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Gardening

My husband, the poet

Ant was up before me this morning, as usual and he must have been inspired by my little bit of rhyming on yesterdays post; I found the following in my email inbox this morning:

I’ve got plants on order,
To fill the new border.
I’ve more than looked,
At all my new books.*
My hubby’s a dear,
But wrecked I do fear,
Building with wood,
Doing more than he should.
He’s been digging so hard,
To make my back yard,
As nice as can be,
Just to please me.
xxx
I love it 🙂
* Amazon is doing good business in gardening books from me lately!!

More gardening

I can’t claim the credit for the work that went into the garden at the weekend though; my wonderful hubby worked extra hard and got loads done.
It went from this:

 

To this:

 

 

And then this 🙂

 

 

 

It feels like we’re moving forward now, after last weeks stand still due to bad weather/migraines/work/kids!

I’ve got plants on order to fill the new border *not an intentional rhyme but I like it so I’m keeping it!* and Ant’s going to build nice, wooden compost bins so we can get rid of the big, black plastic monstrosities.

More digging is needed to level out the garden and we’ll be using the extra soil to build up the rockery.

I know….it looks like we’re getting ready to bury someone but we’re not, honestly!

I keep getting excited every time I look out of the window!

Gnomes

Looking round the garden during one of my many rest breaks, I noticed the little ornamental gnomes that we put on the branches of a tree a few years ago.
We bought 5 of them from ASDA. I fell in love with them as soon as I saw them; they’re just so cute!
I forget they’re there for the most part which is a good thing because when I do notice them, they make me smile all over again 🙂

I went through a stage where I bought garden ornaments by the dozen and that was the only real interest I took in the garden. I’m more interested in designing and getting things growing now but I’m still looking forward to setting out the few ornaments we have left (we went on holiday last year and some kids from the estate came into our garden and broke a lot of them) in between the newly grown shrubs and flowers.
I love to walk round a garden and spy little treasures hidden between the plants and in trees.
I especially like fantasy creatures such as fairies

and gnomes

but I also like those moles that look like they’re popping up out of the ground or a set of colourful toadstools pushed into the soil.

I haven’t seen any ornaments this year that have grabbed my attention as much as those little gnomes but I’ll keep looking because if there’s one thing I enjoy doing, it’s buying things!

*waits for hubby to frown at me when he reads that last line!!* 😀

Back breaking but worth it!

Back Breaking

Back breaking but worth it
Back Breaking

I’m tired. I ache. It’s ok, though, because slowly, very slowly, the garden is taking shape.
I must admit, I’ve not done as much today as I could have done but today’s work involved a lot of bending and I had to rest more often.

It was more enjoyable yesterday because Ant and I worked on it together.
It is nice being out there on my own for the most part, especially if I’m planting seeds or watering the plants, you know, nice easy jobs, not back breaking ones! It’s great working on the garden together with Ant, though, and must admit to feeling a little lonely out there, by myself, today.

Compost

I dug three bags of compost into the raised beds. Tomorrow I can plant out the mizuna and mustard leaf. In the next week, I need to harden off the celtuce and amaranth ready to plant them into the beds. I covered the new border with weed control fabric and bark. Two rose plants were transplanted. One was in a container. The other one had popped up in the garden from some unknown source, into the new border.
I was getting pretty sore by this stage but I made a start on levelling out the old flower border ready to cover with weed control fabric and bark then my little Ella came home from nursery so I used that as a good excuse to go have lunch and rest!

Baby Snails

There were some baby snails happily munching on my french climbing bean plants yesterday. I took them off but couldn’t bring myself to kill them….they are babies after all!
We did put slug pellets down, though, which I felt a little guilty about. We need to find a better to stop the snails munching our food!

Here are a few before and after pictures 🙂

Before

After

 

Ideally, we’d like this border to grow herbs and lavender. We’re not sure if it’s going to get enough sun to keep the plants healthy. I’ve put my pots of herbs in position to see how they get on. Fingers crossed they like it there. It will be perfect for the herbs as it’s close to the kitchen door.

 

Can’t wait till it’s all done 🙂

Rain stopped play

We were on a roll in the garden yesterday, until the rain decided to drop in on us!

