Flower garden makeover: part 1

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The weather has been absolutely glorious this week! Frank has pretty much been living outside, spending his time ambling around, occasionally napping in the sun. We have reinstated our post dinner walks (only on nice evenings of course.) But most importantly we have managed to do some serious garden work, which has been brilliant! Jonny has been chainsawing trees, chopping firewood, clearing overgrown areas and having bonfires. Whilst I have begun working on the area I have been (tongue-in-cheek) referring to as the flower garden – which in reality is the small stretch of shrubby grass to the front of our house. It is a little bit neglected looking, with overgrown flower beds that run along the front of the house and the side of the fence. It is gravelled with fairly horrible looking noggin, that has large clumps of grass and weeds covering it in odd patches. Why would we want to change this idyllic sounding spot you may wonder?? Well it looks pretty awful. Upon moving in this was one of the first things that I wanted to change (you can see where my priorities lie!) Jonny looks at the practical things: getting a drive-on  lawn mower, where will the raised beds get the most sun whilst still being sheltered etc, and I automatically wonder how we can make it look beautiful. Of course there is a pinterest board dedicated to this, because as you know, I am a little obsessed. This bit will probably have to be done in stages, as we are still in our period of austerity – so the more expensive bits will have to wait. However the hard (and crucially) free labour-intensive stuff can be done now! So lets call this PART 1, and PART 2 will follow later in the spring….

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So to begin with I dug over the existing flower beds, removing all of the weeds (and many, many bricks?!) before adding some compost and digging this in. I then planted the plants that we had dug up from our last garden, that had been sitting forlornly in pots by our back door, and watered them in well. Although sadly I had to say goodbye to several plants – make sure you prune back your lavenders folks! I tied in my honeysuckle, so it will hopefully clamber romantically up the left hand side of the house, and I will do the same on the other side when I buy my climbing rose; because all cottages needs to have plants growing all over them don’t they?? Next I will sow some seeds.  As I have mentioned before, I struggle to exercise control in garden centres, so I needed to prioritise growing from seeds this year. I have bought some night scented stock, field cornflower, poppies and pansies so far.  I am also fortunate in that my Mum is a great gardener, and therefore gives me lots of beautiful cuttings from her garden. So I plan on filling out the beds that way. I will also be headed to lots of local plant stalls, as this is a super cheap way of getting reasonably priced plants (especially if you go near the end of the day.) This is also great for gardening advice, if your a bit of a gardening newbie like me! The final job next week will be to dig in the new flower bed that will run along the length of the fence. This will be a harder job as it is currently just a patch of grass, and therefore will need a more significant amount of nutrients (in the form of good quality compost and fertiliser) adding after. We will need to order a large amount of compost…. It is going to be a total pain to do, so I think I might need to play some good tunes, buy some beers and convince Jonny to help me…

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So there is definitely still a long way to go! When we are feeling a little bit more flush, our plan is to cover the horrid noggin(ed) area in a weed suppressing tarp, and then cover this with nice light-coloured gravel. Then Jonny is going to make some shiny new fences (like these) to replace the ramshackle ones that divide our garden and the field – it  will also run along the left hand side of the house and separate it, with a gate, from the rest of the garden. If that makes any sense?! It is quite a hard thing to describe! Then I am going to plant so many flowers, and our house will be filled with little bunches of flowers in beautiful glass vases. That’s the dream anyway! The reality will probably be quite different, but it is hopefully something we can work towards in future years. The problem with doing this sort of work whilst still working full time, is that all these wonderful and exciting ideas that you have tumbling around in your head take much longer to come into fruition than you’d think. But that is half the fun isn’t it? Allowing your mind to wander and imagine all the exciting possibilities whilst driving to work on a Monday morning, or while you are doing the food shopping. I find the planning stages of projects almost as fun as the finished thing. Luckily we have an unbelievably long list of potential future projects, so there is plenty to dream about….

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