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, then please get in touch.
Tel: 07963 291504

Fully booked for 2020.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011


String up the bunting, let those party-poppers fly, it's celebration time.
Like a lot of peeps in the UK our Cordyline, which was about 7 feet tall, took a hammering in the extremely cold winter & lost all its leaves. The stem remained fairly solid so I didn't chop it down but started to train a clematis to grow up the totem-pole as it was quite a 'feature' in the garden.
The other day I noticed that 2 new shoots have appeared on either side of the base...Rejoice. My mother-in-law's 2 foot tall pot-grown version has also started to re-shoot.
Off to have a cocktail sausage & cheese on a stick to celebrate.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Would the Real Alan Titchmarsh Reveal Yourself...

Oh ... now there's a thought ... Alan Titchmarsh in my garden .... Must stop there ... that's a private fantasy.

When we bought this rose it was in tight bud. The plant standing beside it in the garden centre labelled 'Alan Titchmarsh' had a couple of blooms that looked & smelt heavenly but they were beginning to fade & had no more potential flowers. Ours however was fit to burst & looked a better shape all round. Although labelled the same, it wasn't until it eventually flowered that we realised it was an imposter. It smells just as perfect, the shape is neat & beautifully rounded & this year it rewarded us with 51 blooms in it's first flush. An imposter it may be, but it's been forgiven.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Obligatory Cat in the Garden Snap...

Getting this photo of our cat 'chilling' in the sun on now as it seems obligatory to include images of pets at some stage in a gardening blog.
This is Dusty, she's 17 years old, going on 3. Has never grown up, still behaves in that embarrassing kitten-like manner, has forgotten how to bury her 'poop' (Grr ...) and despite being a lean Puss', still eats us outta house n' home. Don't be fooled by that menacing look, she's putty in yer hands.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Love in the Garden

Love In The Mist (Nigella)

Everyone ... I command thee ...bung some Love in the Mist seeds in your garden.
 Initially the leaves can easily be mistaken for carrots growing in the flower-bed. Don't yank them up or you'll miss the most beautiful sky-blue flowers that appear with their dainty backing-foliage. The season for these is 'mahoosive' ... as the flowers fade they taken on an equally beautiful fluffy look that slowly dries into a crispy seed-pod which as you can see are a work of art in their own right.
Mine are in full sun, grow to about 18" tall with absolutley zero care required. Normally I would have left them looking gorgeous but I wanted to scatter their seeds in other places in the garden & believe me ... there are truckloads.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Veronica Speedwells
These little beauties were rescued from Homebase last month where their destiny was hanging in the balance. They were in the Reduced section for 30p each and were looking very sorry for themselves. Despite their straggly appearance and browning stems they still had the strength to yell "Buy Us" as I walked by and being the sucker for a 'plant sob story' that I am, I decided to give them a chance.
Well I'm glad I did, I chopped them back and ...Ta-Da ...result.
I've planted them in a sunny spot in our slate path. They're only about 6 inches tall at the moment so you need to be sunbathing or have had a fall in the garden to truly appreciate them but if you can get down that low they are stunning.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

World Record...

Yes...it's official ... the world record for the "Most Flowers on a Single Sunflower Stem" (in our back garden) has been shattered by my son Oliver.
Previous years entries have either failed miserably to produce a stem let alone a flower but this year the record books have been smashed with a 9 ...yes...you heard right ... a 9-headed 'beast' (or freak).
OK, it's not the prettiest of creations, it will, at this rate, need builders scaffolding to keep its heavy heads aloft but an achievement in its own right.
Well done Oliver ... you win a ... (hmm...off to think of a prize)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

There's a Nip in the Air...

It's such a beautiful day out today but there is a hint of Autumn in the air.
Our little Sphaerocephalon Alliums are coming to an end now. The hover-flies and bees just love them and so do I. Their season is quite long with 'oniony' scented stems popping up in late Spring with green heads that teeter on long, wirey stems before these beautiful clover-pink buds appear. Ours are growing in full sun with zero-maintenance (except their annual chop) but they do get lots of 'oohs' n' 'arrr's' ...which helps ... gorgeous.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Fern Briton

I know...crappy play on words ... but I do have rogue Ferns (and this is Briton) popping up in strange places in my garden. Not one to complain at a freebie, it is still a mystery how these ferns arrived in our garden. They're a couple of years old now, have put up with freezing conditions, drought (me forgetting to water then...ahem) and kids bashing them at every passing.
Will the real Fern Briton step forward ...and watch where you tread.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Little Gem Disaster

Week 5
The Little Gem lettuce have been a disaster in the Gro-bag. It looks like just 2 of the seeds I planted might provide something edible, otherwise I fear that's it. Disappointing, but I think I may be somewhat to blame by going on holiday during the hottest week of the year. I'll try again next year but maybe in shadier conditions (and I don't mean down a dark alley or behind the bike-sheds).
The Samish baby-leaf spinach however (on the right) is a huge success. It's not the dark-green leaf that I like when I've bought in the supermarkets but it sure as hell tastes good and is 100% chemical free AND not a greenfly in sight.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Eau de Sweaty Dog

Leucanthemum Superbum from our garden...
Don't be fooled by the beauty of the Leucanthemum Superbum.
Yes it's dead easy to grow, the large flowerheads open a creamy yellow before fading to white, it looks fabulous with its long stems pushing the daisy-like flowers up to lure the insects in. 
However...take a whiff of its 'perfume' at your peril.
If you're 'into' the scent of a sweaty dog then this is the plant for you.
I guess you can't have everything.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Reliable Elegance

This Red Valerian (Centranthus) in our garden is just beautiful.
It has a long flowering season (July - October) & once the flowers have faded, I snip it back to a leaf & it sends out more flowers. We only bought one small plant but more have popped up around the garden in shades of pink where it's self-seeded. It's not invasive though, just pull up where you don't want it. The leaves stay a fresh green, no mottling or fading and at the end of the year, just chop it right back, it's fully hardy. 
Our original plant was put at the back of the border in very dry soil & in full sun. I let it grow to about 3 feet tall & simply snip it if stems aren't growing in the right direction. Looking to get my hands on a white version now.
Insects love it too.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Salad Bar

Week 3

Week 4
Our Summer Salad Bar is progressing nicely, at least where lettuce & baby-leaf spinach is concerned...
We were on our hols during week 4 & the Little Gem lettuce seems to have chillaxed too much in the hot weather & stopped growing. The Samish spinach is soaring ahead though.
As my Other Half says "If they don't perform they're out!"...so off to have a quite word with the lettuce.
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