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


I am currently fully booked for 2017.


Saturday, 14 December 2013

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Everyone!

 

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This is my final post of the year & I’d like to say ‘Thank You’.

Thank you to everyone who has visited this blog over the past year, for your encouragement, inspiration & experiences.

Thank you to Mr TG for standing beside me and helping my dreams to come true. Thank you for your patience as I ‘alter’ the garden again (ahem!). I love you!

Thank you to my TG offspring for putting up with a muddy mum and ‘exciting’ trips to ‘another…groan…garden centre’.

Finally a HUGE thank you to all of my clients, old & new.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working in everyone’s gardens, managed to dodge the thunder & lightening, almost boiled in the summer sun & drowned in the summer rain, came face to face with a snake & moved my fair share of frogs to a safer location.

I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Peaceful, Prosperous New Year.

See you all in 2014


Suttons Seeds and Plants

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Product Review–Fiskars Cuts+More Scissors

 

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I was recently asked by Fiskars if I’d test & review their Cuts+More Multi-Tool Scissors.
As well as the scissors, I was also given a length of garden twine, string, rope, wire and some kind of faux leather material to chop up.

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I’ve tested them from a gardener’s point of view but they’d be suitable around the home, in the kitchen, crafting, etc…
So, like it says on the tin packaging, these are multi-tool scissors.

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There’s a blade cover (for when not in use) that doubles up, nay…trebles up as a blade sharpener and tape cutter.

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There’s a handy notch in the joint of the handles for cutting wire and…

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… an even handier bottle-opener in the bottom blade for you beer, guzzling-types.
There’s also a twine cutting groove too.

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If you open the blades really wide, they’ll come apart (I thought I’d broken them…Doh!) and the black blade becomes a knife. The point is sharp enough to pierce through tough material.

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So, from a gardener’s point of view, I’m very impressed. I’ve snipped through all the samples provided, taken some more pelargonium cuttings which are quite chunky. The cut is smooth & clean. They’re very comfortable to use, a nice weight, the only part I can’t get to work smoothly is the sharpening action, but I think that’s me rather than the gadget.

My only criticism is the packaging. If I’d been out looking for a new pair of scissors I probably wouldn’t have been lured in by the description of the ‘multi-tool’ features on the packaging details. It’s not that clear how all of the different parts of the scissors work & just how useful they are.
Also, it describes them as ‘the ultimate right-handed multi tool scissors’ which suggests they’re no good for left-handed folk. So I asked my freakishly, weird left-handed daughter (she’s just freakishly weird, nothing to do with being left-handed) to try them and she had no trouble at all using them, so I’m not sure why they stated the ‘right-handed’ bit.

I found this great video which explains brilliantly just how great these scissors are.

 

Fiskars Cuts+More Multi-Tool Scissors

A great addition to my gardening tool bag and I’ve ‘Googled’ to see how much they retail for.
They’re £16.97 at Amazon UK at the mo’ and if you’re across the pond, they’re $12.65.
Not bad for 1 tool that can replace several.

100% recommendation!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Winter Blooms


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Brrrrrr … twas freezing today.
The coldness of the soil was seeping through my wellies.
It’s almost time to bed down for winter.
But there’s still signs of summer in the Tidy garden to warm my cockles.
Brightest of all is the Calendula, still going strong despite the frosts.
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Pretty in pink, Erodium ‘Roseum’. I picked up several (ahem!) of these for £1.50 a pot & they’ve spread so well. Great for filling a bare patch, subtle, delicate & beautiful.
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I’m not sure what rose this is, it’s been moved around the garden so many times.
But it’s clearly happy now.
And ‘Happy’ is the general feeling in the Tidy Garden at the mo’.
Regular stalkers followers (and Mr TG) will know that I’m a bit of a fidget in the garden, always redesigning, moving, plotting n’ planning.
Huge excitement & changes are afoot and all will be revealed soon. All I can say is ‘greenhouse’…… DARN! I’ve said too much!!!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

One of Those Days…

 

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Another one of those days, working in a garden, that I didn’t want to end.
Good times.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Product Review–Wall Mounted Welly Rack

 

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I was recently contacted by the good folk at the Garden Lamp Post Company and asked if I would be be interested in carrying out a product test & write a review on one of their wrought iron Welly Racks.

There are 4 options to choose from, 2 floor standing varieties (holds 3 or 6 pairs of wellies) & 2 wall mounted (again, holds 3 or 6 pairs of wellies).

