Saturday, 4 November 2017

Six on Saturday

After sitting on the sidelines for many months reading in on other peoples Six on Saturday posts and after a little encouragement from the mastermind behind it, the lovely Cavershamjj over at The Propagator blog I've jumped on the bandwagon. 

After my last post (here) about staying motivated in the winter months, participating in Six on Saturday is a great way to look beyond winter being all drab and dreary. 

So without further ado here is my Six on Saturday.

1: Strong willed Anemone's.

I'm amazed to see this Anemone still finding the strength to keep on flowering!
It was a pack from the pound shop and its had a rather good few months of continuous 
flowering and still doesn't show any signs of stopping yet

2: Jewels or Berries?

This year has been a good year for the honeysuckle that's been growing over the ivy. I adore the scent it gives in summer(takes me back to my childhood)  but I also find its berries in autumn/winter beautiful. They are like little jewels that glisten in the low sun, perfect for catching the birds attention to come and have a nibble!

3: Leaves Leaves Leaves!!

My lilac tree is a very good size but it means that come the autumn when I think I've gotten on top of raking/sweeping the leaves up I turn my back and the tree has had a cheeky shake to shed a load more!! I have however decided to use them as leafmould this year after seeing how simple it is to make and its super good stuff to use around the garden. A negative turned into a positive!

4: More Defiance!

I put some pelargoniums into my hanging baskets and whilst the majority of it died off these amazing plants have garried on blooming and I spotted more buds when I checked on them this morning! I wasn't really a fan of these plants but their resilience has made me rethink my original feelings. so much so ive attempted to propagate some (See below!)

5: Sowing & Propagating

I've been a busy bee sowing up some sweet pea's ready for some early blooms next spring and I've tried my hand at propagating some pelargoniums. I'm not very good at getting cuttings to take so I've got everything crossed I can get some to work and will probably do some more!

6: Gardening Indoors

I'm not sure if this breaks the rules as its not in a garden outside hehe BUT as some you may well have already seen I have a lovely obsession building of indoor plants. I've got a great book (The House Plant expert by Dr.D.G.Hessayon) passed down from my mum that's helped me do some research. Mum always had them dotted around the house when I was little but only now am I appreciating them and when I walk past them they make me smile. So even if you think you cant keep a houseplant alive do a little research and give them a go.

So there you have it my very first Six on Saturday. It certainly makes me feel a bit more positive, I hope it makes you feel positive too!!

Until Next Time


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A Time To Wind Down?

Since the beginning of the year it has been pretty full on in the life of gardening. The planning process of what I want to grow, where to plant, can I make room for more? (obviously** said in the style of Professor Snape haha!) Then I started growing from seeds. A mixture of flowers like marigolds, dahlias and cosmos to vegetable varieties such as peas, carrots and turnips. Some have been successful and others not so great. The joys of gardening keeping me on my toes and second guessing.

I invested in a lovely little greenhouse to help me along in my learning as well as aide the processes of growing and hiding from life in general when its not going so great!
Summer months arrived in typical British fashion(pretty much non existent!) and let you enjoy the fruits of early labor, but no time to sit back too much. There's been plenty of weeding, dead heading, watering and some impromptu landscape modification thrown in for good measure too. 

Now autumn is setting in, the darker nights are drawing in earlier and the days becoming shorter, but whilst there is still things to keep my gardening fingers occupied I can easily become withdrawn and feel like I want to hibernate. I pretty much did this last year and lost my gardening mojo. I don't want to fall into that trap again so I posed the question on Twitter:-

I was very overwhelmed by the fantastic, positive and diverse answers I received. 

A lot of people use this time of year to plan next years growing be that via sketching (like Darren) or browsing seed&plant catalogs/online (ideally with a hot beverage&biscuits like Pat).

Others like Hugh like to visit gardens to get their flower/colour fix as well as get inspiration to take back to their own.

House plants was another great suggestion from Time&Space Designs. I loved this one as plants aren't just for outside and there is some brilliant choices to suit every taste and can definitely extend that fab feeling from gardening in general

Creating winter flower displays/ colour or trying out some winter crops was another popular suggestion from these lovely ladies.

This one made me giggle from Eccle(sweary)Barnett! As well as going for walks, putting on weight can motivate you into a bit of digging in the new year. I can see the method in the madness with that haha!!

There were a couple of responses that really stood out for me though.

Firstly was to look at things in a more positive way. For example, seed heads give a different dimension to borders and tree's can become more identifiable in their naked state. Spend 10 minutes outside to have a good look around and appreciate the clever way textures and colours change in almost a magical way

Secondly, take time to rest and be kind to yourself. EXACTLY right. It can be easy to forget about oneself but there is nothing wrong with kicking back, reading a book, cooking with homegrown produce or even enjoy a tipple or 2!

