Tag Archives: Decoration

Hey Good Lookin’

One of the perks of being a professional gardener is that I often come home with leftover plants, or “strays” as I like to call them. In the flat we have a Kentia Palm, a massive Peace Lily and a six foot Ficus tree (nicknamed Benji for Ficus benjamina), all rescued from a one way trip to the tip.

We often over buy plants for clients’ gardens, which keeps me with a steady supply of bedding plants, bulbs and perennials. Other than the few pots outside the front door and the kitchen window boxes, we don’t have any garden space at home. The space at the plot has become a fantastic home for many of my strays and other garden finds.

I’ve already mentioned my terracotta bust Matilda, but clearing old gardens has also yielded a couple of other ornaments which I’ve added to our bright blue shed.

Decorated shed

We don’t have a cut flower bed per se, but we do have ornamental beds at the top of the plot next to the access road. There used to be raspberries in one part, but they have since been moved into the fruit cage. I planted leftover daffodil and tulip bulbs there, but with those over, I’ve let it go a bit more wild.  I’ve sprinkled in some wildflower seeds I got from Landlife Wildflowers,  so we’ll see what comes of that.

The other half has lots of lavender in it, along with some fennel and a rather massive comfrey plant. At one point, I think our resident allotment fox decided to make it into a bed and squashed the whole thing flat. I gave it a good chop and added it to the compost of course. It’s had the bonus of keeping the comfrey compact and leaving some space for more leftovers. I planted some stunning blue Allium azureum and firework-like Allium schubertii. Also a few Stipa arundinacea (aka ‘Pheasant’s Tail Grass’)  under the bee house. It’s a bit of a mish-mash, quite unlike my professional plantings, but I like them so much individually that they work just fine as a group.

Having the best of both worlds, in this case things that are both edible and beautiful, I also have a bed of sweet peas under planted with nasturtiums. I love the smell of sweet peas more than I can express and also the wonderful peppery taste of the nasturtium flowers in salads.

First sweet pea flower of the summer.

We also planted lots of sunflower seeds, sadly only a few have grown so far. I love the red ones best, but would happy for any to do well, as I’d like to leave them for the birds to eat.

I also have a good wander around the site regularily and see what’s blooming in other plots. There’s an empty plot near the front gates that is full of poppy blooms right now. We have a few that have shown up in our plot, but I’m not sure what colour they are yet. I love the purple ones best and noticed some growing wild by an old industrial building across the road from our house. I’ll collect some seeds when they ripen and add them to our patch.  If the veg growing goes bust, I may just convert the whole plot into an ornamental garden.

Just kidding…but only just.

Wild Poppies

An Explosion of Activity

The recent rain has been keeping us off the plot for the most part, but as the rain has let up a bit recently we’ve managed to get a few things done. Simon was toiling away last weekend setting up the frame work for our fruit cage. We’ll be needing it soon as the currant bushes are already starting to set fruit! So far no bird damage, but I feel we’re operating on borrowed time here. In typical fashion, the netting I ordered off of eBay arrived as I was at the plot this morning. I’ll have to find so time in the upcoming week to collect it from the local Royal Mail depot and put it up next weekend.

Fruit cage.

It’s a thing of beauty.

Currants

Baby currants.

There’s also been an explosion of growth thanks to all the rain, mainly in the form of weeds. Scott and I are going away for the long weekend, so I took the day off work to get ready. In between doing the laundry and running errands, I naturally spent a couple of hours down at the plot. A full wheelbarrow load of weeds later, things were looking much tidier. The soil was still very moist, so I kept my efforts to removing the “biggies” like nettles, thistles and %#&^%&! bits of artichoke that insist on springing up everywhere.

Beds

Before: super tidy!

Beds 2

After: not so much.

Even through the curtain of weeds I can see lots of seedlings fighting their way though. Radishes are going strong, I just kind of wish I hadn’t packed so many in, as they’re getting really over crowded already. The beetroot and most of the herbs are coming along as well. I did have to lean right over the beds and peer at the soil surface from about two inches away. I kept thinking I was just looking at more weeds, but I could often just make out the long, deliberate line of seedlings. I even managed to keep my dignity by not falling face first into the wet soil. Leaning over the mounded beds with my backside in the air was undignified enough…

I’ve even managed to add a few decorative touches to the plot. The bee house got an added lick of paint and was made to match our shed, which was suggested by our flatmate, Lindsay. I think it was a stroke of genius and I love the little matching buildings.

Bee house

Looking rather spiffy.

I was doing a rather wet and muddy garden clearance on Thursday and we spent all day pulling masses of ivy off an old brick wall which was due to be torn down. Lots of rotten rubbish was uncovered, but I did find a lovely terracotta bust. Covered with ivy for years, I loved her rather rough looks and slipped her into an old compost bag and then into the back of my van. I just hated the idea of her being dumped into a skip, so she now resides by our herb patch. I’ll get some reclaimed bricks and give her a proper pedestal. Just need to come up with a name for her. I was thinking Matilda, but am open to suggestions. Any ideas?

Bust

Who could resist that cheeky smile?