Monday, 29 August 2016

Down The Garden Path...August

Oh my goodness, August already, this year is running away, far too fast! It's been a hit and miss kind of summer here in the UK, but in the last few days of summer, the heat has arrived. Sunny and warm.
My honeysuckle has started to flower, it's romping away. Initially I was really happy with my wiggly box hedge, but as the summer has progressed, I'm thinking it's missing something. Colour, height, interest.
A few of the boxes aren't in the best of health, they seem to be prone to disease and just aren't growing, so out they will come. I just love the Agriframe arches, so shall get two more, put one half way down the path, and another at the bottom of it. Now that my pension pot has been spent I'm afraid I have got to do what I've always done before, and save. Yuk. Can't tell you how lovely it's been just to get something straight away. Anyhow, I'm back in the real world...maybe Santa will bring me one ;)
I will grow something beautiful and colourful...and scented, up and over the arches, then train them along the fence. It will give me something pretty to look at as I'm drinking my morning coffee on the bench.
The raised beds on the top garden have been wonderful. Some of the plants are going over, I've chopped a few back, and got a couple of extra autumnal plants to plug the gaps. The sweet peas are now blooming, it's took some getting there. It's been a little too crowded, so I will need to rethink next year, and perhaps a little too much verbena, so friends will be getting some freebies again.
The vegetable garden has just exploded this month. It's done far better than I could have imagined. My Birdie Garden Products raised beds look beautiful, well you can't really see them anymore...and the no dig method, really seems to produce great compost, to grow vegetables in.
The cutting patch has produced countless bunches of flowers, I've given away so many, as well as having vases full in the house. I've really, really enjoyed growing my own flowers this year, it's not something I've really done before, but I will again.
I've been buying from Sarah Raven too this year, and I've been really impressed with the quality. They are on the more expensive side, so I don't think I will be getting as much next year, but I think Munckin Pumpkins have been superb, and the Zinnias...amazing! I've had a few plants from Rocket Gardens, they are a great company, and the plants have grown beautifully. I would really love one of their mini constant gardens...hmm, birthday pressie perhaps?
My sunflowers are at least 9ft tall, I want to save some of the seeds this year to eat, as well as sow next year. I'm not sure how's best to do this, does anyone have any tips?
Watering hasn't been too much of a problem this year, we've had plenty of rain, I always fill up my watering cans when it rains, then once a week I've been feeding the pots and beds with comphrey tea, they seem to be appreciating it.
I've not really been supporting my plants very well, as you can see the raspberries have flopped. My last bit of pension pot has gone on a sturdy frame for these, hopefully in the September update I will be able to show you. Monty Don pruned his summer raspberries this week, so I think I know what I'm doing!
Yes everything is growing at a rapid pace. I've had very few weeds in the raised beds, which has been fabulous, it's making gardening very easy. Exactly what I had hoped for. My thoughts are now turning to Autumn, it will be sad to see some of these plants die, but that's the circle of life really. That's what gardening is all about. We plant, we tend, we harvest. Thank you garden, for bringing me such joy.
So jobs for September:
Continue to harvest and eat!
Decided on which fruit trees to plant, Autumn is the best time to plant bare rooted trees, which will be more cost effective too.
I'm going to get a few Autumn crops to grow, probably buy some plug plants, just so I can keep gardening through to Christmas. I'm really feeling the benefit of gardening, physically and well as mentally. Sadly I won't have my greenhouse to hide out in during the colder months, but I still need to be out in the garden as much as possible.
As usual, I'm joining in with Sarah, and quite a few others, hop over for a look if you get the chance. I've been sent a couple of free things from some lovely bloggers this month, so will share them later in the week.
Amanda :) xxx


Sunday, 21 August 2016

Sea Remedies...

