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Posts from the ‘Natural Gardening’ Category

Rainwater Tank – Saving Water

I’m pleased to have decided to put in a large rainwater tank when we had the opportunity. Every time I use water in my garden now, it’s good to know that I’m not using mains water but just using rainwater that has been saved in the tank.

rainwater tank

I first started by dreaming of a natural garden in lower part of our property, and had been starting to work on it (Garden Diversity and Slugs, Scything with frost, Planting trees and shrubs – 24 of them!, Rows and rows of windrows) and then, when we decided to build a pottery studio at the edge of this natural garden, we had the option to install a rainwater tank to collect water from the roof of the new studio. If we were going to do it, now was the right time.

I sourced the rainwater take from RainWater Harvesting here in the UK, and I decided to get the 3000 litre shallow dig version and it was a bit surprising how big it was when it was delivered. Read more

Rows and rows of windrows

As you might already know, I do a bit of scything around my garden, and you may be wondering what happens to all the grass. Ok, that thought probably never entered your head, but I’d like to think it did. In my garden, I like to try to keep everything circular – everything that’s produced by the garden goes back into the garden – and I use all the grass that I cut to enrich the soil. This requires windrows.

What is a windrow?

The dictionary definition is something like “a long low ridge or line of hay or a similar crop, designed to achieve the best conditions for drying or curing”. When grass is cut with a scythe, the cut grass tends to line up on the ground to the left of the direction the scythe is swung, and that tends to create natural windrows. However, it works out that there’s cut grass all over the place in general. If the grass is cut in the morning, it’s best to just leave it spread out to dry in the sun for the day and, near the end of the day, to rake it up into windrows.

rows and rows of windrows

Why create windrows?

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Colourful Garden Bed

It’s quite amazing that we have, all of a sudden, a colourful garden bed near our house. This area has been a bit of a disaster area for the past few years as we’ve had major renovations to the house, had a new patio and paths put in and only had the garden beds bordered with bricks a year ago. These garden beds were really like a war zone with labourers, brickies, scaffolders and decorators working all around them (and over them!) for such a long time. 

After the brick borders were put in last year, I got into the beds and did the first attempt to clear the weeds and I gave everything a pretty good prune. Also, in the autumn, I put a lot of the fallen leaves in the beds as mulch. It’s really pleasing to see today just what a nice colourful garden bed we have. It’s putting on a nice show (as my father would have said). Read more

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.

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