Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Natural Gardening’ Category

Pleasant pheasants

Last weekend, I was doing some early morning scything to cut some grass around my vegetable patches. It’s a very peaceful start to the day that I enjoy very much. The ideal time to cut grass with a scythe is around dawn when the grass is wet with dew. Sometimes when I’m doing this, there are pheasants in the adjacent field, sometimes a fox, and sometimes other birds. It’s like we’re all out and about to get the day started. The image below shows a strip that I’d just finished cutting with the scythe.

a patch of grass I'd just scythed

[Click image to see full size]


After putting the scythe away, I noticed there where a couple of pheasants (and a crow) on the lawn near the house looking for food (see image below). I didn’t want to scare them off so I stayed quiet and wondered how close I could get to them if I moved very slowly and quietly. Read more

Hartley Greenhouse – the good and the bad

I’ve recently had a Hartley Greenhouse (from Hartley Botanic) installed in our lower garden that I’m trying to turn into a beautiful natural garden. To install the greenhouse, it needed to have a substantial base built and then have the Hartley Greenhouse installed on that. You can see photos of all this construction below (click on the images to see them full-size). 

The end result is a very nice greenhouse, but it wasn’t all plain sailing. The base was built by a company called Chartwell Paving and Landscaping and they did an excellent job. The problems that I had was with the Hartley Botanic after-sales service. I’ll describe those problems next.

Hartley Greenhouse – issues with after-sales service

If you consider buying a Hartley Greenhouse, my recommendation would be to read the fine print carefully and refuse to sign off on it. Tell them that you’ll only buy their greenhouse if they change the conditions. Like normal for me, I didn’t bother too much with the terms and conditions and I didn’t notice that they wanted 50% of the purchase price on ordering and then the other 50% on delivery.

Read more

Planting trees and shrubs – 24 of them!

This year some might say I’ve got a little bit over board, as I’ve planted 24 trees and shrubs in my back garden. It really isn’t as silly as it sounds as we have a rather large garden and I have about half an acre that I’m trying to turn into a lovely natural garden. I’ve been planting trees and shrubs over the past 3 weeks and have plenty of photos to share on this page.

I’m finding it fun to gradually work on this natural garden and to try and imagine how it will look in the future. It’s a bit like a really long term art project that will take many years and has the added complication of needing to work with Nature to achieve the final, living result.

Read more

Scything with frost

Back at the end of October we got our first frost of the year and I had no idea what it would be like scything with frost.

scything with frostI know, you’re probably thinking “scything!” Cutting grass with a scythe? Yes, it’s all true and it’s not as crazy as you think. Back in 2015, our back garden had hip-high grass and I was wondering how to get it under control. I went on a scything course and learnt how to go about it. It’s not as hard as you might think and it’s a nice activity. And it’s not expensive. I costs only £118 for a beginners kit that includes everything you need and only about £150 for an advanced kit. That’s cheap compared to buying a lawnmower and a strimmer plus the fuel, etc. And a single scything blade can last 10-20 years if looked after properly.

Read more

Garden Diversity and Slugs

While Kim was visiting us in the UK, I planted some cabbages and pumpkin vines in my new, fledgling garden, but they were attacked very quickly by slugs. Hmm. How annoying. I’m trying to keep the garden as close to organic as possible, so I don’t want to use any chemicals to kill the slugs. I started to look into garden diversity as an option and investigated which plants slugs don’t like, then went out and bought some lavender, rosemary, mint and garlic plants to spread around. Guess what? The slugs stopped eating my cabbages and pumpkin almost immediately. Wow!

Here’s a photo of the cabbages and pumpkins that I bought from a local horticultural market. This is how they were before planting. Two pumpkins and about eight to ten cabbages.
garden diversity

When I planted these in the garden, they were quickly attacked by slugs. One of the pumpkins was obliterated completely and the other was badly damaged – I couldn’t see how it could survive. All the cabbages were munched at severely and it looked like only 4-5 had any chance of surviving. Read more