Sunday, 8 March 2015

Gardening progress, one year on

We have had the house for just over a year now, and the garden has slowly had a bit of an upgrade.  
This was the garden when we got it:

The christmas tree in the far left of this shot got the axe, literally.  It was far too big and it get banging on the kitchen window which was really annoying.  The arch had a beautiful clematis on it, but the arch was rotten through the legs and it collapsed very shortly after we moved in.  The clematis was so entwined on the arch, it was impossible to save, which was such a shame as it was stunning when it was in bloom.

The serious gardening started with the hideous patch of bark where the old owners had kept their trampoline.  But the neighbour's cats just used it as a toilet - lovely! So all the bark came up and I reseeded the lawn.  There was a huge choice of grass seed, but after a little online research I read that Wilkinsons own brand of lawn seed is the best, and cheapest, on the market.   And it did a smashing job.  Turns out the cat's just use the lawn as their new toilet... I just can't win!!

Can you tell where the new patch is?!

Then came the fence.  The survey we had done before we purchased the house called it semi-dilapidated... I think it was shot!  The posts and gravel boards were in sound condition though which was some good news, although they were a dodgy green colour.  I had some masonary paint mixed up a the local Johnstone's decorating centre, in a brown shade and painted that on the posts and gravel boards once we had gotten rid of the old fence panels. This was the pile of debris we took to the tip:

I did dig down a little bit in front of the gravel boards to make sure I got as much of them painted as I could.  I put the soil back once the paint was dry. The whole job turned out to only be an afternoon job so pretty good going, but a fairly big financial commitment of £300-350.  It was worth it though :)

In September we made some vegetable beds at the bottom of the garden.  We thought it would be the only time that we would have to prep the beds before the 2015 growing season (as we had a week off at home in September) - so it made sense.  It started a bit grassy and a bit bushy, but we soon hacked it back into shape:

We wanted 8' x 4' semi-raised beds.  The dimensions were the right size to be able to access the bed from both sides without having to stand on the soil.  We used 6 decking boards at £4 each to do the job, so for two beds we spent £24.

The first seeds are going in next week so that's all rather exciting :)

We have also jazzed up the borders down the sides of the grden.  It was originally a very undefined edge between the lawn and the border which made mowing rather difficult.  I managed to source some free bricks being given away on gumtree so I collected them with the intention to line the edge of the lawn with them.  I attempted to do the borders in September also but the ground was so hard it took me all day just to put about 5 bricks in.  This was my progress:

Very disappointing.  So the project kind of took a back seat on the long list of jobs to do, and the bricks lay in a heap at the end of the garden.

That was until a few weeks ago when we had an unusuallly nice day and I decided I would have another go at it.  Well what a difference a few months makes!  The ground  was so soft I did the whole right hand side in about an hour!   I ran out of bricks today, but I've made very good progress.  I've also planted up the borders a little bit, althoughit will take quite some time for them to fill out.

You might notice that there is a big bare patch in the front right hand corner.  That was a big bush that was there, but nobody knew what it was!  Someone said it was a rhodeddendron, someone said it was something else... but after a whole year it didn;t flower at all despite showing promise that it would.  The trouble with it was that it had been allowed to get out of control - it was huge, and it was dwarfing the rhubarb plants.  So a few weeks ago, this also got the axe.

This was before:

And now:

It looks a little rough now but with a little grass seed it will look much better.

I got some raspberry plants for my birthday which I planted out just after Christmas.   I also got some free well rotted manure on gumtree which I used to improve the soil befor planting them up.  I painted the back fence to match the new side fence as the old yellow paint was flaking and not in a good way.
They looked like sticks when they arrived, so I hope they grow! In the past week I have noticed a few green shoots though, so that's good.

I have since added some posts and wires for support. 

That's about it on the garden front for now.  But I hope you can see we have made huge progress.  The vegetable patch will be a work in progress which I hope to keep the blog updated with.

I also need to source some more bricks to finish the bottom end of the garden.

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