Planning my garden.

Today I finally convinced my husband and son to uproot the conifer that has been in this garden for about 50 years. I really don’t like conifers, I don’t like the look of them and can not understand why anyone would plant one in their garden – and I definitely do not know why anyone would ever plant one in the middle of their relatively small garden. Anyway, after 2 hours of cutting, sawing, digging and axing it is now gone. Well not quite, it’s now in a pile in the garden waiting for me to hire a skip.

Before
After

So you now have an idea of the before look of my garden.

My plan for my garden changes slightly every few days but I now have a firm beginning point of the garden . In the approximate location of the conifer I plan to position a greenhouse. I am not sure whether to buy a glass greenhouse or a polycarbonate. I would like glass but they are quite a lot more expensive and I am not sure if the extra money is warranted. I do not have a bottomless budget and the reviews on the polycarbonate greenhouses are very good. The only negative appears to be that they are light so you have to be more careful when positioning them. The plan is to position the green house paradelle to the back hedge. Along side that I want either one or two raised vegetable beds depending on room, and then have a patio area where the shed is.

Is lavender easy to grow?

Well I thought so but am obviously wrong. I don’t know if you can see the small French lavender in front of my David Austin roses – it has hardly grown since I planted it. I had this planted in a position that didn’t see a lot of sun. After a month of no growth at all I moved the lavender to a far sunnier position hoping this would revive it. It’s not that it hasn’t grown, it’s just that it’s hardly grown and doesn’t seem to want to flower. Anyway, once again taking to Google I discovered that lavender doesn’t like clay soil and that’s what we have.

Question: if my lavender hasn’t grown as it doesn’t like clay soil then why does the neighbor’s lavender do so well?

Can you have a bee hive in a relatively small, urban garden?

This is a question to all bee keepers out there. I have read an awful lot of posts on the subject and still have no idea. I have spent hours reading and searching the internet and read that you can have a bee hive on a small balcony – personally I find that hard to believe but my knowledge of bee keeping is extremely limited. I am interested in people’s opinions of the Australian Flow Hive (I love the look of them) or any other useful advice people can give.

I have persuaded my husband to enroll in a bee keeping course with me however with the current pandemic the course is always being delayed. Even if I can not have my own bee hive I will know the different types of bees.

I would love to be producing my own honey with tastes from my garden.

So if you have any advice, ideas or comments I would love to hear from you.

Winter hanging baskets – the understated and often over looked Sweet William

My husband is always telling me that hanging baskets remind him of his local pub. But I don’t care because I love them. When thinking of planting winter hanging baskets the Pansy always springs to mind (I say that now but didn’t at the start of summer). While walking around the garden center this year I saw the understated and often over looked Sweet William and wondered how it would look planted with Pansies. There are companies that charge an awful lot of money for plants for your hanging basket however if you go to your local garden center you can have a unique hanging basket for a fraction of the price. My summer hanging baskets were a complete failure, I planted Winter Pansies (not realizing there was such a thing) and they were well past their best. But they were cheap and I thought with a bit of love and attention that they would come to life. Big mistake. So for my winter hanging baskets, having read about Pansies, I decided to try again with them , only this time in winter. I saw the Sweet Williams with the winter bedding plants and remembered them from when I was a young girl. When I pointed them out to my husband he said why didn’t I buy some, so I did. I always prefer the hessian type basket but that really is a personal preference. I purchased some cheap potting mix from Aldi (not sure about it as it seems to be full of roots and sticks). I half fulled the basket with potting mix, cut some holes in the side of the hessian and stuck my plants through. More potting mix and then Sweet Williams at the top. Will Sweet Williams look good all winter with the Pansies? I will let you know in a few months time. And if it doesn’t? Well I guess the Sweet William will stay on the garden center shelves next year.

A garden for all – Nepeta cataria

When designing my garden I wanted a garden the whole family (including our cat) would enjoy. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) seemed the perfect plant for this. It is a low growing plant with an attractive, small purple flower that bees love. Not only do the bees love it our cat also loves it (as well as a few of the neighbors cats). There is always a slightly flat patch in the middle of the plant and if you rub a few leaves between your fingers the cats goes mad for it. I have read that you can put little upright sticks among the plant to stop the cats from rolling in it but I believe the garden should be for everyone’s enjoyment and I receive pleasure from knowing our cat enjoys the garden as much as I do.

David Austin Roses


My gardening journey began six months ago with David Austin roses. I have always loved roses and after moving in with my mother-in-law (which has many challenges) I decided I needed a focus and interest to keep me occupied. I had taken up knitting about three years ago however due to an uncomfortable sofa and a television on high volume I wanted something that would get me outdoors. When choosing my roses I decided to look online to see what I might like. I had not realised that you could order plants on-line and have them delivered to your door. On-line shopping for plants – who would have thought! I spent hours looking at roses on the computer, pondering over colours and type. I eventually decided on six pastel shrub roses from David Austin. I had an approximate three month wait from date of order to delivery and thought this would give me time to prepare my boarder. At this stage I had no thought of soil type, conditions and definitely not bees. In my ignorance I assumed beautiful and fragrant roses would be as appealing to me as they were to bees. I choose David Austin roses simply because they seemed the best. The David Austin website had an abundance of information regarding types of roses, conditions each rose liked, how to care for your rose, distance required between planting each rose and many more facts and tips. They even had a page on what colour of plants went well with roses. Would I buy David Austin roses again? Definitely. In fact I have already spent hours mulling over their website to decide what roses I would like in my next boarder. At this stage I have decided on a row of the beautiful The Lark Ascending English shrub rose as it is very good for rose hedges, has rose hips (which do not seem so common now a days) and the bees love. What more could I possible want in a rose?

Elegant Verbena


When planning my boarder, and after planting my David Austin roses, I decided that I wanted a boarder that was not ordered and that bees would love. Mr Google was great inspiration and often the plant that would show up in searches would be Verbena. With more research I found that bees love blues and purples as bees can see some colours better than others. Apparently red is a colour bees struggle with. Maybe they are colour blind as my husband also has trouble seeing red and much prefers blues and purples. Anyway, once I had decided on purple tones to be planted along side my roses I set to work. The Verbena was the first perennial I purchased and because of its height I planted it at the back of my boarder. The Verbena has a simplicity about it that is always appealing. It grows straight and strong, flowers all through the summer, is not dense and thick so does not over power the garden and best of all the bees and butterflies love it. It has an elegance and style that makes it stand out and blend in to your garden all at the same time. When I get home from work, before going inside, I look over my garden and count the bees.