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 March 2014

Chelsea Green


Every 100 years of so, we get a new freezer.
Our last one, complete with its own polar ice cap and inability to defrost itself, was positively antique and ready for the white freezer heaven in the sky, or the rag n’ bone man, who ever arrived first.

Among the frozen chops, chips & chuntney (I made that last bit up) was this.

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Yes…it’s grass…but not any ol’ grass I’ll have you know.
This is prize lawn from the hallowed turf of Chelsea Football Club slowly defrosting after 8 1/2 years in my freezer.

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For Mr TG’s 40th birthday I arranged a selection of Chelsea FC-related gifts, that ranged from a personal letter from The Special One, a signed photo, to a tour of the stadium.
While listening to the ramblings of our tour guide, the groundsmen were finishing off their pitch manicure. As one of the groundsmen parked his mower, everyone in our group (not me…I’m a lady) jumped the barriers to grab fistfuls of the freshly cut lawn. I elegantly stayed put, frantically, scrambling through our ‘day out’ rucksack looking for something to carry home Mr TG’s treasure.

This weekend, the fully defrosted Chelsea FC lawn cuttings will be ceremoniously scattered around the Tidy Garden.
Trust me…it absolutely stinks like rotten feet.
It’s NOT going in the new freezer!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Cut Flower Bed


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One of my clients has 2 large, unused, raised beds.
This year I’m going to create one based around the Square Foot (ish) veg patch theme with 2 corner wigwams for runner beans.

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The other, fingers crossed, is going to be a cut flower bed made up of a selection of plants & seeds which will be sown in April. Again there will be 2 wigwams for sweet-pea

I’ve spent hours trawling the internet researching my idea & stumbled upon Higgledy Garden owned by a rather jolly chap, Benjamin Ranyard. This is what he said to lure in in…

“I grow traditional annual flowers in a Cornish paddock. They are grown without the use of any chemicals and are available to buy online and from a select few Cornish shops.
I pride myself in providing the good people of the United Kingdom a quality alternative to the mono culture rubbish flown in from overseas. All of my flowers are grown from the best seed stock available to man and produce outstandingly beautiful plants.”

With all that in mind I purchased his ‘Seeds to sow in Autumn’ collection which can also be sown in the spring.

Ammi Majus

Calendula ‘Indian Prince’

Cornflower ‘Blue Ball’



Gypsophila ‘Covent Garden’

Godetia ‘Crown Mix’

Nigella ‘Persian Jewels’

Larkspur ‘Giant Imperials’

Candytuft ‘Crown’

Eschscholzia. Californian Poppy. ‘Orange King’

Scabiosa ‘Crown’

So, the beds have been prepared, topped up with fresh compost in both & and well rotted manure in the flower bed.

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Do check out Higgledy Gardens and watch this space for updates throughout the year.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Weird But Wonderful

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Last month I wrote about the lilac tree (Madame Lemoine) and the branches that I’d had to cut off in December of last year prior to the arrival of the greenhouse. I’d chucked them on the log pile and thought that was it.
However, in February I noticed green leaf buds forming. The stems weren’t in the soil, they were still on the top of the pile, they’d just been lying there taking everything our weird British winter had thrown at them. So I rescued them, cut the stems into 12” lengths & poked them in 2 pots & put them in the greenhouse.
1 month on and what I thought were leaf buds have now swollen to reveal flower buds. I’ve tipped the plants out to see if there are roots but nothing…nadda…nowt.
I’ve googled to see if anyone else has had similar experiences but I can’t find anything. Somebody mentioned that roots can take a long time to form but I would have expected roots before flower buds.
I’ve been misting them once a day to help with their moisture intake but I wish I knew their fate. Is this all too good to be true?
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Meanwhile my pelargonium cuttings from last year have been blooming away and they’re now providing further cuttings to grow on. I snipped off the flowers & put them in a vase expecting them to wilt within the hour.
This photo was taken last week.
The pelargoniums had already been in the vase a few days before the Rip Van Winkle’s were added.  The daffs’ only lasted about 3 days but the pelargoniums are still going.
Just over a week has passed and the remaining buds have opened.
Pelargoniums as cut flowers?Weird…but yes.

Friday, 14 March 2014

It Must Be Love

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There’s a whole lotta lovin’ going on in the Tidy Garden this week.
I almost trod on these two, caught in the act right outside the back door.
I know…’get a room pond!’
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A night time stroll, torch in hand, reveals an obstacle course of ‘ribbity’ passion.
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I thought the female here was about to burst!
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This female was quite red, probably from the exhaustion of carrying her mate who insisted on being hauled out of the pond ‘piggy froggy-back’ style.
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These two are radiantly in love, her smile says it all.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


The greenhouse overfloweth.
It’s not my fault I’ll have you know.

I stumbled upon Seedaholic.com and herein lies the problem.
They go above & beyond any other seed company that I have found so far.
There is ample seed choice to start with, advice on skill level required and clear instructions on sowing, cultivation, division as well as a history of each plant.
But it doesn’t stop there, on arrival of one’s stash, each seed packet comes with helpful little tips like a warning if seeds are so tiny they may blow away, some are packaged in small phials and each comes with a quality A5 colour sheet of paper with a reminder of all the information you read online.

Sedums (Mixed & Rubens Lizard)
This mixture of many attractive low-growing sedum varieties represents a wide range of foliage types and flower colours. Sedum ‘Ruben's Lizard’ is a low-growing sedum that has tight, rosy-green cushion of needles with reddish tips.
                                         ‘Mixed’                              ‘Rubens Lizard’

Dahlia ‘Pompone Double)
Dahlia 'Pompone' are ideal for making a splash of colour in the border or bedding display during the summer months.
Geums  (Mr TG’s Favourites)
                       Geum chiloense “Lady Stratheden” is a grand old lady who has graced our gardens for over 80 years and is still going strong.One plant that is quite unfairly ignored is Geum 'Mrs J Bradshaw'. From a distance, the flowers look like strong red blotches suspended above the ground.
                                ‘Lady Stratheden’                      ‘Mrs Bradshaw’                     

One of my favourites for the back row and I love the prickly blue balls in July.
Echinops ‘Globe Thistle’
Heuchera sanguinea 'Firefly'Heuchera Melting Fire, a new seed variety of Heuchera is named for the intense purple-red colour of its new foliage.
                                       ‘Firefly’                                 ‘Melting Fire’
With 'Bressingham,' what one gets instead of ornate leaves are increased numbers of tiny bell-flowers that rise above the foliage on wirey stems.Heuchera 'Greenfinch'  forms a neat mound of rounded, mottled leaves that are a deep blue-green with dark green veins.
                               ‘Bressingham Hybrids’                   ‘Greenfinch’
Valerian – Centranthus
Centranthus ruber is a cottage garden favourite that’s made it back into the style books.
Centranthus ‘Snow Cloud’
Reasons for these purchases?
Beginner skill level required, no special requirements like heating, pre-treating, etc…, plants I love and….and…er…because I’m a converted Seed-A-Holic.
(Non-seedling images from Seedaholic)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Less Is More

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Last year’s pelargonium cuttings are blooming.
On this occasion I think less is more.
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