Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Novice Gardener

This year I am determined to make something of the garden.  We have an odd garden; the house is two cottages merged into one house but nothing was ever done with the gardens.  As a result, we have two very small, kind of separate, gardens - one yard and one lawn.  I'm focusing on sorting out the grassy bit first.  The yard is U-G-L-Y and needs a little more time (and money) spending on it.

With the sun shining brightly on Saturday we hit the garden hard.  Andrew's mum came over to help;  she also brought yummy scones and clotted cream for our mid-afternoon treat :-) 

There I was; forking up earth, snipping away dead stems, yanking out old [blind] daffodils and other dead 'matter', having a whale of a time.  Really enjoyed it (and the endless enamel mugs of tea)!  

I am determined to have a cutting patch this year so that I can have jugs full of my own flowers all through the summer.  Andrew's mum dug an extra [small] flower bed for us in the sunniest spot of the garden and I'm seriously considering finding some enormous pots or barrels to plant more flowers in the yard area.

So, before we went on holiday I sowed a few seeds.  (Ha! Get me!)  I am trying to grow my own scabiosa, cup and saucer flowers, cosmos, helianthus, salvia and cleome spinosa (confession:  I don't know actually know what the last one is).  I bought a tin of seeds from the Sarah Raven website which seemed a good place to start for someone like me who doesn't have a clue when it comes to gardening.  I think for just £30 I can give it a whirl and just learn from my mistakes.

I also bought a tin of salad seeds.  The amount of wilted salad I throw away from those supermarket bags drives me crazy and I'd like to be able to nip into the garden for fresh salad leaves this year.  I threw them in a few pots of compost and here they are:

Doing well so far.  Only trouble is, I am not sure what to do with them next.  Panicking a bit.  I have rocket, a couple of varieties of lettuce, mustard and mizuna.  Need to read the next stage on my instructions! 

I have pricked out some of the cosmos seeds already; they are growing like billy-o.  I think there will be a little more pricking out to be done this weekend too.  I bought a little tiny greenhouse to transfer my seeds to and now I am obsessing over finding some nice wooden plant labels!

At the garden centre I picked up some sweet pea plants; I was excited to use the teepee that I made.

It just about fits in this old Christmas tree pot.  Am so proud of myself.  If the sweet peas grow enough to wrap around the willow I'll be even more chuffed!  

I love this old wall behind the sweet peas.  A little further along it has this ornamental plaque thing attached to it.  Anyone know what it is?  I love it, but it does puzzle me. 

Enjoy the sunshine my lovely bloggy friends.  Thanks for all of your comments, I love reading them.  Just wish I had enough time to respond to everyone.  I get there in the end! 



PS Not going to talk about my horrid dentist appointment on Thursday.  Thank heaven I am being sedated for the treatment. I am panicking about it so much.   Keep having comedy day dreams that I'll try to run away from the dentist before he can do anything and he'll have to get me with one of those darts that they use for angry gorillas on the telly.  :-)


  1. It looks like your doing really well on the garden already... that cutting patch sounds amazing, what dreams are made of! We don't have a lawn here and not much bedding space so I don't think I could have my own cutting patch here but... in the the next house definitely!
    I love love love your little tin pots that you are currently growing you little seedlings in, they so so pretty. My seed growing area doesn't quite match up! (It's the draining board in the utility room! I'm working with what I've got...haha)

    Ashley xxx

  2. Your garden is going to look lovely this Summer! I love all the cottage garden plants,but I'm limited in what I can do as we have very heavy clay soil,infact we covered our small flower bed with gravel and now have lots of pots filled with perennials.I won't be putting so many bedding plants in this year,as there is a hosepipe ban coming soon.
    I hope your trip to the dentist won't be too traumatic.
    Enjoy the rest of the week,and the sunshine! :0)

  3. Oooh, look at your baby plants!! And the teepee is fab - my sweet peas failed miserably last year, I even emailed the British Sweet Pea Association I was so disappointed, he said I shouldn't have goth them from B&Q!! Going to get some from the car boot sale like I did two years ago, they grew really well.

    I got Sarah Raven's book out of the library after your recommendation of her website and I'm determined to have a cutting patch too, I started some dahlias on the windowsill this weekend - will check out Sarah's seeds....


    S x

    PS good luck at the dentists....

