raised vegetable plotWe have started on our raised vegetable plot this weekend and it’s looking really good. We bought the wood set to make the frame from B&Qfor £17.95 (if I remember rightly) and it’s sat in the back garden for a couple of weeks now whilst we got Easter out of the way and waited for some decent gardening weather.

Well that’s not going to happen is it? It’s turned really cold and wet but we mustn’t complain as we’re already on a hosepipe ban and I’m kicking myself I didn’t buy a water butt before now which would have filled up nicely over the past week or two.

Anyway, the seeds have grown and the kitchen window is once again looking like a nursery, in fact some of my plugs I got from B&Q are getting too big for the pots and crying out to be replanted only I’m still a bit wary of night frost so keeping them in for another couple of weeks yet.

It was very simple for OH to put the planks of wood together as I watched :)

drilling

raised vegetable plot

and once we had decided where to place it he then dug the earth over and removed the grass and roots from the soil.

raised vegetable plot

digging

I then emptied five 25 litre bags of compost on top and gave it a good dig to break up any lumps.

little helpers

Now I just have to wait a little longer before my next step of planting but in the meantime look what the Spring has brought up so far

tulips
yellow tulip
red and white tulip
untitled bush

Febreze Mini HavenI have done quite a few of P&G’s exciting projects on the run up to the Olympics and I’m chuffed to pieces to be on this little gem as I’m up against Domestic Goddesque no less and well you know who’s going to win out of the pair of us don’t you?

Febreze are working to transform some of the capital’s most overgrown green spots into Febreze Fresh Havens, areas where people can breath happy and enjoy London’s outdoor spaces.

In each location the Febreze gardening team will be digging, sprucing and planting to create a safe environment and each site will also receive a maintenance grant to ensure it remains a haven of freshness for the future.

Now here’s where I come into it. I have been sent a Febreze Mini Fresh Haven planter and I am to grow plants and nurture them to magnificence.

Febreze mini haven

Here, take a look at my kit. I was fascinated with the Miracle Gro compost. A hard dry disc in a bag BUT on adding water becomes a bag of nutritious compost.

Wow, I made my two bags up and tipped one in to cover the bottom. I then planted my Iris bulbs and a selection of varied sweet peas

fabreze mini haven planting bulbs

I then added a top secret mixture of my own just to make sure the Domestic Goddesque would be put well and truly in her place (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) and then I covered the lot with my second bag of Amazing Miracle Glo

Fabreze Mini haven watering

and to finish a good watering with my Febreze watering can. For the moment my planter is sitting in the porch, out of the threat of frost receiving lots of daylight and close to the Union Jack doormat which will remind all my seeds and bulbs that we’re working for the UK here, come on Britain let’s see the medals roll in this summer…I am nurturing you.

Just in case you were wondering Rosie took the photos whilst Billy played with the girls :)

Disclosure – Febreze sent me a planter kit – I am doing the rest I intend to get gold with my work ;)

I was pleased with our garden progress last year, we made a real dent in it and the Bosch Garden Makeover competition certainly provided us with some beautiful plants to look out for this year, I can’t wait to see them grow and fingers crossed flower too. On the whole I think we did pretty well and that’s why this year I’m hoping to make a vegetable garden.

Last year I grew tomatoes, I had too many in all honesty but they were delicious and I will be growing some more this year. I had a go at runner beans but they died on me and I had a few courgette plants that overtook the garden. I also planted a pumpkin for us to use at Halloween and on my return from our summer holiday I mistook it for an overgrown courgette and ate it! Yes it was tough but tasty. Hey I’m learning here!

So this year I have plans…

I intend to get my Other Half to knock me up a box like the one below I found on Boy’s Life and I will have a Raised Bed in which to plant my veg year after year, doesn’t that sound organised and doesn’t it look neat and tidy?

Or on the other hand we could nip down to B&Q as they are now selling Rustic Raised beds for £17.98

Last autumn I entered a competition on Domestic Goddesque’s blog and won! My prize was this fabulous Sylvester Bird Box, I made sure we put it up ages ago way before any birds were hunting for nests and now I have to wait and see. I sent Other Half up a ladder as high as he could go to avoid cat problems and we’ve put it in a sunny spot, fingers crossed.