I have tested the wall mounted / 3 pairs option £109.99

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I’ll be honest, when I found out the price of the welly rack I did wince a bit … £109.99 is a lot of money, but that was before it arrived.
As you can see, the packaging was more than adequate - corrugated cardboard, stiff cardboard & bubble-wrap.
It was at this stage that Mr TG exclaimed that we’d have to move to accommodate such a posh looking welly rack and then spent several hours walking around the house pondering the perfect location where visitors would be able to ‘ooooh’ n ‘arrrrr’ at its beauty.
Alas, moving was not an option (and to my mind a tad extreme) but I would certainly agree that its final destination does not give it justice. It is worthy of somewhere far more glamorous than our garage, if you have such a space.

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So here it is ‘in-situ’, putting the rest of the garage contents to shame.

Height: 1.3m
Width: 21cm
Closed Depth: 4cm
Open Depth: 20cm
Weight: 5.5kg

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It’s made of solid wrought iron & has 6 beautifully twisted legs, each capped with a smooth, ceramic ball to protect your wellies from being damaged on sharp edges and eyeballs from being poked out!

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When not in use the legs can be folded flat against the wall (held by the hinges that I’ve left diagonally for you to see). The hinges are simply turned slightly & the legs fall forward for you to pop your wellies on to.

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It is more like a piece of furniture, heavyweight, sturdy and certainly looks & feels like a quality piece of craftsmanship.

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It can be fitted both indoors & outside and unlike our old welly rack….

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(Cough!) An old freezer drawer tied to the garage door (Cough!)

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…looks a lot ‘posher’ & our wellies should air & dry faster.

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It would make a great gift, something I’d never thought of before, and I can think of a couple of family members who’d appreciate & definitely be able to make good use of such a neat idea. Maybe a Christmas or wedding present for a couple…..hmmmmmm?
Mr TG’s over the moon with it and still thinks it should have pride of place in the the house next to photos of the children, but for now it’s in our humble garage getting a daily dusting just before the wellies are buffed.

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My only criticism would be the lack of wall fixings, I think buyers might be disappointed not to find wall fixings enclosed with the packaging. But, in their defence, Richard at the The Garden Lamp Company did respond by saying it was difficult for them to predict what type of wall it would be fixed to so, as a rule, they didn’t enclose fixings. However, he said that if fixings were requested then they would supply them once they knew the details of the material of the surface it was to be mounted on and if there were any issues with the depth of the surface.
Personally I think most folk would attach the welly rack to a brick wall as it’s quite heavy, so maybe such wall-fixings should be provided as standard.
That said, 1 email & 24hrs later & fixing’s arrived.

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So in summary, what do I think?
Well I love it…simples! Yes, it’s expensive but with most things you get what you pay for. It’s definitely smart enough to be hung indoors if you can. I’d have been more than grateful if I’d been given it as a present and the quality is second to none. Chuck in the wall-fixings as standard & I’d say perfect.

To find out more about the Garden Lamp Company click the badge below.

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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Bird Watching

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I’ve finally managed to get a picture of our neighbourhood’s most beautiful visitor, the heron.
He’s been hanging around on & off for years but by the time I’ve dug out the camera, flicked off the lens cap, switched it on, waited for the batteries to warm up, focused & clicked he’s already in a different county. His arrival always brings out our resident crows who spend there days chasing him away, dive-bombing him while in mid-flight and generally making him feel very unwelcome.
There can only be one thing on his mind round these parts & that’s garden fishponds.
But he is a sight to behold as he glides over the roof tops & struts along like a super model.
Fabulous!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Bees Knees….Somewhere.

 
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The Echinops in the Tidy Garden this year were bigger & better than ever before.
 
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Those fretting about the decline in bee numbers needn’t have panicked. They were all in our back yard clambering over each other to get to get the best spot on each thistly flower head.
On some evenings, when the sun had dipped, I’d have to prod some of our fuzzy friends gently who seemed to have fallen asleep, intoxicated in the sweet nectar. Like a pub landlord yelling ‘Haven’t you got homes to go to?!’

 
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Some were just plain stupid. Yes, underneath all that pollen was a bee who hadn’t learnt the art of bagging up its bounty.
Not quite sure if he ever made it home or crash landed somewhere with excess baggage.
Now is it me or did summer fly by this year?
 
