A year in the newbie cutting patch – by B

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April I think – pretty bleak and not much going on except for the existing Stoke Edith Pippin Apple tree sapling

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May – Apple blossom and seedlings

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May again – the raised bed from the back of the garden

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Early July – sweet peas, poppies and pinks in bloom (and a new fence that needs a bit of sun bleaching)

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August – add Ammi Visnaga into the mix

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September – Ammi and dianthus finished, more than made up for by cosmos purity and leaning tower of echinops. Dahlia blanc y verde just coming into its own back right (not sure if it will do much this year before frost sets in). Scabiosa and poppy still throwing out a few flower spikes.  I’ve also stuck in some achillea and honesty seeds which are coming on nicely and should bloom next year/the year after.

This was a bit of a Christmas money experiment. It has helped me to understand the natural patterns of different annuals, perennials and even biennials. There is still a lot to learn, and I haven’t cut as many flowers as I’d expected (still got 2 kids under 5 and I’ve been working and passing a PhD viva in the gaps in between so forgive me) but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process this year.

In late winter the long-anticipated hornbeams are going along the back fence to improve the badly-overlooked-garden issue, and (perhaps the following year) the shed and decking will move to accommodate a second raised bed for edibles.

We we grew tomatoes last year and I had been regretting not doing so this year but the weather was not good for outdoor ripening so I doubt we’ve missed out.

in further news I’ve been planting 4 aldi clematis (at £1.80 worth the risk) and lots of grape hyacinths in pots with the kids. We’ll see if they play ball in the spring.

And the dining room is full of bathroom suite bits and there’s a timber box sash waiting to be fitted in the upstairs bathroom so there will be some more indoor house news soon I hope…

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Nature – by B

A little lichen-y branch.  I collected a bowlful with the small people.  Now I’m looking forward to some more autumnal foraging…

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Big girl room on a budget – by B

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Dolls’ house and cabinet from Ebay (£35 and £30 respectively). Cabinet lined with Cole and Son wallpaper leftovers (thanks, mum). Origami animals and flower canvas by me. Map of UK £3 wrapping paper from Rockett St George, held up by a panel pin (like most of the pictures in our house!).

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Random Google Shopping bed frame (£80ish) painted in F&B arsenic, bedding from IKEA

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Old IKEA shelves, cable reel painted in F&B off black (eBay£20), old school chairs (eBay£25 for 4) upholstered in fabric remnants, Vertbaudet rug (which used to have fabric toadstools attached but long since destroyed), canvas and felt ball garland by me, other artwork including potato print Barbara Hepworth (Toddle Tate St Ives on holiday last summer) by little one. Those trouser hangers from IKEA are fab for kids’ drawings.

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Old pine drawers (£20, eBay) again painted in F&B arsenic, IKEA telescopic shower curtain rail wardrobe (£10), branch mobile by me with a foraged branch and eBay birds, leaves, butterflies and eggs. The cast iron fireplaces in both kids’ rooms have been great for magnets of all kinds!

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Beautiful quilt made by Sabs from tybaltkingofcatsblog originally for little brother but pilfered by sis

A little selection of pictures from another constantly evolving room.  About time I blogged it. Never finished but always improving, and changing to meet the needs of a growing girl. We might need a proper wardrobe and desk soon…

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Mini gallery wall with Charley Harper animals (from an old calendar), butterflies, fabric, and card, coins and name picture from friends and family. Foam cell model from a very random selection on sale at nursery one day – she didn’t know what it was at the time, but liked it, and so do I.

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The tessalation design picture has done the rounds, originally made by me 9 years ago (amusingly all the rage now). Rag rug IKEA. Red stool made by my cabinet maker great grandfather and on its fourth generation of being used as a train, play dining table and baking stool.

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It’s cardoon and dahlia time!

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Mr Gaviscon, meet Mr Calpol – by B

Scabious, sash window (in need of some TLC, poor thing), Gaviscon and Calpol bottles.

Scabious, sash window (in need of some TLC, poor thing), Gaviscon and Calpol bottles.

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Oops – by B

Cosmos and ammi visnaga from the cutting patch

Cosmos and ammi visnaga from the cutting patch

So, it’s all about patience, doing big jobs first, and the long game with this house and garden. Until, that is, I saw two matching hip-height terracotta pots for half price in our local garden centre (£44 each!). So they are now sitting empty on the crumbling block paved death trap of a patio. The compost alone will bankrupt me, never mind the dahlias and spring bulbs I’m hoping to stuff them with. But I’m in love.

Exhibit A, a naughty frivolous pot purchase

Exhibit A, a naughty frivolous pot purchase

As you can see we’ve also moved the play house/sand pit to one of the shadier borders, and the slide now takes a route behind the cardoons, making it a bit junglesque for the small people (can you spot the two year old in the undergrowth?). Not very classy, but at £200 from Argos, and a huge hit with the kids, it’s a goodun (and arguably offers some structure/height to the garden, drawing the eye away from neighbours’ houses). Unfortunately, apart from my raised bed cutting patch it’s mostly tiny perennials,bare earth, dandelions and bindweed this July, but I have high hopes for next year…

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Cutting flowers may become addictive… – by B

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Nigella, sweet pea, scabious, dianthus (Mrs Sinkins White – they smell unbelievable, like vanilla and cloves)

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