A Produce from the garden up date.

My cutting garden has moved to the side of our house, bricks laid by my own fair hands, but I have to confess the flowers (like me) are behind this year, veg is bit behind too! Life… it’s not all bad news though, I do have lots of new dahlia varieties this year which have moved into my old cutting garden so we have that to look forward to.

I have also been busy with a different ‘produce’ from the garden. I’ve been working with a number of clients with differing needs providing therapy from the garden. Horticultural therapy is an amazing intervention that makes a positive impact to someone’s life, enhancing wellbeing, confidence and engagement. I work one on one with clients in their own gardens, if you know anyone who might be interested and benefit from Horticultural therapy do call me on 07814 550254 or message me. And I promise dahlias will be on that stall in the weeks to come!

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P.s. the fence in the picture will be going once the laurel hedge is tall enough and thick enough to keep the dog in!

Holiday flowers

Holiday flowersEven though we’re on our hols I can’t resist flowers on the table. Picked from the roadside, the husband was very good and didn’t complain once when I yelled ‘stop’ whilst wiggling round the country roads.

The garden coming to life, frost and our mini meadow

Oops I seemed to of lost a month of blogging! Not a technical issue this time, just my boys Easter holidays and life, preventing me from sitting at my desk telling the stories from my garden.

April has not been the easiest gardening month, Spring seemed to arrive at once, primroses, tulips daffodils, anemones, and any other Spring flowers you can think of, all blooming together, magnificent displays in warm, dry, sunny weather. A week or so latter a cruel heavy frost hit us, the lush tender shoots on my trees, shrubs, potatoes and yes, my beloved Dahlias were scorched to a black dried crisp. The warm weather seems to have gone and we’re left with cool cloud, the damaged plants are reshooting slowly, but without that excited gay abandon of the early glorious days of April.

Spring frost damaged basilThe frost even managed to get my basil in the green house (I had stupidly left the door open!)

Spring frost damaged dahliaDahlias blackend by frost, thankfully new shoots are emerging

A frost damaged smoke bushTender new leaves on my young smoke bush, destroyed by the frost

Regulars to this blog will know I’m trying to introduce wildflowers to the area surrounding our pond at the bottom of our garden. This includes a mini meadow. For meadow flowers to flourish, grass must not be too dominant, smothering other plants not allowing space for wild flower seed to spread and germinate. The solution is Yellow Rattle, this wild flower is parasitic on grass, reducing its strength, an essential for establishing a wild flower meadow. Last autumn I scraped away patches of grass and sprinkled Yellow Rattle seed on the bare earth. To germinate the seed requires a cold spell over winter, I was thrilled to spot Yellow Rattle success this week. There are strong seedlings developing in all the areas sown in the autumn.

Essential Yellow Rattle establishing in my mini meadow

VetchCommon Vetch starting to flower in the mini meadow

CamasiaInspired by a breath-taking display at RHS Wisley I’m planting a few Camasia bulbs each Autumn in my mini meadow, hopefully as the years go by I’ll achieve a Wisley Camasia effect, albeit on a much smaller scale! For now, I’m enjoying the individual flowers.

Red Campion SeedlingsI don’t have great success sprinkling wild flower seed directly, I also don’t want to dig up all the grass, time is too short! So, my plan is to tackle the grass with Yellow Rattle and sow wild flower seed in pots and transfer them to the mini meadow to establish and set seed themselves. Here are red campion seeds I’ve sown, which need to be potted on.

Teasel growingA fabulous teasel growing in the bank surrounding my mini meadow

Cow Parsley flowering in the ditchThe froth of Cow Parsley also in the bank.

In the vegetable patch:

Tomatoes planted up in the greenhouseMy Tomatoes are planted in the greenhouse, I just need to finish securing the twine for them to grow up.

Flowering dwarf KaleMy dwarf Kale (sown last year) has now set flower, this was unintentional, I just never got round to clearing the bed! I think I might leave it to set seed, I’ll harvest and sow next year!

the first batch of salad leaves for the yearThe first Spring sown salad is nearly ready to harvest.

