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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Preparing the Garden; April 2014

It’s that time of year again when you look to your garden/outdoor space.
The sun is shining outside you’ve got a long bank holiday weekend and the shops are having discounted sales.

We have started earlier this year.  Many of our plants and trees and started to bloom a few weeks ago which inspired me to get back out there and get things sorted for the summer to come.

The first thing we did, back in early March, was to prepare the vegetable patch. Planting won’t begin in there until the last week of April beginning of May as advised by some fellow gardeners who have allotments, trying to avoid frost you see.
We placed a good few spades full of farmyard manure, some soil fertilizer and some fresh compost then sprinkled a bag of tomato grow bag compost. Using a large fork we mixed it all in and leveled the top.

My next mission was to ensure that all the plants were placed in the correct spots within my garden.  A few of the tress and shrubs weren’t so happy last year; that’s the upside of having a potted garden, most everything, other than the vegetable patch, can be moved!  I re-potted the clematis and re-positioned it into a sunny spot, it was a non-starter last year. The apple tree was also moved to a sunny position.

With moving all so many items into the sun there was a gap in the shady part of my garden and a few gaps where some of last years veg were, so after a trip to my local Garden centre and Homebase our new additions are:

  •  Magnolia, one of my most favourite plants, to replace one I had a couple of yeas ago that the cat killed (He used it as a toilet!). 
  • Cherry Laurel, to add a different dimension in evergreen. 
  • An extra Willow tree.
  • Camellia, Azalea, Japanese Aralia and Piers Japonica all of which are happy to be in shady spots. 
  •  I’ve had a Jasmine arch for about eight years it slowly died on one side with the other side really struggling.  I decided that, as the Jasmine just wasn’t happy, to add a Climbing Hydrangea.  Fingers crossed that goes well.
My husband was wonderful enough, for our fifth wedding anniversary, to gift me two large and tall handmade wooden pots which now houses the Hydrangea arch; hopefully we will have a beautiful flowering hydrangea arch, finally, end of  Summer.

A few new projects.  

The starlings of the wall garden....  How to coming soon

I am a total novice at gardening, but I love research and I will try.  Apparently I’m a natural *shrugs* maybe.

Pinterest is a total inspiration to me and after weeks and months of browsing I have decided to try my hand at a vertical garden, made, by me, from a pallet, details to come!!
A space for the kids is also on the to-do list.  Yes the garden is teeny and I have claimed it as my haven, but inevitably the boys want to ‘chill’ with me so my challenge is to give them a little space set up to keep them entertained.

What I learn’t last year.

Butterflies are very beautiful but the story ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ is no joke.  They eat everything!  So this year, as beautiful as the butterflies are, I will spray the eggs with a solution of water with a couple of drops of washing up liquid.
Slugs and snails have been extremely happy with the growth of my strawberry plants this year, I am being ruthless and have placed slug pellets around those plants.
Everything grows; The baby plants look so small and lost when first planted so I ignored the advice on the plant care cards and bunched them together!  Wrong!  This year I have measured the recommended space between each plant and will plant accordingly.
No waste; This year I will choose my veg carefully.  We LOVED the kale, lettuce and cucumbers we grew last year but wasted the tomatoes and sweetcorn.  I had too much to tend to and neglected some items last year so this year will be more concentrated.  The potatoes, onions, leek, carrots, cabbage, broccoli and sweet peppers were non-starters last year due to caterpillar damage and not enough research on my part, so this time around we will just concentrate on a few of these.  I am helping at the baby’s nursery allotment space so will try some of them out there instead.

April is almost finished and May is on its way, the garden is looking pretty good so far, looking forward to the warm weather to come; before that hits having a water butt is in order  The garden much prefers rainwater.

I intend to keep a monthly diary even if it’s just in pictures so follow along with me the Gardenista of the London Urban Courtyard gardens!

Look at it already..... By 2nd of June this year, tho space will be Amazonian!!!

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