…. and now to relax!

This morning I was catching up on the blog posts that I haven’t had time to read this week, and I managed to get bang up to date with today’s Six on Saturday by The Propagator. You can click on the link to find out more, or join in, but essentially the rules are to write about six things in the garden on a Saturday and then comment with a link to your post on the Propagator’s post.

I’ve been busy in the garden today for what is probably one of the last times before it gets too cold to contemplate being outdoors for any length of time, and I got quite a lot done so I shouldn’t have any trouble finding my six topics.

1. I’m going to start off with the life that’s still trying its hardest to ignore the darkness and impending cold and forge ahead. I pottered around deadheading and tidying, and as I did so I came across a few plants still with buds waiting to bloom. I’m hopeful that they will, because the weather forecast is milder for the next couple of weeks. According to my thermometer it was about thirteen degrees today.

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So, my beautiful buds, and topically, there are six.

We have, starting top left and going clockwise, Cosmos which have provided a beautiful display outside our kitchen window all summer, and are still giving. You can see a few buds in the background. Then gorgeous Gazania. I don’t know if it will be light enough for this bud to truly open because Gazania are light sensitive, but I’m keeping everything crossed. Next is Gerbera. This is in a container and it has thrown up a steady stream of beautiful pink flowers all summer. This opening bud looks white, which is odd, but maybe it will change as it matures. Underneath that is Dianthus. This was a sale table find and it’s done really well. Fingers crossed this last little bud comes to fruition. Then there’s another Gazania, bright orange this time, trying to provide some colour. Finally Erysimum. Again this was a sale find and it’s actually still in its pot while I decide where to put it, but it’s flowered away happily.

2. There are still lots of flowers that are performing their hearts out and are making my own heart sing with gratitude that not everything is fading.

The top three are Begonias. These were less than half price because two of the plants in the tray were dead. Nowt wrong with these three though. On the bottom row, left to right we have fabulous Fuschia, Diascia Cherry Blossom and, of course, my ever effervescent Eupatorium. I love Fuschias. I have two and they remind me of my Grandad because they were his favourite. The Diascia was another sale table bargain which has absolutely outdone itself. Its flowers stand bolt upright at the front of our border filling me with joy as I gaze out of our kitchen window. What can I say about my Eupatorium? I just love it. I adored it before it starting flowering, but now it’s just even more wonderful.

3. Dahlias. We’ve had our first frost, and Dahlias, similarly to myself, do not like cold, much less frost. However, although this one is slightly frost bitten and past its best, it is still beautiful and definitely not needing to be deadheaded just yet.

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My wheelbarrow, however, hasn’t fared so well. RIP wheelbarrow Dahlias.

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4. Leaf mould!

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We collected two bin bags worth of leaves today. According to Monty Don, by next October this will have broken down to form the perfect compost. Monty also says that he collects every single leaf at Longmeadow to make into leaf mould. I hope he has lots of people helping him because, honestly, if I was to collect every last leaf in our garden (which clearly is nowhere near the size of Longmeadow) I’d be out there every second of the day in the Autumn! I’d also have a broken back!

5. The raised beds are in place! Whoop!

First I had to clear the area. It was covered in leaves and weeds and stones and roots! We’ve mainly focused on the front half of the garden thus far, so this end has had the most basic of maintenance so far.

Here it is before I started.

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And then after it had been cleared.

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We ran out of space in the wheelie bin so a lot of the debris has just been moved to the other side of the garden for now! Note to self: making a compost area needs to be bumped up the priority list!

Drumroll …….

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Several bags of compost now needed! I need to decide if this is their final resting place. It might make sense to put slabs around them. I’ll see. The Good Life here we come!

6. All summer when I’ve been in the garden I’ve been finding white feathers. Now I know there’s a logical explanation, there are lots of birds around, but white feathers are also said to be sent by lost loved ones as a signal to let you know that they’re watching over you. My Grandad was a keen gardener all his life. He knew everything there is to know about gardening. So, I prefer to believe the non-logical explanation for the white feathers. The only problem is, I don’t know whether Grandad comes to tell me how well I’m doing with my gardening exploits or if he’s desperately trying to tell me I need to move my Astilbe into the shade (already done – found that out the hard way!) or that my courgette plant needs staking to get the best yield (I’ll try that next year). Whatever the reason, it’s a nice feeling to think that he’s there and that he’s seen our garden, because I know he’d have loved it.

