Thursday, 25 June 2009

The Garden.......Part Two

I feel like I've left my blog in suspense so I'll continue where I left off last time.


So we got the garden turfed and ended up with a nice new lawn, all full of sand where we had been told to cover the joins in the turf. It was hard to imagine that it would look nice but we persevered.


Daily watering for a few weeks and a bit of care to keep off the grass etc and we really have ended up with a very nice lawn. Lots of clover as the turf was meadow turf (and covered in sheep droppings!) but it has taken really well and it is now looking very green and healthy. We plan to have a really good go with weed killer at the end of the summer and chuck a whole load of grass seed down to see if we can tip the balance to more grass than clover!!




The patio in the corner got laid properly and has now become home to our little love seat, which was a wedding gift from some of my oldest and dearest friends.

I've also got a jasmine growing up the trellis you can see behind the bench seat :-)




I have got a little carried away with my flower beds since we finished the grass. As mentioned before, the plan was to have my herb garden plus one or two other small beds. Once the patio was done, it seemed right to put a couple of beds beside it so I got busy with digging. I had so many plants that had been given to me by my dad and I couldn't just let them go to waste. I was also talked into buying a honeysuckle as they were on offer locally. At this stage, we decided to change one of the new fence panels at the back for a trellis as the honeysuckle would need something to climb up. I will update the photo at some point to show the work we've done since :-)


Finally, the little bed at the corner of the decking and the one in the middle of the same side of the grass looked a little random as they were. So I joined them up to make a long curved bed. I must confess my buying sins again here as I nipped into town just after doing this and bought a few perennials to save myself some work later on ;-)



I really need to take a new photo of this bed actually as I seem to have *acquired* a few more plants for the bed now ;-) and it's looking a lot more colourful!!


The plan for this bed is to have plenty of smallish perennials as I don't want to have a high maintenance garden. There isn't a lot of point me trying to list what I've got in there as I have a terrible memory and I've already forgotten what most of them are! I do have some St John's Wort, a Fresia and a Peony all donated by daddy though.



There is more garden action planned in the next few months so watch this space :-D

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Me and my sewing machine......

I've had my sewing machine for decades now but it's only recently that I've started to use it again. My machine is a very, VERY ancient Bernina that was left to me when my lovely Granny died. I think the machine may well be almost as old as me but it's still a great machine.

So......around 18 months ago, I suddenly got the urge to sew again (I am regularly hit with urges to do all sorts of things, it is one of the things that Gi gets most annoyed with!). I got the machine serviced and it's now taken up residence with me.

I'm still in the stages of brushing up my skills as it's been an extremely long time since I last did any sewing. I really want to make some lovely clothes for my lovely children! To date, I seem to have made a lot of very simple trousers but have now broadened my range to include some rather simple skirts! I got a little carried away last weekend though and made a gored twirly skirt for the pink child.....

This is a little selection of the stuff that I've made in the last week or so :-)





The sewing has taken on a bit of a mind of it's own lately though and I have ordered more fabric than I could shake a stick at (a popular phrase for me!) so really need to get a move on with some of these projects.

My latest patterns include a cute little dress for Hannah and I plan to make some shortie pj's for both of them. Luke seems to get stuck with a lot of shorts and crops at the moment but I can't see anyone complaining so far!

For a lot of the stuff that I'm making, I have done or will do some matching hand painted tops, but Moonbeans is another story still to come.

Oooh, I nearly forgot. We are going to a wedding in October. It's not just any old wedding either, as my lovely youngest BIL is marrying his equally lovely fiancee. I have decided to make the outfits that Luke and Hannah will wear. Patterns have been bought, it's just fabric still to be chosen. I have a few ideas of what I want but haven't seen anything yet that really grabs me. I am hoping that I'm not being too ambitious with wanting to do this but we'll see ;-)
I'll be updating my blog with new projects as they happen........after all, that's what my blog is for!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

What I'm Growing

I never really meant to get into growing stuff. It was just that the decking seemed to be crying out for some pots and planters to make it look nice.

When we moved here, I had a couple of small shrubs in terracotta pots that I've been trying to grow for about 4 years. They have never done all that well (the shame of it, how can it be this hard to grow a small conifer!!). I also had a few wispy strands of garden mint that I was reliably informed would go mad in a pot.......except they hadn't!

