Thursday, 16 October 2008


I managed to pick up some work gloves from Asda last night so I can carry on clearing my garden without endless nettle stings. I have a full day of classes today and work tomorrow so I'll probably not get round to any gardening until the weekend. Sad, but at least I shall be able to do more this time.

I got my green manure seeds yesterday, along with a helpful little information booklet. I'll be broadcasting Hungarian Rye over my newly dug soil sometime in the next week hopefully.

I got my seeds from; two packs, plus the information booklet and postage came to £6.63. Not bad I think, hopefully my first wise investment into my gardening (apart from the gloves of course!)

The Organic Gardening catalogue (ordered from the same website) came in the post this morning. I'm currently looking through it like I used to look through the Argos catalogue for my Christmas presents... 'I want that... oooh, I'd love some of them, wow! some of those as well.' I could almost see my boyfriend tightening his grip on his wallet out of the corner of my eye.

Hopefully I won't get too carried away, but I'm off to Google more seed catalogues!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

No gardening stuff in Wilko's... what to do now?

Monday, 13 October 2008

I must be extremely naive, despite my extensive reading on gardening, as today I attempted to start digging over my extremely overgrown plot with only a spade, craft knife and a rake to help me. After an hour of clearing less than a square metre of soil I've given in and I'm off to Wilko's to buy some secateurs, gloves, and possibly a nice cool drink.

PS. I have beautiful new wellies!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

I have tried, without success, to grow tomatoes for three years.

My first year, I lived with my parents. I took a week's wages from my Saturday job on a market stall to Wilkinson and bought cheap plastic propagators, a bag of potting (not sowing) compost for 75p, and a packet of mixed tomato seeds, six varieties in all. To the horror of my house-proud mother I poured compost into the propagators and sowed the tiny seeds, all in her cleanly swept back garden and then left them to grow... on my bedroom windowsill. So desperate was I to learn how to garden that I documented the growth of each tiny seedling, of which there were nearly a hundred! When they were an inch tall I carefully planted them into individual black pots and made them a home in my three-tiered pvc cold-frame at the bottom of the garden. That was the last I saw of them. Heavy winds that night blew my cold-frame into a neghbours garden.

Two years later, I owned my own home. This time it was my garden, I could grow whatever I wanted, wherever I wanted. My tomatoes began life on my kitchen windowsill. I watched them intently everytime I washed the dishes or prepared a meal. I didn't feel the urge to note down the measurement of of every seedling in a college notebook, but I still felt anxious for them to grow. I ruthlessly picked out the weaker plants (something I'd thought cruel on my last attempt but seemed neccessary this time round) and planted them directly into warm soil under mini polytunnels. Unfortunately my two cats found the polytunnels to be an excellent playground, and trampled my baby toms.

This year was my most recent unsuccess. A new garden and a not-so-settled frame of mind to contend with. However a new, more encouraging and helpful boyfriend. I managed to plant my seedlings into the ground and with no cats around they thrived. My greenfingers are not yet to be however as although they developed an abundance of fruit, none grew big enough or ripened. This time though, we planted too late, the beginning of June to be exact. My enthusiasm is not swayed. I shall have a full season next year, plant early indoors, plant out into warmed soil under glass coldrames and hopefully enjoy my first homegrown tomatoes, with my first true love in what feels like my first home.

Hopefully this time next year I will be posting photos of dozens of juicy round tomotoes!

Monday, 6 October 2008

My Raw Garden II

My first lecture was cancelled this morning, meaning that I'm a free agent until three o'clock this afternoon. I decided to use the time to photograph my amazing field-like garden and put some of my plans for it into writing.

As you can see its fairly long, about 100 yards in total and my boyfriend recently built the fence around it. The fence is desperately in need of a lick of paint, but the wondrous unpredictability of British weather means that this will probably have to wait until late next spring.

The grass is a bit overgrown in this picture, so its difficult to make out the brick-built, raised bed to the right hand side... its under all that wood, I promise. There's also a small vegetable patch in the middle distance, level with the wheelbarrow.

It seems such a bland space at the moment, but its a blank canvas to paint my inspiration onto. Its ours for the next eighteen months and I plan to make my mark on it, nurturing it to be the beautiful and productive garden I've always dreamed of. A wonderful challenge I'm itching to begin.

Unfortunately moving house and settling in means we only managed to make a late attempt at tomatoes which, despite my pvc greenhouse being blown over by the wind, had managed to flourish. Sadly the fruit never ripened and they're now just a brown, tangled mass. Not to worry, I'll just toss them on the heap and try again next year.

The garden actually extends further than is apparent from the first picture. At the very top of the garden is an overgrown mess which adds and extra fifteen metres to our overall space and after much tlc I hope to make this my main vegetable garden. Before the chills and frosts set in I hope to have cleared the weeds and unruly plants from this patch and hopefully sown a green manure to help improve the soil quality.

When building the fence my boyfriend installed a gate in the far right hand corner, the hinges and handle are hidden, so that it can be my secret garden, similar to Mary's garden in The Secret Garden.

I'm finally ready to put all my reasearch and reading into use. I have been a gardener in my heart for five years now, its time to start putting my dreams into action.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

18 months later...

Wow... I forgot I'd even started this blog. So much has changed.

Like a lot of relationships, mine broke down. I moved out of my house and away from my garden into a city centre flat I shared with four other students. I was desperately unhappy for the following eight months, far from the leafy suburbs I'd become accustomed to.

However, for the past four months I have been living with my new boyfriend and our doggie Jill. We have a two bed terrace and I'm back in the 'burbs. Somehow we managed to bag ourselves an enormous garden... I'm not kidding, its at least one hundred yards long! We've been granted free reign over the space and we have big plans which, when they're put into action, I will be documenting here.

Photos to come!

... and remember, lovers come and go, but love of gardening lasts forever.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

My Raw Garden

When I was sixteen my parents decided to pave the back garden instead of having a lawn. I pleaded with them not to, but we ended up with a dull grey yard instead of a flourishing green garden.

In September last year I bought my own house. I was determined not to make the same mistake. However life took over and the garden is in the same state as it was five months ago.

My boyfriend bought me a gardening magazine for Christmas, my inspiration came back and I made it my New Year's Resolution to turn the garden around for the better. I've since bought a greenhouse, read books and sought advice.

I'll mainly be growing veg as I'd love to produce some of my own food and I guess I find it more interesting than growing flowers. I might plant some wild flowers though, as I their colours and haphazardness are captivating.

This is a video I made of my raw garden. Hopefully it will become something beautiful and productive.