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Stinging Nettles – taking up the fight

Since moving to the UK, I’ve become accustomed to stinging nettles. They grow very vigorously, as a weed, and have runner roots just under the surface which spread out everywhere and result in new nettles. They’re hard to get rid of and their leaves really do create an unpleasant sting. 

One thing I’ve found is that they love ground that has been dug up. In general, if grass is well in control, stinging nettles don’t have a chance. Once the ground is disturbed, stinging nettles can grow quite tall very quickly and dominate the grass, but if the grass is already there, stinging nettles can’t compete.

My Stinging Nettle Problem

When we had our pottery studio built including new steps down to the studio, there was a lot of ground disturbed and then relocated. This was just perfect for the stinging nettles and they took over. Since I hadn’t experienced them before, I wasn’t sure what to do. I tried pulling them out by hand, using a garden fork and some good leather gloves, and I found they were easy to remove because the roots are generally shallow. They don’t like being pulled out and it takes them quite a while for them to start returning, but they do return and, in summer, they grow very vigorously. At one point I was confronted with stinging nettles between 4 and 5 feet tall. Read more

Irisruby – a rogue online store

This is just a quick note to warn everyone about a rogue online store called Irisruby (Irisruby.com). We bought an item from them and it turned out to be completely not as described online. It was supposed to be a knitted garment but it turned up as just a print of the pattern on a synthetic fabric. We wanted a refund. On their website they say;

Fast Refund: Send the returned purchase in its original packaging with original label back to our return center. We will issue a refund to your original payment method within a week.

but it’s very suspicious that they don’t have an address for their refund centre anywhere on the website. It’s also very suspicious that their “Contact Us” page only has an email address and it’s a very weird looking email address (MAIL:service@irisruby.com). These should have been enough reasons to avoid purchasing from them, but we didn’t realise until it was too late. It’s impossible to find out where they are operating from just from their website. Read more

Enjoying Oslo

I spent a couple of days in Oslo, Norway, last week and I must say I really enjoyed it. There’s something about the Norwegian people and the Norwegian way of life that I really like. It’s hard for me to exactly put my finger on what gives me the feeling of enjoying Oslo, but I’m going to give it a try.

First, at the airport, the immigration staff are courteous and polite. That doesn’t always happen and it’s nice. Then I go to catch the airport train to the city and I’m amazed how everyone on the platform seems to be calm and respectful. I find the same experience when I go to Oslo central station to catch a local train as, in general, everyone is calm and respectful. People actually stand back to allow others off the train first, and then they board in a polite way. Maybe I was just lucky with timing, but I did find it a noticeable pleasure. Read more

Sitting Spiritually

Recently, I’ve been thinking about getting outdoor furniture to add to our garden. As many of you know, I’ve certainly become more spiritual in the last 6-7 years and have got into yoga and meditation (see Life in the Right Direction), so it will be no surprise that I took notice of a local company making wooden garden furniture called “Sitting Spiritually” (I have no affiliation with them, I’m just interested).

There were many things I liked about “Sitting Spiritually” when I first looked at their website – they are fairly local to where I live (southern England), they make bespoke furniture using local artisans, each piece is one of a kind and they aim for a beautiful finish to and exceptional standard. I decided to ask them a few questions and they we so kind to answer them well and to allow me to publish their answers here. They even sent me some of their photos to include.

Here are the exact questions I asked Sitting Spiritually and their verbatim answers. Read more

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