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…
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.
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…
I thought it was about time I posted the kitchen as it’s been this way for three years. There is no clever styling or posh camera here so it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing post. When we moved in there was no room for our large fridge freezer, the cooker had been stuffed in a corner, and there was rather a lot of cornflower blue scalloped artex. Unfortunately there was also damp in the kitchen cupboards, a crack in the enamel sink, and lots of yellow pine…
I painted the cupboards in Farrow and Ball Pavillion Gray (a surprisingly lengthy process), painted the tiles and everything else white, and our builder replaced the boiler, work tops, sink, and taps, light, and raised the height of the fireplace to accommodate a range cooker. I screened the new boiler and bins with an Ikea curtain, and lined the glazed wall cupboard with the remnants, and added a cheap Roman blind at the window. It ‘ain’t perfect but it’s cleaner and a bit less dated while we wait until we can afford to knock walls about and do it properly. I do wish half the drawers and cupboards weren’t unusable due to damp or damage, though!
Tulips have given way to more autumn-planted Wilkos bulbs: this time allium purple sensation. I am rather enjoying the emerging structure, and spotting and noting the gaps to be filled with more bulbs and divided perennials in the months and years to come. In the end I set up my raised bed cut flower patch in the back garden. The Sarah Raven seedlings and a few home-sown sweet peas are growing fast, and I’m glad I chose mostly perennials as they should turn out to be a lasting investment for the house as well as the garden. We have enjoyed our first home-grown rhubarb crumble his week too. Apples will have to wait as I’ve pinched off most of the fruitlets from our Stoke Edith Pippin (a local Apple, grafted by a friend last year), to get some good growth on this season. We’re having a new rear fence built in a week or so too, which will make a huge impact on privacy and tidiness at the sunny end of the garden. The only bad news is that our neighbour has vigorously pruned her grape vine so the sneaky branch we trained along our fence has bitten the dust, so no grapes from the garden this year. They were so good we might have to invest in our own vine.
A bit of colour (okay, it’s mostly a restricted pallette of green, blue, white and purple) in a slowly evolving border in the back garden. The forget me nots are spreading nicely (with a bit of help). The euphorbia wulfenii is looking majestic with its acid green plumes. The ‘Shirley’ tulips have started off a lemon and lime white shade, and are maturing gradually with purple tinged petal edges. A few bluebells are peeping through the greenery, and I’m looking forward to the allium ‘purple sensation’ popping its purple pompoms, and the nigella seedlings (the result of a scattered packet of seeds) launching their frothy blue stars. There’s more to do, and I definitely need to plug a few gaps in the bulb planting come autumn, but it’s feeling like progress.
The borders in the back garden were small, lined by a very ugly, cracked concrete and aggregate path, and covered in blue plastic and bark chippings. Time and money have prevented a dramatic makeover. Instead I’ve gradually removed the plastic and path, reshaped the border edge, enriched the soil as much as I can with the contents of our dalek compost bins, and removed the largest stones (it is mostly builders’ rubble with a handful of clay topsoil, it seems). I pruned the laurel, and transplanted, divided and spread around a tiny clump of forget me nots from our last house. Allium and tulip bulbs were added last autumn from Wilkos (bargain!). Euphorbia wulfenii and cardoon plants (just a mound of silvery foliage so far this year) were the only extravagance, bought from Sara Raven two years ago. I’m waiting for the miniature alchemelia mollis plants from Aldi to do something interesting (planted about a month ago).
This gardening lark is fun, but I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing, and thinking in 4D (not just space, but time, planning the seasons) is one hell of a challenge. And don’t even mention dandelions and bindweed. Just don’t.
Oh yeah, and the bastard earwigs munched most of my daffodils. Grr.