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, 28 February 2014

End of Month Review–February 2014

So here we are at the end of Feb’ already, how time flies.
The greenhouse (that gorgeous building in the middle…lol) is still standing. It’s taken more than its fair share of wind n’ rain battering in its short life and continues to provide me with such a thrill every time I open its sliding door.
I nipped out quickly to get an undated panoramic view of the Tidy Garden for my ‘end of month’ review.
It doesn’t look like much has changed in the past month from this angle but take a closer look & the garden’s alive!
The first batch of Tête-à-tête have appeared, there should be some Rip van Winkles (Mr TG’s favourites) but they’re yet to appear.
Wind anemones are poking their little blue heads through the sodden soil.
Hellebores are better than ever this year.
Looking forward to my Double Ellen collection due to arrive in May.
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Bird boxes have been put up for the first time. We’ve always had cats in the past so didn’t want to set up a fast-food canteen for them. Alas the kitties are no more so time to branch into avian property developments.
The house with the port hole doorway (designed to attract tits & sparrows, both of which we have in abundance) was fully furnished with a fresh layer of hay. 2 indecisive blue tits have been round for several viewings & ransacked the joint already. Clearly not impressed with my choice in home interior.
The other house with the open-plan layout (designed to attract our resident robin) has been ignored by the robin so far. The blue tits have also viewed this on numerous occasions…we’ll just have to wait & see what happens. So exciting!
Alas, some sad news.
I was going to spend the afternoon pottering in the greenhouse but found Mr Blackbird dead on the pathway by the house. He was in perfect condition. We have had 2 in the garden recently, fighting over their territory and they whip round the garden so fast, I’ve had to duck a few times. I wonder if this poor creature crashed into the conservatory or garage wall. Such a shame. Sad smile

Cheerier news… a few new purchases for the garden.
Gold-laced primula (above), Silver-laced (below)…
… and these 3 polyanthus that aren’t normally my ‘thing’ but these were the most vibrant, zingiest oranges I’d ever seen… I couldn’t resist.
I’m gonna keep these, along with one of the silver-laced primula, in the greenhouse to oooh n’ arrr over and keep them in pristine condition.
These were for Mr TG, Dianthus ‘Memories’…
… which was apt, coz as soon as he inhaled their perfume he said it reminded him of his dad (who passed away when he was just 10yrs old) … so perfect.
So much more going on, I’ve got lots of seeds to try so there are seed trays & propagators everywhere, experiments of micro-greens taking place and 24 more bare root strawberries (Cambridge Favourite & Honeoye) have arrived.
The sweet scent of excitement is intoxicating.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

A Confession – I Am A Greenhouse-A-Holic



What on earth did I do before the arrival of the greenhouse?
Well I tell yer what….a lot of drooling, loads of heavy sighing & plenty of dreaming.
I thought my life in the garden would be complete if I had one of my own to stroke, but it’s not. I’m keen to try so many things, I want to do it all now & I need about 20 more of these babies!!!


I heeded all the wise words, prior to my purchase, advising that one should buy the biggest greenhouse one can a) afford & b) accommodate.
I took on board all of the top tips on greenhouse colour choice, structure, eaves height, ventilation & positioning.
I read up on the vast choice of accessories available, staging, automatic opening gadgetry, heating, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
I have so much greenhouse knowledge, I now have a flamin’ GCSE in the subject.

But it’s Sunday, confession time.
It’s been 6 minutes since my last visit to the greenhouse, my 94th of the day.
I am a Greenhouse-A-Holic.

There! Said it!
I need to find out where addicts meet up, to discuss & receive help for their addiction.


It’s almost time for bed, just enough time to squeeeeeze in one more visit.

Next post – Confessions of a Plant-A-Holic

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Not Giving Up!

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Down by the shed, in the Tidy Garden, is where we put shrub & tree branches for critters to hide under & for nature to take its course.
Prior to the arrival of the greenhouse (have I mentioned the greenhouse?) I had to cut back some arching Lilac branches ('Madame Lemoine') that would have leant on the greenhouse roof. I added these to the log pile leaving them to decay.
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Despite being detached from their parent, stems in the air rather than lying on the soil, for over a month in freezing & soggy conditions, the Lilac hasn’t given up. It’s re-sprouted fresh shoots along the length of each branch.
So I’ve chopped up some of the branches & potted them up and they’re still hanging on.
What’s also not giving up are the divided sections of an indoor plant Spathiphyllum ‘Peace Lily’. The original plant was rescued from a clients frozen greenhouse and had outgrown its pot.
So far, so good.
What aren’t looking good are the plug plants I bought from Thompson & Morgan last year.
7 months on, I would have expected slightly more growth than this (these are the Salvia ‘Blue Queen above)…
…slightly more success with the Delphinium ‘Magic Fountains Mix’. Well success with 3 out of the original 24!!
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The Penstemon ‘Tubular Bells Rose’ (above) are doing ok.
We won’t mention the Echinacea ‘Primadonna’….alas no foliage to photograph but I won’t give up, not just yet.
With all the rain & grey skies we’ve had this winter, it does feel good when the sun comes out.
Don’t give up…spring will be here before you know it!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Bare Root Strawberries

The excitement of the new greenhouse is yet to wane.
In fact I’m starting to run out of excuses to ‘pop out & check something’.
Mr TG has a photo of me by his desk to remind him what I look like, having mistaken me for a burglar fondling his ‘smalls’ on the washing line, and I now wear a badge so the TG offspring can recognise me when I’m tucking them into bed.
In order to gain some brownie points with said offspring, I’ve bought strawberries. I’m having a go at bare root strawberries bought from The Range. They had 3 varieties to choose from priced at £2.99 for a pack of 3 or 4 packs for £10, so I bought 4 lots of the Elsanta variety which is a mid-season fruit.
I left them for an hour or so, in my ‘bestest’ casserole dish, to luxuriate in warm water which helps to rehydrate their rooty limbs.
Then potted them up, leaving their crown above soil level (the crown’s the bit where the roots stop n’ stems start).
So I now have another reason to ‘just pop out & check something’ in the greenhouse, which is where they’ll stay until a) they start to spring to life, b) I’ve decided their final destination c) Mr TG discovers my whereabouts.
What I’m pondering is somewhere to plant where those damned vine weevil can’t get at them. Our current crop, despite regular treatments with Provado, has now been disposed of. I checked them again last week & they were absolutely riddled. Someone suggested a display stand where the legs can stand in water trays which stops the vine weevil reaching the strawberries. Now I need to invent such a stand.
Hmmmmmm….I need to think…..hmmmmmmm.
Off to the greenhouse, yell if you need me!
Before you go…I found this…..
Gardeners’ World & D.T. Brown have a special offer.
*24 strawberry runners - 12 early-season Honeyoe & 12 mid-season Cambridge Favourite*
Just pay the postage of £4.95 by entering the code GD14FEB at the checkout
Now go!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Inspiration From Down-Under

This is one of those Before & After moments.
Not by me, but by a fellow card-making blogging buddy who I ‘virtually’ met a few years ago.
My pal Chrissy lives in New Zealand, she works incredibly hard and she’s passionate about her garden but doesn’t always have the time with her busy workload.
The other day she shared the amazing transformation to part of her garden, I was so thrilled for her and the happiness it’s bought her, that I’d like to share it with you.
So above is the Before & below is the After.
I think she will have inspired a lot of people.You can see all the transformation photos between the beginning & end result on Chrissy’s blog here.
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