Category Archives: Garden

Lovely suddenly

After such a horrible winter how lovely is it to feel the sunshine?
Mother’s Day has just passed and the flowers seemed to come out just in time.
I used jelly beans in this arrangement and it tempted the bar staff where it was to try picking them out….hopefully it’s still in one piece and they’ve not managed to eat the lot.
Meanwhile in the garden I’ve at last seeded the lawn. Must keep watering it!
And in the greenhouse and garden there’s lots of activity. The broadbeans are on the up as are the lettuces and pak choi.. the sweet peas are coming through and the cerinthe is almost ready to go out (bit soon maybe), I can hardly keep up.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flowers, Garden, Uncategorized

The Christmas markets are in full swing

How come when there’s lot’s going on fate steps in and throws a few unexpected odds and ends into the mix to make things a little bit more complicated?

Last Saturday, just as I was gearing up for the Christmas market season and preparing to deal with a garden makeover my poor Elsie was attacked by a neighbour’s gun dog.   I thought she was a gonner, but she’s made of tough stuff.   Full of punctures and with a backend as bald as a coot, we brought our bedraggled and traumatised hen into the house where she has been nursed for a week.  A trip to the ben, antibiotics and anti inflammatories seem to have got us over the worst thank goodness.  Chickens do not like being confined – this one decided she was going to dig herself out one day – what a mess!  Now she’s back in the coop with her pals so we watch and hope.

In the garden I have installed another feature plant.   I’ve rescued a pittisporun which was destined for the bonfire.   It was about 8 ft high but was chopped and stuffed into my little van and fortunately seems to be taking.

Meanwhile the Christmas market season is getting well into its stride.   Today I took our signs, wreaths and Christmas goodies to Albion Place – really enjoyed it and am looking forward to next month when we’re there again.  Tomorrow it’s Green Hammerton and next week Chapel Allerton Lights switch on.

Here’s the schedule so far!  Come and say hello if you can make any of them…..


Sunday 21 Nov


Christmas Fair

Main Furniture Company, The Green
Green Hammerton, York, North Yorkshire YO26 8BQ
10am – 5pm
Wednesday 24th November Chapel Allerton Lights Switch On Stainbeck Corner, Chapel Allerton 6pm
Saturday 27 Nov Woodhouse Grove Christmas Fair Woodhouse Grove School, Apperley Bridge, 



10am – 1pm
Sunday 28th November Hob House Farm Christmas Fair Hob House Farm, Holmsley Lane, South Kirkby WF9 3JB 10am – 4pm
Tuesday 30th November Ramada Encore Christmas Market Whinby Road
S75 3LF
6 – 9pm
Friday 3rd December St Gemma’s Christmas Fair 329 Harrogate Road, Moortown, Leeds LS17 6QD 3pm – 8pm
Saturday 4th December St Gemma’s Christmas Fair 329 Harrogate Road, Moortown, Leeds LS17 6QD 10am – 3pm
Friday 10th December Leeds University Union Leeds University, Leeds 1 10am – 3pm TBC
Tuesday 14th December Christmas Market & Gospel Choir 20 Stainbeck Lane
Chapel Allerton
Leeds, LS7 3QY
6.00 pm – 9pm
Saturday 18th December Artsmix at Albion Place Leeds City Centre 11am – 5pm
Sunday 19th December Pure Genius Craft Centre 3-5 Grape Lane
York YO1 7HU
10am – 4pm

Leave a comment

Filed under Chickens, Craft Fairs, Garden

Happy Halloween

Time to light the candles and draw the curtains now the clocks have gone back this week.  To celebrate Halloween I’ve hollowed out pumpkins for a display at Harewood’s Autumn Glory and at the Mustard Pot in Leeds.   These roses are just perfect as well, brilliantly coloured yellow with orange edging to the petals they look good with the orange dyed grevillea leaping like flames around the black candle.

Here on the table you can see I’ve surrounded the pumpkin with dried pomegranates, little squash and maize.

At home all I need to do is dig out some sweeties for the hoardes and prepare for the onslaught!

