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.

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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.

Before

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

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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.

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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.

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My big garden makeover (Part 1)

 

This is going to be a series of short posts for you can track the progress of my garden makeover as it happens or thereabouts.  I hope you enjoy them.

I’ve decided that after 4 years in the flat it is time to take control and give the garden a major re-vamp now we kinda understand where the sun shines and the wind blows. Over these few years I’ve managed to collect a few plants but even those that have grown fail to get the garden working for us. The garden is currently divided fairly equally between a large rockery with lots of huge rocks but with only a shallow soil covering between, and a paved area.  This means, there is what seems like a vast area of grey paving right outside the French doors.

I have a plan in mind and a budget (not a big one) and most of the budget has already been blown ……… on a greenhouse!  Needless to say we will be recycling materials all the way including plants (of course) and paving.  I do plan to spend some money on some gravel/pebbles and more plants and if there is anything left a bit of garden furniture.

You can see a few pictures of what my garden looked like around this time last year  if you visit this previous blog post , although the weather had been very much kinder. In the summer the garden looks OK as I can add flowers and colour with annuals and pots but in the winter, which here in Buxton last at least 6 months the garden looks baron and grey.  My intention is to use more evergreen planting with contrasting foliage and colours to add the interest all year round, and to bring the plants closer to the living room.

This is a picture of the rockery part of the garden from last May

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And this is the view from our living room through the French doors.

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So you can get your bearings, below is an aerial view of the garden taken by our ever obliging neighbour on the 3rd floor

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The monster rockery is to the left, and as you can see at this time of year it doesn’t look as good as when everything has started to bloom. The bottom edge of the photo is where the French doors from the living room are and on the right-hand-side we have already taken up a few paving slabs and stated to create a new planting boarder closer to the house.  The wooden frame at the end of the garden maps out the shape of the new greenhouse and roughly where it is going to sit (we have already changed our minds).

Always good to have a plan – mine is mostly in my head. I have a made a rough sketch but  I am no artist.  There has already been a lot of boulder moving, soil shifting and digging by Mr Husband and his faithful helper – that’s me. As we are doing all the work ourselves in the evenings and on weekends it’s going to take a bit of time. However we have a deadline of the 4th June when the greenhouse arrives.  I will reveal which greenhouse I’ve bought soon, I think you will like it.

Next time I’ll show you how the boarders are coming along.

How to find the perfect brass planter on a budget

You might remember a few weeks ago I decided to go with the trend and get some houseplants.  You can read all about it on my previous house plant blog. You may also recall my next mission was to find some fabulous planters, which I had great fun doing. I was looking for treasure…. gold maybe?  No, I was looking brass, the gold colour without the expense. Oh did I mention I was on a budget.

I was taking a trip to the Lake District UK for a bit of hill walking (I’ll show you the pictures in a later blog) and on the way decided to stop over in Lancaster. Noticed there was a big antique centre just on the outskirts of town so thought it would be worth popping in for a browse.  I love poking around an antique centre, this apparently is one of the largest indoor centres in the UK, GB Antiques Centre .  Great place to visit, a really huge place.  We had to do some hunting (yes Mr Husband was there too), but found an old brass planter, which was v large and only £15.  It’s got a dink or two but only minor.

umbrella plant in brass planter

A few weeks then passed and I found myself one Sunday in the border town of Leominster, with only antique shops.  Hiding away on the 3rd floor of such a place I found this brass jardiniere, it weighs 5kg but cost only £25! Snapped it up. Luckily Mr Husband was on hand to carry it back to the car.  It polished up a treat and is the perfect vessel for my crazy spider plant.  It also doubles up perfectly as a champagne chiller! It’s a beauty.

spider plant and brass jardiniere

 

Decided that was probably enough brass for now so turned my attention to this elegant Sylvac planter circa 1940’s I think, but I really don’t know. It’s in perfect condition and was only £4 for a local Buxton fair. Now I will be perfectly honest with you, this planter is a little too small as the plastic pot peeps out the top, you can spot it hiding under the leaves.

gardenia and sylvac

I still needed to find another planter as I’d bought a new little palm.  This pottery planter was just the ticket and found in a local Buxton charity shop for less than £1… Plain white with a geometric pattern, it will be very flexible around the house for years to come.

palm in white planter

 

Here’s the whole collection, as you can see I’m still managing to keep the houseplants alive.  I love reusing old things rather than buying new…. saving the planet and all that. But I’m always mindful the house doesn’t start looking like a museum, blending the old with the new works for me. What do you think of my choice of planters?

group of house plants

3 Indoor plants to try in your home

Indoor plants or house plants, call them what you want they are very on trend.  In my younger days, my house was full of plants, they were on every window sill and spare gap on the table.  It was a more of a gardening extension rather than a design thing. However, as life went on the house plants disappeared, I think a lot to do with taking holidays and at one point we were living in a fairly dark house.  However, now it’s time for them to return and bring life and air purifying properties to my home!