Lastly, learn to love the season and accept it for what it is. Thank you Tim Howell. He explained how its easy to be swallowed up in the dark and cold but you don't have to be. Forward plan to visit places/shows which can give you something to look forward to. Fantastic wise words.

This is why I love gardening and its amazing community. It truly brings so many together and offers a HUGE wealth of support, not just for gardening but life in general. You don't feel like you are alone and its warming to know that there is many people who genuinely care.

So am I going to wind down? Well maybe a little bit but with all these fantastic suggestions one thing I am sure of is, I will NOT be defeated by the colder months anymore!

Until Next Time
N x

Ps: Lets keep sharing our positive moments. Use the hashtag #ColdWin on Twitter or Instagram

Saturday, 26 August 2017

No rest for the wicked.

Ever since I began gardening 2 years ago I am astounded at how busy I constantly seem to be as each one goes by. Not that it's a bad thing necessarily but it is amazing at how much there is to do whether that be from sowing seeds and being their nurturing guardian, planning where to put plants or create new features to doing the usual maintenance jobs like cutting grass and weeding. 

With that said let me show you what I have been up to over the last few months in my own garden.

Dreams come true

I managed to get my hands on a very lovely little greenhouse that will change my gardening game forever! Its a 4x4 which was perfect for the space I had available and of course is perfect for all 4ft10" of me (think of me as a real garden fairy rather than a gnome haha!) I even put little personal touches to it with some gorgeous bunting made by my fabulous Mum and it also has some fairy lights in. Don't worry plants and growing take centre stage in there right now though with my Balconi Tomato plants doing incredibly well.

Protection Protection Protection!

With the greenhouse now in its perfect place my thoughts suddenly turned to worry over hoping not to hear the dreaded sounds of smashing. My garden is predominantly a playing garden thanks to the kids but they are now going to have to share it with me and seeing how footballs get volleyed around it I knew I had to guard my little sanctuary somehow! Queue some amazing DIY skills with a few pieces of wood and voilĂ , a lovely new solid trellis screen is now in place. 

But that's not all!

The great thing about gardening is there's always an opportunity to improve and develop our spaces. Now the trellis is in place I knew I could expand the original border. It wasn't exactly easy with discovering so much brick and having to knock as much out as possible but its now given me such a fantastic area to get creative and plant a wider variety of plants. I hadn't realised how small the space in the original border was and now understand why very little seemed to grow/survive. My brain is now overflowing with ideas of plant combinations and hopefully can bring some to life in time. 


There's more!!

I've always wanted to have some kind of water feature in the garden but for 2 reasons I've always put it off. The 1st I kept over thinking what to do and worrying it wasn't going to be enough and 2nd I didn't want anything too big (needed as much free space for the kids to play) so didn't have a good spot to dig down deep enough to house one, BUT a new wider border means I could do this now so I just threw myself into creating a mini pond. Its actually turned out quite OK and I'm hopeful that in time some amazing creatures will make very good use of it. It didn't cost me much to put together either (no more than £10) and really don't know why I worried so much in the first place! Every little helps, it doesn't have to be fancy and it doesn't have to cost the earth.

  15L Flexi tub £3.50 Plants 2 4 £4.99 Rocks,Gravel Rain Water FREE

So there you have it! A few little projects that have kept me going in between the weeding and the harvesting of some fantastic first homegrown crops. A gardeners work is truly never done but don't let that put you off having a go. Mind stimulation, being active and a huge sense of satisfaction from seeing things evolve from your own fair hands outweighs the hard work put in! Looks like I need to carry on being wicked!!

Until next time
N xx

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Wynyard Hall Gardens.
A Happy 2nd Birthday

So when Wynyard Hall Gardens opened their doors at the weekend to celebrate their second birthday, it was the perfect opportunity to pop along and see why this beautiful place is becoming ever popular.

On first impressions as soon as I walked through the door there was plenty for the eyes to feast upon with the gentle natural music of the water fountains. I headed along to the side path which were edged with beautiful pinks, purples and whites. The scent of lavender welcomes you in making you feel calm and relaxed. The borders were crammed full of Verbena Bonariensis, Scabious, Salvia, Stipa Tennuissima, Agapanthus and of course Roses. Wynyard Hall Gardens are renound for their huge collection of David Austen roses and have an impressive 3000 blooms on show!! You couldn't help but notice their pretty flower heads and gentle perfumes planted perfectly amongst the other plants so they were little mini show pieces all around. Tucked up the backs of the borders growing up the walls were luscious apple and pear tree's that almost enticed you in to pick a few! 

