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.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Ready n’ Waiting

(End January 2014)
Another posting from me this week (I know…Shock! Faint!)
As it’s the last day of January, I thought I’d post an ‘End of Month’ panoramic view of the Tidy Garden.
I was going to spend the day sowing seeds but it was too flamin’ cold, so a quick snap of the ol’ jardin & back indoors before the heavens opened again.
No chance of a hosepipe ban this year!
The latest revamp is complete, everything is in now in position, we just have to wait for it to come alive again.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Jabba! Jabba!

Apologies if you’re eating your tea.
This is a poo…Fact!
Thankfully not a life-size image, but this 10mm monstrosity, and several others were found on the conservatory floor last week sending Mr TG reaching for the silicone sealant & sealing every hairline crack on the walls for fear of mice.

As well as bits of soil here n’ there, oh….and over there on the table, I noticed some of my cyclamen leaves were looking a tad tatty.

Oh dear lord…don’t let it be earwigs!
I may be a gardener, unearthing all sorts of beasties on a daily basis, but I don’t ‘do’ earwigs…please don’t let it be earwigs!
So I Googled ‘What’s eating my cyclamen & leaving poo?’ and found 2 other victims who suggested…Caterpillars.
Caterpillars! Caterpillars! What sized caterpillars do poos that big and so many!!??
Dressed in full body armour & wielding a baseball bat, I returned to the conservatory with caution fully prepared to face the Jabba the Hutt of caterpillars.
More poos greeted me and there it was, in all its hideousness, hiding in one of the flower heads. Surprisingly only an inch long…
… and there was only one!
Apparently Caterpillar poo is called ‘Frass’ and I can now report that the conservatory is now a ‘frass-free’ zone and the frassing / eating machine is now in the compost bin where he can poop n’ eat to its hearts content. No idea what it’ll turn into, butterfly, moth, Jabba the Hutt, just thankful it wasn't a giant earwig.
Don’t have nightmares kids!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Heat Holders Thermal Vest - Product Review

For the purpose of this review & for those of a nervous disposition, about to run for the hills…I can assure you 100% that there will be NO photos of me modelling the garment above.
Let’s face it…vests are not sexy!
As someone who spends most her life outdoors, the brand agency behind Heat Holders asked if I’d like to trial one of the many items now available under the Heat Holders name. I thought they just sold cosy socks but now they have Thermal Hats, Gloves, Long Johns, Tights, Leggings & Vests.
I chose to road-test the Ladies Long-Sleeved Thermal Vest in Black (I would have looked ridiculous in a pair of Men’s Thermal Long Johns).

I was asked what size top I normally wore (Size 14) & was sent a size L/XL (which according to the sizing on the packaging was for ladies sized 16 – 22…hmpf!) That said, it looks like there are only 2 size options, Size S/M (6 – 14) &  Size L/XL (16 – 22).
Now, compared to my normal winter-gardening vests from M&S this has a far smoother, luxurious feel to it. It does cling to the body (which I guess helps to hold the heat in) and feels cool when you first put it on but that ‘sensation’ soon disappears and you quickly forget you’re wearing it. Additional layers (my work T-Shirt) glide over the top as you put it on and it has an under-armour / silky feel to it. There are ‘patterns’ rather than cups’ where one’s boobs are supposed to go but, without going into too much detail, (sheesh, this is a gardening blog after all!!) I would just ignore them. Just see it as a pretty pattern!!
The length for me (I’m 5’2”) was more than perfect. My current vests leave my back exposed to the elements of winter when bending over. The Heat Holder vest is longer and covers, protects & does not move while twisting n’ turning about.
The vest has a Tog rating of 0.39 which to be honest, unless it’s a duvet, means nothing to me. I don’t know of any other Tog Rated garments to compare it to so can’t comment on that aspect. I wore it to work yesterday morning with my short-sleeved T-Shirt on top, the weather was damp, foggy & about 8 - 9C and I was more than warm enough and I don’t think I would have felt any warmer in my normal vest.
However, I will definitely be replacing my old vests with these. The warmth factor may equal my current vests but the Heat Holder versions are much ‘slinkier’, a far superior, softer feel and the longer length that stays in place, keeping my back covered, is a huge plus on cold winter days. Despite normally wearing a Size 14, I’d stick with the L/XL size (I’ve seen other reviewers suggesting it’s a bit tight, so maybe they’ve tried the smaller size?)
A ‘must-have’ for us gardeners!
They retail at £15 each (I think they’re worth it) and you can find out more at the Heat Holders website.
Now, for those of you with any warped visions of me in a vest ……