We've just returned from a week on the North Yorkshire Coast. An absolutely stunning coastline, lots of interesting little seaside towns, slotted into the rugged coastal edge. Most days were spent beach combing, breathing in the restorative sea air. I'm sure this air helped me climb the steep hills up and down to the beach. I really must live by the sea, is it the enzymes that float in the air, or the salty smell, the sound of the calming waves? I'm not sure what it is, but it does make me feel stronger, that's for sure.
The week before we went was extremely stressful. I can't go into the details here, but I was literally at the end of my tether. All my energy had been spent and I was a gibbering mess. We almost cancelled our trip, as I felt I couldn't sum up the energy to go. My body felt completely out of balance, MS lurking just a whisper away, waiting to strike. I knew if it did, it would be a huge blow, the sort that would knock me to the ground, and put me out of action for a long time. It's done it before, I know just how aggressive it can be. It's a dangerous place for me, my body needs to stay balanced.
I gave myself one last push, and a blooming good talking too, and finally managed to get everything ready. Normally I'm very organised at holiday time, this year I packed late, we left very late, no plans, nothing. When we reached our lodge it felt like a warm, cosy blanket had wrapped itself around me. It was set in a beautiful little wood, at the end of a very quiet campsite. My body took a deep breath. Perfect.
Our little holiday wasn't all relaxing, it had more than a few dramas, my complicated little family is never without its stresses and strains. Mixed within the dramas however, were some perfect moments, of calm and peace. A cup of morning coffee out on our deck, just listening to the birds. Watching the campsites chickens forage. I am always particularly calm as l stroll along the waters edge, looking for sea glass. Yes, I really must live by the sea. It does me good.
Otto really enjoyed his first holiday. Yes he was travel sick but that improved as the week went on, he was however the noisiest thing on the campsite! He loved walking along the beach and as long as the waves weren't too big, he would run after stones we threw in for him. He just loved meeting the other dogs, and got lots of attention from passerby.
Yes, all in all, just what the doctor ordered. I now feel more balanced again, it feels good.
Hope all is well with you too,
Amanda :) xxx


Monday, 8 August 2016

See You Later...

The summer holidays are in full swing, having the girls home is keeping me very busy, and leaving me very little time for blog writing or reading. I've decided the best thing to do is have a little blog break, so I shall say goodbye for now, and see you later!
Have a fabulous summer everyone,
Amanda :) xxx


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Down The a Garden Path...July

Hello...and welcome to my July update, yes I know it's August but these were taken in July, so only a little cheat. My goodness the garden is romping away, I can hardly keep up, friends and neighbours have been benefiting from the plot too, so all is good.
I'm thinking of adding in another two arches down this path, one on the end and one in the middle. Initially I liked my wobbly hedge but I think it's a bit boring and also the box balls aren't the healthiest. I've will have to save up for them, as my little pension pot is rather years project I think.
The main thing we've been concentrating on this month, is replacing the lawn with slate chips. I say we, I mean my husband, although I make a great supervisor, and creative director! I'm very, very pleased with how this has turned out, it's much easier to manage now, as well as walk on.
We've been getting lots of red berries, raspberries and strawberries. I'm going to have to build a support frame from next years raspberry crop, and I've decided to move my strawberries, to sit in front of them, in to the long, thin beds near the fence. I will show you when I've done it. The other long thin bed might house sweet peas and dahlias, not sure yet.
I'm looking for beautiful plant protection solutions, and found these from Plant Belles, I rather like them. A kitchen garden has to be productive as well as attractive! If anyone has any solutions/ideas please let me know.
There's a great mix of flowers in with the veg and fruit, exactly as I wanted it to be. The tin bath in the above picture, will be planted with tulips and winter flowers, just so there is something to look throughout the year. I'm pleased with the dahlias but think I really should put some upturned flower pots in with them, the earwigs are munching them.
Yes it's all looking rather lush, there's been a lot of dead heading going on...the bees are loving the flowers, but I've only seen cabbage white butterflies, which is disappointing. I've still not really done much with the patio area, it's ok to sit on, but not the beautiful seating area I had in my mind. There's still a few weeks of summer left, so maybe it will get done.
I've had to put any greenhouse plans on hold, I've had a few days with a long face about it, (I have fallen in love with traditional brick and wooden one)...but I've given myself a good talking to and I'm ok now, and I live in hope of getting one in the future.
Jobs for August,
Harvesting and eating the lovely veg, and picking beautiful flowers for my home and friends.
Plan ahead for Autumn crops, and improving the soil in the raised beds.
August is really just about relaxing and enjoying.
Amanda :) xxx