So off I trundled to Homebase and picked up half a dozen planters as they were on offer. This of course meant I needed a few plants and I decided on herbs. I already had a herb garden in place on one side of the garden, which was home to a few plants that my mum had given me plus one or two other bits that I had bought myself.




Strawberries suddenly seemed like the greatest idea in the world. The Beans (aka my twins....you'll get used to this nickname as I use it all the time) both love strawberries and it's always looked so nice in pictures to see a strawberry planter. I started googling planters and came up with a really nice looking one. This is what my lovely MIL has bought me as an early birthday present :-D





I can't remember if it had already arrived when I decided that it actually might be better to put herbs in it, but I ended up ordering something else for the 18 strawberry plants that I had accidently bought on another trip to Homebase (they have had an extraordinary amount of money from me in the last 4 months!).







So there I was with 2 lovely planters, one of which needed plants, so I hit the herbs again. That sounds so much more fun that it actually was ;-) I won't bore you with the details of every planter that I bought, but I seem to have an awful lot of herbs growing now.......


French Tarragon - 2 plants
Cinammon Basil - 2 plants
Sweet Basil - 2 plants
Another Basil that is nameless
Roman Chamomile
3 other Chamomile plants
Lemon Thyme
Orange Thyme
2 other nameless Thyme plants (I could find out but that is so much work!)
Sage - another nameless one
Painted Sage
Blackcurrant Sage
Pineapple Sage
Lemon Balm
Dill
Fennel
Winter Savory - 2 plants
Dwarf Marjoram
Garden Mint
Apple Mint
Chocolate Mint
Lime Mint
Garlic chives
Chives
Lemon Grass
Rosemary
Green Oregano
Golden Oregano
Chervil
Curled Parsley


I think that's it for the herbs!!


The edibles came about by accident really. One of my lovely neighbours is quite the garden enthusiast and does a lot of growing. He offered me 5 tomato plants and I wasn't in a hurry to turn him down. These are now tucked in a nice sunny corner of the decking and doing very nicely. I think I have around 12 tomatoes coming at the moment :-)

Next came the Cayenne Pepper plant, again a gift from my neighbour. We'd been chatting about my tomatoes & strawberries and I was telling him how satisfying I was finding it actually seeing stuff growing.

I trekked over to a local big garden centre on Monday this week as I have suddenly found myself with an urge to grow more. Nothing was in stock at Homebase so a garden centre seemed like a better bet and I came home with 3 lovely healthy looking cucumber plants that have now taken up residence in a grobag. The courgettes were an Ebay buy, green bush variety if I remember rightly. They haven't arrived yet but hopefully will be here on Friday. I have planted some courgette seeds but I was very late with them so I am not expecting too much.

I'm irrationally excited about the crops I do have coming already and can't wait to see some action from the new plants. Does that make me sound as tragic as I think it does??

I've already told Gi that I need a vegetable patch!! The plan is to dig up the 2 irking great conifers in the corner of the garden, at the end of the summer. They are just in the way and I don't like them anyway, scruffy looking things! I'd like to put in 1 or 2 raised beds and grow more crops. I don't think he cares what I grow providing he doesn't have to tend the beds. I have also put a greenhouse on my list for Santa this year, so I'm planning to be a very good girl for the rest of the year, lol!

I'll be taking progress shots of my crops, yes, I really am that sad........ and I will update if I get anything else to grow!

The Garden........one of my new passions. Part one!

We moved house in September last year and we are now renting my MIL's house. She wanted somewhere smaller and we needed somewhere bigger! The garden here had been quite neglected over the years just having grass cut and a few small bits done by a friend of MIL's. I really wish I had taken some photos before we started this monumental project but it didn't seem like things would take off the way they did!

To give an idea of the garden 'as it was', it's quite a big garden that was almost entirely turfed. There was a long concrete slab going from the house to almost the end of the garden. As seems quite popular in this area, there were also 3 tall metal poles used for a washing line. Aside from a long stretch of concrete along the back of the house, that really was about it. Oh, I almost forgot the two irking great pine trees in one corner of the garden. These had been left to grow out of control so were nearly 30 feet tall.

