Archive for the 'Garden Redesign' Category


One Garden Bench


Bought from a garden reclamation yard.


Spray painted with anti-rust paint. Job done. All I need now is a nice cushion and some lollipop Bay trees in pots on either side and what I have is the perfect place for a mid-morning chai latte.


My Garden Then and Now


Spring is really here in Portland. Today was the last frost day and although temperatures are not soaring it’s a great turning point for a gardener new to the area like me. This is how my kitchen garden is coming along. I planted a row of Box bushes to define the edges (and keep the kids and dog off the soil). And then I sowed lots of rows of cool season crops like Radish, Spinach, Arugula (Rocket) and Peas. They have all come up beautifully and have really filled out the whole area under the greenhouse window. I couldn’t resist the sky blue bistrot set infront of the greenhouse. That spot gets the evening sun and is perfect for a nice chilled glass of wine after the kids go to bed.


You can see from this photo that back in February the tree in the background had hardly any leaves, now it is lush and green. And the blossom has bloomed on the peachy-coloured Dogwood next to it. Also the Grape Hyacinth bulbs around the fountain have sprouted and are about to flower.


The weather is still very wet. As I’m speaking there is a serious deluge outside. But the garden is being planted up bit by bit. In the foreground here I have various types of Lettuce, Peas, Cauliflower, Chard and Kale. Also a small Strawberry patch on the left.


It’s a far cry from how the garden looked in the middle of February when the landscaping was finally finished! Hooray! A garden at last. It feels like forever that things were growing here.


My Lovely Patch of England


This is what my greenhouse looks like now. It’s finally finished and I can get in there and start to sow some seeds. Yey! I have some heated growing mats, seed trays and a box full of seeds all ready to go.


My union jack bunting looks right at home as does my Borough Market trough and Haws watering can. It’s my tiny patch of England.


These before and after shots show how the plants are settling in around the greenhouse. And how the brick base mellows the look quite significantly.



My Greenhouse


The greenhouse is half finished and I’m so, so happy with it.


This is what it looked like only last week but over the weekend the glass went in and it has been transformed into my garden dream. In mid December it was just a base wall. Now it’s a beauty in the making.

I’ve ALWAYS wanted a greenhouse. Every since my Dad had an aluminium one in the garden when I was growing up. He would grow Tomatoes and store his hanging baskets in there until it was safe to put them out. He would potter and potter in there for hours. Me and my mum had no clue what he was doing! And now I have my own to potter in. Maybe, it’s hereditary?

All I know is that I can’t wait to move all of my stuff in. To arrange my plant tags, set up the potting bench, plug in the heated mats and start growing. It seems like such a long time since I actually grew something. I have the seeds, the potting soil, the seed trays. I just need a door and some benches and all systems are go.

The grey wall you see will be covered by red bricks soon. There are automatic window vents to fit and probably a small heater to install (nothing too crazy just to keep it above freezing). Although someone on my gardening course had a smashing idea. She said she plugs in low-voltage Christmas lights to keep the frost away. No that, sounds like my kind of greenhouse!


My Plants Arrived


So… half of the plants have arrived for the ornamental part of the garden. They arrived on a big van while I was out so when I came home there was a surprise waiting for me on the driveway! I must confess to be really, really excited about putting them in.


The weather here is still pretty cold and the ground was frozen today until the sun came out and warmed things up a little. We managed to get one of the large Amur Maple trees in (of which there are five), some Hebes, two Rosemary plants and five Flamingo Heathers. It’s a start. The rest will go in over the next week.


It’s amazing how just positioning a few plants around, particularly ones that give height to the garden makes it look smaller. They bring the edges in and make it feel cosy, less stark, and more useable.

We’re planting the following:

Evergreen shrubs:
Flamingo Heather (Calluna Flamingo) size 1G, 23
Camellia Elegans Splendor size 6′, 3
Variegated Winter Daphne (Daphne Odura Auro-Marginatea) size 2G, 2
Great Orme Hebe, size 2G, 3
Emerald Gem Hebe, size 2G, 4
Hinera Hebe, size 2G, 2
Blue Star Juniper, size 2G, 8
Hazel Spanish Lavender (Lavendula Stoechas Hazel) size 2G, 13
Fringe Flower (Loropetalum ‘Chaing Nian Hong”) size 5G, 3
Drew’s Blue Siberian Carpet Cypress (Microbiota Condrew) size 3G, 5
Blue Spires Rosemary, size 2G, 5
Evergreen Blueberry size 3G, 4

Deciduous Trees:
Flame Amur Maple (Acer Ginnala) size 8′, 5
Toyo Nishiki Flower Quince (Chaenomeles Toyo Nishiki), size 6′, 1
(although I’ll need another one if I want fruit)

Deciduous Shrubs:
Crimson Ruby Japanese Barberry (Berberis Crimson) size 2G, 8
Spike Winterhazel (Corylopsis Spicata) size 5G, 2
Diablo Ninebark (Physocarpus Diablo) size 5G, 4
Teller Blue Hydrangea (Hydrangea Blaumelse) size 5G, 1
Dark Violet Blue Hydrangea, size 5G,1
Pee Wee Oak Leaf Hydrangea, size 5G, 4
Little Princess Spiraea, size 2G, 3

Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum Pedatum) size 2G,14
Royal Purple Fern, Osmundra Purpurascens, size 2G, 4
(I actually decided against these as I realised I don’t like Ferns!)

