Tidying gardens in Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City, Knebworth & surrounding villages.
If you would like help in the garden, whether it's for a few hours a week, a month or more, please give me a call.
Tel: 07963 291504
Email: jane@tidygardensbyjane.co.uk


Monday, 16 November 2015

It Must Be Love...

Residents of Blighty may recall a recent episode of Countryfile where Matt Baker ooohed n' arrrrrred over a delicious, sweet tasting Redlove apple.

Well... I decided that 2 rather ugly conifers could be scarificed for something a tad tastier (alas I'm not talking about Mr Baker) and my apple tree order was placed.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce the Redlove 'Odysso' from Lubera UK, as swooned over by the equally swoon-overable Matt Baker.
Regular Tidy Garden stalkers may recall my introduction to Lubera UK earlier this year (see link here).

(Images courtesy of Lubera)

Markus Kobelt, founder of Lubera in Switzerland, bred the Redlove 'Odysso' and if you get the chance to watch any of his videos, you will see he simply ooooozes passion for his work. I love the way he promotes his plants, all footage is in a 'home-video' style, sometimes windswept, which although I'm not sure is deliberate, I find honest, refreshing with no 'faff' nonsense.  Take a look here ... you'll see what I mean. 

Markus has one simple top tip with his apple tree...DO NOTHING!
If you prune them they will just grow more and more growth means less energy into producing apples. Horizontal growth is slower than upright so if you want to grow them in an espalier fashion, then go for it.
I plan to just let it grow and do the 'do nothing' option.

The Redlove 'Odysso' is perfect for the smaller garden & can also be grown in a pot.
It has the deepest pink blossom in April / May and the fruits ripen in late September & October. You can see the apples are red inside too. I have the tree labelled as '2yr old bush in a 10L pot'. It arrived perfectly packaged and is about 4.5ft tall.
I really encourage you to watch the video links to the Redlove 'Odysso' and you'll see why I love the Lubera range. 
Honest, simple gardening passion.

I'm delighted to say that Lubera have a special offer for Tidy Gardens by Jane readers.
Get 20% off your order by entering the code tgbj-X-15-11 at the checkout.
Offer ends on the 30th November 2015 and applies to all plants at Lubera.
Happy shopping!!

Friday, 13 November 2015

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Cosmic Sassyness

 There's heaps of sassyness going on at Tidy Gardens HQ. 
Last year's Streptocarpus cuttings are rocking it in the ol' greenhouse, while outside...

... the Cosmos are continuing to give a late autumn cosmic display.
It doesn't get much better than this.
Have a groovy weekend everyone!!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Cabbages n' Kale

One word ... Blight!
Nuff said.
The veg beds have been stripped and a decision made... give up growing tomatoes. 
I've grown them successfully for years, enjoying a daily supply throughout summer, but for the past few years summer weather has been rubbish for toms, they've taken forever to ripen, there's been a glut of semi-ripe fruit in autumn followed by blight...Ugh!!!

So let's not mention the 'T' word again...ay?
This autumn I'm going to have a go at growing cabbages in the greenhouse, but eating them as greens. The variety I've bought is 'Spring Duchy', which can be eaten earlier as greens or left to develop longer into hearty cabbages. I got a pack of 9 plantlets for £3.99 from Wyevale.

It's still too warm in the ol' greenhouse during the day so I've planted 3 plants into each of these veg' growing bags (reduced last week in The Range from £3.99 to £1.99 for 2) and will leave them growing outside for a while longer. I've put them up on this bench so hopefully the pigeons & slugs won't see them.

I'll eventually move them into the greenhouse and leave them them to grow on in these bags.
 I'm super excited about this experiment.

Something else I've not grown before is Kale.
This is a mixed variety 'starter pack', again from Wyevale, they were £5.99 for 20 plants (4 x 5 varieties).

Excuse the mud.
These have gone straight into one of the raised veg beds that has been beefed up with some fresh compost, well rotted manure and a sprinkle of fertiliser.

My anti'-kitty/pigeon sticks in place, job done.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Posing Penstemons

An uber-quick post from moi today. I'm super busy but I wanted to share some images of the fabulous Penstemons doing their 'thang' in the Tidy Garden at the mo'.
This is a picture heavy post & I apologise that I don't have the names of all the varieties but enjoy anyway.

Strawberries & Cream

Amelia Jane ?