 More Walled Garden goodness

The central borders with winding paths that lead you to little blocks of flowery goodness, your senses literally pop with colours,textures and smells! Stacks of grasses are spattered with Astrantia, Cosmos, Lupins and Rudbeckia to name a few. There are some great structures within these parts that offered support to allow the climbing roses to be on show as well as giving some shade to allow for a different dimension to the planting schemes. There were some magnificent trees that lined the big water ponds and  brought some extra grandness to the garden. Whilst wandering around the walled garden you cant help but be taken in by the energetic sound of the bee's that were working hard and the beautiful dancing butterflies all feasting on the luscious nectar on offer to them. I loved how the garden had little tiers which were lined with fabulous waterfall features up the top to the pergolas in the centre followed by the circular fountains at the bottom.

 Edible Gardens

WOW! This has to be the prettiest 'allotment' I ever did see! Bountiful of delicious crops to salivate over. Currants, Rhubarb and Strawberries all side by side in one section. Pumpkins, Squashes and courgettes were guarded by soldiers of Sweetcorn and Sunflowers. The raised beds were stuffed with Cabbages, Broccolis, Parsnips, Leeks, Carrots, Chard, Lettuces and Beetroot. One of my favourite plots was the sea of Lavender species with accompanying Apple trees. What a beautiful sight and splendid smell!! The herb plots were cleverly planted into blocks of 1 herb per block but different varieties which made it more inviting to touch and smell. A wonderful walkway of arches entices you to stroll under and take in the lovely varieties of climbers such as Honeysuckle and Jasmine. Set to one side was a very colourful Sweet Pea wall. The  height was something to be admired (although being only 4'10 might add to that!) Surrounding the food beds were mixed borders of beautiful colour clashes between Achillea, Dahlias and Crocosmia to single out a few. You couldn't help but smile at the vibrancy they brought to the edible garden and very reminiscent of what you would find on a traditional allotment.

The Grand Marquee Garden

The stillness hits you immediately as soon as you pass under the arch. No water, No noisy rustles of grasses just gentle whispers of the trees that line the boundary. This part of the garden is definitely an escapism of all the energy you feel from the other gardens. It makes you stop and soak up the peace it offers you in abundance. With simple planting schemes of Sedum, Echinops and dainty Chinese Meadow Rue that edged the soft grass walkways it made you feel calm and relaxed as you floated around or sat at the tables outside the Grand Marquee itself.

A time to ponder!

After all the excitement of exploring it was time to have a rest in the lovely cafe (which the edible garden supplies!) Here my thoughts turned to how clever the gardens are split into their sections which offer happiness and energy from one to peace and tranquillity in the other. The way the atmosphere changes is very noticeable. 

The final word!

A visit to Wynyard Hall Gardens should be added to everyone's list of places to visit up in the North East. Ideal for all ages to stroll around (or roll around like Maximus did!) There is something for everyone here be it history or a little kids play area but regardless of whether you are interested in gardening or not you certainly will leave this place feeling like you can recreate a little piece of it back home, be that something pretty to look at or to dig up and eat!

Until next time
N x 

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Put the breaks on!!

My goodness me where does the time go?! 

Since my visit to Gardeners World Live I just don't seem to have stopped much at all. Although it has all been great fun from exploring a local National Trust hall, making progress in the garden to even managing to run the fab Ali Brownlee 5k Riverside Run!!

A local piece of beauty!

For many of my childhood years I only lived a short distance away from Ormesby Hall, but I have never been along to discover what it has to offer. Sunday 25th June they held a free open day to all Teessiders and what a perfect opportunity it was to spend some of my birthday strolling around and taking in this beautiful hall with all its history and beautiful gardens. Even Hollie and Maximus enjoyed playing old fashioned games on the lawn and seeing how the house would have ran with all its staff. The gardens where stunning too with nothing overly fussy and natural looking borders it added to the calm and relaxing atmosphere. I will definitely be heading back there again.

Ormesby Hall

Practically living outdoors

The summer months become peak season for us keen gardeners and more often than not over the last few weeks I have been in mine pottering, planning and creating. A heavy drizzle wasn't going to stop me from weeding and tidying up the front garden either (even if the neighbours thought I was mad!). I finally got round to making up my hanging baskets which are just now starting to fill out nicely. I've even stepped up in the grow your own game. I was pleasantly surprised at how many veg varieties can still be sown this month. Having my fab little VegTrug has helped my confidence with growing veg and allows the kids to easily see the progress they make so we opted for some Dwarf French Beans and Dwarf Turnips. Don't be put off by the time of year you can grow some great veg for later pickings and can just use good sized pots/troughs. 

French Beans & Turnip
Hanging Basket all ready


Come and find me

Alongside this blog you can find me over on social media. I love to see what you all get up to in your own gardens and hope that I can encourage/inspire more to reconnect with your surroundings which will benefit you in so many ways and also give nature a helping hand. I would love to see you over there. You can ask me questions & I'll do my best to answer or share what has made you smile from your own gardens/spaces


Keep growing & nurturing

Until next time 

N x