Red Darter


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National Gardening Week – First Update after 4 hours of work….

I managed to get the garden into a better shape. It’s miles away from finished, but take a first look.

Before: 

Abandoned garden

Abandoned garden

Compost

IMG_3178

I cannot say this enough, to whoever planted the bamboo in the neighbours’ garden, which grows its roots into ours, it was a really bad idea.
It took ages to remove the roots and it’s still not completely done.

IMG_3183

There was also another surprise. I found a large amount of sneils. Eeeeh, I always forget about them and whenever I start to dig around the garden, the first few hours of seeing them are rather unpleasant. They started to climb up the pot walls….but I’ll spare you that

Garden sneils

So I kept on digging

Gardening

and weeding

Compost

As I was unearthing all sorts of bugs, a tiny bird showed up to take advantage of that

Red Tit bird

Red tit bird

I also cut off the hydrangea:

Hydrangea

Hydrangea

and fixed the runner bean support net against the fence attaching it with cable ties to bamboo sticks that I had cut off while weeding.
You can almost not see the net.

IMG_8705

IMG_8708

IMG_8707

So in 4 hours I managed to get the garden from this:

Abandoned garden

to this: 

Urban Gardening

I hope you like the progress

#NationalGardeningWeek #ngw

http://www.nationalgardeningweek.org.uk/


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National Gardening Week – I’m ready, how about you?

Hello!
To take part in the National Gardening Week launched by the Royal Horticultural Society, I pledged to turn an abandoned garden into a little oasis – spending less than £50.
The money was quickly spent: £18 for seeds, £20 for soil, £2.50 for bean netting and  £9.50 for a garden fork. I did a bit of haggling with the owner of my local hardware shop. Mr Bradbury was happy to help me out, so I could stay within the budget – he knows I am a good customer :  )
So, here are the seeds with their package description. All, besides the Hollyhock should hopefully flower this year:

Seed packages

  •  Red-flowering Butler Runner Beans (Early and heavy cropping. Sow: Apr-Jul. Harvest Jul-Oct)
  • Mixed Sunburst and Evening Sun Sunflowers (Ideal backdrop to summer borders. Sow: Mar-May. Flowers: Jun-Sep. 1.8 mt tall)
  • Chaters Double Mixed Hollyhock (Elegant stems at the back of borders. Beautiful, but only flower the year after sowing. Sow: Mar-Jul. Flowers: Jun-Aug. 240cm tall)
  • Mixed annuals, nectar rich plants that attract butterflies (Sow: Mar-Jun. Flowers: Jun-Oct. 90cm tall)
  • Tall Double African Marigold (Sow: Apr-Jun. Flowering: Jul-Oct. 70cm tall)
  • Mixed Dwarf Godetia (Easy for beds, borders and pots. Sow: Mar-May, Sep-Oct. Flowers: Jun-Sep. 30cm tall)
  • Five Spot Nemophila (Easily grown unusual dwarf plants. Sow: Mar-May. Flowers: Jun-Oct. 15cm tall)
  • Milkmaid Nasturtium (Easy to grow softly coloured flowers that climb or trail. Sow: Apr-Jun. Flowers: Jun-Oct. 1.8 mt tall). 

Seed packages

Here I am ready to go. It’s pretty cold today, but I want to get started.
This is the challenge ahead –  the garden how it is right now: 

Abandoned garden

As you see, there is a lot of clearing up to do! My attention will mainly be focused on the back left-hand corner. I am planning to cut down the bamboo, ceating a new planting bed with sunflowers to the left along the wooden wall, red flowering runner beans to the back against the brick wall. In front of these tall plants, I’m planning to sow the butterfly attracting wild flowers, marigold and the colourful dwarf plants.
In my head I have a wonderful image of how it will be, but I know there is a lot of work, and a lot of patience required.

For now, the soil has arrived, the garden fork is ready, it is just a matter of unpacking the bean support net….

