Sunday, 4 March 2018

Baby its cold outside

Sitting with my coffee by the radiator watching the snow starting to thaw out there is the feeling of relief that it's finally got the hint it has outstayed its welcome! Don't get me wrong when it first arrived it was lovely to be playing with the kids having snowball fights, building snowmen and sledging at a nearby hill but there comes a point when it starts to become boring and the gardener side of me is screaming inside (I'm sure many of you will be the same!)

Just before the "Beast from the East" reared its ugly head, the garden had started to show signs of waking up from its early winter rest. Even when we have been spoiled with some sunny days the temperatures has still been cold enough to remind you that we have still been in the grips of winter and she isn't going to budge without a fight. 

With spring on the horizon there isn't much that can be done in the garden still quite yet. Apart from keeping up with tidying around and getting greenhouses/sheds organised it's a great time to plan ahead for the coming months with how you vision your green spaces and what seeds you want to sow (a reminder of patience is required)

I began a few sowing's of tomatoes, chilli's and peppers which surprisingly are doing ok! It's the first time I have grown these from scratch and I was concerned about them becoming too leggy but they have been watched very closely and tended to with lots of care. 
Chilli- Cayenne
Sweet Pepper-Mixed
Tom's- Roma/Delight/Maker

 My plans for now are to just go with the flow (and the weather!) I'm using this cold snap to appreciate the little things and simply take in the lovely space I have to be creative with. Oh and its a perfect chance to just sit in the greenhouse with a hot cuppa! Stay warm everyone☺

My Real View! 
Life at No27 Campaign

Not a gardener without a bit of muck
on the hands & face!

Until Next Time
N xx

Monday, 12 February 2018

Patience Is a Virtue!

I find I am often asked why I like gardening as much as I do. 

What's not to love! The feeling never gets old of seeing hard work pay off, whether it is digging over beds, mowing the lawn, pottering about dead heading plants and of course sowing seeds to either fill your eyes and heart with beautiful sights of blooms that attract nature or being able to pick/dig up scrumptious goodies to devour at the table (if they make it that far!) But what I really love about gardening is that it's the greatest teacher you could have!

Now bare with me on this one it will make sense I promise. 

The biggest and most important thing that can be learned from gardening is Patience

Image result for patience

For some it doesn't happen straight away ( like me, being super keen to get stuck in!). You have a few successes of something growing well and think "Yes I've nailed it!" And then go charging through all the seed/plant brochures (the temptation when they drop through the letterbox is rather hard to ignore!), visiting the garden centres & nurseries to grab pretty much anything that turns your head. Then it ALL gets sown/planted and your bouncing around like a child in a sweet shop UNTIL............ Pretty much most of it fails to grow past the seedling pots or dies in the ground and you feel like a complete FAILURE! 

Yep that was pretty much me last year haha! Oh how I can sit and laugh now because gardening kicked my over enthusiastic butt and put me firmly in my place. At the time I blamed sowing things much too late (and some I did!) but actually I just didn't plan out what I wanted to gain from growing over the year. I also planted in some plants in not so great spots (skim reading the advice tags)

With my little lesson learnt, this year I decided it was best to sit and have a good sort out of the seeds that have accumulated over the last few years. Some will be donated as I know they wont be used and the rest I can work on what I want from the garden AND more importantly what is going to be achievable for me to keep going. I'm also taking notice of the gardens dynamics. There is something actually quite therapeutic in just sitting and observing your space and really take notice of how the light moves around all its angles. My saving grace this year will be my greenhouse (watch this here to see how happy it made me!). It will allow for me to learn to grow more BUT there is still plenty of time to jump on the sowing bandwagon.


 Its so easy to feel left behind when you see others sowing away and already have seedlings but don't let that put you off. Most seeds/tubers/bulbs etc have a good date range on for when they can be sown by (as can be seen above). We are of course only just at the beginning of February so for some things its still a little early to bust them out the packets just yet. The other thing to remember is some seeds need to be sown little and often to keep a succession of crops/flowers going over the growing seasons. 

Don't be disappointed or put off when things don't quite work out or go to plan. Something that will work one season wont necessarily be guaranteed next season. That's the beauty of gardening, it constantly keeps you on your toes. You cant have success without failure, its how we learn and get by in everyday life too! Take your time, gardening isn't a race. Find what is right for you and your space.

