seed planting

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”  ~Robin Williams

This is the month when gardening really kicks in and some of my major preparations have included the investment in a composter and a water butt. Living the dream people, living the dream.

I am guessing that as we have had so much rain this winter we’re most likely in for a very dry summer plus last summer we were transferred onto a water meter which is great as we’ve saved loads so far but come the summer and watering the flowers and vegetable patch well the meter will soon shoot up. Anyway two rainfalls and it’s already full!

The grass has been cut after a long (in more ways than one) winter and I have started to weed the flower beds. As I pass the roses and other plants I prune as needed remembering the 3 D’s – anything damaged, diseased or dead.

spring bulbs

I have planted seeds which have shot up over the past week including tomatoes, purple broccoli (which last year the snails demolished) leeks and carrots.

seeds growing

I also have the chitting potatoes preparing to be buried in the next couple of weeks too.

Not strictly gardening but still outside work, I have sprayed the entire block paving in front with weed killer, next job will be to drag it all out of the groves with my special weapon.

As a reminder for future years I thought I’d start a monthly reminder list then it’s easy for me to find. 

March gardening To Do list

1. Mulching – this is supposed to save hours of weeding which I hate in the summer. I am supposed to weed and then cover the ground with a 5cm mulch leaving a gap around stems, trunks and plants. I need to find out more about this.

2. Sow cut and come again salads and rocket. I love salad in the summer and eat it every day so it’s silly not to grow my own really, I shall find some quirky containers and get sowing.

3. Runner beans. I’ve not tried growing them yet but I need to expand my veggie plot and they seem pretty easy to grow. Early staking apparently is the way forward so this is on my list before the end of March.

4. Dig over the veggie plot and add new compost to it. I’m late on this one this year but still in time.

I’ll leave you with a shot of my Amaryllis that was received at Christmas as a bulb, I LOVE how it’s such a huge and colourful flower, oh and the wall behind is our ongoing DIY Hall project.


TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

29th June – Saturday

Robbie Williams Wembley 2013

Along with three school mums we made our way up to Wembley for the Robbie Williams Take the Crown tour, we had a great night out, I have a post and video to come. What did I think? Over priced drinks (£7.50 for a Pimms), staff shortchanging me wasn’t good, when I pointed it out the lad disappeared ….Robbie, as carismatic as ever but was there really need to belt out your new song ‘Go f*@k yourself’, I may be getting old but once I’d heard that I lost interest I’m afraid. Lots of parents had bought their kids along thinking it would be a family friendly show and at £75 a ticket they forked out big monies. I’m not sure they were so pleased with Rob’s outburst either.

30th June – Sunday

westgate on sea

Day spent at the beach with sunshine, they made sandcastles, they went in the sea, they tried out the new dinghy and we took them from the car to their beds so exhausted were they when we arrived home. Beautiful family day.

1st July – Monday

headteachers award

Oh how my heart beat proudly as I pulled Alice’s certificate out of her book bag, of course Bessie wants one now too and has been practising hard all week the tricky words with her dad. Bless her I hope she gets one but if she doesn’t then I’ll tell her maybe next year will be her turn ;)

2nd July – Tuesday

christmas in july toy fair

I was invited by UKmumsTV to judge the best toys for Christmas 2013, I took my job very seriously as you can see, I chose my top ten and there are some fabulous gifts on offer this year, really interesting, a post to follow this week with my faves ;)

3rd July – Wednesday

flower pot in garden

Possibly the only flower pot in the garden doing so well, a couple look very sad but this one is a beauty, just a shame the light that day wasn’t great.

4th July – Thursday

oven Argos

And a dream came true thanks to Argos who contacted me a while back asking me to review a product from their White Goods selection. We have desperately needed a new oven since we moved in so we grabbed the chance. The first thing I cooked was pasta for the girls on the hob (seems a perfect start to me) and secondly frozen fish and chips in the oven on Friday night when Mum and Grandad returned from their two month stint in Sardegna – easy meal. BUT I have a fabulous combi recipe for you which I used whilst waiting for the new one to be plumbed in, sitting on the top are my turkey puffs, recipe to follow.

5th July – Friday

tesco christmas in july 2013 styling

I spent the morning at The Westbury hotel in Londonlooking at the Tesco Christmas in July range and I could have bought a ton of stuff, I am not kidding. Another post to follow, boy am I going to be busy this week! What really caught my eye were the houses made out of Tesco biscuits by the stylists to create such an enchanting effect. The styling was very rustic, homely and totally wowed me, like I said great post to follow but here’s two other ideas that caught my eye, jam jars used to serve lemonade and flowers displayed in a covered tin.

jam jar glasses

tesco flowers

Have a great week all, there should be plenty of sunshine, more Christmas in July and lots of family moments as we wind down at the end of the school year

Mari xx

bird feeder in treeWell mine in all honesty is let to do much as it pleases in as much as I am not a constant gardener but one who dabbles now and then. Thank goodness the forsynthia knows that! She gets a good cut mid summer and again in the autumn and we get on just fine.

My ideal garden is one that looks after itself because as much as I love to dabble there’s never enough time to look after it properly, that or I have to start dropping other commitments, like blogging for example.

We moved in 3 years ago and the garden had been left to it’s own devices, we cut back LOTS at the start, possibly too much and only now after three years is it starting to look better. Although there is still a lot to do until I have my ideal garden that’s for sure.