  4. It's looking good! I wish I had green fingers.

  5. Sounds like you are well on your way to being a very good gardener.Hope you get lots of cut flowers Lesley x

  6. It is all looking good Nicki. Roman is a keen gardener, but I am rubbish, so if I get any tips from him, I will pass them on. The willow basket is lovely and I love the mysterious plaque on the wall. It looks like it belongs in 'Sundial' a kids' tv programme I watched when I was a nipper. xxx

  7. Looks like you have got off to a good start in the garden. It all looks wonderful.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  8. Oh Nicki, where to start?! I so so wish we can move soon so I can get stuck into some therapeutic gardening. I love the idea of a cutting patch... bloody brilliant! I must have a nosy over at the blog you recommend. Love how your willow teepee is looking! I have a friend back home whose late Dad used to be a willow weaver on the Somerset Levels where the willow does grow. He made me a little basket for my bike once...it was gorgeous. Such a lovely craft... but it is so much more than a craft isn't, if you know what I mean! Would love to see a pic of your tiny greenhouse :) I bet you have some real magical moments in your garden this year... enjoy lovely x

    Jo x x x

  9. Wow I am super impressed!
    Good girl on all that gardening, your willow teepee looks fabulous.
    I will be cultivating (or trying at least!) a cutting patch along with you, i have sewn some seeds too but have a few germinating 'issues' at present. It is so exciting :o)
    i love your old wall, what a gorgeous feature
    good luck!

    love jooles x

    P.S I am having a giveaway at the moment if you fancy your luck, it ends tomorrow x

  10. Hi Nicki
    Your garden is looking lovely. I love the old plaque on your garden wall, not sure what it is though unless it did once have an inscription on it that has worn away. If you want pretty wooden plant labels go to the Burgon and Ball website, here's the link http://www.burgonandball.com/garden.php and they have the most gorgeous pink or blue wooden plant labels, a little pricey but lovely!
    Enjoy the sunshine.
    Jo xx

  11. Hi Nicki - I am doing the same thing in my garden at the moment. I was wondering what to do with a couple of large chinese pots I have - I'll get some teepees and plant sweetpeas. Thanks for the good idea. I haven't the faintest idea what I am supposed to be doing in the garden but I'm doing it anyway! Don't worry about the dentist. I used to be terribly phobic about it but I found a couple of kind dentists and they changed it all for me. One of them asked me what I was scared of and went through a list of possibilities; I then realised there was nothing in particular I was scared of, just IT. I know that sounds silly but it really helped me. Now I go without fear at all. Good luck. Lily. xxx

  12. It's such fun growing things from seed. Enjoy x

  13. Sorry but I got a bit distracted when I saw the bit about the scones and clotted cream. Yum! Lovely pics and I'm sure the garden will look gorgeous.

    Good luck with the dental appointment. Yeah, I think sedation is the way forward. xx

  14. I'm not the only one who has been busy in the garden then!! I have sweetpeas in but I don't have a gorgeous teepee like yours to climb up, just some sticks and string :( I received some teeny tiny seeds of the authentic forget me nots in the mail the other day so I need to go plant them in a container and hope that they germinate. Your garden is going to be gorgeous and I love the thought of vases full of home grown flowers.
    xx Sandi

  15. Sooo excited that you are excited about growing flowers and salads, my two faves. The salad leaves will just keep coming all summer long if you cut a few leaves of each at a time, leaving a stubby bit at the bottom of each leaf - it is amazing how they pop back, just like annual flowers, cut-and-come-again. Just keep them water and not too super scorched by the sun. The only one I have any trouble with is rocket, it bolts really fast so keep chopping away and mine get munched by some pesky insect.

    Keep the pictures coming!

    Thinking of you lots today at the dentist :( xxx

  16. Alan Titchmarsh would be so proud!
    This all looks gorgeous and has made me want to get out in our little patch and tidy it up a bit -The Mister did buy some lovely Foxgloves for me recently and I must make sure they don't dry out...!
    Well done you, you clever thing. You'll have a lush and delicious garden to look forward to!

  17. Hi there ... found your Lovely blog through my friend Deb ... Your home and garden sound lovely ... can't help you with the plaque though .. What I can say is that I love Sophie Hannah books ... and I've read all of them I think .. . Maybe not the new one?
    Have a lovely weekend

  18. Ooo I wish I had a proper garden to get stuck into! I can't wait to see the results of all your effort! xx

  19. Hi Nicki, meant to come by before to welcome you as a follower. I'm going to put you on my blog list so I don't miss any more posts!

    It's so rewarding growing things from seed. I still panic that nothing will germinate or grow and then lo & behold I have lovely blooms and delicious fresh veg!

    Look forward to seeing your progress on the cutting garden too. What a lovely, helpful MiL you have.


    PS Your willow teepee is great!