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! 

  

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Preparing For Winter…

I’m seriously behind on blogging, where oh where to start with updates…? The garden is a good a place as any, we’ve made the most of the last few rays of Autumn sun…

Firstly Ronnie’s Mum and Dad came over for a weekend and worked their magic on another section of the garden, they transplanted a few of my plants that have been in pots for the last few years into the ground, and they seem to be much healthier for it (the plants, not the parents…or maybe both?!) They also ridded another section of the garden of several feet of weeds, we’ve since put down more plastic in an effort to keep them at bay. The areas that we covered earlier in the year appear to be working well when we’ve peeked. We’ll leave it in place until Spring and hope it works, failing that we’ll have to go nuclear.

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We planted pansies in one of the containers left behind by the previous owners.

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And finally, we had an outdoor tap fitted, I brought this lovely little bird tap from my old house…it was a gift from Spain…Tweet!

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What a Difference a Day Makes…

Yesterday started bright and early as Dennis the plasterer was arriving at 8am, so our usual Saturday morning lie in followed by lazy breakfast was sacrificed…boo! The day went in a bit of a whirlwind, and I didn’t take any ‘before’ photos, but here, in a nutshell, is what we did:

1. We DPC’d the garden. Doesn’t everyone?. We pulled out all the pesky weeds (for the third time) and then covered the ground in a layer of DPC, which will stay down until Christmas (probably longer truth be told, I intend to be sitting snuggled by a wood burner by then!) blocking out light should (we are assured) will kill the weeds once and for all and leave us with lovely healthy soil.

20140601-201508-72908077.jpg 2. I nailed fairy lights along the top of the garden wall, I got told off as apparently this was not a priority. Whatever. Dennis sided with me, that I should do it if it made me happy. We like Dennis.

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3. We harvested our first Lansdowne produce: 4 dinky potatoes (and 2 quite big ones, which it took me several hours to work out were the seeds.) We ate them before I had chance to take a photo.

4. We visited an African themed garden centre, Akamba, they had some great animal sculptures made from recycled metal and incredible exotic palms. A slightly surreal oasis, Akamba has a great restaurant where we enjoyed delicious a Caribbean lunch in the sun – bliss. Akamba (and the weather) bought back memories of holidays, and gave us a good dose of garden inspiration, we need an exotic hut in our lives for starters!

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4.I spent a couple of hours trying to strip stools we purchased last week. It may take a ‘couple’ more to get them looking ship shape.

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5. I finally built the Abbeville bench I purchased a few weeks back from The Great Little Trading Co which sits between the garden and cloakroom doors, couldn’t fit better had it been made to measure! Needs painting and a cushion making, but that’s waaaay down the list. It’s really going to transform a dead space into useful storage.

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6. THE PLASTERING STARTED!!! I’m so upset I didn’t take any pictures yesterday morning when the walls were mainly brick, but here is how it looked at the end of day one, and today, end of day two.

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Finally for this week, a few people have asked where we found our garden bench, it was The Barn At Studley, where you’ll find some beautiful home and garden wares, we’ll be back there for more garden features, once those weeds are dealt with!

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Turning Point?

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The sun is shining today, just a little bit, but plaster dust is slightly more bearable when the doors and windows can be flung open without fear of freezing to death. I’ve spent the day stripping paint and paper from the hallway, I thought this job had been checked off, but alas, Ronnie today declared the job a fail and I was sent back to do it again. Humph. We’ve taken the skirting off in the hall to allow the D.P.C. guys access, it also meant I could finally check over the whole of the original floor, it’s all looking good with the exception of a couple of missing tiles by the doorway and a few gloopy, gluey patches where carpet has been stuck down in the past, it seems a million years since we got rumbled by the Estate Agent ripping up the carpet to see what was lay beneath the horrid carpet and found our fabulous floor.

20140216-171305.jpg The kitchen arrives on Saturday, so next week will be a flurry of last minute quotations for fitting. The remnants of the room divisions have been taken down at last, which really seems to have opened up the room. We’ve got a few little jobs left to do before the fitters arrive, such as ordering door furniture, cleaning up the exposed brick wall and trying to find a stained glass window we can use in the panel between the arch and the dining table, sourcing worktop, oh and a corner unit…quite a lot then really! Eek! I also want to improve the cupboard doors, I’m planning on adding beading and painting them to match the Ikea units.

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I mentioned last week that the structural repair guys had managed to put the Helifix bars into the gable end without leaving a trace, it’s stopped raining long enough for me to take a picture today – Ta da!

20140216-200630.jpg Lastly, our other house is finally set to exchange, so we should actually have a budget very soon. Hurrah!