we’re away. I don’t think he will enjoy that but he will be fine I’m sure although I suspect we will miss him almost as much as he will miss us. I took him walkies earlier today and I have to say once again how glorious it all was. I loved it and Dexter had a good old time to when he chased a couple of pheasants hiding in the undergrowth.

Part of the bridle path where we take Dexter walkies. Absolutely magnificent

Part of the bridle path where we take Dexter walkies. Absolutely magnificent

Apparently I have to pack. How long does three tee shirts, two pairs of shorts, trunks, wash kit and sun tan lotion take to pack? (There’s a washing machine where we’re staying so don’t need any more. I can always buy more out there if needs be)

Have a bloody excellent weekend.

More Dick soon.auto