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 April 2017

Urban Flowers - Book Review

Trust me...you're gonna Love! Love! Love this book.
'Urban Flowers: Creating abundance in a small city garden' by Carolyn Dunster.
I've reviewed a few books this year but this one is my favourite so far. It's perfect for novices, with advice on creating your garden, choosing the plants through to maintenance and care. It's also a great book for the more experienced gardener who maybe needs some fresh inspiration. And talking of inspiration, this book is jammed packed with it.

Following Carolyn's introduction, Urban Flowers is divided into 6 sections, the first looking at The City Garden. Now don't panic if you don't live in a city. The point of this book is to show that you can create a garden and have beautiful blooms 'in the heart of an urban area and in the tiniest and most unlikely of spaces'. It's all about the positive impact of plants on garden critters and us mere mortals and how we can do our bit to bring nature back into our concrete environments.

Evaluating Your Space starts at the beginning, looking at what you've got, be it a balcony, roof terrace or just steps up to your front door, to a small or large garden area. There is advice on soil types, growing in shady areas, nooks and crannies as well as using pots and containers, making the most of walls and creating a peaceful haven.

Choosing a Style is about creating YOUR garden, the way you want it. It's a bit like decorating a living-room or a playroom, but outside...in your style, to fit your way of life and reflecting your personality. There are tips on creating mood boards while you figure out what it is you like and want from your patch of planet earth, through to sources of inspiration like Instagram, Pinterest, magazines, etc... There are some great inexpensive ideas for plant containers and recycling plus a more in depth look at cottage gardening, classic and contemporary styles.

Selecting Your Plants has got to be the most exciting part of your creation. This section looks at ideas for trees in small spaces, shrubs, climbers, perennials, etc...through to growing your own plants from seed, buying bedding plants and getting scent into the garden. Again, as with all sections of this book, there are loads of examples on plants to consider.

Experimenting With Colour is the section you will drool over. Honestly...the photography in this book (by Jason Ingram) is breathtakingly beautiful. If his photos don't get you dashing off to the nearest garden centre then I don't know what will. 

This section oozes inspiration, with plant ideas for every colour of the rainbow. What I love about this book is everything is easily achievable, the plants are readily found in our garden centres and there are lots of inexpensive re-cycling or up-cycling ideas.

Reaping Your Rewards is about extending the enjoyment of the garden by bringing the flowers, berries and leaves indoors, whether it's in floral arrangements, gift ideas for others or creating simple plant and flower recipes.

This is an area I personally have been working on, simple vases of anything and everything from the garden.

I love this book.
If I was talented enough to write a book about how I feel and what I love about gardening, this would be it. This is a truly beautiful book, simply written by someone who understands the benefits to us all of having a garden or even just a few pots of colour around us.
It's a hardback book and for anyone like me who is a bit anal about book paper quality, the pages are top notch, thick and slightly glossy.
As I said before, the photography is breathtaking with exquisite garden and plant pictures on every page. If you only buy one gardening book, buy this one.

Urban Flowers: Creating abundance in a small city garden.
Written by Carolyn Dunster
Photography by Jason Ingram
Published by Frances Lincoln

Sunday, 16 April 2017


Auricula-phobes, look away now!

It's the most...wonderful time...of the year.
And spring brings Auriculas...in a-bun-dance (which is a bit like Soft Shoe Shuffle, but with hotcross bun-style slippers)
I digress....

Regular stalkers followers of my wee bloglet may recall my review of 2 hanging baskets last year, the Easyfill Original and the Easyfill Pro...see review post here.
I filled the Easyfill Pro with Auriculas and the result has been far better than I expected with the sides oooozing with little plantlets (see above). I have been far more impressed with the Easyfill Pro compared to the Original. The water tends to flow out of the side holes far too quickly from the Original and I have also found out that it dries out more often, possibly due to the more exposed soil through the holes.

That aside, Auriculas make fantastic hanging basket plants and I have a few (Cough!). They stay in the baskets throughout the year, I never feed them and they often flower again late summer too.

So brace yourselves..... here are a selection of my collection. (Names given where know). If you spot a variety that I haven't named then please let me know, I am slowly trying to identify them all.

 Bottom Right.... Pinkie Dawn

Top Left.... White Pyne
Top Right... Sophie
Bottom Left... Dilly Dilly

Top Left... Old Fashioned
Top Right.. Our Sophie
Bottom Right...Slim Whitman buds

There's a whole heap more still in leaf, so I'll share those another time.

Meanwhile, the rest of the garden is doing its best to get my attention off of the Auriculas. Last autumn I planted lots of Tulips that I'd bought from The Range. They were so riduiculously cheap but they have out-performed my expectations. I planted about 200 and I will definately buy more later this year. 

An old, faithful Iberis...

The luscious lime green of Darts Gold...


More Tulips...

Oh...and even more Tulips...

... Tulip-Phobes, I apologise.....

Nearly done...

That's it...

The tiny wildlife pond is filling out again...

...and in the greenhouse, the first of my Wisteria seeds have sprouted....Squeeeeeeeal!!!

Ok...that's it for today.
Happy Sunday!!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Such a Perfect Day....

Today has been the most fabulous of spring days.
Clear blue skies, a gentle breeze, laughter and all round happiness.

Enjoy a stroll around the Tidy Garden.

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