Remember: Good things come to those who wait 😉

Until Next Time

N xx

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Six on Saturday- February 10th 2018

Still in the throws of winter it's sometimes too easy to forget the garden is still a wave of activity. Whilst we are busying around doing our everyday jobs and doing our best to keep warm on the really cold biting days, it's lovely to know that there seems to be an air of magic happening right underneath our noses! 

Which brings me nicely on to sharing with you my Six on Saturday.

1: Daffodils.

These are the main signs that spring is on its way in my garden. With a hot cuppa in my hands having a little wander around the garden, the feeling of being stopped in my tracks to uncover the delightful spears of green will never get old! These Daffodils look like they could be their best year yet with a good amount of stems breaking the earth.

2: Honeysuckle- Aureoreticulata

A little afternoon inspection and the kiss of the low winter sun brings Aureoreticulata to my attention. I purchased this last year because of its spectacular leaf detail. A lovely semi evergreen climber which will grace the new trellis frame and put on a great show in the summer with its tubular colour changing flowers.

3: Moss

Moss would never be something that I would ever look that closely to before but now I think I've missed out on this clever little species. Something that can grow by itself with not much needs is a brilliant eye opener to the way nature can be the best survivor to be admired. I also like that its quite a tactile little thing and cannot help fluff it a bit when I spot some growing on the little walls in my back garden. 

4: Shield Bugs

This little fella caught my eye (only just!) when I was having a little tidy up of some leaves and cardboard in the corner of the patio. I first saw a shield bug only last year but when it was fantastically bright green. A clever little creature that turns to brown in the autumn/winter gives it the perfect disguise to hibernate amongst the fallen leaves. Although I will be keeping a watchful eye on the plants once its in full summer mode as they are known to feast on plant sap!!

5: Drumstick Primula

I LOVE seeing this gorgeous plant starting to emerge. I have had this a number of years and it boasts the most wonderful white ball of flowers in the spring. I also like how once its flowered the leaves stay a lovely bright green for a few months that look almost like cabbage.

6: Babies

All together now, Awwww! This wee little baby will one day grow up to be a tomato plant. Seeing this pop up in the little propagator on my windowsill made me squeal with utter delight! Sounds cheesy I know but I cant help be drawn in by the hope it flourishes and stands tall and proud when it matures. Ok I get it I sound like a crazy protective Mum haha but this is one of the greatest little sights that (AGAIN!) never grows old.

There you have it, my Six on Saturday that pretty much is all about new life/beginnings. Make sure to check out The Propagator's Six on Saturday and others over on his Blog

Thankyou for reading

Until Next Time 

N xx

Monday, 15 January 2018

A Year of Positivity

I cant quite get my head around the fact its 2018!! Having spent most of it fighting off some ghastly bugs I'm managing to keep up my mantra for this year 'A Year of Positivity'. To say 2017 was a tough year is a smidge understatement BUT I'm still here, I'm breathing and I get to go through another year stronger and more mindful. 

One of the biggest things that helped me through last years trials and tribulations was undoubtedly gardening. I spent most of last year actually being outdoors pottering around when I could and looking at ways I could improve the space all my family can enjoy even more. Its still massively a working progress but with an amazing community over on Twitter and Instagram who can give stacks of advice/support this year will be the best yet! 

So what are my plans for the coming months? Well I'm just taking it day by day. Sometimes I think we put so much pressure on setting deadlines that it can take the enjoyment from the things we love to do. I am itching to get some seeds sown up. Last year it took me ages to get into the sowing game and ended up leaving some things too late to catch up on, but now I have my wonderful little greenhouse that will help me along and get some much needed colour injected into the borders. 

I am still awaiting an allotment in the local area ( I am now 4th on one site!) and hopeful that it wont be much longer. I've had some great success at home growing my own veg but I'm not able to sacrifice much of the garden to turn it into a mini pottager quite yet. Most of my success was actually done in containers so if you are thinking of growing your own fruit and veg it is absolutely possible to do so even in small spaces.
YouTube videos will hopefully play a bigger part too this year. Its quite scary when you first start putting yourself out there a bit but because I naturally like to talk A LOT about things I care passionately for. I think its a great way for people to see how good gardening can be for all of us no matter how much of it you do, a little can make a huge difference to both yourself and the environment

And finally house plants are going to continue to be a growing passion (pardon the pun!) As the year ticks along and my endless list of home improvement jobs continue, house plants will be incorporated into the interior design to make it even more homely and welcoming. 

So a year of positivity awaits us all, you just have to make the best of it as you are the only one in complete control of your own happiness. If you aren't happy then change things so that you can be. 

Until Next Time
N x

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 voilà, 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