Friday, 15 March 2013

1 weeks down.

I'm home for a long weekend - good stuff. My first week working in London has gone quite well. Not too hectic as my schedule gave me a lot of time off, I have to admit that I didn't really use my time wisely, I just watched dvd's and read books under a duvet most of the time but it was my way of relaxing and getting through it all. Luckily I was given today off, so I drove home last night arriving at 12.30, 6 hours sleep and now I am enjoying being home until at least Sunday night. Can't complain (unless it is about the shocking price of petrol).
I managed to 'acquire' a free set of wooden shelves that fit perfectly in the remaining gap in my greenhouse too, so shoved them in the car last night.
When I stepped out of the car in my driveway at half past 12 last night I felt myself relax totally and the smell of the air, the very freshness hit me like an intoxicating drug. It is funny, but after a day or so you find you don't really notice how polluted the air is in the city, but as soon as you are back among the trees and countryside it really becomes very clear. People often describe cities as being 'vibrant' or 'energetic', but the real power is in the energy of the country air and the vibrancy comes from the myriad plant and wildlife around me, I found it reviving like a tonic.
It's pouring with rain though :-(   Ah well, you can't have it all.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

That time of year again *big sigh*

My precious seedlings are dispersed to willing (or forced) friends and family, my house has been cleaned, my bags are packed and my heart is heavy. Yes, I am off to London. 4 weeks of rehearsal and 4 weeks of home sickness. I drive down there this evening ready to start Barber of Seville tomorrow morning. Hopefully 4 weeks will fly by? I then have 3 and a half weeks at home and then another 4 weeks of rehearsal through May for Traviata. I am sad that I will miss some of the wonderful changes that will happen in the garden over this time but I am really hoping to get back some weekends this time, if not all - that is why I decided to drive, so that I can be spontaneous and set off driving home at 3 in the morning if I feel like it or if time allows. I can't do what I did last year and be tied to British rail and megabus and it's nightmare prices and timetable peak time hassles.

For once being frugal will have to take a back seat, petrol costs will be huge this month, but for my own sanity and peace of mind it will have to be or I'll go crazy.

On the subject of being frugal, I had a funny experience when putting in my present metre reading to NPower. I put in the gas reading and got an immediate message back saying that it was an 'inplausable reading' because I hadn't used enough. It made me double check, yes I was right - 98 units of gas in the last 4 months. Maybe NPower is not used to a frugal user. Pretty good going I reckon. My combined gas and electricity bill continue to be £32 a month so I am doing something right as the rest of the country seem to have extortionate bills. I used a lot of electricity by my reckoning though - probably from having the oven on - this will reduce over summer.

Well I don't know when I will be posting next, bare with me. I will post if I am back at the weekend or if I get an opportunity and I will try my best to keep up with your blogs. Keep well, one and all.

bye for now.


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

March seed planting.

What a treat and a pleasure to be able to do my seed planting in the greenhouse and to make as much mess as I liked! The weather has been beautiful today and so, although it was a very chilly start to the day, I knew that the weather would be good. So the washing was on at 8 this morning and has subsequently dried on the line outside - after years of living in a flat in the past, I still get immense pleasure from something as simple as drying clothes outside.
At the weekend I made another greenhouse bench and a potting table, so the greenhouse is fully equipped now. I only spent £20 as I mostly had offcuts of wood left to use.

So today I have planted:

Tomatoes (Gardeners Delight and Tumblers, which have been highly recommended to me)
Verbena Bonariensis
Shasta Daisies

Definitely run out of windowsill room now, but tomorrow I am taking my seedlings that I planted a month ago to my mum to look after as I have to go to London next week (yes, it is that time of year again - sigh) for 4 weeks, so I have left the new seeds wrapped up in plastic bags to germinate. I am hoping to get home every weekend this time so keep your fingers crossed for me that this works out. I don't think I could bear a repeat of last year.

Last job of the day, I put up a little birdhouse. I don't know if any birds will use it, I hope so, but it looks really pretty anyway.

It is only 2 metres off the ground, which possibly isn't high enough, but sadly is the highest suitable place in the garden. If I have no luck I will rethink.

Monday, 4 March 2013

First flowers of the year.

Last year I made some bulb pots. The idea was to get a continuous supply of flowers from February right through to midsummer from one pot. I carefully worked out varieties to cover every season and so hopefully, seamlessly flower from one to the other. So far so good. We have had the snowdrops and have now moved into the second lot of flowers, iris. These little beauties seemingly open up in a matter of hours, one minute it will be a tight closed bud, and I will look a couple of hours later to have the whole flower revealed to me. They are so pretty.

Just one snowdrop left in that pot. The iris will be followed by (if memory serves correctly) narcissus and then there are some tulips and some alliums in there too. Truthfully, I can't fully remember everything I put in, but if it works and I end up with a continuous supply of flowers coming up, then I will be very happy and do something like this every year.

The narcissus around the base of the apple tree are all up and ready to burst forth with a stunning display soon.

And finally, my favourite clump of snowdrops, the true first flower of the year in my garden.

I love that you can put bulbs in months and months ago and almost forget about them, and then they suddenly all sprout up and say hello.

Friday, 1 March 2013

More DIYing

I couldn't believe the price of greenhouse benches/staging. They were either monstrously expensive £70+ for a 3 foot bench for the nice ones or about £20 for something so small and flimsy that it would hold only a few light plants and probably break in a second.
What do I do when faced with this? make my own of course.

This lovely 6 foot bench cost me £30 in wood and is a foot and a half deep too, suits my needs perfectly and would have probably cost me over £100 if I had bought it from somewhere.

I am rather pleased with the labours of one afternoons work and look forward to filling it with my trays of seeds etc. I will make another some time, but next project will be a larger platform for potting.