Kitchen Garden…

A few weeks ago, Ronnie’s parents came to stay for the weekend. They came about a year ago and transformed our courtyard, this time, they created us a kitchen garden!

This is the section nearest the kitchen door when they arrived. It’s essentially a ramshackle section built on the remnants of the old outdoor toilet and coal stores.  


The DPC, laid to kill weed, was pulled up and we set to work pulling up the roots of the anaemic weeds beneath, three bins worth to be precise. Ronnie’s dad used some of the various bricks and tiles we had hanging round the garden to build up and secure the walls and smoothed over the earth ready for planting. Before I knew it, it looked like this… 


It was then time to start planting, we were given an amazing selection of home-grown plants including beans, tomatoes, chilli, asparagus peas, butternut squash, Chinese cucumber, horseradish, potatoes, pumpkins and rather ambitiously, watermelons!  


Each of the plants were planted in carefully chosen positions and staked as needed. The kind help of Ronnies mum and dad created a manageable portion of the garden to look after & It’s great to have all of these vedgetables just a few steps from the kitchen door, I can’t wait for them to be ready!  

The same weekend, we were also the grateful recipients of a variety of herb plants, my aunt & uncle liked the herb garden we’d assembled a couple of weeks before, but the plants apparently weren’t up to scratch so they gave us some superior speciens…I’m pretty sure I have the best stocked herb garden in town! 


Meanwhile, Dottie found a great vantage point from which to keep an eye on the weekends proceedings…she’s not as silly as she looks! 


Busy Bees…

These long weekends are giving us a much needed progress boost. 

The lounge isn’t too far off, the floor needs one last round of sanding and varnishing then it’s finally done…We’ll get this sorted in the evenings during the course of the week. 


There’s not too much else we can do now in the lounge until the fire is fitted over the next couple of weeks, one task we still needed to do was to make the opening of the mantle piece slightly smaller to avoid a gap between the backplate of the fire once fitted, it’s not an ideal solution as we’d rather not tinker with the mantle piece, but there’s little else that can be done as it’s such a large opening.


Ronnie attached some decorative profile oak skirting board to the back of the mantle, it actually blends in quite well and once it’s waxed it should look good. 

While the latest coat of floor varnish was drying we worked on other areas of the house to avoid smudging the finish, though the trail of dinky little paw prints meandering across the gloss suggests Dottie didn’t get the memo. We had a huge clear out from two of the spare rooms in the extension, we plan to get these rooms done quite soon as there’s really only decorating to do as walls and ceilings are sound. 

We busied ourselves doing mist coats on the landing and large guest bedroom,  even though it’s very rough it looks so much more ‘finished’ than bare plaster!  


I’ve also done a bit of homework on finding somewhere to get the doors dipped, it’s looking likely to cost around £20 each which was a pleasant surprise, we may as well get them all done at once.


The cloakroom got a last coat of paint, it’s now ready and waiting for the photos to go on the wall, followed by towel rail, which will hopefully be done next weekend.

 While hunting round for my bathroom accessories in the attic I finally remembered to hang up the Christmas mistletoe, it apparently brings good luck to a house, I’m not sure it still works if you forget to do it for five months but it’s worth a try, we need all the help we can get! Oh and the bathroom accessories? I found those in the bedroom.  

As the weather was quite nice, I decided I’d sort out the herb pots for half an hour. Five hours later, I’d dug out two bushes, planted more tomatoes, hydrangea & sunflowers, tidied the herbs and rehomed them outside the kitchen door on their own inpromptu wall. Roland if you are reading you better be impressed! 


The whole of the courtyard is now looking good, soon the rose will be flowering as it was the day we first viewed the house. The rest of the garden is going a bit, erm…wild, but one thing at a time…I’m going to turn my chair around and enjoy a glass of wine in the nice bit! 


Day of Rest…

After another Saturday spent snagging the downstairs loo, enough was enough and we took Sunday off.  We chose to go to a garden festival at nearby Malvern. 


There were some beautiful plants to inspire our garden, when we ever get to landscape it. I loved these auriculas in their cheery little pots and the wild flower style planting scheme ticked a few boxes too.  


We just bought a few bits and bobs as until we clear some decent space in the garden, plants will be engulfed by weeds before we’ve put our trowels down.  


I couldn’t resist these two hydrangeas, at only a couple of pounds each I’d have felt guilty for leaving them… We also bought this little birdcage mirror for the Victorian wall, I think it will look lovely once there is some foliage growing around it.  


Last but not least, I planted out some tomatoes…’Sweet Millions’, I’ll be happy with sweet half a dozen to be honest… Watch this space.  


The Great Outdoors…

Inspired by last weekends trip to Oslo, the good weather and some plant donations from Ronnie’s Dad, I spent a few hours in the garden. I’ve cleared about six square meters for the beginning of our vegetable garden… 


Supervised by Dottie Cat, I sectioned off the area with some picket fence from Aldi of all places, £3.99 a section! At least this gives us a defined area to keep weed free. So far we have a fig tree, rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries, horseradish and pumpkins. We have also been given white and black grape vines to plant along the Victorian wall in a few weeks time, which if anything like Ronnies Dad’s grapes will be delicious. While digging the plot I discovered the usual selection of random finds in the soil, including another etching plate, a dinky little bottle, a thimble and what we think might be a button from an old shop till – 6D. I love that numeric typography. 


Later, we had a little wonder around Stroud where we picked up this globe, we’ve been after one for a while and this fits the bill, more retro than antique AND it lights up, classy! 

Back inside I have finally got round to taking a picture of the cubby hole, this used to be a funny little arch in the hallway and now…well, it’s a funny little arch in the kitchen. There’s actually been quite a lot done…plaster removed, DPC fitted, replastering, adjoining wall removal, window fitted, light moved, floor laid, decorating, corbels guilded, sofa varnished and cushions making – thanks Juney! Somewhere comfy for Dottie Cat to relax after all that weeding.