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

Friday, 19 December 2014

Merry Christmas & Thank You!

 

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Another gardening year has drawn to a close, time to put the wellies, fork & trowel away & time to dust off the baubles & festive wreath.

Time also to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been involved with Tidy Gardens this year, clients (old & new), my wonderful husband & fabulous offspring.

Merry Christmas
&
Happy New Year

See you next year.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

More Carnivorous Beauties

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Nepenthes

Let me introduce you to the latest additions to our greenhouse carnivorous collection.
Regular stalkers may recall my
earlier post when ol’ Monty featured some on GW and got me hooked!
This is a Nepenthes, just a baby at the moment, but already it’s developing some handsome critter-luring pitchers at the end of each leaf
.

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It entices its prey in with its nectar odour and, unable to hold onto the interior walls of the pitcher, the bug falls into the pool of water at the bottom, its wriggling sets off the plants digestive acid release and…well…that’s it…..

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Trumpet Pitcher

This is my original that I’ve now split it in 2.


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Same grisly ending as before, farewell evil bluebottle fly…..

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Venus Fly Trap

I’ve always wanted one of these but the poor things are normally on their last legs in the garden centres where they’ve been poked & prodded day in & day out with no sign of a real meal.

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There was a fresh batch in the day I finally bought one.
No artificial poking from me…just a regular supply of unwanted greenhouse visitors to stop its plant-like tummy from rumbling.

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A fresh lot of plantlets from my original sticky Sundew and they’re so quick to flower.

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Such a dainty flower for such a murderous plant.

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Parrot Pitcher

Now this one’s rather bizarre.

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It’s like a mass of laid-back snakes heads.

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You might just be able to see the small hole where the leaf furls upwards. Apparently it’s normally found in flood prone areas in the hope of a passing fish or tadpole deciding to investigate the hole a tad closer.

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Fascinating aren’t they?

Monday, 24 November 2014

Brrrrrrrrrrr…….

 
Baby, It’s cold outside.

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As if there was any doubt…

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…. the greenhouse IS a thing of beauty.

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Saturday, 15 November 2014

Still Bloomin’….

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Christmas is coming. Woop! Woop!
Less than 40 days to go….repeat Woops!
Indoors, Christmas prezzies are wrapped, cards made, written & enveloped (I know…organised sad!)

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Outdoors, the Tidy Garden is still squeezing out a few final blooms.

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Some plants, like this penstemon, have decided to save their best until last.

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The garden is ready for winter…

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… & so am I.

 

Friday, 31 October 2014

End-of-Season Temptresses


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Helenium Mardi Gras

Whilst hunting for grass seed for a client, these 2 beauties ‘fell’ into my shopping basket.
The fact that they were an end-of-season BOGOF offer is irrelevant and quite how, at 3ft tall’, I didn’t notice their presence in my basket until I was through the checkout is still a mystery.

 
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Thankfully they sit nicely in a gap that had ‘appeared’ in the Tidy Garden…Phew!
What a stroke of luck!

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The other is Helenium Moerheim Beauty with its rich, rusty tones.
Thank goodness these 2 look great together.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Greenhouse Update

 

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The ol’ greenhouse is almost a year old.
It’s the best thing I’ve ever bought & I still get an enormous buzz every time I slide its squeaky door open & enter the warm micro-climate.
If I’ve tweaked its layout once, then I’ve tweaked it a thousand times and each time I wonder why I didn’t think of that layout before.
I won’t say I’ve got it 100% right now, as that would be dull…change is good.

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Lessons are being learnt all the time.
Firstly I grew too much, not just in volume but in variety.
The garden became a nursery of pots EVERYWHERE!!
Seeds here, seedlings there, cuttings over yonder (you get the idea)
I overdid it, got myself in a bit of a tizz & for a nano-second wondered what the heck I was doing & trying to achieve.

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But you live n’ learn, pour a few glasses of the ol’ vino, get someone to give you a slap with a damp kipper (in this case Mr TG) and then take stock…. or in this case sell it off / give it away.
So here we are today, final revamp for this year completed.
The staging to the left now has a raised shelf (bricks & spare planks of wood) to hold my display of pelargoniums. Bowls lie in wait for sowing winter salad leaves.
Shelving to the right currently holds my streptocarpus cuttings (that’s another story) & a selection of experimental seeds from around the world (again, another story).
The end of the greenhouse holds my expanding display of carnivorous plants (yet another story to follow).

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‘She’ is a thing of beauty…sigh….

Monday, 20 October 2014

Mega-Gorgeousness Alert

 

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Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

This is the flower of the tigridia pavonia (Tiger flower).
Available in an array of lush, bright colours, the tiger flower (a member of the iris family)starts its life off as a small spring-planted bulb that bursts into life late summer. The flower heads are huge, this one was about 4-5” across. The flowers only last a day but, just like a daylily, you get several buds at the end of each stem so a succession of uber-fabness.

These have been grown in a clients garden in pots, they’re quite tender so the bulbs will be lifted once the leaves have yellowed & stored somewhere snug during the coldwinter months.

