Archive for Gardening

How time flies!

Wow… what happens to the time, I say every day that I am going to achieve this, this and this, but the list never seems to get any smaller and the day goes by. (I need to address this life time issue). So sorry guys for such a long time between posts. Anyhoo…

We have been busy trying to finish the house off, having lots of people to stay, which is great as they make a house a home with the memories, and we have been playing in the garden. Not sure where to start with the update, but outside seems as good a place as any.

You may remember that my Handy Husband created a lovely potting shed for me. He knows the way to my heart. Well this year as we are starting to landscape the garden he increased the number of raised beds for me too. I found that last year there just wasn’t enough space for all the things I wanted to grow. Below is how it used to look before the upgrade.


And now!




pottager3 tulips1

So we added in two more raised beds and also reused some low fence panels that we had salvaged from the garden before we started deconstruction. They work well to break up the spaces between where we want to put our patio and the more functional space of the vegetable garden. Also the low fence will work well as support for a couple of roses that i want to train along the length of it.

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We gravelled an area to the side of the potting shed, mainly because we didn’t want to use up all the reclaimed bricks, but also to add in a change of surface texture to add interest. I’ve put here my tin bath and made a pond again. Early stages with the pond, but it will eventually look good. Plus its great for the birds to have somewhere to drink water and bathe in.


The inside of the potting shed is also looking very productive. I’ve been busy sowing seeds and potting on seedlings. I added more shelving in here as well.


So the sun is shining and I need to get out and potter. Hope you have a good weekend.

Emma x


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Progress report

We came back from our break in Valencia to see some major progress on our renovation project. Not sure if it is because we hadn’t seen it for a week, or the builders have been extra busy… but I thought I would share with you the new additions.

The roof tiles are going on. We are reusing the old tiles on the back of the house and new ones on the front to try and keep check on the costs.

roofjune2 roofjune1

We decided on how the front porch was going to look, and it now reflects the way the dormers are made and it fits just right. You can just see the construction of it coming off the roof.


Inside the house, the stud walls are all up upstairs, and it gives a good feel for the sizes of the rooms. We are really please how this has turned out. Below is the master bedroom.

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Here are the other two bedrooms on the other side of the landing.


And this is the view down the stairwell to the front door. I am particularly pleased how spacious this feels. With the Velux window over the stairwell, it will be really light.


… and this is the view from the front door up the stairs. (by the way these aren’t the final stairs, just temporary ones)


Downstairs, the stud walls for the cloakroom and downstairs ensuite are now in. (sorry for the very boring photos!)


…and windows are going in too! Here is the main living room/kitchen area.

sittingroom1 kitchenjune

And finally I thought I would show you how much the veg garden has grown since we were away. Thanks to my dad for watering and looking after my babies!


Have a good weekend y’all.

Emma x

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New paths, new dormers and dirty faces

I hope you are comfortable and have a nice cup of earl grey tea to hand, cos this is going to be a long post as I have lots to tell you.


Firstly the Handy Husband has been very busy putting down a new path to his man cave garden shed. We got a great deal on some concrete pavers from B&Q at the trade counter, for about £2 which is a total bargain. We’re mixing them in with the reclaimed bricks from the house. We don’t have quite enough of the bricks to make all the paths that we want to, so by mixing them in with the concrete pavers perhaps we will have enough.

newplants plantsinborder

I also dug over the border (well half the border before my back got too stiff – man! that border is long!) and planted some new plants that I bought this morning from Garden Beauty who were having a plant sale. It’s great being able to work in the garden and make it our own while the house is being renovated. It makes it feel more like ours.

My girlie was also very busy in the garden. I am sure you can see exactly what we look like from her garden portraits!

dirtfaces amymakingheads

Moving onto the house, the roof is taking shape, the carpenters have been having taking their time and getting it right. It hasn’t been easy for them as the drawings from the Architects aren’t all that good – but that’s another story I won’t bore you with. Still they are managing and the results are great. If you look down the length of the roof, all the rafters are perfectly inline. That’s a skill. (The perfectionist Handy Husband is suitably impressed).

alaninbatroomdorma dormersoutsiderooftimbers2

It will only be another couple of weeks before they start to put the tiles on – SO exciting – a roof!