Garden fork and soil
I hope you will be back to see how it all develops! 

#NationalGardeningWeek #ngw

http://www.nationalgardeningweek.org.uk/

 

 

 


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How to care for cacti

Canary Island Cacti

These three beauties have flown with me from the Canary Islands to London in January and are thus very special to me.
Its not new to anyone that cacti don’t need much water. However there is a watering technique not everyone knows about, which helps in keeping cacti healthy. 

The dipping technique:
I water the cacti in the picture with this method every two to three weeks:

  • When the soil is dry, fill a bowl or sink with cold water.
  • Immerse the cacti pot until the soil is completely covered with water, but without the water touching the upper part of the plant.
  • Hold the pot under water until no more air bubbles are released from the soil. A bit of soil may spill.

Cactus

Cactus

Cactus

Now the plants are ready for another two or three weeks, depending on the temperature and location.


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This week is National Gardening Week launched by the Royal Horticultural Society

National Gardening Week #ngw

I pledged to start turning an abandoned garden into a little oasis – spending less than £50. 

What will you be doing to get involved?

http://www.nationalgardeningweek.org.uk/


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Gardening coffee / tea mugs

I bought myself a gift.
These wonderful garden mugs were displayed in a local deli.  After seeing them for several weeks I could not resist and bought all three – the beetroot, the carrot and the tomato mug. (Just to avoid any doubt, I bought these myself and was not paid by anyone to write this).

Garden mug

All three cups show how the plants develop from seedlings to fruit bearing plants and the months of when to SOW and HARVEST.

Garden mug

Garden Mug

The cups have now sold out at the deli here in Hackney, but I saw that you can buy them for the same price (£12 each plus delivery) on the Not on the High Street website: http://bit.ly/1n4AVB0

 

 


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The London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

One of the main venues of the 2012 Summer Olympics & Paralympics, the London Aquatics Centre is now open to the public.

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park London

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

 

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

 The Aquatics Centre has two 50 metre (160 foot) pools, one of them, the Competition Pool

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

 and a 25 metre (82 foot) Diving Pool

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

 Visitors can watch swimmers through the window in the entrance hall, or from the 2,500 seat gallery

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

 The Olympic Park is beautifully planted

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

 

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

The large scale of the venue and park, the futuristic shapes, long-distance views  and the different materials used, make one feel very welcome

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

 Bird nesting boxes have been placed along the Eastern facade of the Aquatics Centre  

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

 

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park

London Aquatics Centre Queen Elizabeth Park


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Planting your own Kitchen Window Herb Garden

This was something I intended to do last year, but never took the time to put into practice. So in March this year I finally went for it. 

Eight herb plants were the most I could fit into two planters and a pot. I ventured to Columbia Road Flower Market  and as usual was not disappointed. The quality of plants they sell is second to none and the price is neither. 
My strategy on Columbia Road Flower Market is to walk the entire length of the market and assess every stall without buying anything, then turn back and pick the healthiest plants from the stalls that made it into my short list. I always end up buying one or two plants from two to three different sellers. Every stall is specialised in a specific area, so the stalls I buy from change depending on what I’m looking for.

For the Kitchen Window Herb Garden I bought one of each (clockwise from the top left):
Thyme, Lemon Balm, Rosemary, Chives, Sage, Basil, Mint and Lavender

Herbs

Herbs

 Before filling the planters with soil, I covered the drainage wholes with potsherds.
One could also use small stones.

IMG_8544

 Then added fresh soil and the plants.

Herbs

When deciding which plants to put together in one pot, I placed the Basil next to the Mint plant. I believe this was a mistake, as the basil did not last for two days. I’m certain it was not due to the quality of the plant, but rather due to the location, too much or not enough water or the fact of having been placed next to the mint plant. To be honest I don’t know. However all other plants are doing well and are now on the window sill. 

Herbs in Pots

Herbs on windowsill

 

Herb Garden on Window Sill

Happy Gardening!

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