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Getting There


I’m almost there with the reorganisation of the Tidy Garden following the arrival of the greenhouse just before Christmas
The new slate pathways, edged with bricks, around the greenhouse & veg’ area are finished. There’s just a few pots that need to be repositioned & that concrete bench on the right, that looks like a prop from the Flintstones, needs to be moved in front of the bench so it can be used as a table instead.


The raised Veg’ beds for our Square Foot Gardening are in their new position poised ready for planting. The future of that 1/4 circle of lawn is under discussion at the mo’…Mr TG wants a wildflower ‘meadow’ but as it’s the final piece of ‘green’ in full sun the TG offspring may stake a claim to it for summer socialising.

Inside the greenhouse, seed trays wait patiently to be filled…there’s still a lot of stroking, staring in awe, sighing, ooooohing n’ arrrring going on… (Sad I know)

odd bits of paving that I’ve found have been used to create a runway, just need a few more slabs

…and random bits have been salvaged from the clutches of the evil that is the Vine Weevil. Pots in the garden had been treated with Provado throughout last year but it seems nothing short of a damned good clubbing was gonna kill the 2 fat critters I found munching on this strawberry plantlet.

It seems, thank goodness, that nothing will see off the Calendula which has been flowering non-stop since last summer. This winter has been unseasonably mild & I’ve been thankful for a splash of colour in the garden while it’s been at that messy, muddy, ‘under-construction stage. I always plant a fresh batch of Calendula seeds in the autumn, spring sowings never seem to come to anything.

Last year’s divided Primulas are coming to life…

…and my hanging basket of Auriculas is blooming too.

Finally here’s a panoramic view of the garden.
(A groovy setting I found on my new camera)

There’s also a revised map of the Tidy Garden here.

Still lots to do, but the foundations for 2014 are in place.
Roll on Spring!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year and A New Arrival

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Up until now (and please don’t let this be a curse) I have been too anxious to reveal the latest addition to the Tidy Garden. My longed-for greenhouse arrived mid December and with all the gales we’ve had since its erection I was beginning to doubt weather there would be the 'big reveal’ to write about or a pile of twisted metal to sob over.


Had Mr TG & I attempted to erect the greenhouse we would, 3 weeks on, still have been at this stage…base down but weeping pathetically out of shot at the reams of installation instructions.


Thankfully, qualified fitters were on hand and had is all up within a few hours.
She’s a gorgeous 6’x10’, Simplicity ‘Shugborough’ with a high-eaves roof.

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Long gone is the circular lawn (now a quarter circle) & the raised veg’ beds have been moved. In between gale force winds, hail & rain (oh….and Christmas & New Year celebrations) I have been digging out turf & creating new slate pathways. I attached a huge water-butt to the guttering in the far corner and it’s already overflowing, just need to get my mitts on another one for the other corner.

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The flooring inside is a thick layer of pea-shingle, I have some odd stepping stones that I shall eventually lay up the middle. On the left is some ‘official’ staging & wall-hanging shelves (which took almost as long to erect as the whole greenhouse) and on the right is the shelving that I bought last year & had up the side-alley (That’s all gone now). There’s still floor space free to have a go at greenhouse crops this year.

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So there you have it…work to do in bucket-loads, shed-loads of excitement and it’s only the 1st of January. Prepare to be bored senseless with the next phase of my gardening dreams.

Happy New Year to you all and Happy Gardening!

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