In the garden there’s still work to do.   Yesterday and very much in keeping with the Halloween weekend I planted some garlic – it’s an ideal time to plant between now and mid November.  And I still have my broad beans to get in, but when I looked in the packet thinking there were plenty I only had 8 left from this spring, so not much use, another thing on the to do list.

Enjoy the fun and games!

Leave a comment

Filed under Flowers, Garden

Ive finished digging the lawn!

At last I’ve dug over the patch that will be a lawn – honest!  Here we were half way through, but it took 3 solid digging sessions to finish it.  Now all I have to do is rake and rake and rake until I get all the stones out, and believe me there are lots.

The weather sounds as though it may be colder next week which is a shame though because I’d really like to seed it and I need a bit of warmth to germinate the seed….let’s see though.

Pictures have arrived of the wedding party flowers I did 3 or 4 weeks ago.   It was in a giant tipi, well 2 tipis joined together which was big enough to seat 110 people.  It had a really nice feel about it, informal but special.   And each of the tables had a ring of beautiful flowers with a hedgerow feel to them, so I added crab apples, rose hips and berries in   rich red and autumn colours with a great big candle in the centre of each with 3 wicks so they added a lovely light as darkness fell.

There was room for a great swag to hang from the central beam made up of red and cream roses, astilbe, ivy and more berries and greenery, but that was a real nightmare to photograph.  I guess it was a couple of metres long so it kind of loses it as a picture.


Leave a comment

Filed under Garden

Soggy Sunday

No digging today!  It’s very wet out there.   But yesterday I did at last start on the bit of compacted mud that is to be the lawn.  I dug a border, or a circle.  I’d rescued a little acer ages ago and it’s been suffering in a pot and then in a temporary spot, looking very fed up – well about to die I suspect, now at last it has a home.
There are bricks all over my so called garden so I’m recycling, and they make a perfect edging, yet again.
Damp hens today.   Generally Daisy is determined to lay her eggs outside but because it’s raining on her favourite spot there’s no egg today – so where on earth is it?  Well I’m not going hunting now – it’s chucking it down, I’ll let you know if it turns up.

Now I suspect it’s going to be a Sunday of newspapers, telly and I probably have no way to avoid the ironing – oh joy….

Leave a comment

Filed under Garden

What now for the Veg Patch

It has been a great year for courgettes!  Everyone who’s grown them seems to have had so many that all the recipes in the world have been tried.   I’ve turned them into chutney, fritters, soup, ratatouille and even cake….

And it’s great to go out into the garden and dig up the potatoes and go our harvesting and then bring them into the kitchen, but what now that the summer season is over?

I’ve left it late to do much with overwintering vegetables so I could  sow a green manure.   Garden centres will have them in now but  I might sow something like red clover which will fix nitrogen into the soil.  I could simply sow the seed on empty ground and let it get on with it over the winter.   When I would normally dig over the patch for spring sowing I can dig the green manure into the soil and  instantly fed the soil for the coming season.

It’s not too late for some things, winter varieties of spinach and lettuce can still go in but I’ll probably be harvesting them in the spring.  Or if I spot some little plants in the garden centre I might cheat with some greens or cabbages.   I’ve got some parsnips in but I pulled a couple out today and was really disappointed with them.  They weren’t straight at all and I thought I’d put them into some lovely soil where they’d grow straight down.

Garlic can be planted either in autumn or spring but generally you’ll get better bulbs from an autumn sowing.   I know I will but but I mustn’t be tempted to divide up the ones from the supermarket, they tend not to be hardy enough to go through the winter.  Plant them up in a sunny spot where they won’t get waterlogged and wait till spring!

Leave a comment

Filed under Garden

Quick Easy Planter

The summer bedding’s  starting to fade  a bit now but there’s plenty of autumn and winter bedding appearing at the garden centres to give instant colour now and into the winter.

I potted up a couple of planters with pansies to show off the flowers to their best advantage.   This is a simple wooden box with a pack of winter pansies potted into it and just finished with a little moss to smarten the surface up a bit.   It’ll need nothing more than a bit of water when it’s dry and an occasional deadheading session to keep it tidy.  The flowers will carry on right through to the spring.