Ant had all but finished the woodwork for the raised beds (we’re waiting on more wood being delivered) and we’d started to fill it in with soil.
We’re taking the soil from the garden as that’s where we put all the extra we dug out of the pond a few years ago. We spread it over the lawn area so it raised it up a bit then covered it with turf.

Now we have to dig it all back up, which was made a lot easier by my brother coming and rotavating it the other day. We bought some trugs, which are great for shifting the soil from one place to another and we got half of the bed filled before the rain started.

Rain stopped play yesterday. We'd nearly got the raised beds filled with soil

Today’s plan is to do the ironing before anything else :/ then get out in the garden and start digging up a load of stones from the old pond. We’re going to line the bottom of the border with stones to aid drainage then fill with a mixture of soil and compost.
I’m going to do some more research today to find some plants that are suitable for partial shade. The border is down the side of the main path that leads to the back door so we want something pretty and fragrant 🙂
Any ideas will be gratefully received!

Work, Rain & Snails

Not much to say today because I’m really tired. I do, however, want to say a huge thank you to my super wonderful husband who has been working on my raised beds for the best part of the day.
He’s gone to bed aching all over…..here’s hoping he doesn’t suffer too much tomorrow.

I’m excited because things are finally starting to take shape 🙂

The start of the new raised beds
Ant making the raised beds

 

work in the garden

 

The wood is place for the raised beds

 

A little help from the girls, who for reasons known only to them, are in their pyjamas!!

KayCee and Ella gardening in their pyjamas!

 

KayCee and Ella digging

 

KayCee and Ella digging

 

Yesterday we had a thunderstorm. The girls thought it was brilliant to be able to go and play out in the rain 🙂

We put the umbrella away when Daddy reminded silly Mummy that it’s not safe to use one in a thunderstorm!

This morning was all about snails for the girls. I don’t know where they got them from but I made sure they took them back there and didn’t let them go in our garden!

 

snails

 

I’m so excited…

and I surprised myself with how excited I actually felt when I opened my greenhouse and saw that all my seeds have started to grow!
I turned round to share the news with Ant and must admit to being a little disappointed when I found he’d gone inside and there was no one there to show my accomplishment to.

I hope we like all these different salad leaves I’m growing! This one is celtuce.

I was very excited when I saw these seedlings!

I’m very proud of my little seedlings and took loads of pictures! This is mizuna, which I have to admit, I’d not heard of before.

Mizuna
Here’s my peas, beans, cauliflowers (I’m especially excited at the prospect of serving up purple cauliflower to the kids!) and various other leaves 🙂
Cauliflower

 

More cauliflower

 

French beans

 

More seedlings

 

more seedlings

As well as gushing over my seeds, I’ve done some more work to the garden. I’m making a small border along the path and had to do some digging, which I did not enjoy, and some painting, which I did. I find painting very calming and have painted most of the wood that is going to be used to make my raised beds 🙂

I’m very eager to get my beds finished so they’re ready to plant out my seedlings.

Thankfully, my husband is brilliant at woodwork and has made a start on the beds. I could probably make them myself but I know they’ll look a lot nicer and last a lot longer if Ant makes them!
He’s busy with work though so we have to grab time in the garden in between his call outs and fixing laptops/computers at home till late into the night.

The next job is to secure the wood for the border, get some weed control fabric, compost and bark or stones and then decide what plants I’m going to put in it.

I’m enjoying learning about all the different plants, soil types etc and I’m very pleased I started to take more of an interest in our garden.

Fingers crossed the weather stays nice tomorrow so I can get more done 🙂

Cousins

My brother brought my mum and his family to our house for the day on Sunday. We don’t get to see each other very often because they live in Derbyshire and we live in Lincoln so when we get chance to spend time together, we make the most of it 🙂

James Brought His Rotavator

James came to help with the redesign of our garden. He brought his rotavator so we didn’t have to dig the lawn up with a spade. I was very grateful!
Ella had great fun covering herself in soil. It was in her hair, down her top and down her trousers! She had a bath and a shower that night trying to get her clean again ready for school the next day 🙂

Ella putting soil all over her
Putting soil all over herself kept her amused for a very long time!

It was lovely to see my 4-year-old nephew, Jake, who’s a very lively, energetic young man and so adorable 🙂

My nephew, Jake

and my beautiful niece, Megan (9 months).
She’s such a smiley little baby 🙂 She makes you happy just looking at her.

