My big garden makeover (Part 2)

This is the second installment of my garden makeover and I’ve got some exciting new to share.  I now have a delivery date for my extravagant greenhouse purchase which has blown most of my garden budget…. end of May , a couple of weeks earlier than expected.  I just could not resist this greenhouse it as it ticked all my greenhouse requirements.  Firstly, it’s half-timbered so it will hide all my greenhouse mess, bags of compost, pots etc and secondly it has space for me to sit so it kinda doubles up as a summer house and gives me protection from the ever blowing Buxton breeze. This is a snap-shot from the brochure, but you get the idea. If you want more details just leave me a comment.


Anyway enough of the greenhouse for now.  I’ll let you know how the assembly goes, it can’t be that hard can it??

So if you’ve read Part 1 of the garden makeover you might be asking how the garden has been coming along.  Well in this post I would like to share a few pictures of the two new planting boarders I’ve created on either side of theFrench doors leading from the living room into the garden.


We’ve dug up the paving, which is to be recycled to another part of the garden and re-used our existing plants.



The plants and the boarder rocks are all from the rockery part of the garden, which as you know is being totally re-vamped.  When planted altogether the plants look so much better than when they were dispersed across the rockery.  Our soil is clay, clay, clay and what soil there was had been under the paving for many a year so before planting we added a lot of soil conditioner and drainage especially next to the wall of the house.

Even though the boarders are not finished, as I need to add pebbles to the gaps in the paving we are already getting the pleasure of seeing the plants from inside the living room. Especially the bamboo which blows across the door in the breeze.


Next I will share with you the progress we are making with the rockery especially the creation of a new seating area with the recycled paving and artificial grass brought all the way from Amman by my daughter, which has been living in our garden shed. I’m currently on the hunt for a couple of outdoor sofas!

What do you think so far? Keep following as more to come. This is definitely work in progress.


My recent trip to North Wales

Just after Easter I organised a small family get together with the grown-up children and their partners to celebrate Mr Husband’s sixtieth birthday. Yes the big 6O and he is still able to dig holes! (something yet to come on the blog, so stay tuned). I picked Conwy in North Wales, UK as I’d been to Conwy before so knew there would be more than enough to keep everyone occupied for a weekend regardless of the quality of the weather over-which I have no control. If you’ve never been to North Wales then I recommend you give it an explore as the combined scenery of the coastline against backdrop of the mountains of Snowdonia National Park is stunning.

So what did we do to keep us occupied? That’s apart from eating and drinking, which I won’t go into.

Bodnant Gardens

On the way to Conwy we took a short detour and called into Bodnant Garden, managed by the National Trust. It was a damp and foggy day, so the pictures aren’t great, but the gardens at Bodnant still looked spectacular with its impressive collection of trees lining the valley with the water running through from the lake down to the old mill. The daffodils where just finishing but there were plenty of other plants budding and sprouting.

In addition to the garden there is an excellent adjoining craft and garden centre so you can have a bit of retail therapy. Both the plants selection and local Welsh crafts are very extremely tempting, jewellery, pottery, paintings, textiles… I could go on. Did I buy anything, well yes I did.

Conwy Harbour

Conwy harbour is small and gently paced estuary harbour where you can just sit and watch the world go by, which is exactly what I did. Conwy River estuary tidal so when the tide is out the river bed is exposed, making the view ever changing throughout the day. There’s a tour boat running trips up and down the Conwy estuary and a few fishing boats bring their catch to the harbour-side fish stall.

conwy harbour 2


Conwy Castle

Now as I’d mentioned I had been to Conwy before, in fact for a whole week. But I’ve never been to the Castle, so decided it was time to pay it a visit. The Castle wall surrounds the town and you can walk, for no cost at all, almost all the way around the town giving you a birds-eye I view of Conwy. But it’s also worth while handing over your money to go in the Conwy Castle ruin itself and climbing up even more towers to get that extra view. Conwy Castle is managed by Cadw and we got the joint ticket which for a little extra gave entrance to the Elizabethan Plas Mawr.

conwy harbour

Plas Mawr

For me this was the surprise of the trip as I on my previous visit must have walked past Plas Mawr many a time as it stands proudly next the butchers on the high street, however I’d never noticed it. Too busy gazing into the butcher’s shop I think. Plas Mawr is a little gem and with the audio tour to our ears we were able to wander freely around the many rooms and into the tranquil court yard.

I hope that gives you a snap-shot of what you might see in Conwy and I haven’t mentioned the other building you can visit in the small town including Aberconwy House the medieval merchant’s house and the Thomas Telford suspension and bridge and toll house. Oh and there’s the walking opportunities around the surrounding area. Why not give it a try. I certainly intend to explore North Wales a little more over the summer.

Coming up next (I think) my garden makeover – the digging has begun!

Two mini DIY garden projects

It’s been a bit of a wet and dull summer this year, but no excuse I did manage to get out in the garden and undertake two mini DIY projects.  Nothing grand but I thought I’d share.

