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!

Bosch Rotak 34 LawnmowerOur postie dropped off a huge box the other week containing our Bosch Rotak 34 and in a jiffy it was out of its box and running smoothly up and down the garden.

Incredibly easy to assemble and extremely light to carry around we were totally taken with this new piece of equipment. This baby mows with the enormous power only previously achieved with a petrol lawnmower and thanks to the innovative grass combs it also provides unique results when cutting close to edges. Yeah that’s what it says on the box in reality it was so easy! Not half as much hard work as with our previous, now redundant mower.

The mower has been designed using an Ergoflex system which enables easier steering and a better body posture using the ergonomically shaped and adjustable handles all of this making less muscle strain and an effortless task

And I think the fact that our garden is big and cutting the grass was usually a BIG task to undertake we noticed (that’s the royal we as he did the cutting) it was so easy to use and not at all exhausting a job as had been previously.

LAWN UPDATE

Well as you can see in the video below the patches of dead weeds are very prominent on the lawn now, my next job is to rake up all the dead bits to allow the fresh new grass to come through. My next door neighbour also mentioned scarifying the lawn too. He will also lend me his scarifier! Which well sounds a bit scary really doesn’t it? The grass does look as if it’s greening up a bit too.

 

Now I am just waiting for my plants to arrive from Coblands Online and then once they’re in (Grandad was telling me only yesterday that the ground is very very dry and I should be digging at least 18″ down to ensure healthy growth, he also advised a good spade of manure when planting the apple tree to provide nutrients throughout the winter and to water, water, water if it proves to be a dry autumn) You see I am learning!

 

Border design CoblandsDear Marianne,

We can see that you’re enjoying the creative process of designing your planting schemes.  Always happy to be of assistance, so here goes;

You’ve got plenty of space to play with and we’d recommend that as you develop the garden, that you deepen those borders to accommodate plenty of plants at different sizes, shapes and colour.  Don’t forget about climbers to make garden space under treesbest use of your vertical garden space!

Space underneath substantial trees (especially evergreen trees) is often bare.  There are plants that will grow and even excel in dry soils with some shade, but the more you can do with the incorporation of good composts and appropriate watering, the better the plants will establish.  Consider Epimedium and hardy Fuchsia as good choices for this spot.

Your tumbling plant in a pot is a Helichrysum petiolare, which is grown as a bedding planting, to be replaced each year in May for foliage during the summer months.  Though it can be grown in the ground, I’d recommend that you continue to grow it in pots and hanging baskets where it will do well.  Love it and appreciate it, but expect that it won’t survive beyond the first few frosts.

Without knowing which bulbs you’ve bought, I can’t say for sure where best to plant them, however, most spring flowering bulbs (Tulips, Daffodils, etc) will do far better in sunny spots in reasonable well drained soil, than anywhere else.  ‘Light’ gives ‘might’ to bulbs, so the better the spot, the better the growth and flower.  Plenty of bulbs available on our Coblands Online website currently if you’re after anything in particular.

Tulips

And finally, your plant selections.  Lovely stuff and a good balance of herbaceous perennials, shrubs, fruit and a climber.  On a cautionary note, please remember that Digitalis (Foxgloves) are poisonous if eaten, so think about plant position to keep children and pets away from any dangerous plants in beds and borders.  Though some people obsess about plants being potentially harmful, it is far more important to educate garden users to prevent them from making ill advised decisions.

The roses will benefit from as much sun as possible and good nutritious soil.  Again, the more you give them, the better they’ll be!

The HydrangeaBerberis and Euonymus are good in sun or shade, so shouldn’t give you any trouble regardless of position.  As with roses, fruit will be more productive if given a sunny spot and nutritious soil and as tip for good success, best to nip fruit off of your apple for the wisteriafirst year or two (if you can wait) after planting.  This gives them a chance to establish good roots and grow well, allowing better fruiting in later years.

Wisteria like the sun and although they can take a few years to flower, they’re well worth the wait.  Don’t be shy about giving them a prune as they respond well, promoting good growth and keeping them at a manageable size.

With regard to planting, try to dig a hole twice as deep and wide as the pot that the plants are in, incorporate good compost into your garden soil mix well.  You can add fertilisers to the mix as well, but be careful not to overdo it as you can burn the roots of the plants.

Always follow manufacturers guidelines on concentration rates for fertilisers to avoid harming your plants.  Try to plant all of your selections so that the finished level of the compost in the pot is close to the finished level on the ground.  If you plant too high, roots will be exposed to the drying air and sun.  Too low and plants can rot causing them to fail.

The more effort you put in, the better the end product.  Most importantly, however, never be afraid to ask for help and guidance.

Good luck with your project and keep us informed of your progress.

Regards,

Lewis Normand

Retail Sales Manager

Coblands Online

 

Coblands Online..and there lies my dilemma. How do I turn my garden around and make the start on creating an established garden?