Ella with her cousin, baby Megan

Cousins

I love seeing the cousins playing together and I’m looking forward to having my sister’s children coming to stay in the summer holidays.
KayCee and Ella enjoyed having their cousins to visit and keep asking when they’re going to come again 🙂

KayCee and Megan

 

Ella and Megan

 

KayCee and Megan

 

Cousins, KayCee and Jake

 

Cousins, Ella and Jake

Having a big family is wonderful and even though I love my life here in Lincoln, I do miss living close to my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.
I’ll be forever grateful that the girls and Aiden get to visit Derbyshire every week and are growing up with their cousins. I hope as they grow, they continue to love each other and always be there for each other.

Growing my own….hopefully!

My attempt at growing my own is going ok, so far! My herbs, apart from one basil plant, which I think has been food for some kind of caterpillar, are doing really well. The coriander, which is one of 2 herbs that I’ve grown from seed, looks like it’s going to start flowering soon *smiles*. It’s getting very tall and I’m looking forward to harvesting the seeds.

Growing my own coriander
Growing my own

Don’t know what I’m going to do with them though because I don’t like coriander! I’ll probably just grow more and more and end up with tons of seeds that I’ll have to try and give away!

I’ve been doing some research and I’ve read a few articles that suggest the dislike of coriander could be genetic. They’re doing studies now so it’s not known for sure but there seems to be a definite,
marmite-ish-ness about it (ok, so I know it’s a made-up word but it sounds good to me lol) and for those who don’t know what my made up word means, it means, you either love it or hate it.

I’ve never liked it and can tell 99% of the time if a dish has it in. However, I do like growing it. It was very easy to grow from seed and it gave me the confidence to try other things so I’ll forever have a soft spot for coriander!

I’ve also had some success with a box of wildflower seeds. We’ve bought wildflower mixes loads of times but they never really did anything.
This time, there are loads of different flowers and they look lovely 🙂

I don’t know what any of them are called but I don’t mind; they’re pretty!

Today, I’ve been sowing seeds and I’ve got them in my new plastic greenhouse 🙂

I’ve planted some peas, french beans, Sicily purple cauliflower, Aalsmeer cauliflower, romanesco cauliflower, amaranth calaloo, celtuce and mustard leaf Indian green amsoi.
I ran out of seed trays so used some margarine and coleslaw tubs and I cut up an ice cream tub to make the labels.

My brother’s coming to rotavate our garden and then we’re going to make some raised beds.
I can’t wait to get growing all different kinds of vegetables.

Last year, KayCee was given a geranium from a lady on the street and after having it in the window all winter, I decided to plant it out.
I thought I’d killed it but today I saw a flower on it so it’s doing ok and I’m very pleased about that because KayCee wouldn’t have been very pleased if it wasn’t!

Robin’s Nest

The weather yesterday was wonderful here in Lincoln. It was far too hot to get anything done in the garden but it was perfect for sitting under the canopy, watching the world go by.
Which is what I did for most of the day!

Robin’s Nest In The Ivy

As I sat looking around the garden, thinking of all the things that needed doing, and feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all if I’m honest, I heard a strange sound. It sounded like very loud crickets or something similar. It was coming from the fence where we had attacked the ivy a couple of weeks ago.

We knew there was a bird’s nest high up because we’d seen the sparrows collecting stuff to make it so we kept clear of that area.
We didn’t, however, know that a robin had made her nest very low down in the ivy. It turned out, the noise was the babies, calling for food every time their mother went near.

I was delighted and quickly took some pictures. I sat and watched the mother bird going to and fro, feeding her babies and I thought how lucky we were to have this wonderful thing happening in our garden.

Robin's nest

I worried, though, that because we’d cut the ivy, we’d opened the nest up to predators and my concerns were to be confirmed when I went to check on them this morning.

The nest is empty. I couldn’t help but cry. It’s my fault these four, beautiful little birds are dead. If only I’d listened to Ant when he said we should wait a while to cut the ivy, they’d be safe in their nest now.
I feel so guilty and will never, ever, touch that ivy in spring again.
I thought we were safe cutting low down because I never thought a bird would make its nest that low.

I have a lot to learn about gardening and wildlife and this was one hard lesson to take :'(

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