Monthly Archives: May 2020

Retail therapy, the garden centre kind……

So a planned rest today. I took Suzy on an early walk ready to meet Bev at the garden centre before it got busy. We both had a list of things we needed. Not much but it was so nice to get out and have a look round again.

We only had to wait a short time in the queue and we were in and off. What to look at first. All the bright colours and shapes. So pretty. Bev wanted a bamboo but they didn’t have the one she was looking for. So in to the seeds. I’d planted spring onions but the darn foxes dig them all up this week and kindly left the soil all over the path for me. Also my mixed colour beetroots aren’t showing much sign of life so I wanted to get some good old fashioned red ones. The third choice was some long radish. Radish are so quick and easy to grow and our first crop are delicious so it’s time to grow a new variety to me. The beauty of radish is they are so easy and you can companion plant them with other crops. Some of mine are in with my cherry tomato hanging baskets.

Bev then treated me to a decent pair of secateurs for my birthday next month. I did a trial prune tonight and they work a treat. Thank you Bev x

We happened to stray upon the water features and Bev chose herself a new one for her garden. She spent later in the afternoon rearranging her plants and pots and I think you’ll agree she has done a great job.

Almost complete.

After a bit more wandering and picking the pots we had come for we headed to the tills. We must resist and put our blinkers on as we past anything else.

Once home and refuelled after lunch I did a little repotting in the garden. The lavender Bev bought me last week was a bit too snug in the pot I put it in. So it now has a nice new one to match the Maple pot.

A bit more tidying of the garden and another go at arranging the rocks on the waterfall. The waterfall is definitely a pain job but we are nearly there. I think the beginning of the rock layout is looking so much better.

That’s all I have energy for today as I also managed a few hours of paperwork and that’s so draining. But it is relaxing to have a trip around the garden and explore what is springing into life. The first Iris in the pond today opened up and looks dazzling. Have a good evening. X

The first crop of home grown strawberries.

Final fencing day.

All planned for an early start and I’m generally up and ready to go at silly o’clock. However this morning was a struggle. I think the heat and the previous days project took it out of me. So instead of rushing around I took a gentle walk with Suzy as it was nice and cool then carefully unwound the netting from the fruit cage so that we could get to the fencing behind the raspberries today. But first second coat of the last panel of trellis, who put trellis in the garden I ask myself yet again?

Bev arrived and we cracked on. Sadly we hadn’t got the mix right on the concrete yesterday so it had to be removed and replaced. Dads shed hoover came in very handy to suck it all out of the waterfall before we started again. Today’s attempt seem to go better and is setting. We even got as far as laying in the liner to work out the final details. But I’d got to the point my brain was fried and I just couldn’t think. So we decided to leave it for today and I’d go back to it tomorrow afternoon.

Getting there.

Fencing continued but in this heat it was hard going. The end result though was worth it. It looks so much fresher and the colour is great.

I seem to be wearing the fence paint too.

The shower took a while as every time I thought I’d got all the paint off me I found some more. In fact I’ve had my shower and I’m still finding it 😂

The garden has rewarded me well tonight as I harvested my first radish’s. They are crunchy and fresh tasting. Nothing like you buy from the shops.

The first strawberries will also be harvested tomorrow. I think it will be a steady crop to start then bang, strawberry jam making time.

Digitalis candy mountain. Rich and I bought this at the garden show last year x

That’s it for today. I’m out of energy but it’s been worth it. Very productive again and great looking results. Tomorrow some down time before getting back to some form filling, followed by some more work on the waterfall. Hopefully soon I will get to plant lots of the newly grown plants on the border. Night all. X

What an exciting start to the day.

After not a lot of sleep I gave up. Breakfast was at 3.30am. Suzy was not amused as I wouldn’t let her have hers until 6.30.

As you know last night I was very undecided about what colour to paint the fence. Pretty certain I now knew what colour to go for I headed of to B&Q really early to beat the queues. Little did I know I could have turned up 45 minutes earlier as they opened at 7 not what the website said at 8. Anyway no need to wait just straight in and headed to the fence paint. It appears everyone and their aunties are painting their fences as the shelves were quite bare and the colour I had chosen was no where to be found. However I did see an example of another colour that took my eye so two tubs and some bamboo cains later I was in the very short queue for Marks and Spencer’s. What a treat. I haven’t been here since March. I treated Ben and I to some nice meringues and a lemon meringue for during the week ahead, hopefully to go with some of our own strawberries.