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Saturday, 28 September 2013

Hooked on Heucheras

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While Mr C drools over the loves of his life, Geums ‘Mrs Bradshaw’ & ‘ Lady Stratheden’, I have been revelling in my own affair with a whole bunch of Heucheras. I can’t get enough of them & my ‘supplier’ is at the stage of questioning ‘do you really need another?’
Now I don’t know the names of all the varieties I have but the one above has speckles of pink in the rich purple & green tinged foliage & long stems of white flowers that last for months at a time.
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This one is quite special, the above photo shows its green leaf colour now and the one below shows that its leaves were peachy coloured earlier in the year, with its stunning flowers that up close are pink & lime.
 
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What can I say about this one (Lime Marmalade) that isn’t flamin’ obvious! It looks this perfect everyday of the year & I’m still in awe each time I walk pass. I have more than one (ahem!) of these.
 
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I believe this one is Coral Bells, the striking lipstick-red flowers make up for the fairly ordinary foliage.
 
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It’s impossible to count the number of colours that simply ooze from this one. Gorgeous from above looking down and amazing from underneath looking up with its deep purple undersides that show subtly along its frilly edged leaves.
 
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And finally…’Marmalade’….simply heavenly!
 
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These are all in pots of varying sizes outside the front door where they are exposed to everything the British weather throws at them. From snow, biting winds, torrential rain to baking summer sun.
All they require is regular treatment with an anti-vine weevil killer and watering & this is the payback.
I hope you’re hooked too!
 
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Friday, 6 September 2013

Nursery Dream (phase 2)

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Regular visitors to this wee blog, family & friends will know that I’m an easily pleased kinda soul and small ‘things’ can get me quite excited.
(I’ll pause a while & wait for those smuttier readers to compose themselves…….)
Ready?….
Well you may recall the ‘beginnings’ of my next dream which was to have a nursery of my own one day. The Tidy Garden isn’t big enough to house greenhouses or polytunnels, it’s just your avarage sized garden so the only spare space is the unused path up the side of the house. Here I’ve installed 5 shelving units but with the cooler days ahead I’ve got my mitts on some tomato greenhouses to give my seedlings some protection.
 
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All was going fine until the first rains…disaster struck! I hadn’t taken into account the flimsy roofing & large air-vent holes. Being plastic the roof just collapsed in on itself & the rain gushed thru’ the holes.
It was at this point that a career in aquatics suddenly appeared a better option…everything was flooded in one downpour!
Enter the A-Team (…the ‘A’ standing for ANOTHER disaster dealt with )…
 
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….a bit of Blue Peter thinking, a lot of ‘umming’ n’ ‘arrrring’ and someone who can be trusted with a drill….et voila…Roofing!
All very Heath Robinson but hey ho! Gotta start somewhere.
 
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So of course it’s not rained since its construction but today we have a slight drizzle, not quite the torrential deluge we were forecast & I’m not sure how well it’ll hold if it snows during the winter but at least it should offer some protection & I can put ‘Aquatic Nursery’ as a stand-by occupation for now.
Meanwhile, on the look out for that winning lottery ticket so I can get a small piece of land to expand….(phase 3)
 
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Just a few updates….the tomatoes are finally ripening. Not many have made it to the kitchen as we keep eating them as we pass by.
 
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The raised beds have been more or less cleared now, just onions & leeks remain. Earlier in the year when the Tidy Garden offspring picked up what looked like half a dozen blades of grass in a pot for £1.49 advertised as ‘Sweetcorn’, I do recall ‘guffawing’ at the time & pointing out that we’d need lots of space as well as questioning whether the contents of the pot were in fact kitty-grass rather than sweetcorn. I personally can’t stand the stuff, feels like eating Lego-offcuts but the kids love ‘em so the challenge was on. Well how wrong was I…you could have knocked me down with a feather & called me Gladys!
 
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I put 4 in one of the squares of the raised bed & the other 2 in with some leeks & we’ve had at least 3 husks per stem and what amazing plants to watch grow. See just what you can grow in such a tiny space and cooked within seconds of being cut.
 
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have been delicious, spring onions hopeless again. Can’t figure out just why I can’t grow them when they should be so easy….grrrr.
Our first attempt at broadbeans have been a triumph, initially grown for Mr TG but we’re all hooked on them now so will grow more next year.
 
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Time to sit back & enjoy our hard work (excuse the ‘trotters’ on the right!)


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