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, 31 July 2012

Chuckles in the Garden

OK...so pour yourself a pint of something très alcoholic as this is an indulgent Antirrhinum post.
My bargain of the year has got to be a packet of Antirrhinum 'Chuckles' seeds purchased for the princely sum of 10p.
Also known as Snapdragons or 'bunny-ears' in my family, they provide hours of endless amusement in the garden, squeezing their little heads & providing a comedy voice-over (sadly I play this game on my own and normally just as those really nice men with the highly fashionable white 'tie-up-arms-round-the-back' coat arrive.)
Anyway...10p got me 10 zillion seeds and despite growing 1 zillion of them in a 9cm pot, each & everyone of them germinated.
They sure are tough cookies (Antirrhinums actually, but you get my drift)...having endured dreadful neglect as seedlings...under / over watering, wayyyyy too hot, wayyyyy too cold, cramming as many seeds into one pot as is 'seedingly' possible, not supporting their leggy growth, pinching out tips when label clearly said not too.
They're now everywhere, all 10 zillion of them. Come round & count if you don't believe me!
Shame there's no one to play with me....
...oh well.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

A Wander Around the Tidy Garden

"Tickets please!"

Welcome to the Summer Tour of the Tidy Garden.
Refreshments will be served at the entrance by the butler.
It's been a funny ol' year for most of us here in ol' Blighty.
Since the drought declaration back in April it's rained almost every day. For some poor souls it's rained too much and their gardens have flooded. The Tidy Garden has been lucky and although not as 'flowery' as previous years it's certainly 'blossomed' and is 'officially' full to the brim (although I can always find a space should that 'I can't live without that plant' occasion arise.
The 'shady' side (above) has for many years been the weak area of the garden. This year it has flourished, everything is bigger & better than ever before. Even the strawberry plant (in the pot) has 'fruited' it's little head off and it's been a race between me & Mr Blackbird as to who gets to the juicy fruits first.
The lettuce grow-bag hasn't really performed as well this year...or was it my failure during all the wind n' rain, when the last thing you fancy for tea is salad, to harvest the baby leaves?
Maybe next year I'll grow a crop of hot stew vegetation.
The sun has tried to come out today, although as I scribe dark clouds loometh. What little flower colour we do have is drowned out in a sea of green when the sun goes in.
My mystic view through bonsai'd conifer for dramatic effect failed!
The cucumbers (in the brown pots) are hanging on in there and we've had 2 six inchers so far. Didn't dare to let them grow any longer as I thought at this rate all the plants energy was going to go into these 2 and there'd be no hope (or summer left) for any further fruits. This seems to have paid off and several other 1 inchers have now appeared.
The peppers meanwhile (in the black pots) have been a disaster. Glad I popped a Marigold in each pot for a bit of colour as this would just be a boring line of of black pots. Seems others have had the same failure rate so I'm not too disappointed.
However...the runner-beans have been a HUGE success as the stems make their way up in to the cooking-apple tree.
A muted splash of colour against the slate path.
The pond has sprung back to life...
...after a whole year of green-soup murkiness...
and yes....a splash of colour...those marigolds grown from seed that are supposed to be 6 inches short are now almost 18 inches tall!
We won't talk about the tomatoes...Grrrrrr....about 25 plants have so far produced 4 green tomatoes. Guess I won't be supplying Tesco this year unless they can find a use for the lush leaves that did grow (grrrr...again!)
My prize possession Gunnera, is still no where as big as I hoped it would be but I'm a patient woman, another 10 years won't hurt!
Hopefully with a little bit of the hot summer sun that's forecast this week, some of the colour will return to the Tidy Garden.
Have a groovy weekend everyone and viewers from the UK get your flip-flops & knotted hankies poised...summer's coming!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Don't Be Fooled!

Be afraid....

Be very afraid...

These are Rosemary Beetles, they may look dashing in their stripey, metallic suits amongst the flower & foliage of summer (I use the word 'summer' loosely here) but catch one on your lavender or rosemary & they'll do this...
Then this...

According to the RHS they are a native of southern Europe but have become a pest here in ol' Blighty since the 1990s. They're about the size of a ladybird, look beautiful but boy are they a menace.
Mr TG & I had never seen them before until about 3 weeks ago, now we seem to be plagued by the critters. We have one rosemary & several lavender plants scattered about the Tidy Garden but they seem to be concentrating on just 2 plants. Only the other day Mr TG found 25 on one plant alone during one of his 'snail-bashing' rounds. You can use insecticides but have resorted to picking them off as we don't want to harm the good bugs.

Disposal of these beetles is def' a job for the boys, beetles DON'T crush neatly under 'ones' dainty trotters!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Photo Competition Winner & Sale

It's time to announce the winner of last weeks competition.
Your task was to tell me what exactly Mr TG was doing in the garden.

It seems one person actually got the answer 100% correct and it's.....drumroll.....
Congratulations Indie who said...

 'Now you know that Mr. TG is really one of an elite team of gardening ninjas. Before you caught him, he was planning to cartwheel over the tomatoes and do front handsprings over to the far gardening bed to pull that pesky weed that was threatening the garden.
He also can catch flies with a pair of small garden stakes...'

Your money-can't-buy 'Smug feeling' is winging it's way to you as I scribe...Well Done!

Meanwhile, I'm having a clearout & have a number of items I'm pondering selling...

BBQ (used once this year...in March!)
Garden Furniture
Daft Sun-Hat
6 un-opened bottles of sun-lotion
Bucket & Spade

Friday, 6 July 2012

Photo Competition

It's Competition Time this week at Tidy Gardens by Jane.
The prize up for grabs is the prestigeous 'smug feeling inside' that comes with knowing you won...simples!
During a moment of relaxation I caught Mr TG, in his comfy slippers, in this rather strange position in the garden. I was way too un-nerved to question what he was up to and left him straddling a tomato plant.
Your task is to guess what he was up to.
The best answer or if I ask him, the real answer, wins that fabulous, money-can't-buy 'smug feeling'.
(Competition Terms & Conditions are available in the small print below)
Good luck!

Terms & Conditions
If you win you win, if not, you lose...

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Mr Titchmarsh Is In Da House

Actually Alan Titchmarsh (the Rose) is in the garden revealing all.
I took these photos last week when the sun shone, there was a soft breeze  & light drops of rain sat like sparkly dew drops on his gorgeous form. ( I may write a steamy book...'37 Shades of Pink')
Mr TG & I had counted 71 buds n' blooms, their sweet perfume wafting the air as we brushed pass
That was last week....this week Mr Titchmarsh is a fallen figure. His blossoms are scattered messily everywhere, any remaining blooms are hanging heavy & tried. Yes..the British summer has returned, wind & rain have quite literally nipped Mr Titchmarsh's glory in the bud.
I'll go out in a mo' and see if I can breath life into the poor chap (sigh....)
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