Spooky Stuff for the Garden

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Posted by jasdfgh | Posted in Plants / Flowers | Posted on 15-10-2013

Hey, are you planning a Halloween party this year?

Pumpkin Garden

We love Halloween in our house. My kids like to plan their outfits from around September onwards – my youngest wants to dress up as a Disney princess, but my oldest is determined he’s going to be a Zombie. Nice. Hubbie likes Halloween too and he started talking about us having a party this year, as we owe a lot of our friends and family and who doesn’t love a bit Halloween fancy dress?

 

When he started talking about the party, I groaned at first and then I thought – actually, I could put some displays out in the garden. It could work really well and a lot of my friends haven’t yet seen what I’ve been doing with the garden ever since I started my new hobby. I think this could work well!

 

Growing Pumpkins

 

So first off – well I’m too late to have grown my own pumpkins and squashes this year, but I do plan to grow them next year. I’ve researched it and I’d like to try the popular Jack O’Lantern variety because you can get a 10-20 pound pumpkin (that’s a lot of pumpkin pie). You need to plant them in rich soil, apparently, and sow the seeds 6-8 inches apart.

 

Pumpkins need 110-140 days of frost-free growing and about six hours of direct sunlight a day. You should also feed them regularly to make sure they get all the nutrients they need to grow well.

 

I guess if I plant them in early summer, I’ll have pumpkins in time for next Halloween Well, that’s next year sorted then, but this year I’ll need to just buy my pumpkins from the local Walmart like everyone else!

 

What I plan to do for my Halloween party this year is get Hubbie to carve out five or six pumpkins and I’ll use them to light up the path up to our door. I think it’ll look pretty awesome and it’ll show off my new lawn and the fab wrought iron railings.

 

There are some great candles and decorations you can buy too, and I thought I’d get some of them too for my outdoors to make it extra spooky, and I’ll get some fairy lights for the house and our decking.

 

Fiery Fun

 

Hubbie wants to do a bonfire too. I wasn’t too sure because I was worried about safety, but he’s promised me he’ll do everything to make sure it’s safe. He’ll wheel out the barbecue too so that we can have hot dogs and burgers while standing round the fire. He muttered something about fireworks too, so I’ll definitely have to invite all of our neighbours as otherwise people might get bugged because of the noise.

 

We’ll definitely be having pumpkin pie and maybe some roasted pumpkin, seeing as we’re going to have so much left over pumpkin from all that carving. I might do toffee apples too, and hot chocolate with marshmallows. (Us adults will have a slug of brandy or Jack Daniels in ours!)

 

Now, I need to go off and make a lot of lists – there’s so much to do and I haven’t even decided what costume I’m going to be wearing yet!

Say Hello to the Birdies!

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Posted by jasdfgh | Posted in Wildlife | Posted on 03-10-2013

birdsHi everyone – is the weather getting colder with you? We had a great September – and we all sat out in the garden a lot – but now I think fall is definitely here and the chances to enjoy the garden aren’t going to be as many.

Because I’m now to gardening and I’ve been finding out a lot of stuff since I started trying to improve it, I feel kinda sad that fall is here. As you’ll know I went for an artificial lawn and it’s been great not having to cut it through the summer (my neighbour has a real lawn and I think he was really envious of me as I didn’t need to cut ours and he seemed to be out there practically every day).

Of course, an artificial lawn looks great all year round so it’s nice to know I’ll be looking out at the same view (sort of, you know what I mean…)

 

Feed the Birds

I’ve been thinking about the birds though. My kids love animals and wildlife and I thought it would be great for them to feed the birds this winter. We could have fun trying to identify them too – I picked up this book in my local book store last week which was meant for kids and it tells you how to identify different birds and gives you information about them

We could turn it into a competition – who in the family can see and identify the most kinds of birds. What do you think?

Anyway, I read up online about what I need to do to attract birds to the garden in winter. I’m going to start with as bird feeder, obviously, and I’ll make sure I put it in a place where cats or squirrels can’t get at it easily. You then make sure there is a regular supply of seeds and suet in there to attract the birds.

 

More than Feeders

But, according to what I’ve been reading, bird feeders aren’t the only things you need. You also want to make sure there are trees, bushes and shrubs in your garden. The birds will be looking for shelter and stuff they can use for building nests. I’ve got some asters growing in the garden, and apparently they are great for attracting cardinals, chickadees, goldfinches, indigo buntings, nuthatches, sparrows and towhees. Hey – I don’t even know what half of these birds look like!

Advice I’ve read also recommends other plants which are good for attracting birds to your garden – the black-eyed Susan, coneflowers and globe thistles are good for birds. It seems that black-eyed Susan and coneflowers are pretty sturdy plants too and are good at surviving even the harshest winter.