Back home and refuelled Bev arrived and we cracked on. First with painting some of the fence then making the cement for the waterfall. Now I’ve never done this before neither has Bev. But we had a laugh and were chatting about how dad would have told us to do it this way or that way. Anyway, I’m not sure if we made it quite right, maybe a little dry but time will tell in the morning. If it’s not right I shall remove it and start again. Practice makes perfect right?

Didn’t look pretty now but it’s next phase is to layer pond liner over the top.

After a healthy lunch of salad and chicken we continued to paint the fence. Who invented trellis? It’s awful stuff to paint. Mind you it became a bit easier once we removed it and laid it down to paint. Did anyone mention it was the warmest day of the year so far?? I do pick the wrong days to do stuff sometimes. But we were sensible, lots of suncream, drinks and working under the sunshade. We didn’t manage to finish the painting today but what we have done in our opinion looks really good. What colour did I pick I hear you say? Sage. A cross between Grey and green. Suits the garden.

Before.
This panel is still due a second coat.
This one still needs its second coat.
Completed panel.
Hopefully soon all the new plants will be in and we can have a tidy garden and path.

I really appreciated Bev’s help today, even Ben gave us a hand until he couldn’t cope with the sun anymore. It’s taking along time to paint as I can’t remember the last time it was done however it’s worth the effort and to have someone to chat to really helps x

Tomorrow mornings weather isn’t looking to great but if I’m up at silly o’clock again I will check our handy work on the waterfall, redo if necessary and cover it for any forecast rain. Then later in the day crack on with the fence painting.

Enjoy the lovely evening everyone. Night x

Chilled out kind of hot day???

What a lovely warm sunny morning and it was to get hotter. I decided I needed a more chilled out day today so Suzy and I had a slow plod round the garden with a cup of tea. Every time I walk past the waterfall I think how on earth should I fix it.

I spotted a few strawberries turning red this morning and by this evening they had come on in leaps and bounds, just like our new friend today.

This morning.
This evening.

Meet toady!

Toady is a shy little fellow and likes to hang out behind my bags of compost. I don’t blame him. It did get up to 26° in our garden this afternoon. He was still there tonight when Ben and I went out at 10pm. Fortunately Suzy isn’t bothering him or her.

After I’d popped out to run some errands and picked up supplies at Wickes I returned home to enjoy lunch el fresco. This truly is a gorgeous day. I spied a little creature on the patio but it seemed quiet content but later on whilst I returned all the plants to the greenhouse I felt something tickling my foot.

Introducing the newest member of the gang, Colin or Coleen??

Colin/ Coleen says hi.

I let Colin have a ride on my croc and put him somewhere safe in the garden but not near anything it might find to tasty.

It’s too nice to be inside so I covered the table and set up my sewing station outside whilst dinner cooked.

Dinner was reasonable healthy as it’s taco Tuesday. Ben and I were going to watch a film over dinner but it’s to nice to be indoors. So the garden it was to be. It’s just like being abroad in this weather.

This waterfall is still on my mind, so after we had cleared up I took out the new pond liner and tried a few variations. I think I have a bit of an idea how we can fix it now. Fingers crossed.

The new project I wanted to start today was delayed as I didn’t get my ready to collect email till later in the day. But now I have it I’m being indecisive. Which colour do we go for painting the fence? Traditional brown or slate grey??? I’m so confused.

This is a photo of someone’s fence in the colour I’m thinking of as an alternative?

For those of you the know my garden it will be for the right hand side, so partly hidden by the fruit patch in the summer and roses growing over it at the far end. Any ideas chaps?

So chilled out hot day it was. Suzy even enjoyed her paddling pool and a play in the garden. Sleep well everyone. X

A frustrating day……

Typical type of Monday. So much paperwork on the list of today’s jobs. But the best way to get through it is to have something to look forward to after.

First job check the waterfall and take its measurements as it’s still leaking. Before heading off to the aquatic shop Suzy and I had our Monday morning stroll to the greengrocer that sets up at the hospital Monday and Fridays. Today he had so much lovely looking fruit and veg. We were spoiled for choice. We restrained though and just bought what we needed and came back home to a breakfast of crepes and fresh fruit whilst sat in the garden. Mmmmmm.