Elijah Blue Fescue (Festuca Glauca Elijah Blue) size 1G, 33

Empress Wu Hosta, size 1G, 4
Elegans Plantain Lily, size 1G, 11

Ground Cover:
Hybrid Epimedium (Rubrum) size 4″, 8
Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis Oregana), size 4″, 18
Hens & Chicks (Sempervivum Tectorum), size 4″, 5
Stonecrop (S. Cauticolum Lidakense) size 4″, 12
Cauticola Coca Cola, size 4″, 17
Woolly Thyme (Thymus Pseudolanuginosus) size 4″, 8

Anyone got any ideas what I can use instead of Ferns? They’re mostly in damp, shady areas.


Brand New Soil

The landscapers are virtually finished here in the garden. The last thing they did was to bring in this new, black, crumbly soil and dig it in to all of the beds. They have also hooked up my cute little copper mushroom lights that light the pathways at night.

It’s all coming together nicely. The rose arch is in place. I’m planning to do a pale pink climbing rose with some nice boxwood edging along the pathway a little something like this rose arch. I’m also trying to source some sand-coloured gravel. It seems to be impossible to find here in the northwest. Most gravels are dark grey or reddish. Hmm… I’ll keep looking.

The only problem when it comes to planting anything is that the weather here has taken a dive in terms of temperature. A week of freezing winds has frozen the soil, and my lovely fountain too!


My Stone Fountain

At long last we have our lovely stone fountain working again. When we moved into the house it was looking very sad. It was full of soil and weeds and the pump was on the floor beside it. It was also in the middle of a very overgrown garden and so you couldn’t really see it.

We dug the soil out and it turns out that the bottom level has a wonderful aqua colour to it which makes the water sparkle blue.

It looks a little bare now that the plants are all gone. But pretty soon, once we start planting again it will be back to its former glory and take pride of place in the middle of the kitchen garden. And even though the summer feels like a long way away I bet we’ll be thankful for the tinkling water sound when the sun is beating down. I’m so happy to see it working again and restored to its former glory. It feels like the right thing in the right place in the right garden again.

Here’s a shot of how it looked when we first moved here.


Greenhouse Beginnings

A very inauspicious beginning to my beautiful greenhouse. These concrete slabs will eventually be lovely, brick walls. And the greenhouse on top of them will blend seamlessly in to its surroundings.

Unlike this base which seems to be the antithesis of lovely right now. One day it will be as gorgeous as this.


My Planting Plan

The garden redesign is really split into two parts, the ornamental garden with the lawn which is where we will play, eat and hangout. And the kitchen garden where I’ll grow our vegetables and fruit. The two will be split up by the greenhouse which will effectively be a barrier between the two.

I will be planting up the kitchen garden but today I received the planting plan for the ornamental side of the garden. It’s very exciting and there are a lot more plants in it than I expected.

Some of the plants on the list I recognise, like Flamingo Heather, Green Orme Hebe, Hydrangeas, Camillias, Hostas, and Cypress. But some are new to me like Spike Witchhazel, Diablo Ninebark, and Japanese Barberry.

One striking thing about this part of the garden is that it has six Flame Amur Maple trees around the edge which I think will make a dramatic backdrop in Autumn.

I’m also planning to switch some of the traditional planting out in favour of some more edible plants. I’ll be putting in a Flowering Quince tree next to the greenhouse, a Medlar tree, a Black Cherry on the north side and replacing some of the Sweet Box edging with evergreen Blueberry. I’m also making room for a Marionberry.

I’m hoping to buy around half the plants soon and get them in before the frosts come (not much time!). And the perennials will probably have to wait until the Springtime.


Our Epic Lawn

Some people are content with a small patch of lawn. Just enough for a deckchair or two under a shady tree – somewhere to settle in with a good book. Others (like my husband) want something bigger. “I want to throw a football on it,” he said. What he actual meant was he wanted a football field.

Here is the same patch from the same view before the grass went down.

Definitely an improvement. Although, I’m relieved that my kitchen garden is tucked around the corner away from footballs and people throwing them!

Available for music festivals, country fairs and polo matches.

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