Everything changed when we were very kindly offered a rather large area of decking. Giles went along with a friend to collect it as it had to be dismantled and then it sat in the back garden, killing the turf underneath it for about 5 months!!
Scroll forward to the end of the 5 months, which was around March this year and we finally decided it was time to get the decking sorted out. I remember looking out of our bedroom window one weekend afternoon and seeing this bloody great framework assembled. That was the first time I realised just how big the decking was going to be. It's fab!! So, Giles worked really hard to get the decking all laid. This is what we ended up with....

As you can see, it extends almost the full length of the house and is HUUUGE! The sun awnings were courtesy of a little flutter that paid off ;-)

Once the decking was done, the obsession started in earnest!

The next project I decided on was that we should returf the garden. In it's pre-us state, the lawn was really uneven and patchy, plus with the concrete path that you can just see in the corner of the picture, we really didn't have much choice if we wanted a nice lawn.

Cue us deciding that we didn't need to hire any expensive equipment.......I mean, how hard could it be to dig up 100 square metres of turf right?? Ummmm, bloody hard!! Backbreakingly hard in fact. Still, it saved us £100 so it was worth it of course.......NOT!! Two or three days of blood (literally in my case after nearly taking my foot off with a spade), sweat (copious amounts thereof) and tears (well, maybe not the tears but the rest is true) we had a mud lawn!

It was extremely satisfying to see this expanse of mud after all the hard work!





The following morning, we had a lorry load of turf delivered and then set about laying them over the mud......

I should note at this point that I had already started planning and digging flower beds. At first, there was going to be my herb garden, one small bed on the opposite side of the garden and a small bed at the corner of the decking. We had also put a small fence near the back of the garden so we could store bits and bobs behind it. A compost heap, spare garden chairs, logs for the fire and so on. You can see the nice new fence panels in the pictures above.

So we got the garden turfed. This was actually a really quick job and we were very lucky that our neighbour's brother offered to help (as I really, REALLY didn't want to do it!).

This is the garden by the end of the turf laying day.








We don't get much sun on the decking late in the afternoon, so I had decided to put a small patio in front of the little fence we had just put in. The romantic notion I had was that I could settle myself there in the early evening with a gin and tonic, to catch the last of the sunshine. I forgot for a moment that I have 3 year old twins........we don't have an early evening as this is bath and bedtime!! Still, the idea was nice.

Anyway, this will do for part one. I will leave the patio, my flower beds, pots and planters, herbs and a new found love of growing edibles for another installment.....

Moonbeans and More........the beginning!

I've not blogged before (is it blogged or have I not done a blog?) but I seem to have lots going on in my life and thought it might be fun to keep a journal.

My name is Sue and I live in deepest, darkest Kent. I am 39 in August (09) and mother to just turned 3 year old twins. My husband's name is Giles (39) and we also have a cat called Mouse. Yes, she really is called Mouse.......don't ask!

I run my own business from home hand painting children's wear (www.moonbeanskids.co.uk), although I am considering expanding my horizons a bit.

My other big passions of the moment are my garden (which is what inspired this blog really) and my sewing. In fact, I enjoy a lot of crafts including knitting and painting.

Giles and I have been married for 6 years this year but they have been difficult times. We are a very strong couple though so have made it through together.

My children, Luke and Hannah, are the centre of my universe (apologies for the fluff, I won't do that too much!) and although they drive me positively loopy at times, they are also incredible children.

To tell you a little about me getting to where I am now, I never thought I would get married and I certainly didn't think I would ever have children. That was so far from what I envisaged. I always thought I would be a "Lady What Lunches", swanning around in my two seater convertible, doing lunch at the tennis club and so on.

In actual fact, I met Giles in April 2001 and we moved in together that August. October 2002 we got engaged and shortly after that, I suddenly realised that I actually might want to have a baby. We got married in September 2003 and started trying for a baby shortly after that. It didn't turn out to be that easy and we ended up having IVF (with ICSI). One small miracle later and my positive pregnancy test for our only attempt resulted in the amazing news that we were having twins. I'll come back to that another time though as it's a whole new story.....

I've turned into a wannabe Earth Mother and positively surprised myself when the twins were 7 months old by deciding to use cloth nappies. This has spawned all manner of new things in my life, but again, that's another story!

I think that is enough for now. I will tell more about me as this blog goes on but for now, this will do.