The cut flower garden:

Seedlings for the cut flower bedsI’ve turfed my cut flower annuals out of the conservatory in an attempt to toughen them up ready for planting. All the usual’s here, Calendula, Cosmos, Cornflowers, Dill, Zinnias, Clary, Nicotiana etc.

Sweet William and Nigela in budSelf sown Nigella and Sweet William, all in bud. Hopefully I’ll be starting to pick in a few weeks.

Some highlights from the rest of the garden:

narcissus pheasant eyeNarcissus pheasant eye – gorgeous subtle scent

Miniture EuphorbiaI love the acid green of this small Euphorbia. Forgtten it’s name, it’s banished to a pot as it was very invasive in my last garden!

  Erysimum (Wallflower) 'Bowles's Mauve'Erysimum (Wallflower) ‘Bowles’s Mauve’, this is an amazing plant, it flowers for most of the year. Although a short-lived perennial, it’s easy to take cuttings from and lifts a border when not much else is in bloom

centaurea montanaCentaurea Montana, a lovely cornflower for the border

Bearded Iris in BudExcitment, Bearded Iris in full bud …

Bearded Iris…the next day in bloom, my favourite flower in the garden at the moment!

AquilegiaAquilegia – I only seem to manage white ones when they set seed. I think I need to introduce some other colours!

Allium Purple SensationFinally, Allium ‘Purple Sensation’, this will be my favourite plant in the garden next week when it’s opened in to a full ball.

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Autumn produce from the garden and a bit of magic

The low, warm, golden, autumn sun has lured me out into the garden, the morning rays highlighting blooms, transforming them into beautiful jewels.

I tried to capture the magical atmosphere with pictures, but sadly they don’t quite compare to the real thing.

nasturtiumA nasturtium radiating the golden light

dahlia-paul-emoryDahlia – Paul Emory

dahlia-halloweenDahlia – Halloween, looking as spooky as a dahlia can get!

dahlia-cafe-au-laitDahlia, Cafe au Lait, shouting ‘put me in vase’!

dahlia-light-yellowDahlia, unknown. Looking very elegant.

dahlia-selinaDahlia Selina, which was glowing in the sunlight

dahlia-rip cityDahlia Rip City, looking mighty fine!

dried-articoke-flowersDried artichoke flowers that will give sone winter structure to the kitchen garden

We’re enjoying the autumn bounty from the garden. Squashes are not only a delicious kitchen delicacy that’ll store throughout the winter. They also make gorgeous table decorations. The usual bunch of garden flowers have made way for a platter of squashes, their colours are inspiring, with fabulous depth, more enticing than a Farrow and Ball colour chart!

squash-table-centreMy squash table centre

squash-honey-bear-crown-princeCrown Prince and Honey Bear, ready to be harvested

the-autumn-squash-bedMy Squash and courgette jungle!

butternut-squash-hunterThis fella sucessfully took my chair out of action this summer!

Every year I grow a few Cape Gooseberry (Physalis) plants; there orange fruits encased in a paper lantern have a unique zing which I find very moreish. They can also be served as an indulgent treat by pealing the paper lantern back to reveal the berry which can be half submerged in melted chocolate then allowed to dry, delicious!

cape-gooseberries-physalisA few Cape Gooseberries, a yummy garden snack

cape-gooseberry-physalis-growingThe delicate Cape Goosebery lantern

My apple thinning quest earlier in the year has paid off. The boring tedious task of thinning bunches of apples down to a pair has meant we have a lovely crop of apples this year.

delicious-apples

autumn-cooking-apples

autumn-apples

applesA few shots of this years apple crop

How to make easy peasy bunting

I love bunting; it’s the perfect summer garden accessory. It makes me think that every day’s a party, adding fun, colour and movement to the garden as it flaps in the wind. It also makes an atmospheric interior decoration. I made some bunting from deck chair material to hang in our newly renovated summer house, as mentioned in my last posting here’s an easy peasy guide to making bunting:

Deck Chair BuntingBunting hanging over our patio

First of all choose your bunting fabric. Select a heavier weight curtain or upholstery fabric, this will hang well outside. Another tip is to select a reversible fabric. If your bunting is hanging outside it will need to look good from both sides. I chose deck chair material for its thick heavy weight, and it has no ‘wrong’ side.