I personally will be buying lorry-loads of these for the Tidy Garden next year as they’re stunning.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Special Offers

 

It would be wrong of me not to share these offers that I’ve found with you. They’re via Gardener’s World mag’, so you may have already seen them…but…just in case…

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50 Mixed Wallflowers, just pay the postage of £5.95. Enter the code GX14OCT at the checkout.
Here’s the link….

http://www.woolmans.com/Home_3/GX14OCT/Wallflower_Mixed_50.html?whence=

 

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200 bulbs (50 of each), again just pay the postage of £5.65.
Mine have arrived already…. Eeek!
Here’s the link…

http://www.simplyseedsandplants.co.uk/ssgww2?ClearPv=1&utm_source=BulbsOctober&utm_medium=online&utm_campaign=Bulbs_October_SimplySeeds_200bulbs_October_2014

Enjoy & Happy Planting!!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Harvest Time

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Harvest time in the Tidy Garden.
This is our second year using the Square Foot Gardening method & a selection of pots to grow our veg but I confess that I haven’t tended the patch as diligently as I would have liked….something that I will correct next year.

corn

Let’s quickly skip by the sweetcorn… the heat, humidity & stillness of summer went to my head & I forgot to give Mother Nature a hand by tapping the tassels. Result was poor quality, 2 inch long short cobs.

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Regular stalkers may recall the black tomato ‘Indigo Rose’ that the good folk at Suttons asked me to trial back in April.
They are ‘naturally cross-bred from native tomatoes found in the Galapagos & Peru & come grafted onto vigorous rootstock to give strong plants & high yield.
They’re naturally resistant to early blight and have high levels of lycopene and anthocyanins found in so-called ‘super foods’.

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According to Suttons they ’should take about 93 days from planting for the fruit to be fully ripe. They start out green before sunlight turns them black. At this stage they will be as hard as bullets. As they ripen the fruits will soften and start turning red, from the bottom up. At this stage they are ready for picking however the longer you leave them then the sweeter they will taste. When they are fully ripe the skin beneath the calyx will be red but they can certainly be eaten before this final stage’.

black tom

Well here we are 6 months on. Yes…there’s an amazingly high yield but I almost lost the will to live waiting for them to ripen.
These were all picked today, most still have green bottoms so will have to be ripened indoors.
As for the taste, sorry Suttons, they were quite bland.
So disappointing after all this time.

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Meanwhile, carrots, cucumbers , broad beans & strawberries have been a huge success…Yay!

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Happy Harvesting! 

 

 

 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Farewell Summer of 2014

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Buddleia ‘Buzz’

2014 has officially been the fastest year ever!
Night thieves are stealing time, somewhere between my head hitting the pillow at the end of another busy day and Mr TG’s damned alarm going off.

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This buddleia ‘buzz’ is actually the pinkish version but the camera & all photo editing suites seem incapable of correcting the colour, so you’ll just have to imagine it.

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A year in the Tidy garden wouldn’t be complete without a revamp of one of the beds.
This year it was the turn of the
Dry Bed (not so dry now). The magnolia was dramatically reduced in all directions & already, since the photo above was taken, has sprouted fresh foliage in all the right places & produced a few new flowers. The bulk of this bed was taken up by a choisia that had reached the pathway, a vicious conifer & several ropey perennials.

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A bit of soil TLC, a trip to my favourite plant supplier plus a few home-grown beauties et voila…the beginning of our latest ‘Critter Bed’.

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Although in its infancy, I’m so pleased with this bed….

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…. and I can’t wait until next year.

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This is the Sunny Bed which, after its re-vamp last year into a critter haven, has been spectacular. The greenhouse has provided much needed protection from the sun on the hottest of days, without creating shade. This is the look I’m hoping to enjoy in the Dry Bed next year.

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Despite the huge array of plants, this is such an easy bed to care for, as is all of the Tidy Garden. Just about everything involves either a spot of dead-heading or an annual cut down. It really isn’t hard work at all.

PicMonkey Collage

Zinnias

The hardest part is getting some seeds to germinate. The quality of some of the seed compost I’ve been using is quite frankly rubbish & most of it has been big brand varieties.
I gave Zinnias a go this year, Zinnia ‘Envy’ (middle) & ‘Early Wonder Mixed’ from Sarah Raven.

Zinnia ‘Envy’ was advertised as green flowers, almost lime-like on the packaging…..hmmmmm…..more a dirty cream, colour. The ‘Early Wonder Mixed’ however were the zanniest of bright colours that I’ve ever seen in a flower. Although germination was poor, about a quarter, I shall definitely sow these again next spring, not in specialised seed compost but in Durstons multi-purpose compost. The success rate in this compost, be it seeds, cuttings or pot plants has been excellent.

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Here’s a feast of late summer / autumn loveliness that are still going strong, including the sunflower bird food that Mr TG bought in error for sunflower hearts. A beautiful mistake!

And finally, a couple of weird-angled panoramic views….

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…and a backward glance.

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Till next time.

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