Downstairs is moving on too, all the rooms have been joisted out and battens (green ones) put in place to support the insulation. They will be putting pipes and wires in soon (I hope) for first fix.

downstairs2 downstairs

It has been great realising the spaces as they take shape, and they are just as I imagined (phew!) Well sorry for very long post, I hope your tea didn’t go cold!

Have a great weekend

Emma x

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All I need is roof over my head…

Well the guys on site have been busy this week, and have started putting the roof on which is just great! Sadly our architects drawings aren’t all that special and so there has been rather a lot of head scratching, measuring and adjusting. But “measure twice, cut once…`” I think is the saying, and so far “it’s all good”.


I have noticed that whenever we undertake large building projects, there is the “big, small” syndrome. What I mean by that is one day you visit site and have a look at things going on, and a sinking feeling takes over and it all the spaces look SO SMALL. The thought crosses your mind “How ever are we going to fit it all in..” Then something else is added and all of a sudden the spaces look big again. It’s always really noticeable when you dig foundations, they always look tiny, then the walls start going up and all of a sudden the spaces feel really big. Luckily it always works out pretty much as I imagine in the end.


I took this photo looking in from the gable end of the house, you can just see the tower in the background to the right. The Handy Husband is standing just inside the doorway to the front bedroom (the Girlie’s we think). It’s still really hard to get a good idea of the room sizes as the dormers aren’t in yet, (Big-Small) but we have extended the roof quite a bit and are only putting three bedrooms, one en-suite and a family bathroom up there, so there should be enough space.


And under the scaffolding the house looks positively playhouse sized!

Enough boring photos of roof timbers, let me show you what I have been doing in the garden. I have a little game for you, can you to spot the difference between the two photos below?



Oh wow, you are good at that game! If only gardening was as easy as using photoshop! This photo is the view from our french windows in the dining/kitchen area of the side of the garden. I want to plant a couple of frees that won’t grow too tall, but will screen the neighbours just a little bit. I thought it would be fun to play around with positioning of the trees to see how they could look eventually.

So, I would like a flowering cherry – Prunus ‘Kanzan’ (the pink one) and a Sorbus Aria Lutescens, that’s the greyish green one on the left. I would also like to add in a lilac tree/shrub (the purple one) as they have the just best smelling flowers and you can cut them to put in the house.

Other than that we have been busy digging up old paths, sowing seeds and putting up wigwams ready for sweet peas and french beans. Fingers crossed they come up.

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I hope you all had a great weekend, what ever you were doing. (Running marathons, digging gardens, going on holiday…)

Emma x

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House progress

Well the builders are at last building, rather than knocking down, which is great! I thought that you would like to see what they have been doing.




This is the utility room being rebuilt, you can see where they have written ‘door’ on the wall, that’s where our new back door is going.


and this is start of the new downstairs bedroom and ensuite.

Also I thought that I would show you how amazing my potting shed is now. I have the best Handy Husband a girl could want.


Have a great weekend

Emma x

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My potting shed update

Well my Handy Husband has been working hard for me again. He is such a wonderful man – he is building me my own potting-shed!!! What more can a girl ask for?

So we started with the foundations, just digging a shallow trench and filling it with pea-shingle, then placing some large treated timbers on to this gravel. Hopefully this will stop rain water from rotting the wood – in theory. Although one of our builders – did mention that it would probably rot in about 10 years…. so I guess this is a mid term building then!


Next, the handy husband started with the door. All the measurements for the potting shed have come off the door height, and of course the width of the reclaimed windows.


