Sunday, 8 August 2010

Emma, Emma, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

{Photo Heavy Post}

With Silver Bells
And Cockle Shells
And Pretty Maids All In A Row

I love having my own garden. Although I enjoyed the one in the house we rented, as it wasn't mine I never felt like I wanted to invest a lot of time or money making any drastic changes.

The garden we have now is pretty standard. A rectangle with grass in the middle and straight borders around the edge. Although it does also have a really cool bit that sticks out at the bottom that currently houses my greenhouse and very shortly will also be home to my chickens! But more about that in another post...

I knew straight away that one of the main things I wanted to achieve in my garden was something that was attractive to wildlife. It also needed to be pretty, but as a general rule those two things tend to go hand in hand!

So in my first few trips to the garden centres with the intention of buying plants I've been looking for plants with three main characteristics...
  1. Attractive to wildlife... ok so that's pretty much a given isn't it!
  2. Pretty hardy (I live in the north of England and to be honest can't be bothered with the hassle of moving things/fleecing them for the frosts)
  3. Minimum maintenance. Ok so I don't mind some pruning etc but the last thing I want is a plant that needs an awful lot of input from me once it's planted. I just don't have the time!

And so far it seems to be working. Everything that's flowered so far has attracted plenty of wildlife. This ornamental German Garlic is currently in full bloom and as you can see is much loved by all manner of insects.

I can't remember the name of this one, but yet another plant that is well loved by wildlife, especially the butterflies!

However, as I don't have endless money to spend at the garden centres I've been doing what I can to get plants in other ways. Mark's Mum Yvonne has been brilliant in supplying me with many different plants from her lovely garden. Yvonne loves growing and propergating plants (and is a lovely knowledgeable companion for a walk round a garden centre - great for a novice like me!).

I've also been taking cuttings where I can. These cuttings of a Buddleia taken from my Mum's garden several weeks ago are really starting to thrive and I potted them on into bigger pots at the weekend and was pleased to see they've developed a really healthy root system.

I also took some new cuttings from my own garden at the weekend. My lavender plants that I bought a few months ago have really taken off with loads of new growth so I took a few cuttings with the hope of having lots of lovely lavender plants to put in my garden next year. They are still relatively small (and new) and so I took six cuttings in total (two from each of my three current plants).
As well as cuttings, I also have started sowing seeds in preperation for next year. As I really do hope to fill my garden with lavender (I'm hoping to plant a lavender hedge in the front garden!) I've also sowed some lavender seeds in the seed tray at the front of this photo. Lets hope next time I show you this seed tray it's full of lots of lovely lavender seedlings!

The seed tray at the back of the photo has also been sown, this time with lupin seeds! I love lupins... but so do the slugs and snails so I'm hoping to plant plenty next year in the hope atleast some will survive! Continuing on from the theme of obtaining things for free from other people's gardens these seeds where collected as seed pods from my Mum's garden a few weeks ago!

I'm also loving having a greenhouse in the new garden, a luxury I've never had before. Not only is this brilliant for my cuttings and seeds (meaning I can get a headstart for next year) but I'm also having lots of success with my vegetables.

My two peppers plants (I did have three but I gave one away to my boss at work) are doing well and are covered in lots of chilli peppers. Think I'll look at ways of preserving these as we'll never use them all fresh!

My cucumbers have also been a real success... we've already had several HUGE cucumbers off them already and currently have loads of cucumbers growing on them in varying stages of growth.

But the real star of the show is the tomatoes. We grew tomatoes with varying degrees of success last year... but this year they are fantastic. I've got five plants in total and they are doing amazingly well.

These three were given to me by a neighbour of Mark's Mum & Dad who had grown loads from seed and didn't know what to do with them all! They are a medium sized tomato (bigger than they look in the photo - about 2 inches in diameter) and are really juicy and sweet.

I also bought two different types of vine tomatoes as I love love love cherry tomatoes and buy them every week when we go shopping. It's lovely to not have to at the moment!

One plant produces typical vines of beautiful super sweet cherry tomatoes. They really are delicious!

The other one still produces cherry tomatoes, but in more of a bunch. Infact I think they almost look like a bunch of grapes!

If you're still with me after that marathon post well done! I'm loving my new found passion for gardening (even if Mark does laugh at me for buying gardening magazines and the fact I've put Gardener's World on series link!). However, as I'm sure you can imagine my garden combined with all the work on the actual house is taking up a huge amount of my time!

Oh and I promise the next post will be craft related, including a catch up with how I got on with my list last week.


Rachel said...

wow great work, arent MIL great for garden help xx

Jenny said...

Gorgeous pictures, your garden is really coming on x x

Claireliz said...

your toms are looking tasty Emma. I know what you mean about north of England weather, most of our garden grows in big pots for really easy maintainence, the twisted hazel tree grows well (& looks wicked when its shed its leaves, all twisty & spooky) & My Japanese Acer loves the sun & rain but I have to push it around the garden in winter as it hates the wind. keep up the good growing :D

yvonne said...

I have always said that there are natural gardeners and you are one! You took to it like a duck to water and I like following your gardening part of the blog as much as the scrapbooking so keep it up. I just love the wildlife shots you really do need these plants if you want to encourage wildlife ,,,no doubt about it.

Micayla said...

Hello you,
It has been a while and I am so happy to see you posting again. I have been taking a little blogging break and was so happy to see you had posted.
The garden is looking fantastic girl, my tomatoes will just not ripen and it seems like it is area hoo rain and such!
The house seems to be coming on too, I cannot wait to see more photos.
Anyway must dash, Emily is due to wake from her nap anytime and I have stuff to finish.
Speak soon xxx