Before I go, I thought I'd also share my method for propogating these beauties. I've tried the method of taking cuttings and popping into compost but I've had greater success simply taking a cutting and popping it into water. I find they root far quicker, the roots are stronger and almost every cutting 'takes'. I reckon my success rate is 90% with this method, compared to 50% popping them into compost first.

These are just a 'few' (cough!) of my 1yr old cuttings.
Why not give it a go... it's dead easy!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Streptocarpus Propogating Update

Regular stalkers may recall my earlier post here where I attempted to propogate Streptocarpus plants.
I'd used the method of slicing 1 leaf into 1 inch chunks, popping the cutting into soil, watering, covering and praying.

Fast-forward 1 year and here they are in all their flowering glory.

I love love love propogating but it comes at a price.....

...our humble abode only has so many window sills so this lot lives in the greenhouse, in a slightly shaded spot, waiting to be adopted.

The only 'problem' (and it is a teeny one) is watering them. They hate being overwatered and will reward you for this sin by dying. They do droop when they're too dry but quickly perk up when watered but don't give them too much.

As I'm banned from further Strepto' propogating I'm now having a go at Succulents. Here's a sneaky peek...

Happy gardening....and propogating!!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Small Scale Veg Growing



Earlier in the year, the lovely folk at Suttons sent me a heap of veg seeds to trial.
These included a pack of spring collection Seed Tapes which look like thin strips of loo roll, with seeds impregnated in the ‘tissuey’ fabric at regular intervals. (There is a winter collection too)


You get 10 veg strips per pack which have to be gently torn apart to get to the veg seed strip you wish to plant.
For goodness sake, do not….I repeat…DO NOT ‘sow’ your seed strips on a windy day. Unless you want your garden to look like a scene from an Andrex disaster movie, might I suggest sowing on a ‘waftless’ day. Remember, I do these experiments so you don’t have to.


These are our ‘Square Foot Gardening’ beds which had been topped up with fresh compost. It’s quite simple, make a shallow drill (don’t breathe out), lay the thin tissue strip in to the hole (do not exhale), quickly, before a gnat wafts by, cover the strips, label, water, stand back and BREATHE!!


The photo above was taken earlier in the year and you can see my beetroot, carrots & lettuce lines had sprouted. I didn’t sow everything in the pack.


These photos were taken this morning.
The lettuce has been eaten, the carrots & some beetroot given away. I have a feeling Master TG pinched all the spring onions. These strips were an excellent idea, no thinning, no judging sowing distances, just cover, water, smile at occasionally & wait.
Easy veg growing!


This is the same bed, which later in the year I added my own sweetcorn & tomato seedlings to. After last years sweetcorn disaster where I forgot to shake the pollen, I made sure that I gave them a damn good shaking & finger wagging…result…


…big, fat, juicy cobs.


Meanwhile, in the other bed, my main tomato crop is firming up nicely but not reddening up quick enough for my liking…Grrr.


I am a sucker for a weak seedling, if a seed has taken the trouble to grow but there are trillions of them then I’m afraid I have to give them a chance. So these black troughs running alongside the greenhouse are the ‘thinnings’ that survived.


The strawberries were a great success this year. These are just grown in troughs alongside the raised beds.
So there you have it.
Don’t forget, apart from the troughs, ALL of my veg is growing in 2 SMALL raised beds that measure just under 1m x 1.5m. You really can do soooooo much in a tiny space.


This photo was also taken this morning after a downpour which we needed, so thank you Mother Nature.
Have a fab weekend everyone!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Tigers in the Tidy Garden

After growing these in a client's garden last year I promised myself I'd get my mitts on some of these Tigridia Pavonia flowers (AKA Tiger flowers) for the Tidy Garden.

Well you could have knocked me down with a lettuce leaf and called me Vera when I found them for sale back in March at our local Range store at £1.99 for 7 bulbs, PLUS they were in one of their BOGOF offers, so another 7 for nowt!

 I popped all 14 bulbs in a medium sized pot (about 12-14" across), that way I can bring them in over winter when they'll need a bit of protection from the cold & potential winter wet.

It behaves exactly the same as a day lily with several buds per stem.It doesn't matter that they only seem to flower one at a time, nor does it matter that each bloom lasts just one day.
They're big, bold, brassy and beautiful AND totally worth it.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Helenium Gorgeousness

Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'

Just a quickie from me today as I intend just sitting back and enjoying the Tidy Garden.
Have a great weekend everyone!

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