Welcome to our blog. It will follow the development of our garden from quagmire, after completion of our self-build, to a garden that reflects our eco-friendly principles. We are wanting to create a garden that meets our needs as a family but is also a wildlife friendly zone. Well that's what we are hoping, time will tell if we are successful.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Things have been very busy in the garden since the arrival of Nick and the digger. The neighbour was wondering why we were recreating a battlefield, digging trenches in the mud, but it has to look worse before it looks better.

The skip is filling quickly as Nick gets to work removing the matted lawn and vigorously growing weeds.

 We weren't sure but this plant turned up in the garden - could it be Audrey from little shop of horrors? No, fortunately it is a large pink poppy.

Now the garden is flat, our cunning plan can be started.

This is the original plan for the garden. It is great to see things taking shape and evolving as the ground is worked.

The two circles and the S-shaped path are started.
The wooden gravel boards are put in place. This involved making them wet so they could bend around the curves of the path.

The type 1 is whackered in place on the path.

In the foreground, the left over edging from the front garden is used to separate what will be veggie patch from the rest of the garden.

Meanwhile, the green pond is looking more sophisticated. Nick has used the rocks gathered from the garden and from kind Freecyclers to create an edge for the patio. The granite sets were also left over from the original garden and have been re-used to edge the patio and gravel areas as well as create a bed for the smoke bush. We have a small area of sandstone that matches the front path. The ony thing that is missing is the bistro table and chair set!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Hello new plants

Thanks to the generosity of a fellow Freecycler, we now have three new shrubs in the garden. They are in temporary positions until we manage to get the landscaping organised. The one on the left is called bridal bouquet but we are not sure about the other two.

These little pink hardy geraniums came from another freecycler and are doing a good job giving us ground cover to compete with the weeds.
Meanwhile, this 'weed' is of the same family but is allowed to stay temporarily as it has some colour.
Ironically, these blue geraniums have arrived unannounced near the apple tree. They look remarkably like the ones that I have planted in the front garden.
The pond has now turned from red to green, the water levels are quite low with all the dry weather. Unfortunately, our rainwater tank is empty so we would have to put mains water in the pond. We are trying to avoid using mains water as it contains higher levels of phosphorous and nitrogen which would mean that more algae would grow. Hopefully, we will be able to get some waterplants soon but we have decided to wait until the landscaping has been done. Next step landscaping....who's got a digger?

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A month of changes

It's been another month and we have been busy. This was what it looked like a few weeks ago, in the spell of very dry weather. In fact it was so dry that our rain water tank was empty.

Our pond was very dry and looked very red.

We decided that we would tidy up the miscellaneous dried out foliage from last years' pruning and had a bit of a bonfire. We were very careful not to let it get out of hand, but a spark still managed to land on my fleece jacket and melted a hole in it!

You know I mentioned, plan B with the weeds...this is it! A ground cover membrane. Before we laid it down I dug out all the weeds again, for the third time. We decided to stop at that point with the membrane until we have levelled the ground a bit more but I intend to cover the whole vegetable garden so that I can concentrate on growing veggies instead of weeding.

The friendly Robin, that likes to eat while I dig, was most annoyed as all his favourite food is now hidden.

In the battle with the weeds, I also resorted to Round up in a more concentrated form and can now say that I am winning against the ground elder!

There may be another succession of weeds but I feel more in control.

While we were tidying up we discovered a store of nuts, all of them eaten. At least, even though there isn't much in the garden except weeds, the wildlife has found places to hide.

The garden isn't completely devoid of plants, there is this shrub with yellow flowers...
My favourite tree ...
And some white bulbs...anyone care to identify them?

There is also the crab apple blossom.
There have been plenty of frogs that have survived the big upheavals of last year. this one is going courting, taking a flower to its mate...?

We have seen at least five frogs in the garden, one of them even ran into the edge of the bonfire but survived by hot-footing it into the pond, steaming...

The front garden is beginning to take shape. I am determined not to put lawn down (because I don't want to have to cut it; being green or laziness - you decide).

We have buxus balls aligning the path, some dogwood bushes next to the fence and a magnolia stellata tree.

It has very pretty star flowers, this is its very first one!

There are also some hardy geraniums- (Buxton's blue) which are beginning to grow, maybe by my next blog entry there may be flowers.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Spring into action

This photo was taken last year of yours truly by Rachel the Gardener as we pruned the overgrown foliage on in this case the damaged branch of the tree. It was good fun to share the task which I would never have got round to doing otherwise. Having someone to help me decide in what order to do everything also helps.

Over the winter we continued to make some progress in the garden as you can see from the relocation of the summer house. Now Spring has arrived, it has brought with it a ground elder problem.

I managed to get rid of a swathe of it on what will be the vegetable area but it took a whole weekend and few weeks ago and it has already started to return. I've also tried Round-up in some areas but I think I may need to think about planting something quickly so that the ground elder might be competed out.

I did leave a bit of ground elder under a carpet for over a year but as you can see the sneaky stuff still grew, even without sunlight.

A kind gift of some raspberry canes meant that further clearing was required. The brick surround is temporary (I need to put support posts in too) but it just means that I have a defined area to maintain. The canes are already beginning to sprout.
During the weeding, I did come across a lovely suprise of some rhubarb under the apple tree. Now I just have to persuade the family to try it.
It is all worth it as I have made friends with a robin. It has become increasingly courageous, eating the worms that I have been digging with the ground elder. It lands closer and closer to me demanding that I continue to dig. As the night draws in, it sings its song, well it may be saying this is his territory but I like to think of it as a thank you.