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So there you have it, my Six on Saturday.

 

 

My day in photos

I’ve had quite a productive day today, unlike this gorgeous twosome who have spent most of the day snoozing!

I know I’m biased, but I’m convinced we have the two cutest puddy tats in the world. They’re so beautiful, they make my heart flutter a little bit.

I decided to use my extra hour today to make a start on this lovely craft project that one of my favourite people bought me for my birthday.

It’s make your own sequin Christmas baubles. This was all in a kit, but I’m quite sure you could get the equipment separately from somewhere like Hobbycraft.

You need a polystyrene ball, a bauble hanging cap (this is the metal ring that you get in the top of old fashioned style baubles – you could recycle from an old/broken one), sequins, pins and ribbon. That’s it!

After you’ve pushed your hanging cap into the ball you get going with the sequins. You literally just work round in circles, slightly overlapping the sequins as you go. It was actually really therapeutic and I really enjoyed the slow circular rhythm. I found after a while that it helped to balance the ball on a little candle that I have, and, happy bonus, every time I moved it round I got the gentle scent of fresh linen from my candle.

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Heres the finished bauble. I LOVE it. So pretty and sparkly. Can’t wait for December to get the tree out and let it fulfil its festive destiny.

After my dressing room clearout yesterday we decided to go to the tip. I know it’s a bit sad, but I love going to the tip. Although I don’t like clear surfaces and have to have bits and bobs around, much to the chagrin of my lovely hubby who tends to be in charge of the family duster, I find it so cathartic getting rid of junk and clutter. We had three Gousto boxes which are too bulky to go in the regular recycling bin, and various other bits of cardboard as well as a load of rubbish that wasn’t good enough for the charity shop and a mahoosive bag of garden rubbish. All gone now!

I needed to pick up our click and collect shopping, and while I was there I spotted M&S and, inspired by the lovely Butterflies and Boundaries blog post that I read this morning I decided to nip in to get some lunch. Can’t beat M&S ready meals, and this is one of their best.

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Spaghetti Carbonara. Yum!

Whilst I was out I decided to go and get a birthday present for my special friend whose birthday was actually last week, but I’m not seeing her until Tuesday. Obviously I can’t show you what I bought her in case she reads this before Tuesday, but as with any great shopping trip, I also came home with a couple of little treats for myself.

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I’ve been trying to work out all afternoon if this is irony. It’s a Crassula which is toxic to cats, in a cat pot. Is that ironic or just misleading? Isn’t it just typically British to create a concept, that no one is ever actually quite sure how to define. We all know that Alanis Morrisette got it all wrong with her ten thousands spoons when all you need is a knife and all that. The only way that would’ve been ironic is if it turned out at a later date that actually a spoon would’ve done! Is my Crassula/cat pot ironic? Really not sure! Anyway, it had to stay in the car to avoid cat ingestion and is coming to work with me tomorrow.

I also got some new socks. Somehow mine all seem to have holes in the heel. Socks are so expensive! £20 for these nine pairs. Nice though, eh?

Back at Chez Green Girl I decided to construct the second raised bed, despite the absence of my lovely hubby. Not as easy with one, but stubborn to a fault I am, and determined, so I succeeded. I did have to admit defeat when it comes to moving them to their final resting point – that is definitely going to take two (if not three) pairs of arms.

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Ta daaaaa! We will have our own fruit and veg next year!

I had a quick look round the garden, just to reassure myself that everything is ok. It pretty much is, although it’s very sad to see everything starting to shut down for the winter.

My Acer is still tiny, and it is supposed to go red in the Autumn, which is hasn’t really, but you can just about see that it’s trying.

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And my Euphorbia has got some beautiful white flowers. It’s so so pretty waving around in the breeze.

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By now I was getting peckish, so I came in and cooked the first of this week’s Gousto meals – Goat’s Cheese and Red Pepper Pizza with Rocket Salad.

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Delicious! I love goat’s cheese.

Right, time to ease my aching back after the weekend’s exertions in a nice hot bubble bath with the last episode of the Cry on my iPad. I’ve watched the first three today and I’m hooked – I’ve got to find out what the conclusion is!

Toodles!

A bitty day

Today started with a very VERY long snooze! Nine hours and fifty one minutes to be precise.