A quick dart to the aquatic centre and back home to start the dreaded paperwork and hours of phone calls. You just have to be patient otherwise you could get really stressed. My reward though was at 3pm I gave in and retreated to the hot sunshine in the garden with Ben. He did a great job of cutting the grass whilst I really striped the water feature back to see where the problem was. I think I’ve found it but it needs a bit of remodelling.

The front right edge is where the problem is so I think I need to make it angle round a little more., then relay new pond liner and cement rocks back in.

Trouble is, whilst I’m doing these jobs I find more that need doing. Well actually we knew this one needed doing just keep putting it off. You’ll have to wait and see what this project will be in a few days time.

This evening I took some time to set up dads online obituary. I still can’t believe he has gone. It feels like he is away working and will be back soon. Here is the link should you like to have a look.

https://www.funeralguide.co.uk/obituaries/77420

Where does the day go? That’s it we are out of day time and I’m worn out after waking up at stupid o’clock again. Once again I shall leave you with a few garden pictures and hopefully tomorrow we shall be greeted with the first semi red strawberry. The first of the crop x

This time last year……

May 2019, Rich and I had gone to Berlin for a long weekend geocaching and sight seeing with our two wonderful friends Matt and Adam. We knew we wouldn’t be able to rush around or walk far but it was still a bloody marvellous weekend partly made so special by Matt and Adam. Rich kept saying to me how grateful he was to them both for being so patient with him and to keep us both laughing. We enjoyed some wonderful sights, history, food and many cocktails. It’s a city break I will always have fond memories of and very special to me x

Cocktail menu anyone?
My Pimms in the garden listening to our water feature tonight, cheers Rich x ❤️❤️.

So as I had lots of memories passing through my mind today I spent another morning in the garden. I didn’t want to do unpleasant jobs or paperwork today. First off I checked out the water fall. It’s still leaking. Count to ten……….. so this week it needs completely pulling apart and rebuilding with new liner. There must be a hole somewhere.

I can’t do anything about it today so may as well crack on putting the hanging baskets together. Looks like I’ll be busy watering this year as I don’t recall ever having so many out. Although four of them do have cherry tomato and radishes in them. I sat myself surrounded by the ones to be planted and as soon as I was about to begin, along came mummy’s little helper.

Even though I have been growing many many plants, it wasn’t until I sorted through today to see what to put in each basket I realised that I didn’t have much of a selection for them. Most of the new plants would be to tall or to big. But after some arranging they were all planted and I now have a spare shelf in the greenhouse. they all look a bit sparse now but they will soon grow on.

I had to move this one as I went to get in the car and couldn’t open the door!

Garden tidied it was time to head over to Ingress park and meet Victoria and Sophie to take Suzy for a social distancing walk. It was such a pleasant afternoon, sun shining, nice walk around the abbey then along the Thames and back again. Suzy had a very nice time. It was also her first time in the car since March!

Once home Ben and I had a very early dinner once again sat out on the patio in the sunshine. What a glorious evening. I could hear a little banging noise whilst we were outside and it turned out to be our neighbour taking her old shed down. I offered to give a hand and so we both smashed it apart with a hammer. I can’t tell you how therapeutic it was in a funny kind of way. My reward later on was to be a piece of homemade strawberry pavlova. It was delicious and gone before any photos were taken.

I was going to continue with some sewing after but the evening is just to glorious to be inside so I put my feet up, Pimms to hand and organised the next stage of project garden. There are so many plants in the greenhouse, 120 to be precise that I’ve either grown from seed or plug plants, and another 120 summer bulbs to go out. Planning is the way to go as I have a wall in the front garden to plant up, containers and of course the new border. Planning complete and documented ready to start later in the week to give me a break from solicitors paperwork ect.

The evening tour of the garden flowers was very bright, lots of new buds opening up and flowers bobbing in the soft breeze. I’ll leave you for tonight with those images. X

Cucumbers coming along nicely in the greenhouse.
Self seeded foxglove.
The newest allium to the garden.
Roses climbing up the front of the shed.
New allium.
Peony.
The first of the orange blossom in bloom. Apparently they smell gorgeous.