Sylvester BIrd box

In fact it won’t be long before I start planting seeds and turning the kitchen window sill into the Eden Project again, I was out yesterday whilst we enjoyed a fluke 16C and planted a few more bulbs for summer colour and I filled my tin bucket once again with primroses to add a splash of colour to the drab patio

There’s not really much to do in the garden in the winter is there? Well there probably is if you’re a fully fledged gardener but if like me, you’re not, well we haven’t even cut the grass! It’s looking long and in need but until either the expert next door neighbours get their mowers out then I’m waiting.

I also intend extending my herb garden this year which currently consists of a rosemary bush and some parsley. I’d like some chives and some basil, some oregano (pizza anyone?) some mint (Pimms) and some sage.

I am also pretty tempted to get one of those ‘Spud bags’ from the national newspapers. Grow your own potatoes in a sack on the patio. Am I taking on too much here? Running away with what seems on paper – a brilliant idea? Possibly, you’ll be told of progress or lack of as the year unfolds. I have however started composting. I treated us to a kitchen composter in January and now I need to set up part two of my recycling and get the compost ‘bin’ in the garden so I can empty this one into that one

Anyway, I have spotted shoots coming out of the earth meaning a short while from now we’ll have flowers again – can’t wait!

And now to accessorize the garden..

Today is the last day for our Bosch Garden Makeover competition and we’ve all been working very hard since early September, turning our gardens around into something more than a back yard and closer to a beautiful new ‘room’ (as they are known to in the horticutural societies) I must admit I am very pleased with our hard work and now can’t wait for the spring to arrive so I can see the real effect of all our new plants which I am hoping make the garden look more lived in.

The gardening competition combined the forces of three top gardening companies, Bosch, Coblands Online and Green Thumb.

Bosch, very generously, gave us £100 to spend on their gardening tools and if you remember we chose to invest it all on a brand new beautiful lawnmower, the Rotak 34, which was also slightly over budget so again I thank them for being so kind; the extra cash went towards the ergonomically designed handle which makes for mush easier mowing and perfect back posture whilst doing so. Other Half is the designated mower in this house and I can’t tell you how happy he is with his new lawnmower, having put up with his old hover machine which didn’t pick up the cut grass and ‘tore’ it rather than cut it he couldn’t believe his luck. He was amazed at just how many times he did have to empty the bin to cover the whole lawn (I think the most he reached was 5 bins) and finally had to cave in and acknowledge I had been right after moaning for years about excess grass being dragged into the house. (Yesssssss!)

Green Thumb came in and Dan spent an hour treating the lawn for the weeds and then put down a fertiliser, I can clearly see where the weeds have died off and I’m hoping the fertiliser will green it up over the winter, as Dan mentioned during the procedure it does take a few ‘goes’ before a lawn reaches it’s best so come the Spring I shall look to continue their good work and see if I can eliminate the weeds completely.

Very clever packaging ensures perfect delivery of all the plants

Finally Coblands Online who very generously allowed us to click through their online garden brochure and spend £100 each on plants. I had never had a plan from the start so I ordered my favourite plants and eye catching colours. I still have a Tess of the Durberville rose which is a beautiful hot pink and an Apple Tree to arrive in the near future but the plants I have received and planted I’m sure give a much better idea of how I am starting to establish my garden.

I have stuck mainly to filling the right hand border looking down the garden to start with, it is in the sun all day long all year long and hopefully this time next year it will have a totally different look. I also added a couple of plants to the left hand side, a hydrangea which lives well in half shade (and next door have two down their right hand side) and a Berberis Thunbergil Barberry which has a beautiful red leaf in the autumn.

I have also filled the gaps in the bedding with daffodils, tulips, snowdrops, crocuses and other colourful bulbs to come up in the Spring, I moved a couple of plants I had already planted as over the summer I had seen they were in the wrong place either being swamped by other bulbs that came up (Lupins) or being covered by fast growing bushes. here’s my Grand Finale video, let me show you around…

So it has been an exhilarating task, it got us all out in the garden and made me look at our open space through new eyes. NOW it’s over to you to see if you’d like to vote for me over the others? Each blogger now submits there efforts and it goes to a public vote which of course once I l know I shall give you all of the details, the prize is two tickets for the Royal Chelsea Garden show and a home visit from Helen Yemm, super gardener who writes for the Daily Telegraph and who will spend time giving tips and advice to the winner on how to make the most of their patch, I’m sure my nan will want to come round too that day should I win which is cool as she can make the cake and bring her vintage tea set too, now that should impress Ms Yemm!

So thank you Bosch for choosing Mari’s World to participate in your fabulous competition, I hope we did you proud!