I’ve been busy in the garden lately. Real busy. So much of my spare time (which is quite limited) is now being taken up with the garden. Of course, it’s a problem all of my own making yet, I have to admit, I enjoy it a lot (most of the time).
My last post was on April 10th (where has all that time gone?) and was called “Things are growing“. In that post there was a photo of young tomato and chilli seedlings in a plug tray. It was great to see them all start growing, but now I’m asking myself “why did I plant over 40 tomatoes?” and even more chillies? Have I bitten off more veggies than I can chew?
There’s one thing with nature, it doesn’t procrastinate. It just progresses. I can’t say I need a rest for a few days when there are seedlings that really need to be potted on. So the garden is actually setting my schedule and pushing me. That’s a good reason why I wish I hadn’t sown so many seeds (last year not so many of my seeds sprouted, so I thought the same would happen again, but it didn’t). Read more
Last weekend, I did a few things in the garden and I’m posting a series of images below with comments to describe what’s going on. You’ll see why stones, woodchips and seeds are the main things on my mind. Here in the UK, the grass is just starting to grow again after winter, and things are starting to move in the garden. My aim is to build a natural, diverse garden and I’m part way through this multi-year project. I’m not an experienced gardener, I’m learning little bits from friends and the web, and then just using instinct. In fact, it’s using instinct that’s the most fun. It doesn’t always work out, but it’s fun.
Also in the UK at the moment, as in the rest of the world, it’s coronavirus disruption time. We’re trying to stay at home almost exclusively, so gardening is a good pastime and a good form of exercise, but I’m a bit worried to see so many people disregarding the instructions of the government. That’s sad.
Ok, let’s see what happened last weekend. (click on any of the images to see them full-size) Read more
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
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.