It’s Saturday, a day like any other……

What day is it? Couldn’t quite work it out when I woke up this morning. It’s very confusing this lockdown daily routine. Every day is much like the day before.

Today is Saturday, not that that matters unless there is something on the tv you would like to watch. It’s also a year ago today that Rich and I went away with our good friends Matt and Adam to Berlin. Berlin was fabulous. Rich did so well even though he had to really watch what he could eat and he was very tired after recent nuclear treatment. But we all laughed lots, drank many cocktails and enjoyed the unique city.

So what does one do today. Definitely reflect on last years adventures, try an complete the repair of the waterfall and maybe prepare the hanging baskets ready for planting in the next few days.

The best way to start the day though before all this is a cup of tea in bed. Suzy and I went to the kitchen later than usual this morning and just as I opened the blinds I could see we had a visitor! Heron!! Walking bold as brass across the garden ready to pick from the gold fish menu. We are not having that Mr Heron. Our fish restaurant is now closed. Send out guard dog Suzy! Wow she went bolting our the door to give the heron what for, but it took flight with it’s huge wingspan rather quickly. Hopefully she gave it an ear-bashing with her barking

Ok so we are wide awake now. Let’s get organised. Our neighbour had found us some straw on their travels recently for our strawberry plants. That became the first job of the day as the fruits are growing quite rapidly.

Strawberry patch all cosy.

The next job that needed completing today is the waterfall. Fortunately Bev arrived to collect our rubbish for the recycle centre at the right time. So with both of us balanced Bev applied the sealant into the pond. The work we did yesterday had fully dried. After a few more hours we should be good to turn the waterfall back on.

Water back on and slowed down with the new to me found flow control lever.

The weather is a bit overcast this afternoon so I sat myself in the middle of the lawn with 6 old hanging baskets and one new and started to prepare them for the plants I have been growing in the greenhouse. Normally I like the same plants in them each year but with lockdown that wasn’t going to be possible, anyway I had so many seeds it would be a great distraction to grow it all myself this year. Hopefully cheaper to, which I think it has been.

Some plants have survived from last summer but I took them all out, trimmed them up and replanted.
Basket of begonias, some old from last three years and some new.
This years new basket for outside the kitchen window.

The time just flew by preparing the baskets but Ben was now up and ready for us to take Suzy out. There is certainly more family’s over the country park at a weekend. Some running, some photographing the long grasses and even a group all sat with social distance amongst the long grass, radio on and just chatting. It was really nice to see.

Suzy had a good run off the lead chasing her tennis ball and making new furry friends. After a while though she was worn out and ready to go back home. If you close your eyes and listen to the video you’d be sure there was a steam train pulling in 😂

Suzy loves bouncing in and out of the long grass.

Ben and I decided that we would eat our dinner together on the patio this evening. I can’t remember the last time we did this but it was a beautiful evening and listening to the new water feature is go so relaxing. We had some sausages to cook up and so I thought I’d give toad in the hole ago. I’ve made this on numerous occasions and I’m terrible at it. No matter how hot I have the oven the batter is never fully cooked. You know what they say, practice makes perfect.

Well that’s it from Dartford today. Blog typed and about to be published. Have a safe night everyone x

Sunflower special edition, update 1…..

Happy Saturday everyone. This morning I wanted to share with you our progress on the sunflowers.

Rich and I started growing the sunflowers before he was taken into hospital. It was to be similar to our family gingerbread competition where we would each grow one and see who’s became the biggest. It turned out to be much needed in these moments as it was something we could all watch and nurture in our own homes in these peculiar times as we can not be with each other.

Let me introduce the sunflower club members.

Craig and Sam – live by the sea. Salty air?? Will this cause a problem? They have a curious Cat called Cosmo (will this be a disadvantage? Will she want to climb the sunflowers and snap them?) currently their sunflowers are residing indoors next to the window.

Jan and Lisa – live in Reading. They have a cheeky little dog called Libby. (Will Libby decide you have a little snack on the stem of the sunflowers?) One of their sunflowers had a slight accident in the wind and fell of the table outside. Alas this one belonging to Jan is no longer in the competition. It’s top snapped off😳 However Jan received some new sunflower seeds in the post, Will this be like the hare and the tortoise, Will Jan’s take the lead?? Their sunflowers are presently living in the summer house at night and the garden by day.