As good and very popular this year are hardy cyclamen.  Some have a lovely scent and they’re much more readily available than they used to be.  They look delicate but they’ll withstand quite a bit of winter weather and with a bit of luck they’ll come back year after year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Garden, Uncategorized

Autumn Sunshine

I can’t believe I’ve left my blog for so long so I’m going to try harder…..

Great day today for gardening.  Sunshine and it’s warm , so I should be planting bulbs.  I have some left from last year that I’ll put in and hope for the best.

Late summer gardens are very much in vogue at the moment, and as we seem to be having lovely autumn weather in recent years its all the better to enjoy them.  Harlow Carr in Harrogate has some of the best borders at this time of year so if there’s a sunny autumn afternoon it’s great for a visit.

Garden in September

If you want to put a couple of later summer perennials in your garden and fancy something easy to look after think about heleniums – tall with yellow and orange flowers when they fade they continue to add structure right through the winter, or verbena bonariensis, one of my favourites, another tall plant with striking purple flowers – its lovely light and airy.

This is a picture of my garden from the french windows – it looks a mess still because we have carpet down whilst I decide whether to grass or deck or gravel or what.  I became ever so slightly fixated on hoggin which looks so nice but no idea where to get it or how much it is – so we have a bit of an impasse.

I had a little tragedy last week when Gertie (one of the hens) died.  She’d been off colour for a day or two but then just died in the night.  She was one of the ex-batts and had never laid an egg but she looked so healthy.  I’ve spoken to a few people and I think it’s one of those things I need to put down to experience – but also I need to be a bit more vigilant maybe.

Hand Painted Signs

My son and I have started painting signs.  I love them but then I would wouldn’t I?  Here they are.  They’re individually made from reclaimed wood, each piece has its own charm.

We have an off the peg range of signs but signs can be made to order.   So you can remember a special date, a wedding or a christening maybe, or you can personalise a sign for Dad’s shed or Mum’s greenhouse as a special gift.

So if you’re interested please get in touch and I’ll try to remember to publish the dates of the craft fairs we’ll be doing this autumn.

Now this afternoon I hope to feel the urge to get outside and start on one of the lawns – the one I know I want – this is a good time to get seed down and the seed’s sitting in the shed, so no excuses.

Leave a comment

Filed under Garden

Time to catch up

Where have I been? Well it’ll take too long to explain but here we are again and pledged to myself to keep it up this time and not get distracted.
I had a birthday earlier this month and my lovely friend bought me two English roses, one’s a short climber and the other a shrub rose. Both are beautiful and heavily scented and I just love smelly roses. They arrived last week and were bare rooted – a bit late for planting bare rooted things really but that meant I had no choice but to get them in, so yesterday in they went.

I soaked them first overnight in a bucketful of water, then dug a big hole, watered the bottom of the hole, added a bit of well rotted manure and mixed it into the soil, spread out the roots and filled it in so that the soil level was up to the union (roses are all grafted and you can see the union if you look at the spot where the roots begin) and firmed it in with the heel of my wellie. A bit more manure in a circle around the plant, not touching though just in case. I’m being careful with them.

Watered them in and crossed my fingers. They’re not very impressive just yet but, now it’ll be a daily walk to see how they’re doing – are they sprouting, are they looking good. I’ll report back later.

Leave a comment

Filed under Garden

Something is coming through

Look – can you see?  Tiny little shoots of my lovely Black Peony poppy seeds bought last year at Chelsea – very lovely flowers and although I could put them straight into the ground because they’re hardy they’re so special I’m giving them careful treatment.

Got digging this weekend and I found my own little artefact.   I’m beside the site of an old pottery and I was hoping to dig up a priceless antique, unlikely I suspect.   Instead I found this mould for a jug – a bit battered I grant but I’m going to hang onto it as a garden ornament.

Rain again today though so I’m going to put some more seeds in and get them going indoors.

Leave a comment

Filed under Garden