So, I recently ventured to a local garden centre to see what they had as I’d remembered they had an unusually large selection of indoor plants.  I picked three, I thought I’d start small and as I’m always looking to get something for free was looking for plants large enough to divide and make more plants.  These are the plants I finally chose.

Easy care Indoor house plants

Let’s take a look at them one by one considering their needs for light and water as these seem to be the key things to keep them alive and looking healthy.  A dying plant is not a good look, trust me I’ve done that experiment.

Schefflera Arboricola dwarf umbrella tree indoor house plantThis elegant plant is a Schefflera Arboricola or to give its common name (and we all like a common names) Dwarf Umbrella Tree

Water: Wait until the soil in the plant dries out and then thoroughly soak.  I would stand it in a few inches of water (maybe in the sink) and let it suck up as much water as it wants. Yellow leave falling off is a sign you are watering it too much.

Light: It likes light but not direct sunlight.  Not enough light and it gets leggy, too much light and the leaves will burn.

 

 

Gardenia indoor house plant

 

Next we have a glossy Gardenia.  Now reading about these they appear a little fussier.

Water: They like a consistently damp but not soggy soil, they also like high humidity so give it the occasional misting.

Light: These also like bright but not direct sunlight, and as me they like it on the warm side, which might be challenge in my flat.

So, this little chap is already sounding challenging, but I’m going to persevere as it will have vivid white flowers and produces a gorgeous fragrance.  Since getting this plant my living room has been smelling delightful despite the plant only having one flower.

Spider plant

A finally this beauty is a Spider Plant, a house plant favourite. Apparently these are one of the easiest house plants to care for, so I had better keep this one alive. As you can see mine already has many little spiderettes, which I’ve already potted to make new plants.

Water: Not too much watering, they don’t like it soggy. They like to dry out between watering.

Light: Again, bright but not direct sunlight but they do like it a bit cooler.

Now I know how to grow these plants 🤞 there are still a couple of things I need to decide. Firstly, I need to choose some planters.  At the moment, the pots are on plastic trays to stop water and soil leaking over the furniture.   I need to think about how the planter sits against the decor where the plant will live.

And that brings me on to the second thing I need to decide, where to put them.  I’ve been moving them around constantly.  I think they will all sit in the living room, but when I get the spiderette plants growing I’m going to have them hanging in the kitchen.

I hope my ramblings have inspired you to get a few house plants and you’ll can join me on the ‘journey’ of keeping them alive.  I will update you in a few weeks when I’ve select planters. A blog post consisting of dead plants is not attractive so I need to get my green fingers out 🌱🌱🌱

Plant selection

 

My first time visit to the Ideal Home Show 2017

Just thought I would write something small about my recent visit to the Ideal Home Show 2017, Olympia London, as this was the first time I’d ever been to an interiors event.  It’s only now I’ve started blogging I feel the need to attend these things, and this seemed like a toe in the water dip event where I could just mooch about.  It also gave me an excuse to go down to London for the weekend (great beer and curry at the Warwick Arms), although it was a busy few days of mainly sitting on the train.

Anyway back to the point, what did I think of the Show?  Well they have obviously done this before 🙄, minimal queuing and plenty to see, eat and drink. There was a big food event going on at the same time, which the ticket also gave access to, so if you’re a foodie too there’s even more to look at, the aromas were heavenly.

The Show itself was a bit like going around a very big department store, with unlimited spending opportunities, including furniture and gadgets.  There were numerous celebrities on small stages around the venue giving their take on various aspects of food and design plus providing demonstrations, these were a welcome opportunity to have a sit down.

So was it worth it?  It was a good day out, and as my advance ticket was only £15 not expensive for an all day event.  It was also the first time I’d been to Olympia, which is an impressive building flooded with natural light. So worth a visit if you’ve not been before especially if you don’t have far to travel or have just moved into a new place and looking for interior ideas, as it’s all in one place.

I will be exploring other events and of course sharing them with you. Next weekend I’m off to the Cheltenham Wine Festival for a family meet up – not entirely clear what design inspiration I will get but I’m sure I’ll find something amongst the bottles.

In the meantime here are some of my pics from the Show.

This garden pod  from Ornate Garden was one of my favourite things at the show, I could see this sitting very neatly in my garden (if I could afford it – maybe Mr husband could build one?). You can see more about my thoughts on garden furniture on a previous blog
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I liked the lighting from this exhibitor Culinary Concepts London, a refined industrial look

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And there were a number of well laid out simple garden design ideas.

As I said the venue is a great space and worth a look in itself

So if you’ve got some spare time the Show runs until April 9th 😍