 

This all sounds good and I can’t wait to see the birds in our garden this winter.

Sorting out the Garden Pond

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Posted by jasdfgh | Posted in Design, Features | Posted on 24-09-2013

garden-pond

Hi everyone – and welcome back to my gardening blog. (Thanks for visiting – my mom brought me and my sisters up to be polite, so I think it’s only fair that I say thanks for dropping by.)

 

As you’ll know if you read my ‘about’ page, I’m new to this whole gardening lark. I’ve been wanting to make the most of our garden for a long time so I started up this blog as a kind of gardening diary. Writing a blog makes me do research so it’s really useful for my garden too.

 

Time for the Pond

 

We’ve got a pond in our garden, but it’s been a bit neglected. I had fenced it off a few years ago because I was worried about the kids – you read such terrible things about kids falling into ponds and drowning, and they can drown in such tiny amounts of water too – but now they are a bit more grown-up and safety-aware, I think it’s time to reveal the pond in its full glory!!

 

The thing is, the pond is looking a bit – well, icky really. I did some research and I discovered we’ve got pond blanket weed. Urgh! Luckily for us, it is only around the edge of the pond where the water is more shallow, but I need to do something about it quickly to stop it spreading as it could end up everywhere – even at the bottom of the pond too!

 

Removing Blanket Weed

 

The advice I read about how to remove blanket weed was that you should remove as much of the weed by hand as possible before starting on any kind of chemical treatment, so it looks as if I’ll need to pull on hubby’s waders and get stuck in. I’ll need to rake over the pond, then lift the rake up. If the blanket weed is attached, I’ve got to slowly twist the rake and pull it out. I’ll need to do this daily until the weed is under control.

 

Eventually, I’d like to put fish in the pond. My hubbie is desperate for fish as he really likes them. I think he finds it soothing watching them swimming round and round, and the kids say they would like fish too. I think it would be good for them as a project. I’d make them responsible for feeding the fish every day.

 

The advice I read about how to remove blanket weed also said there are certain fish you can add to your pond which will eat blanket weed – such as grass carp, so that sounds like a good idea. I don’t really like the idea of having to use strong chemicals on my pond to remove blanket weed, but if I’ve got fish in there that can do it for me – brilliant!

 

Is there anyone reading this who’s had the same problem with their pond? If so, I’d love it if you could give me advice on how to deal with it and how long it took you to get rid of blanket weed. Thanks in advance!

I’ve Planted My Onions!

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Posted by jasdfgh | Posted in Vegetables | Posted on 24-09-2013

onion

Hey everyone – did you have a good weekend? The weather forecasters in our area got the forecast wrong – which was great, because I was expecting rain and it didn’t come. It meant me, hubbie and the kids got to sit out in the garden all day Saturday and all day Sunday.

 

Actually hubbie was the only one who sat out (typical!). I planted stuff and the kids ran about like crazy, wild things, which was great because they went off to bed at 8pm on Saturday night (and actually requested that they go to bed!!) and hubbie and I got to have a glass of wine outside. I’m lovin’ our garden life

 

To keep you up to date, I planted radishes, kale and onions this weekend. I think the onions are going to come in really useful. I mean, what dish do you make that doesn’t include onions?? I use them in soups, for stews and casseroles, on top of burgers and steaks – you get the picture.

 

My old Uncle Jim actually likes to eat onions raw, like an apple you know? I’m not so keen on them raw (your mouth tastes like garbage for days afterwards…), but Uncle Jim swears he hasn’t had a cold in 20 years and he says it’s because he eats a raw onion a day every day.

 

I researched lots of tips and advice on planting onions, as I do really want mine to work. I’m growing my onions from sets (or bulbs) rather than seeds, as apparently that is easier for beginners – and I’m definitely a gardening newbie. Onion sets need less soil and less soil fertility, and they don’t get attacked by mildew.

 

Whilst I’m growing them, I’ve got to weed the onion beds regularly, and I should feed them with liquid fertiliser and water them when the ground is dry. I also need to cut off any flower stems which appear, as the onion plant should be using its energy to grow the bulb and not the flower.

 

OK – it sounds sorta straightforward and I’m really hoping it will produce great results. I read up about the soil in my area and it says that we have really good, rich soil which is great  for growing veggies.

 

If any of you reading this blog are good gardeners, I’d really love it if you could give me any advice about onions – oh, and kale and radishes too!

 

What should I plant during fall?

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Posted by jasdfgh | Posted in Vegetables | Posted on 11-09-2013

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veg-gardening-fall

Hey everyone – I have a question to ask. Do you consider yourself green-fingered? I ask because I’m writing this blog about gardening and before recently, I didn’t think I was green-fingered at all and now I really, really want to be.