Then came the front wall and of course the side and back walls. We have had A LOT of discussion about how the roof is going to work. We have been back and fourth between B&Q and Wickes looking at roofing supplies. So, I found this photo (below) on pinterest which shows how I think it will hopefully look. We did talk about using some of the slates from the roof of our house to create an area of shade at the back wall of the shed, but there was too much ‘stress’ about how to do this and the join between the ‘glass’ area and the slate area, so I made an executive decision, and we have gone for an all clear roof. Perfect. Cheapest option, and lets face it, girls, cost is always a consideration, so we have gone for the corrugated plastic. I think it is just the right solution for this potting-shed, it’s not too hi-tech, and it’s not too white-plastic. I hope you know what I mean by that. I don’t really like plastic as a rule, especially the white stuff.


I can’t wait to show you guys the finished product… but you will just have to wait!

It’s going to be ‘SO awesome’ in the words of that very cool dude, Will-i-am!

Have a good weekend.

Emma x



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Ideas for a veg garden & upcycling windows


So while the house continues to get smaller (it has no roof now and the chimneys are all gone) we have been thinking again about the garden. I want to create a vegetable garden in the back corner to grow some vegetables (obvs) and also to have a cutting garden of flowers for the house.


So this is the space we have allocated and it seems to be the sunniest part of the garden which is essential for a vegetable patch. We did have a small veg patch in our last garden, but it was too shaded under some very large oak trees and my veg didn’t really do very well. Live and learn….

I also want to have a greenhouse/potting shed/summer house type of building back there too, and have of course come up with the design. The Handy Husband was up for the challenge, so we took ourselves off to Romsey Reclamation on Friday (that’s the advantages of working for yourself) and found some great windows and a glazed door. Of course they will need some painting and just a bit of glass, but they are exactly what I was looking for.



We are recycling the old timbers from the house roof to make the frame of the new greenhouse/potting shed. (Of course when I say we – that really means the Handy Husband is doing it – hee hee). Hopefully it will feel a bit like one of these dreamy spaces …

greenhouseidea2 greenhouseidea1

So hopefully it will look a little bit cobbled together and a little bit recycled, and just perfect. On the floor of the potting shed we’ll be using bricks that came from the three chimneys that we no longer need in the house. Outside the potting shed we are going to have raised beds, with gravel paths between them, perhaps a bit like this.


I do quite like the trellis surrounding this very pretty vegetable garden, perhaps we could use this between the end of the garden and the space closer to the house. It would create a very light screen, so as not to block out the back, but hint of what is there to invite you back to find out more.

Well lets hope the sun comes back soon, as it is just a bit too soggy back there at the moment for us to make a start on the potting shed.

Hope you guys have a good weekend.

Emma x

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O frabjous day, Callooh callay!

O frabjous day indeed! Lewis Carroll had such a way with words. It has been the most beautiful Spring day today. The sun has shone and there isn’t a single cloud in the sky. The birds are all a twitter and I can hear woodpeckers hammering at the trees making nests and picking out grubs. It just fills me with happiness on days like this. It also makes me want to be outside from dawn to dusk.frabjous1.

The Handy husband jet washed the deck yesterday and it is looking mighty fine, all clean and just a beautiful silvery grey. Our adirondak chairs came out of hiding and are back in their view watching position on the deck, all that was needed was some cheery spring flowers in some pots. So off my girlie and I went to the farm shop to get some spring loveliness.
I found a lovely hellebore which is the prettiest shade of raspberry pink. The flowers are held up quite upright so you can see their faces and I caught a photo of it with the sun shining through – perfection! I coupled the hellebore with some peachy/pink primulas around its bottom in a simple glazed blue-ish pot and it looks just fine.

Closer to the adirondak chairs I made up a yellow and white combo of primulas and tet-a-tets they are, to me, classic spring flowers, so innocent. I have always been fascinated with daffodils, even as a child, and can remember making them out of egg boxes in infant school like these.


The rhubarb is also sprouting very nicely – looking forward to having the first rhubarb pie from the garden.