In fact I would go as far as to say the best gardens are those of old people who have spent a lot of time and thought on it and passed many hours out there caring for each plant, bush or tree. Next time we move I shall be looking out for the words established garden.

A couple of years ago I took part in the Bosch gardening competition and with that we were given a super lawnmower plus £100 to spend on plants from Coblands. We were very happy to pick 3 apples from our tiny apple tree last year and this year she’s blooming marvellous.

baby apple tree

My wisteria plant struggles, I think the spot I chose is too windy and if I had the guts I’d move it only I notice it’s started to sprout lots of baby shoots – what to do? Leave it and pray it gets stronger this year. Or brick up the gap in the fence?

So with a family party on my hands a couple of weeks ago and a garden one at that (BBQ was being dragged out) I made a special effort to tidy up and get the place looking nice. Off I trotted to my local garden centre to fill up on colour for my pots. here let me show you in photographs all my lovely flowers.

purple flower

pink flower

mauve flower

mauve flower

white speckled flower

pot plant

rosemary bloom


And finally I cannot let you go without updating you on this year’s veggie plot! The spuds are coming along a treat, planted from chits a month ago, I’ve already covered them in soil once and they’re fighting back through to the sunshine again.

seedlings 2013

Then  we have seedlings of broccoli, carrots and leeks. I’m staying well and truly clear of brussels this year as last year they over took my patch and nothing else grew in it!

I’m linking this post up to the lovely Mammasaurus, click on her beautiful button below and you’ll find some fabulous garden photography and many other gardening ideas who have linked up too

spread ’em

wearing a wig during cancer

Mum’s wig which I think looks lovely

Last time I spoke of mum’s cancer and her battle to zap it was back in July just as she was due her first session of Chemotherapy, well yesterday she underwent her 4th session and I always call her during the day as it’s such a long and boring day for her. Yesterday was no different but I had a very tearful mum on the other end of the phone which just goes to prove that you can have enough of something, you can get to a point and say,

‘That’s it! I’m done with this. I don’t care anymore as this is too much for me to take anymore.’

I think life presents many issues that we have to struggle with and I for one have arrived at this point before. Drawing the line and saying I’m done, I can’t go on any more and I imagine going through the chemo battle is no different.

I’ve told you how strong-willed mum is how determined and what an optimistic person she is and she has been an ox up until now, soldiering on and battling the supposed wretched cells that could be in her body but nobody can say for sure.

Straight after her first session, she was well for a couple of days and then was hit with the dreaded nausea and listlessness, an overall feeling of sickness. That past and as she started to feel better she’d wake in the morning to find her pillow covered in clumps of hair that had come away during her sleep. This was her first low point. Like hundreds of women around the country going through the same experience, losing her hair was a major heartbreaking moment. It was a nasty knock to her confidence and she called on her friend asking her to shave the whole lot off in one go rather than wait for it to drop out. Fortunately her local hospital had already foreseen this and had sent her to the wigmaker. She had a beautiful wig to wear that she was already used to too.

Still this didn’t stop the tears as she looked at herself in the mirror, she confessed to me that she couldn’t look at herself anymore, and I imagine not looking is easier.

Oana taking a photo of Rosie taking a photo of me and my mum!

Three weeks later to the day she’d be back in the hospital at 8am in the morning and would spend the whole day whilst her system was flushed with a saline solution in preparation for the next drip feed of chemo, followed by another saline solution and another bag of chemo. It would be evening before she left the hospital and for my mum who is so active and get up and go, this possibly was one of the most difficult things to do. Hang around for hours waiting.

In fact the day after her second session she went for a lovely long walk breathing in the fresh air and the beautiful countryside which surrounds her home. Result? The whole weekend feeling dreadful and taking longer to get over the bout of nausea and sickness. A hard lesson and another slap in the face as she realised she couldn’t go and do as she pleased anymore as it would make her suffer in the long run.

Yesterday as she picked up the phone I could hear the anxiety in her voice, I heard the tears fall down her face and I knew she’d had enough. We spoke for sometime on the phone and as the nurse left the room she explained the ward was understaffed that day, the nurses were struggling to keep up with the work and mum had been sitting waiting with her drips beeping loudly to tell the nurses she had finished and was ready for the next solution and they weren’t coming.

That was all it took for her to break down, I think it could have been anything because when you’re struggling to fight something and you’re feeling low anything can set you off. Yesterday it was the blasted beeping of the machinery around her and no one arriving to get it all done as quickly as humanly possible. She has said so many times in the past how wonderful the staff are, how helpful everyone is and how she can’t thank the NHS enough for all they’ve done but yesterday it all got a bit too much for her.

This is when Interflora comes in handy, if you need to cheer anyone up you can just search online flowers Kent, flowers Croydon or as I shall be doing today florists in Nottingham and a list of possibilities open up for you allowing you to send a smile if like me you can’t get there in person.

Flowers won’t take away the pain but they never fail to make someone smile and that smile alone is just enough to start healing a broken soul.

Tomorrow sees the start of October, the month of Breast Cancer awareness, there are hundreds of fund raising initiatives going on and every penny raised counts. Times are hard but a couple of pounds from everyone can make an enormous difference. Right now I’m rushing out of the door to our local Macmillan Biggest Coffee Morning – see if there’s one near you too xx

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 :)