Adding some colour to the wall

The first was adding a bit of interest to an outside wall that needed some repair. Every year we give it a bit of a white-wash to brighten up a dark corner, but this year I also needed to patch up some holes where the cement grouting had fallen off. An opportunity to sprinkle in some design I thought.  I found some glass beads in a drawer, which I’d had for absolute ages so thought I would put them to better use.

My plan was to incorporate the glass beads into the cement I was going to patch with.  This is how it turned out.  Pictures sometimes say far more than words so here we go.

The glass beads… of the holes…..the cement.

First I applied the cement and then I poked in the beads.  Had to use my fingers…. I know, I know you should not use your fingers, cement is not nice stuff.  I washed quickly afterwards.

DIY garden wall project with glass beads on the blog

Once the cement was nearly dry I just cleaned off the surplus with a cloth.

DIY garden wall project with glass beads on the blog

Then when it was completely dry I painted. I painted over the beads too as the paint easily wiped / picked off when the paint had dried.

And here is the finished product – look carefully you can see a few of the other holes I filled.

DIY garden wall project with glass beads on the blog

What do you think, was this a good use of old beads?

Adding some interest to a garden planter

Now the second project.  This was really a correction to a project from last year when we (yes Mr Husband did most of the building and correcting here) built some garden planters to use as wind screens by giving them perspex panels.  However, in reality when the wind got very blustery, which was frequently the case the planters just blew over.  What a mess.  So this year we took out the perspex but I wanted to a something instead to catch the eye and provide a subtle visual screen. This needed to be very inexpensive as I’d already spent too much money on perspex!! I used string and beads…so total additional cost £3.  Here are the pics to take you on my journey.

Firstly how the planter looked with the perspex.  They looked fine but just acted like sails in the wind.

And this is the string and metal beads plus the eyelets I needed to add to the wooden uprights so I could thread the string through.

And this is the finished look.  My mother thought it looked like beads of rain on the string…which is just what I was trying to achieve (yeah).

DIY wooden garden trough project with blog

My plan for next year is to get some plant growing up the string….. let’s see how that goes.  What do you think?  I may try adding some other things to the strings to give it an Autumnal or Halloween look.

Hope these two mini projects give you some ideas, it’s great working on a simply project in the sunshine.

What’s going on in the garden in May

Thought I would start a little garden diary, giving you a glimpse of what’s happening in my garden.  As I’ve mentioned before I live in the ground floor / basement flat of an old Victorian Villa in Buxton UK.  Even though the bedrooms are underground, the living room opens out into a small private garden, just for us … and the neighbours for a cheeky glass of wine when the sun shines.  I think of it as another room in the home. The whole house is surrounded by a communal garden area, which we all share and maintain; it’s quite special but there’s always a a lot to do.

Today I’ve just got some pics from my piece of garden.  It’s a paved area with a large sloping rockery.  In the 3 years we’ve been here we’ve tried to add a little more variety of plants and take out some of those that had taken over – LADIES MANTLE !!

At the moment the daffodils and tulips have faded but the flowering perennials are springing back into life, as are the grasses.  It continues to be a bit of trial and error so far, seeing what will grow in the colder and wet climate of Buxton, but I like a challenge. Take a look at some of the pictures I’ve taken in the last few days.

These are looking particularly colourful at the moment. Top left Primula japonica ‘Millers Crimson’, on the side Euphorbia Griffithii and bottom left a Geum. I’m pretty pleased with these as they were all planted last summer and have survived!

winter bedding

I planted up these planters in November and the cyclamen are still flowering.  I’m going to move them soon to the fern section in the garden. The little evergreen shrubs I will continue to grow in the protected environment of the planters until they are a little larger to cope with the Buxton soil and climate.

I love taking cuttings and splitting plants (plants for free) and these are ones I did last year, waiting to be grown on a bit more before planting out.  By the way Mr Husband made the planters and the steps last year and they have survived the winter too 😊. May garden

This is the bigger picture of our rocky slope, it’s filling out with green but needs more colour.  I’ve just planted my Sweet Peas under my stick tower – I have grown them over winter and there is one flower about to open. Usually I don’t have much luck with Sweet Peas, so fingers crossed.

garden seedlings

I’ve got a tiny cold frame to keep all things little in, you know the ones needing a bit of extra protection over winter.  This year it was little lavenders I’d grown from seed in the summer, which are now bushy and living outside.  In the frame at the moment are 3 varieties of Calendula and 3 varieties of kale, which we’re going to plant amongst the flower beds. You can also see my shadow – I’m such an amateur 🙄.

A finally, let me introduce you to the garden cat.  He’s not mine (is it a he?), but always runs into the garden when we open the door and then follow you until he gets a tickle. We call him Cat, my neighbour calls him Snuffles.

garden cat

I hope to blog about the garden on a regular basis so you can see how it develops.  Next time I’ll show you the pond area…….. it’s a bit of a mess 😊