Thursday, 17 July 2014

June is busting out all over.

I have been so enjoying the weather. We have been very lucky over the last few weeks with weather here in East Lancashire, glorious day after glorious day with just enough occasional rain soakings to keep the garden very happy. My house is full of sweet peas which fill every room with their glorious scent and, as is the way with sweet peas, as soon as one batch is finished there is another huge crop ready to pick, they really are a wonderful Summer treat.

As you can see, the garden is at it's absolute best at the moment, with flowers galore, all spilling out on top of each other, with something to look at in each direction.

The hebe turned out to be a good choice to replace the blighted box, I just have to try and stop it from getting leggy as time goes on.

Finally I can safely say that the tomatoes are the best year ever. This is great news after 2 very poor years. I have 9 plants, all of which are doing well. Keeping them in the greenhouse for their whole life has definitely been the answer and the growbags have really come up trumps. I should have masses and masses before long.

Couldn't quite get a good enough angle on the photo to get them all in, but you get the idea.

I have been dieting and am only 4lbs off my target of 13 stone, (if you'd asked me last week I was 2lbs off target but something went wrong this week). Meals are so easy to plan at this time of year I find and it is also pretty easy to eat healthy food (as long as you like salad that is haha)

So life is ticking along well, my budgeting is going like a breeze right now, not much spare money but enough to be happy and certainly that is what counts :-)

Sunday, 6 July 2014

I had a job interview....

and I got it!

I am now the piano teacher at a 6th form college in the area. It is only one afternoon a week starting in September but that, combined with my private teaching will make all the difference financially (and I wouldn't want much more hours there than that anyhow. Things are going well and there are no regrets and a lot less worries now. I am embracing my new life and really enjoying it all.

The garden continues to thrive and being here to enjoy it and work in it makes all the difference to its progress. I haven't got any further with my steps and path project yet, but thank you all those who gave me advice, I have a lot of good ideas now.

Now I am thinking of putting a pond in too, in the future.................

And thinking of converting my garage into a music studio..................

Dreams are great.

Friday, 27 June 2014

New project started

Hello all,
Well it's been a fantastic bout of weather here in the UK with glorious hot days. That spell seems to have passed for now and it is grey and significantly colder, but I'm really enjoying the Summer (especially as I am not working away from home for the first Summer in 18 years).

So I have begun a new project which for me is the most head-scratchingly difficult I have attempted thus far so anyone who has any knowledge and tips will be welcome to give advice.

The slope that leads down from my garden proper to my greenhouse is annoying and unmanagable in bad weather and so I have started the groundwork to create steps down and a path along the side of the greenhouse, this should make trips down there in winter or when it is wet much better.

I have started by doing the initial groundwork of cutting out the turf where the path will be

and then I started to cut out where the steps down will be

Finally leaving me with the complete area cut out.

Now that the site is cleared I need to move onto stage 2 as there is no going back now.
My plan at the moment is to put in wooden sides and posts along the path and then to fashion the steps using wooden sides and posts also, three steps down to the path should do it. When that is all in place I will put down hardcore, sand and then concrete and hope that the whole thing works and is stable. It's at times like this that I wish I had a friend with knowledge :-)

I will continue to mark my progress but the next stage will certainly be careful measuring and wood purchase.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Take a tour of my garden.

This Midsummer's day I thought I would do a short video tour of my garden as it is looking so lovely.
Stephen Spielberg I aint, so I'm sorry about the shaky camera work but you get the idea.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Tatton Park

I went to Tatton Park at the weekend and what a lovely trip it was, the gardens are magnificent as the azalea and rhododendron were in their full glory and what a lot of them they have. The house itself is very interesting and being a National Trust property I got in free as I have membership until the end of July. But it was the gardens that I loved so much. There was a walled veg and fruit garden that could have fed an army.

 The view across the lake
 and another.
 The view of the azaleas was spectacular.