To make the bunting you will need:

  • Sewing machine
  • Measuring tape
  • 5 meters of cotton bias binding tape – I bought mine very cheaply off Amazon
  • Cotton – In a colour to complement the bias binding tape
  • Pins
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Sharp Pinking Shears – I learnt the hard way, blunt pinking shears that have been used to cut up Christmas cards don’t work!
  • Ruler
  • Pen

Equipment for making buntingAll you need to make bunting.

Measure a 28cm width of Fabric, mark with a pen, this will become the length of each bunting flag:

Bunting - Measure width of material

Along the 28cm pen line you’ve just drawn, mark out 22cm, this will become the top width of the flag. Repeat the 22cm marks all along the width of the fabric:

Bunting - Measure the top of the bunting flag

At the bottom of the fabric width measure 11cm and mark, and then measure 22cm, mark and continue repeating the mark every 22cm:

asure the flags bottom point

With a ruler and pen, mark out the flags using the guide marks you’ve just made:

Bunting - Draw the bunting sides

You then have a width of fabric marked out into triangles (the flags) 28cm long and 22cm wide at the top:

Bunting - The drawn flags

Next, cut the top and bottom edge of the bunting with scissors, creating a 28cm band with drawn triangles inside:

Bunting  - cutting

Then cut the angled sides of the bunting flags with pinking shears. This gives a zig zag edge to the fabric which prevents the material fraying, and saves us a lots of  time sewing!

Bunting - cutting the fabric with pinking shears

One of the bunting flags ready for sewing to the binding bias. You will need 11 flags in total, always have an odd number of flags to ensure there is a central one.

Bunting - the individual cut flags

Leave a 44cm length of binding bias tape at each end, then insert your flags into the binding bias tape and pin, leave a 17cm gap between each flag:

Bunting - Pin flags to bias binding

Pop in a pin to hold the binding bias tape together between each flag:

Bunting - pin the flags 17cm apart

Finally machine sew the bias binding tape to your bunting flags, carefully removing the pins before you get to them:

Bunting - Sew the flags to the bias binding

And that’s all there is to it, easy peasy bunting!

Summer House as an officeThe bunting in pride of place in the summer house

What is ‘Produce from the garden’?

Someone has made my day! They left a little card in the flower pot that collects the money on my honesty stall. It says:

‘Your flowers are beautiful. So glad I’ve found you… Thank you for your lovely arrangements that bring my home alive!’

CardThe lovely card I recieved today

What a kind and lovely thing to do. It’s put a huge smile on my face. It also comes at an apt time. During the last week I’ve been thinking about ‘Produce from the garden’, trying to pin down exactly what it is so I can develop and help it evolve. The lovely gesture of this card ties in perfectly and reflects my thoughts.

‘Produce from the garden’ is a simple, natural and beautiful way of life, taking pleasure and produce from the garden to share with your friends and family.

‘Produce from the garden’ is a philosophy of seeing beauty in your garden, taking it inside; bringing your home to life. Whether it be home grown vegetables determining your meals, flowers brightening up your kitchen table, a cup of tea enjoyed with a friend sat amongst your flowers or a graceful butterfly that catches your eye, an autumn mobile constructed from fallen leaves or whips of willow weaved into a heart and hung from a door handle. ‘Produce from the garden’ rewards you with simple pleasures that require minimum effort and budget but give maximum satisfaction that you can share with friends and family. Every day you’re rewarded with ‘Produce from the garden’.

‘Produce from the garden’ is not about horticultural perfection, it’s more about the acceptance of a few weeds and a tatty lawn, eliminating garden worries , freeing and enabling us to see the beauty, taking abundant pleasure and produce from our plot.

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