Little Libby.

Auntie Jeanie – lives Near Bexleyheath. Now this may be the one we need to keep our eyes on. I’m not sure where her sunflower is living. Is it outside 24/7? Is it being kept under secret light lamps? Is she feeding it magic potions? Best keep our eyes on this one 😉

Nanny Bev – Lives in Gravesend. Owns two huge dogs, although big softy’s and like to lick. Now Bev has named her sunflower Gerald, Will this be an advantage? Does this mean she is secretly a sunflower whisperer? Bev told me Gerald is misbehaving but is this just a ploy to throw us off her magic green fingers?

Jo and Ben – Growers of sunflower seeds. Live in Dartford. Usually we have poor air quality what with living so close to Dartford tunnel but currently with the world staying at home things are a little clearer. We started all the seeds in our greenhouse and distributed them amongst the family. Now did we tamper with any of the seeds before they left us? Did we use a larger mix of enriched soil in some but not others? Suzy lives with us and has not yet shown any interest in our sunflower, phew. Our sunflower is currently in the shed at night and garden by day.

So. Now you know all of the contenders let’s introduce the stars of the blog themselves, let’s here it for the Sunflowers, and Gerald.

Craig and Sams leafy sunflowers.
Lisa’s luscious sunflower
Auntie Jeanie’s sunflower.
Gerald and friends, Bev’s sunflower.
Ben and Jo’s leggy plant.

So there we have the family of sunflowers. Who’s will become the tallest strongest plant? Who’s will have huge head of yellow? Will any succumb to the dreaded slug and snail family? All will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Such a rewarding day…..

Ok fingers crossed, Will the new water feature be delivered and will it work? Keep reading and all will be revealed.

Usual start to the day, cup of tea and back to bed. Getting better this morning. It was not until 5.15! No sign of Heron on Heron cam, result. Nobody making me breakfast in bed today but I suppose two days in a row would be like a miracle. Out in the garden to check on the little leak on the small pond waterfall. My solution last night hadn’t fixed it, sigh. So, water turned off I found the problem. Ok. Little more repair work required but I think we have most of what we need. Just where is it in the shed???

Whilst waiting for it to dry out I had exciting day ahead. A trip to the garden centre. Complete extravagance. Such a weird feeling to be going somewhere like this after all this time. Also meeting up with Bev there. What a treat. It seems like such a long time ago we could do things like see our family’s. Sadly no coffee and cake stop but that didn’t stop us enjoying ourselves. We were like tiny children in a sweet shop. All the bright colourful plants and pots. Staff were constantly filling the displays. You could not fault how it looked.

Bev had mentioned that she was going to treat herself to a new maple plant. That got me thinking. A maple may be just the right plant to sit beside the new water feature. After looking at a few we spotted this unusual colour one. Perfect. Bev also found a lovely one for herself.

Bevs new pot and maple.

Next Bev wanted to find the Lavender plants as she wanted to treat me to remember dad by. Now those of you that knew dad well, he absolutely detested lavender plants. It was the smell he couldn’t stand. He often said under no circumstances would I be allowed to have one in the garden. Rich and I often taunted him, saying we were going out to buy one and where should we put it. Apparently if we did get one he would have dug it up. All of this was said in banter. Yes he really didn’t like them and no I wouldn’t have bought one whilst he was still here. However it always makes us smile remembering the banter we would have about them, so now it seems very fitting to have one to remember him by and smile at our teasing. After deciding where to put it, I decided to put it in Richs pot that he chose after our visit to the Gardeners world live show.

So home from the garden centre, and the water feature was soon delivered. The service was outstanding from the team and the lady even put it all together for me to check everything worked ok before delivering. The water fall was meant to be the next job on the list but we couldn’t resist cracking on with the water feature.

After a little crawling on the ground to install the cables we soon had it in a perfect position. Water filled and the grand switch on. Yes it works and looks fabulous. Rich would have loved it as not only does it look nice it has the spishy splashy noise we were looking for.

Of course we then potted up the new Maple tree and placed it all together with the lavender. Superb. A great project that gives me happy memories of both my dad and Rich and a perfect day that I could sit out here and enjoy my dinner on the patio with the new sound of running water. The Maple looks mesmerising in the afternoon sun.