 The photos just don't do the blaze of colour justice.
 The flag iris were only just beginning but by now they are probably a wonderful sight.
 View to the Japanese gardens.
 I liked this old bridge.
 The entrance to the maze.
And this is what I found in the middle of the maze.

It was a lovely trip, topped off with a jacket potato for lunch in the not too overpriced cafe. Most of the food in the cafe is grown in the walled garden when possible.

Today is beautiful so I am off to cut the lawns.

Monday, 2 June 2014


Hello all,
I keep on apologising for lack of posting but I'm going to stop that. I am posting what I can when I can but things have been a bit hectic of late, which is probably a good thing.
I am finally breaking even financially which shows that slowly but surely my new career path is beginning to work. No spare cash but now my savings are not really being touched which is good news except for the untoward. I have 9 students now when they all come which is good, taken 5 months but it is slowly starting to happen and word is getting about that I exist at least. The best bit is that I am really really enjoying it, especially when I think that in my old life I would now be battling up to London weekly  and misssing all the joys of my garden at home. No regrets and completely my own boss.
I have had a productive weekend and have opened new bank accounts, changed my gas and elctricity provider to Ovo and am exploring changing my internet service provider to Sky, all in a bid to make monthly cash stretch a bit further.
So I continue to shop carefully, and am becoming a dab hand at stretching a single chicken out to 4 or 5 meals making it super good value even for a greedy man like me.

Enough about all that.

Meanwhile every day brings fresh joy in the garden. My pride at the moment is for my lupins and my alliums.

There are 17 healthy looking flower heads accross just 3 plants, which, for me, makes a lupin record. These majestic flowers are among my very favourites.

And 30 alliums in the big bed make a very happy view. I had hoped the astilbe would be out by now and that the alliums would be surrounded by clouds of pink frothy flowers, but the best laid plans and all that.

Also my gladioli and dahlias are all growing away happily, as are the delphiniums.

Dahlia patch wants weeding I think. 3 varieties, Bishop of Landalff and more.

A usual my veg plot is poor at the moment (one day I will get good at veg), although the tomatoes in the greenhouse are doing very well this year, far better than the precious two years.

The veg bed is looking a higgledy piggledy mess and that is because after a poor beginning I have planted crops in no particular order as my original ones all died (my green fingers turned very grey on that day). I've decided to call it a cottage garden bed and to pretend that it was supposed to be random by design. I have 2 courgettes, some runner beans, French beans, peas, broad beans and a cucumber. I think I will plant some complementary flowers to make it look better. Given time it might look ok, here's hoping there will be some crop at least.

Finally a photo of lovely iris hidden away in the whale bed.

 Blue is never captured very well on my camera, but they look lovely in the flesh.

Monday, 12 May 2014

It finally flowered

It has been 2 years since I planted my deciduous azalea (red kosas)

Here's when it went in 2 years ago, gosh it all looks so bare.

Well it imeediately begain to suffer from mildew and I thought it was a gonner but I nursed it through.

Last year the Spring was so cold so late that it just didn't flower at all, but luckily no sign of mildew so I was relieved about that.

So it was with great excitement that I have been waiting for it to show itself off in all it's glory and my long wait was finally over this week.

It is not quite all open but it is quite a spectacle, such a rich colour and it draws the eye everywhere you are in the garden.

Not sure a photo can possibly do it justice but I just wanted to share it with you.

Other things I have done today are to plant my gladioli bulbs which were already sending out roots in their paper bag. I have actually moved my small camellia from the back garden to the front, I realised that I had planted it in the wrong place as it would become overcrowded once it grew and now I have the large new bed in the front thought it was better to move it now before it starts to grow over the summer. So the gladioli have gone in where that was. I have no memory at all what sort I got, but I think there are two sorts, a red and a white. Time will tell.
That's all for today.
Thanks for all the hedge suggestions, it is on the back burner while I mull it over and decide exactly what I will do with the whole front garden.