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You can see from my Fitbit why I needed to catch up. For some people, I know, this is perfectly enough sleep, but I think I must’ve been a cat or a sloth in a former life, and anything less than eight hours isn’t enough for me. Couple that with the dark mornings, and it doesn’t make for a very happy Green Girl Gardener! I think I must be the only person in the world who actually likes the clock change at the end of October. Of course I don’t like the fact that it’s dark before I leave work, however, first of all, we get an extra hour in bed, and most importantly, it’s lighter in the mornings for a couple of weeks and that makes me feel sooooo much better.

Along with lots of people, I suffer from the effects of SAD when the days get darker. I’ve had my SAD light on every morning for the last week, which just about keeps the edge off it. Before I bought the light, I spent most of the time from late October to the beginning of March like the proverbial bear with a sore head, and a tired one at that. I mostly just wanted someone to put me out of my misery! That might sound melodramatic, but that’s really what SAD makes you feel like. The SAD light I have is this one.

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I’d highly recommend it for anyone needing a boost in the winter.

After my epic sleep I started the day in typical autumnal fashion.

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Snuggly dressing gown and teddy bear blanket, crumpets (Warburtons, the king of crumpets!) with lashings of butter and the teeniest scrape of marmite (I’m convinced that marmite haters are just those who have put too much marmite on their preferred choice of carbohydrate) and some mindless Candy Crushing.

I had a hair appointment booked today. This is exciting for two reasons. Firstly, because I love getting my hair done. It always feels like such a luxury to be coiffured by a professional, and I hate drying my hair so I love getting my hair washed and dried by my hairdresser. Secondly, because when I booked this appointment for today, it was with our holiday in mind, so this means it’s finally nearly here!

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Holiday hair in process! Never an attractive look, but worth it for the end result.

Never one to miss up an opportunity to crochet, I made full use of the time while my hair was ‘cooking’.

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Ive cracked the waistcoat stitch now so I’m zooming on with my September Little Box of Crochet. I’m determined to finish it before our holiday (thirteen days and counting!) so that I can take the October box with me.

We left one member of the family at the hairdresser’s.

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This is Bella. I can’t remember if I’ve talked to you about Bella before. I won her a few months ago in a ‘guess the name’ competition run by the Animal House, a wonderful charity based in South Birmingham who do amazing work for animals. Do check out their web page. When I won Bella, I didn’t realise quite how big she was! It’s hard to see the scale in the photo, but that sofa is designed for three people! My hairdresser is Blowers which is owned and run by my brother in law, and when I mentioned Bella to him and how we really couldn’t keep her because of her size, but that I wanted her to go to a good home, he said he knew someone who worked for a charity and suggested that we donate her. So that’s what we’ve done. I feel quite sad that she’s gone, and the dining room looks bare, but I’m pleased that she’ll make even more money for good causes.

Last weekend we bought eight sleepers with which to make our raised beds so that we can grow our own fruit and veg next year.

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The sleepers are 1.2 metres long, so they’re only going to be small raised beds, but I figure for my first foray into fruit and veg growing, they’ll be fine. There’s plenty of space in our garden if we decide we need more beds.

Unfortunately the weather didn’t behave and, as well as being freezing cold, it decided to rain on us, so we only managed to get one put together before we admitted defeat and retreated inside to the radiator!

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I’m a little bit in love with it! I’m so excited for the spring when I can plant it. First things first though. I need to clear and level the area that it will live in, and decide if I want slabs around it. Some fun garden designing to get on with. Hopefully I’ll be able to get out and put the second one together tomorrow.

On the subject of the garden: a couple of our fence panels had been on their last legs for some time, and Storm Callum proved to be the final straw and they gave in, so we had them replaced yesterday. Oh my goodness it looks good now!

After our garden exploits were foiled, I decided to have a clear out of my dressing room. I realise that sounds really posh! I’m not the Queen honestly, I just commandeered our little third bedroom when we moved in and stuck my wardrobe in it!

Does anyone else have a bit of an obsession with boxes?

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I found this one in my wardrobe that was given to me as a gift with a mug in it. The mug is in regular use, but I hadn’t found a use for the lovely box. I put it in the pile of rubbish to go to the tip and took it out twice because I couldn’t bear to let it go. I couldn’t find a use for it in my dressing room, so I’ve put it to work in the kitchen.

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It’s definitely been a bitty kind of a day today! I feel like this post has jumped around all over the place – sorry if you get a headache from the bouncing!