 

As you can imagine, I’ve been Googling like a crazy woman so what I researched this week was – what to plant during fall. I started out my garden because I wanted it to look nice, adding in wrought iron railings and looking at different plants, including lilies. But then I thought, hey what about some food? I don’t about you, but our family’s food bills are kinda crazy frightening these days. I also like the idea of me as Earth Momma feeding the kids stuff I’ve grown and knowing it doesn’t have all those chemical nasties in it.

 

So, according to the wonderful world wide web, during Fall there’s quite a few veggies I can plant which I’ll be able to harvest in a few weeks. I don’t know about you, but I love veggies. My best friend Julie, who is an awesome cook, makes incredible veggies dishes (she’s a lifelong vegetarian, which is cool, but I love steak too much…). Maybe once my veggies have grown, she can have some in exchange for making some delicious veggie dishes for hubbie, kids and me!

 

raddishSo, what can I grow – I can grow radishes. I’ve got to get them in three to six weeks before the frost starts and they need to be planted about an inch apart. Maybe this could be a project for the kids? That way, they’ll be more likely to eat them…

 

lettuceOr I could grow head lettuces. These need to be planted about 8 inches apart and half-an-inch deep, and they should be watered every five to ten days. I guess it should be easy to tell when they are ready as I’ll be able to see them.

 

I keep reading about what a super food kale is and that all the super models/actresses eat it, so perhaps I should concentrate on kale? Kale, apparently, needs soil temperature of between 40-70 degrees F, and the seeds should be planted half-inch deep and 12-15 inches apart. You can pick the plant about 70-95 days after sewing. [Hubbie just looked over my shoulder there and went – “Bleurgh, there's no way I'm eating kale!” Honestly, what a terrible example to set our kids!]

 

Onions too could be a go-er (or should that be grow-er?!). The advice online says you should plant them if you live in an area which has a mild fall/winter – yippee, that’s me! – and it’s much easier to grow them from sets or mini-bulb than seed. I would need to plant them about an inch deep and 3-5 inches apart, and I can pick them when their tops fall over.

 

Well, there’s plenty to think about and get on with. Just think, if I got all of this good stuff planted we could be eating our produce in time for Thanksgiving.

Iron Railings or open plan? Dilemma!!!

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Posted by jasdfgh | Posted in Design | Posted on 02-09-2013

iron-garden-railings

Hope you are enjoying the blog so far, I am well into my garden design now and I am faced with another dilemma. As I sit here on my brand new Artificial lawn I must add!. My husband has been nagging me about the wall that runs along our patio area which raises up to the top level of the garden. I personally wanted to leave it as it is, but my husband suggested that Iron railings would be much safer for the Kids and would also look good too. I have been browsing around and there are some really nice wrought Iron railings about. I didn’t realise just how many different designs there were!

Considering I was totally against it I now think a small low level railing would look pretty good. It would also match the Iron gate which we have that separates the driveway to the garden. I really don’t know anything about garden railings so I searched Google and found ADgates. They actually came out and measured the wall and made the railings exactly how I wanted them. They also fitted them to which was great.

Now I have yet another feature in my garden and the bill keeps adding up! but I don’t care – I want  a nice garden!

Now I have the main features in its time to start learning a little more about plants and its time I started planting some!! So the next few posts will be about different plants. Hopefully we can learn something along the way.

Real lawn or artificial?

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Posted by jasdfgh | Posted in Design | Posted on 27-08-2013

lawn-artificial

On to my second post and I have a bit of a dilemma! Should I have a real grass lawn or and artificial lawn? This has been bugging me all week so I though I may aswell write a post about the pro’s and con’s of each one and hopefully by the time I have finished I will have come to a decision as to which is best for my garden, and hopefully yours!

Ok, I have a pretty large area with a bit of curvature that I would like as my lawn. I have been doing a bit of research and here is what I have found.

Real grass lawn – There is nothing better than relaxing on a beautifully cut, lush green lawn in the middle of summer! I can just picture it now. The feel, the smell of outdoors and the softness under your feet. All sounds great doesn’t it? but we live in the real world and we all know that this scenerio will occure no more than a dozens times per year.

So here is my list of advantages and disadvantages to a real grass lawn:

 

Advantages

  • Relatively cheap, you can get turf quite easily
  • Looks great (when cut and maintained)
  • It’s natural
  • Hmmm, Im running out of ideas already!
  • It’s good for the kids to play on!