Not being a fully fledged gardener and therefore lacking in confidence I need to speak to the right people and the guys in question are Coblands Online also found on twitter as @CoblandsOnline These people know their Wisterias from their Daffs, what to place where and what works in various soil types. I’ve been looking on their fabulous website to choose how to spend my £100 they have very kindly offered me for taking part in this competition, of course I’ve gone entirely on ‘Oh isn’t that beautiful’ rather than thinking of the garden as a whole and how it will grow over the years. I mean I planted two small rose bushes in the spring this year and then stuck Lupin bulbs around them – result? Lupins swamped my delicate rose bushes so they now need moving.

Here’s a ‘What I quite fancy list’

Apple tree Golden Delicious – £21.99

Blueberry bush – £9.99 (girls love blueberries but will 1 bush be enough?) also which type?

Roses – Pat Austin £13.95 or other vibrant colours like Tess of the Durbervilles £13.95

Wisteria Chinese £13.32 – possibly one of my favourite plants

Foxglove £4.99 sale price – I do love a bargain

Yarrow Achillea Walther Funcke £4.99 another sale bargain :)

Agapanthus £5.99 such a regal sounding name and in the sale too! Got to have some

Euonymus Emerald Gaiety from £4.38 Love the fact it goes silver in winter

Berberis thunbergii Barberry £5.55 Love the fact this goes deep red in autumn

Hydrangea Paniculata Grandiflora £7.95 what a fabulous important name. I must have one!

I may have gone slightly over budget there, who wouldn’t when handed a beautiful website full of gorgeous plants? So now, I must present my list to Dan or Lewis and be advised. In order for them to get a really good idea of what we’re up against, I’ve taken some photos of the areas I’m interested in establishing, this seems to be my new favourite word, and then they can get back to me and tell me if my ideas are off track or wouldn’t work.

They did ask me for a colour scheme and I think I’ve wrecked that idea anyway as I love all colours and especially vibrant ones. I want my garden to shout out fun and play and enjoy. here take a look

Garden from bottomView looking up to the house, note border to the left of photo I started this spring, it needs work… it needs establishing

closer view of border running up the side

On the other side (pic below)  an inherited bit with many overgrown plants that we hacked at last year as they are all planted too closely together – please ignore my tomatoes lining the terrace, they’ll be moved somewhere soon.

stands in the shade of the fence for great part of the day

This bit behind the garage which was completely overgrown and covered in little stones which I have since removed

Courgette plant gone beserk will be removed soon!

And of course a couple of questions to put to the experts

The area under next door’s tree seems to be always bare, full of fallen pine nuts – will anything grow there or best to leave?

And lastly what can I do with this plant that was in a tub over the summer, is looking healthy but too big for the tub now?

As it’s a crawler/hanging plant will it survive in soil or what do you suggest?

I did say finally but I’ve just remembered another question to put to you. Can I plant a box of spring bulbs I bought from a supermarket anywhere along the borders or do they need specific conditions too?

Dear Dan and Lewis, thank you so much for looking at this for me, can’t wait to see what you come up with and please advise where to plant what and how close/far apart when thinking of established :)

grass before Green thumbI’m not sure why both of my Bosch Garden Makeover Competition posts so far have song inspired titles but I was thinking, ‘What really makes a beautiful garden?’ and I think a groomed lawn is high up there on my list. If you remember back to my initial vlog where I showed you the ‘Before’ shots you will maybe remember my lawn is full of weeds and dry in places too.

Well I had a visit last Friday from Dan who came from Green Thumb Lawn Treatment to give my lawn the once over, I took a video of him and I must apologise, firstly for having my washing on the line behind him and secondly for holding the camera widthways to get all of him in my view as he’s quite tall. Once again I prove to be a novice at vlogging, however, the sound is good and I’m pleased with all the info Dan gave.

Green ThumbA Green Thumb representative comes along and analyse syour lawn, I was a little disappointed to see I only tick six boxes on the weed analysis which isn’t very rock and roll at all but I do have sorrell (thought that was for cooking!) thistle, chickweed, trefoil, clover and dandelions. All in all for my 110m sq lawn I would be quoted £17.00 which I think is very reasonable. Treatments are broken up into four sessions, Spring, Late Spring/summer, Late summer, Autumn/winter I had the Late summer treatment which consisted of a thorough feed followed by a good spray of weedkiller.

My report tells me to water regularly, well no harm there it hasn’t stopped raining since he treated my lawn! An aeration in the autumn and possibly an oasis treatment in 2012.

I’ve checked the info left with me and I’m to wait three weeks before noticing any improvement. So in a fortnight I should have a greener and lusher lawn and the weeds should start dying. Not all of them but enough to impress me…well you’ll have to pop back in two weeks time when I take the video camera outside to have a look. In the meantime please enjoy this informative video I did on the day Dan came