Preparations

No fancy pics today I’m afraid – the garden looks much the same and very rainy (and now dark)!

However, I have been making a few preparatory purchases and have established that my local garden centre sells play sand but no pond liners. Good to know. I have bought a second water butt (this one was much easier to get home in my house-sized Mondeo compared to the old one, which we brought home in the MX-5, sitting in the passenger seat and nearly taking off at speed!), a watering can (this one will be dedicated to watering whereas the old one was really bought for car washing purposes), some veggie plant food, some gravel for improving soil drainage and some multi-purpose compost (cheaper than potting compost coz I’m a skinflint!). Speaking of which, I declined to buy the nice plant labels as they were £30. Yes, £30! I kid you not. I have yet to determine how I will make my own but make my own I bloody will at that price!

The date for the pond digging party is dependent on Mr S’s work schedule but I’m hoping for Easter to allow us a full four days to get the turf up, hole dug, soil transferred to front and wildflower seed planted. I will probably go for Emorsgate EN1 mix as it is nectar-rich and a well thought of brand (British seed). Next door has kindly offered to lend me their wheel barrow 😀 – what would I do without them?

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2015 – a fresh start

This year I am determined to make my garden spectacular (in its own way!). Last year I achieved quite a lot and made a really good start on my gardening ‘career’ but I didn’t put in as much effort as I could have done and made plans that never materialized. This year will be different!

So what did I achieve last year?

  • Bought and installed a water butt and ‘pretend’ greenhouse (see below)
  • Planted hawthorn, pyracantha and rowan (one of each)
  • Planted and harvested lots of potatoes and peas and some lettuce (also planted rocket, which bolted, and salad leaves, which did not germinate at all)
  • Started feeding the birds
  • Started making some leaf mulch (some are just piled up to be hedgehog friendly)
  • Mr S built me a compost bin out of old fence panels (he also promised a second but never got round to it)
  • Removed 4 buddleia plants by pure hard labour!
  • I found a newt! Also lots of bulbs came up by themselves, which was nice!
Smooth newt found resting under old wood
Smooth newt found resting under old wood

Plans for this year

  • Dig a pond – as big as will fit between the whirly clothes line and the hawthorn – hopefully 3m long by about 2 wide (not rectangular!). It will only be about 0.6m deep in the deepest places as I am designing it for amphibians, not fish! I will probably plant it with locally grown native species but will decide once I have managed to fill it (may need a second water butt to even get it a quarter full!)
  • Plant a wildflower meadow – this will be in my front garden. I plan to strip off the turf and topsoil and use the subsoil from the pond hole to build up the level (it currently sits below my driveway which is annoying) and reduce nutrients. The area will then be planted with wildflowers specifically good for bees – all native of course!
  • Grow as many herbs as I have space for – these will be planted in the 8 pots I bought for veg growing last year
  • Grow a good deal more veg – I have a space about 1m wide by 2-3m long so should get a few things in!
  • Not to run out of steam and keep the veg going – some will require sequential planting if they are to be actually useful in the kitchen.

What does 2015 look like so far?

The first flower has appeared already!

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Primrose

Snowdrops are also coming through

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I have installed the grotesque my aunt bought us as a wedding present

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I have planted some herbs (in my pretend greenhouse!)

Basil, Parsley and Thyme
Basil, Parsley and Thyme

Gratuitous picture of my cat

Polly the pirate cat
Polly the pirate cat

Pretend greenhouse

Pretend greenhouse, complete with chair anchor
Pretend greenhouse, complete with chair anchor

I love my garden and it will be very satisfying to see it flourish this year. I hope the bees, amphibians and other wildlfie will be happy too! Anyone who knows me is very welcome to come and help dig the pond! I will be having a digging party in April…watch this space!