Having lights in the water hadn’t even crossed my mind but now I have them, wow. It completes that part of the patio perfectly in the dark with the other little lights.

The waterfall was the next task. It had dried out nicely so Bev and I made a plan. We mixed up some stuff we found in the shed, no surprise there! And set to work. Making one of the sides sightly higher and putting in some of the rocks. Fingers crossed it works. If not I have the water proof sealant at the ready.

The final thing I purchased at the garden centre was a couple of new hanging baskets. I had one in mind for the other cherry tomato plants which would live in the fruit patch with the other two. the other will be filled with flowers and placed out once the last frosts had passed.

Companion planting. Cherry tomatoes along side radish as they are a fast growing crop.

That’s an oil put it for today. What will we do tomorrow? Night all x x

Water feature day?

Thursday started really strangely. I woke at 4am to the sound of Ben walking around the landing. No, I wasn’t dreaming, it really was Ben. He couldn’t sleep either so he offered to make me a cup of tea. Of course I said yes. Both back to beds with our tea, when I awoke to another noise at 6am. Surely not Ben again? But yes! Our sleep patterns are all over the place. I didn’t mind today as I was treated to breakfast in bed. Great start to the day.

It wasn’t much longer before I got up and outside to prepare the equipment I needed for the days project, but first a walk to the shops with Suzy and Ben to buy biscuits and sausages. We are fortunate that we have a great little selection of shops on our estate including a butchers. I asked them today if the could ever get goats meat, but apparently only if I wanted a whole goat lol. I’ll pass for today.

Back home to today’s project. Removal of the old water feature, prepare site and place newly purchased water feature. The old one still worked but it didn’t make splashy noises and so Rich and I had discussed changing it in the spring. I went out the day before and spotted two I thought we would both like and made my choice.

Previous water feature.

I learnt a big lesson today. That is to check your product before you do all the work to check it is in full working order. Today I hadn’t done this first!

Removal of the old water feature was relatively easy. Take off decorative stones, store ready to be washed. Remove ball and hosepipe. Ask slugs to vacate said ball. Scoop all the water out of reservoir. Remove reservoir from the ground being careful not to wake any deadly spiders. (Ok so they were not deadly just menacing!) continually check for sleeping newts. Ahhh hang on, two of the little fellows relaxing in the mud. Both were very still so I gently scooped them up and placed them in the bushes near to the pond.

Olivia NEWTON
NEWTON John.

Going well so far. Except I’d forgotten we had original cut the slabs to fit the water feature. But as I was on my hands and knees I spotted something lurking in the back of the border. Blow me down, dad had kept a couple of slabs there. Brilliant. So after rummaging in the workshop I found the required tools, removed one of the smaller slabs, filled in hole with left over Soil from recent border project, placed a layer of sand down and then bedded the new slab on top. Voilà new looking area of the patio. Except for a small gap in the slabs but we won’t panic just yet. The gap, I can live with as the new feature will be placed on top.

So slabs in, it was now time to get the water feature out of its packaging Everything looked in order so it was time to place the cable in the conduit. It started well but then the new cable wouldn’t go through one part of the conduit as the diameter was slightly smaller. Grrrrrr up to the work shop and loft in search of more. I found a piece much to my amazement, mind you was it really? I should remember dad holds on to everything, somewhere lol x it fitted. Marvellous.

Cable through it was time to connect. How very exciting. There are three connections for LED lights with a water proof seal. But one of the waterproof seals is damaged. Arggggggggg. Disappointment! I can not now finish this project today. I called up the garden centre who were most helpful. They have located me a new feature and will collect mine and then drop a new one on Friday. Oh well. Things happen for a reason I guess. At least the area is prepared and cleaned all waiting.

So I will continue with the water feature for you later today (Sorry the blog is a little late but I fell asleep typing it last night. When I woke I had written some really bizarre sentence. Must have been my dream in words lol)

I did manage to take some evening garden photos for you. So enjoy and have a good day x

Very exciting, Strawberries on their way.
A self seeded fox glove.
Also self seeded
The new addition, a dwarf standard Lilac for spring colour in the new border at mid height.
Very excited to see the new allium.
Rebecca is in full bloom.
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