Posts tagged ‘gardening’

January 18, 2014

Photo of my week #1

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Finding time to study this week has been a challenge…

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December 13, 2013

Bringing The Garden Indoors.

Now that I’ve moved to a third floor flat, I am without a garden of my own. This is offset somewhat by my allotment and we have a shared garden, but it’s overlooked by several large trees. This makes for wonderful bird watching – I appear to have become an accidental twitcher – but means that the garden is darkened, covered in leaves, and any plants would need to compete with lots of tree roots so it doesn’t bode well for much growing.

So, to satisfy my green fingers,  I want to bring some of the outdoors into our home.

The first thing I did was plant ‘Paperwhite’ bulbs into little terracotta pots. I have a handful of these around the flat and they’ve brought a bit of cheer and a heady fragrance into our home. Although you can force these in the dark, I just left them in my mother’s greenhouse for a few weeks and they’ve flowered quite quickly. I love that the bright green shoots are mirrored in the green that has grown on the old terracotta and they look wonderful against the pale walls; a touch of next Spring in the early days of Winter.

Paperwhites in pots

I’m currently reading through ‘The Virgin Gardener’ by Laetitia Maklouf again, which has some great ideas for gardening without a garden. I’m going to have a go at growing succulents, as I was really inspired by the Alpine House at RHS Harlow Carr earlier this year. The structure of these little plants fascinates me, and they’ll be a great way to add greenery to our home.

Alpines at RHS Harlow Carr

There will of course be herbs in the kitchen, but I’m on the lookout for the best plants we can have in the rest of our home too. I’m after plants that will last well, help clean the air, cope with the temperatures and look great too.  I’ll be doing a spot of research over the next couple of months, but if you’ve any fabulous suggestions, do let me know!

September 10, 2012

Burgon and Ball Trowel: a review.

Since spending more time on the allotment, I’ve come to realise that gardening tools are a bit like kitchen tools. There are a lot of fancy gadgets to spend your money on, but you’re more likely to rely on a few well-made and carefully chosen pieces of kit.  My beloved Felco secateurs definitely fall into this category. I never go to the allotment without them. I’ve been a bit short on other tools though, and so I’m really grateful for this beautiful new trowel courtesy of Notonthehighstreet.com.

Designed by Sophie Conran for Burgon and Ball, it’s one of a complete range of hand tools designed to fit women’s hands – they’re slightly smaller, with a slimmer handle.  It has a curving back, which just looks like a design, but actually it really helps stop you losing soil off the back of the trowel, so it’s practical too. It’s reassuringly weighty (but not overwhelmingly so), demonstrating its nice quality. I’m already really enjoying using it, and look forward to the  beechwood handle developing the warm patina of many years of use. All the tools in the range come individually packaged in a lovely blue box, and would make such a nice gift.

Photo from Notonthehighstreet.com

I’ve been really impressed with Notonthehighstreet.com‘s range of products. They have an extensive range of gifts for all the different people in your life, many of which are hand-made in this country by craftspeople; a great way to support small businesses. The standard is really high, I’ve loved everything I’ve bought from there in the past, which has mostly been jewellery as gifts. In fact the only problem with the site is the amount of choice, which means it takes ages for me to decide!

Now that the Autumn term has started at school, my thoughts are already turning to Christmas (there, I said it) and it’s the perfect place to look for unusual, often personalised, presents. I’ve already seen a few things that would be great for my kids so I’ll be back soon.

With many thanks to Notonthehighstreet.com for providing me with the gorgeous trowel to review.

August 15, 2012

Growing: gardening and career changes.

It’s not been our greatest year on the allotment. As I’ve written before, too many other things have been getting in the way, and coupled with the awful weather we’ve had, we’ve had our fair share of failures. Now that we have some more help with the work, in the shape of my mum, things are getting lots better and I have lots more renewed enthusiasm for it.

In fact, my enthusiasm for gardening as a whole has gone through the roof recently. There is something very satisfying in working with your hands and the process of making things grow, or at least attempting to, is such a soulful and satisfying one that I’m hoping to make it a source of income at some point in the future. With this in mind, I’m going to attempt to take the RHS level II courses to give me some formal qualifications.

Anyway, what I really wanted to share with you today is this photo:

I grew this!

This lily has survived the horrible weather, being driven over by toy trucks and repeated over-watering by the kids. It looks far too exotic to be growing in my little Northern back yard, but there it is in all its flamboyant beauty. Perfectly positioned in a pot so I can gaze at it through the window when I’m doing the washing up! It smells incredible too, a bold heady fragrance. I’ve been tempted to cut it and bring it indoors but I’ve realised that it is better where it is.

It’s made me think about a couple of things. Firstly, that plants want to grow. Really, really want to grow. Fling a few seeds in a pot and the chances are that something will come up. Even if you think you have no green fingers at all, I do urge you to try. Growing anything, even a few herbs, will really give you lots of pleasure, and you never know where it might lead you.

The other thing that I’ve been thinking about this flower is that it won’t be here for long. Soon it will die and I’ll no longer be able to look at it when I do the washing up. But that, perhaps, is a good thing. I would never want to not be filled with joy when I look at it. Never want to just take it for granted. I always want to be proud that it’s grown at all! So, I accept that its beauty will fade, and I won’t see it again until next year. The memory of it will remain, and that stimulus, the one I have had to develop gardening as part of my paid working life, will hopefully live for much longer.