I’m sure y’all were out and about in the sunshine today, I hear this high pressure is going to sit over us for the next week keeping the lovely sun and the daytime temps up. We certainly need it! Let me know how you got on in your garden, what’s springing up, what have you lost to the rain and wet.


Emma  x

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Spring, springing!

It didn’t rain yesterday, yay, and so I went in the garden to do a bit of tidying up. I haven’t been out there for one reason or another for months. The rain has made everything very soggy and muddy, and it’s cold and I seem to be able to find other things to do rather than get out there.

But I’m so glad I did! The sun almost shone and with five layers on it was fairly warm… But oh how wonderful to see that baby shoots are poking their heads up above the dead leaves. The shoots are the freshest green and look so clean and pure it brings joy to my heart. (sorry getting quite over the top there) It’s just that they look so lovely and I want the nice weather to come back and I’m just so fed up of the rain.

Enough chat – here they are.


This plant was given to me by my lovely friend Lucy. She is the font of all knowledge on plants and gardening. It has been doing very well in the shady corner of a North facing border in quite heavy clay. The perfect architectural plant, with big glossy leaves.


This clematis is again on the north side of a fence – and as with all clematis likes to have it’s feet in the shade and it’s head in the sun. I had about a dozen very showy flowers on it last year, and it seems to be very happy, so maybe it will give me more this summer. They are almost pure white and about 5 inches in diameter with very pretty reddish centres. The best thing about it though is the deer don’t eat it! YAY.


These sedum are again from my lovely friend Lucy (yes she has single handedly stocked much of my garden) I did have them out in the front, but the pesky deer just munched them to the ground and especially the flowers (grrr) but I moved them to the back garden which is protected by a very high fence and so far the deer haven’t been in there. Not that I am obsessed about the deer (small twitch in left eye) but I can’t afford to feed them plants from the nursery, they could at least eat the weeds – that would be more useful. But I digress, these sedum are great doers. They look great when just in leaves, the flowers last for ever and the butterflies and bees love them.


These large Ox eye daisies are coming on well too. Once I cut down last year’s stalks they looked much prettier.

And finally the rhubarb. I would love to get a couple of those terracotta forcing pots for the rhubarb.


I hope you got out and about this weekend and dodged the rain.

Emma x



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Autumn garden tidy-up


Well the garden was looking very much unloved (top left photo), mainly because the weather has been really bad for a while and I just haven’t had the time/inclination to be outside. So this weekend the weather man promised me it would be dry. Well it was dry and although the photos don’t really show it, the sun did try to shine.

Autumn is one of my best times of the year, the colours are great, the smells are fab and I do love wearing my wellies. There is a tree on the other side of the fence at the bottom of our garden and it has been slowly turning a wonderful shade of yellow. It’s so yellow, in fact, that sometimes I think the sun is shining.

We spent a good couple of hours clearing out my borders of the leaves, dead heading nad the old summer flowers. The nasturtiums I planted last year to fill in the bare ground and fence have all self seeded again and were quite thuggishly crawling over everything else. I know that with the first frost (which isn’t that far away) they will become mush, so it felt great to yank out those bruisers, even though they still had a few flowers left on them.


I did leave as many of the seed heads as I could for the little birds, and also for the texture they bring to the borders. I cleaned out the pots, finally putting the dahlias that bloomed their socks off over the summer, onto the compost heap. I will have to pop to the nursery to find some interesting winter colour for the deck.

The handy husband spent some time on his lawn, first cutting it, then scarifying it with a sturdy rake and finally sweeping up the thatch. It did look very nice and well tended afterwards. We eventually took three large builders bags full of leaves and dead stuff to the tip. I have tried to compost leaves before, but they do take a very long time, and I have never found it to be that successful. They compost the best when they are cut up with the lawn clippings, but large amounts of just leaves don’t rot that well in a compost bin.

Anyway, I hope you all had a good weekend outside, and felt productive. I thought I would leave you with a photo of this cheeky chap on one of our trees!


Emma x

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