We have a very small garden because whoever builds houses these days obviously assumes that no modern day person likes to do gardening (???) So I make the most out of the small space we have and I have discovered a passion for something I never thought I would – or maybe I am just getting old?!
Having re-positioned flower beds and re-laid the lawn, added pots, hanging baskets and bought new plants (yes, we learnt the hard way how expensive it is to only buy seasonal flowers after the first year). Our task for last year was to try and find new ways to add plants, colours, flowers and herbs and researched what would last year after year; ‘Love Your Garden’ probably has had a lot to do with it!! – Thanks, Alan.
One issue we had was with our neighbours and their many washing lines… basically they moved in and never asked if we minded and just started to wrap washing lines from one fence to another, covering their garden and also creating an eyesore for me on the top of the posts – it may not bother everybody but it really does annoy me especially as it is right in view from my kitchen window (bright red too).
I hunted around for an item that could be hung up to cover or disguise the line, but I just couldn’t find exactly what I had in mind, soooooo… I decided to make something. I popped off to homebase and after a hunt around I had an idea and bought… 3 metal planters, wire and hooks.
I drilled three holes into the bottom of the pots for drainage purposes (they are indoor pots, but a year on and they haven’t rusted), I potted one with Rosemary and the other with Mint. I screwed in the fixings easily into the wood on the posts by hand – right in the place to hide the washing line and then fixed them on with the wire. Hey presto, a place to keep herbs that also creates a feature point:
My next ask was for window boxes, but it’s me and again I had an idea in mind and couldn’t find it in the shops – ‘hubby you know I love you….’
We bought decking wood to give a nice finish and some lovely green paint (by Cuprinol). We measured the size of the windows and used these to cut the wood to size. We drilled drainage holes in the bottom and used garden liner to prevent the wood from rotting. In just one afternoon we had lovely new window boxes:
It is so simple to build and make things yourself, with just a little time and effort you can make your garden and home your own and have unique items.
Our front garden was probably the biggest overhaul we did. It was overgrown, unloved, full of rubbish and we even had people walking past who let their dogs mess on it! We achieved a nicely bordered off garden which is now neat, tidy and full of lovely plants and flowers – a huge thanks goes out to our family members who helped out.
My Top Tips: (learnt from experience)
- Don’t waste money on the seasonal flowers – they will cost you much more each year so spend a little more and go for a hardy year round plant.
- Research what you are going to plant. Don’t let your hard work go to waste by putting the wrong plants in the wrong places/pots/soil etc. For example, Alpines do well in shady, damp, rockery areas and not so much in dry gardens or direct sunlight.
- Use beautiful smelling flowers and plants to provide lovely aroma’s in the summer – Lavender is one of the best.
- Talking of Lavender, have you seen them and often thought oh they’re horrible when they become too big and out of control? This is because they need pruning each year to prevent this overgrowth. If they are left to grow and grow the plant concentrates on becoming larger and the roots grow up and become visible; and very ugly. If you prune the plants in October, remove all the flowers and get the shape back, the following year the plant will concentrate on growing the flowers instead of its roots. This will eventually give you a lovely row of lavender bushes.
- Water really well twice a day, if possible, during high summer. Do not water when the sun is at it’s hottest, you may burn flowers and leaves. Do it first thing in the morning and again early evening.
- Look into herbs for decoration as well as providing beautiful aromas. Rosemary, Mint and Thyme are lovely – you can even get Thyme in lemon and orange plus Mint in chocolate flavours!!
- Not all flowers can be deadheaded. Again do your research so you don’t go around killing off any new plants.
- Trellis is a useful tool for covering a lot of walled areas and there are great plant options available, for example honeysuckle will stay green all year and give pretty flowers in the summer.
- Check out local garden centres for varied plant options, possibly cheaper items and great advice.
Happy gardening folks!