 

Disadvantages:

  • Grass needs cutting, especially in the summer
  • You will need to purchase a lawn mower
  • Becomes messy and untidy in the winter
  • Takes a lot of care and attention
  • Weeds grow within the lawn (nightmare)
  • Ruined very quickly with children running riot on there!
  • Dogs can dig it up
  • Creates messy feet when its wet and soggy
  • Come back off holiday and your garden looks like the amazon rain forest

 

It seems there disadvantages outweigh the advantages here!. This will lead us on nicely to the artificial lawns

I have been looking around latley and there are some great astro turm lawns available. They look so real its unbeliveable.

Artificial Turf?

Advantages:

Looks real, I mean really real!!

Drains well

Looks great

Looks great all year around, come wind, rain or whatever

No maintenance whatsoever (my favourite)

Child and pet friendly

No weeds grow through

No need to fork out for a lawn mower

Hard wearing

Does not get muddy

Artificial_lawn_garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

disadvantages

Expensive. It can cost quite a bit for the good stuff

Doesn’t quite feel like real grass

You don’t get the fresh outdoor smell

 

Well, judging by what i have just come up with there is no comparison really. Artificial turf is amazing and I will definitely be getting one laid in my garden.

 

Different types of Artificial lawn!

Ok, There are actually a few different types of artificial turf. the first being what they call ‘Monofilament synthetic grass. Basically this means it’s height and width are equal. This type of grass requires the help of some special types of formulas like rock base. Next there is silt film or fibrillated synthetic grass. This is when each blade is thick, its like wide grass, similar to fescue or blue grass. Most types of artificial turf you buy are sand filled. you can get short or long pile, depending on your preferences. If using it in your garden then I would suggest a long pile, as the shorter stuff is very tuff and is used for football pitches!

I hope this article has helped and please feel free to leave a comment below!

 

grass-fake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first post – Lillies (I know what they are)

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Posted by jasdfgh | Posted in Plants / Flowers | Posted on 17-08-2013

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yellow-lillies

If you haven’t read my about page then I’d like to welcome you to my blog. Basically I set this blog up as I had a brain wave and decided I wanted to start gardening! I don’t know what inspired me to do so but we have a pretty big garden and combine this with a bit of sunshine I decided that gardening was the way forward. Having sat down and thought about it there are quite a lot of angles to approach when it comes to gardening. Hopefully I will work my way through all of them in time but as things stand at this moment in time I don’t really know anything about gardening, so hopefully we can both learn together and enjoy the journey.

 

My first topic of conversation is going to be Lilies, (Lily)

 

Why?

Because this is about the only flower I know a little something about, and the reason that is because my 7 year old daughter planted some Lily seeds a few months ago. They eventually grew and showed their pretty little faces and then a couple of weeks later vanished off the face of the earth again!

 

Why did this happen to my beautiful Lily’s?

Well I soon found out that Lily’s offer an exotic touch to your garden which gorgeous vibrant colours. They need lots of sunlight to grow and rich fertile soil that is also well drained. I actually put a layer of broke tiles at the bottom of my flower box and then added compost. It is important that you plant the bulbs deep enough to protect them from the weather. They will also grow back every year if they are planted well and also spaced out. Lilies also multiply, so next year you will find you will have a lot more that you did originally. We don’t get to much sun where i live so this is why they don’t last long.

Types of lilies

There are actually a few different types of Lily which are segmented into groups. the most popular are Oriental hybrids and Atlantic. The latter usually flower earlier and have no scent where as Oriental have a very strong scent. Quite sweet actually. There are many varieties that range from very short, ground lilies to huge 6ft long lilies. (Lilly Muscadet) I know! Im beginning to sound like a Lily buff already!

 

How To plant Lillie’s

Its pretty easy to plant Lilies, Just dig a hole and place the bulbs about 6 inches apart at a depth at least 3 times the size of the bulb. Use some decent  compost and away you go. If planting in pots or containers then make sure it drains well.

 

Make them last – Feed

Taking care of your beautiful new Lilies does take a little care. They will need lots of sunlight and water. You can also feed them. They are heavy feeders so I recommend using a high potassium liquid fertiliser.Its always a good idea to carry on feeding after they have flowered as it allows them to grow back well the following year.

 

So there you have it. My run down on Lilies and my very first post on this blog. I hope this has been useful for you and please feel free to comment below. Here are a few images of my Lilies. I though I had best take some pictures as they may not last for much longer now. They are a gorgeous flower and as they dont last long, we have to enjoy and appreciate them well we can!

Orange_Lilies pink-lily

 

Oooops…. I forgot to mention about them little pests. The Lily beetle. They will eat away at the leaves and flowers. It is best to check regularly and remove any you see. They are red and about 1cm long. Find them, crush them! Over and out….. I promise this time!!