Six on Saturday 9th May

Well, I’ve had a lovely day! Probably the best lockdown day so far. We had a day in the garden yesterday clearing away loads of weeds, and it inspired me, so this morning I decided to take the plunge and go to stand in the queue at Homebase. Actually I stood in two! I queued for about half an hour to get in, and I have to say, the queue was very well managed and I was never within six feet of anyone else. Then I had to wait to be let back outside to the garden section! Again, very well managed. Well done Homebase. I decided to make the wait worth it, and I spent rather a lot of money, but, let’s face it, I’m not spending on anything else other than food so I think the bank manager will forgive me. I spent the rest of the day alternating between planting my new stuff, sitting in the sun and playing swingball.

Number One – Garden Hardware

I got the two terracotta pots from Homebase today. I decided a while ago that I’d like lots more pots around the garden. I know they take more work in terms of watering and maintenance, but I love the look of lots of pots. The plastic beige and grey pots I found in Poundland a couple of weeks ago (where social distancing is not adhered to effectively because of the limited width of the aisles, so I won’t be going back there for some time!) I think I’ll plant the pots with pansies and petunias that I bought today. I’ve put them in the greenhouse for now because, after the glorious weather today, apparently it’s going to be 10° tomorrow! The trellises and sunflower stakes came in a delivery today from Blooming Direct. I’ve put the stakes in place ready for the Sunflowers in the greenhouse once they get big enough to plant out.

I have twenty seven Sunflowers seedlings so I’m not sure where they’re all going to go! I guess they won’t all make it, but even so, I think I should’ve ordered more than five stakes!

Number Two – Sale Table Finds (oh sale table how I’ve missed thee!)

On my way back from Homebase I called into Halls, our local garden centre, because, although they’re only operating on a click and collect or delivery basis, I did notice that they had a half price table set up outside. I picked up a couple of great plants.

A white Camellia which I’ve planted in our bistro …

… and this beautiful Rhododendron.

Gorgeous! I couldn’t resist.

Number Three – Lupin

This was the only blue/purple Lupin amongst a field of pink, so I snapped it up. Such a striking plant. I had a Lupin before from a sale table, but it didn’t make it so I hope this one is more successful.

Number Four – Chrysanthemums

I bought these today as well, and I’ve put them in the pot that the Lupin came out of and another that I found in the dim dark recesses of the garage! Wonderful splashes of colour.

Number Five – Dicentra Bleeding Heart

Finally! It’s flowered!

I’m hoping it has a growth spurt this Summer because it’s still quite small. This was from a sale table, so I guess it didn’t have the best start in life but it seems to be reasonably happy now. I’ve seen some fabulous Dicentras on Instagram that dwarf my little plant, but I love it and its little rows of hearts just the same.

Number Six – Self Seeded Oxalis, or is it?

I thought this was Oxalis that had self seeded from a plant I bought from Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens a couple of years ago, but now I’m not so sure!

Whatever it is, I’m very happy that it decided to grow in our garden because it’s very pretty indeed. Surely a weed is only a weed if you don’t want it? I’ve learnt to be a lot less precious about weeding in our garden. It’s somewhat rustic in nature which means it’s never going to be perfectly manicured so I’m embracing the imperfection and I’ve left seedlings that in previous years I’ve whipped out before they’ve had chance to develop and it’s resulting in some delightful flowers, and it means less weeding for me – win/win!

I hope you’ve enjoyed a little insight into our little garden haven. I can’t tell you how much we’ve appreciated our outdoor space over the past weeks. If you’d like to have a sneak peak into other bloggers’ gardens, nip on over to the Propagator’s page.

Six on Saturday 2nd May

Whoop! It’s May. Officially the start of Summer as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been furloughed so I’ve got a fair bit of gardening done over the past week or so, but not as much as I’d like because the weather hasn’t always been kind. I did get out there today though, and got a bit done.

1. I ordered twenty four Begonia plug plants at the very beginning of lockdown, and just as Homebase and B&Q have reopened meaning I could have gone and bought some in person, they arrived! Never mind, I stayed safe, and it was exciting receiving plants in the post for the first time.

I know I should probably harden them off, but after looking at the weather forecast I decided it would be safe to go for it and plant them out. I did this last year with teeny tiny Begonia plug plants, and not only did they survive not being hardened off, the ones in one of my hanging baskets have survived the Winter and are growing back for a second Summer! As you can see, I’ve put some in a different hanging basket, and I’ve filled my wheelbarrow with them. These are apricot colours which I’m really looking forward to.

2. I’m moving on to my favourite kind of plants now – free ones!

These started pushing up round the edges of the weed control fabric on our bistro last year and I thought the leaves looked quite pretty, and possibly not weed-like, so I decided not to be over zealous with my weeding and this year they’ve rewarded me with beautiful flowers. I didn’t know you could get Poppies any other colour than red, but I’m reliably informed that that is indeed, what they are. Beautiful! I will definitely be harvesting the seeds to scatter elsewhere.

3. Another freebie, but unidentified this time. I discovered it in the undergrowth at the very uncultivated top of our garden! Obviously it’s some kind of grass, and I’m pretty sure it’s not grass as in lawn, but I’ve no idea what it is. There are lots of grasses in our garden that it could’ve come from, and obviously it might not even be from our garden. I’ve potted it up for now and I’ll see how it develops.

4. Another grass that’s self seeded. I think it’s either Carex Milk Chocolate or offspring of a grass which was gifted to us from my Dad and C’s garden whose name I don’t know. It was growing in a really random place so I dug it up before it got trampled on. I decided to make use of half of our chimenea which got broken in a storm over the Winter. I sunk it slightly into the soil to keep it together and filled it with compost. If the grass thrives, I imagine it’ll outgrow the chimenea, but for now I think it looks great, and I’ve saved putting more rubbish into landfill. I need to find something else for the other half of the broken chimenea.

5. Moving on, but keeping a somewhat tenuous link with free plants due to the number of runners that have grown new plants to strawberries.

There were all sorts of weeds sprouting up in the strawberry bed, so I weeded it thoroughly but I left a lot of the leaves that have made their way in there in the hopes that slugs and snails might not like sliming over them to get to my precious strawberries! I also made use of these strawberry mulch mats that were a Christmas present. We only got one strawberry last year and I’d really like a decent harvest this year.

We’ve got our first flowers appearing so it’s so far so good! I’ll keep everything crossed.

6. This has made me happy! My Clematis Montana always gets masses of leaves, but has never flowered before.

I was planning to relocate this Clematis so it got more sunshine, but I’m guessing now might not be the best time. It’s got hardly any leaves so far this year, and just these two flowers, but I’ll take that – I actually know what it’s flowers look like now.

I really struggled to narrow my points down to six this week which is good because it means the garden is waking up! If you’d like to check out other people’s Sixes, have a look at the Propagator’s blog for lots of garden happiness.

Safari Lodge Bathroom Reveal

I’ve been waiting for the final piece of the jigsaw to arrive before I wrote this post, and finally this week it arrived so I can have my ta da moment!

Our bathroom had become what can only be described as dingy so we decided before Christmas that the time had come (and probably passed several months previously!) for us to do something about it.

See what I mean? It was clean, it was just impossible to make it look clean!

We didn’t want to rip all the fixtures out and add to landfill when there was nothing wrong with them functionally, so we chose instead to work with what we already had. My Dad, DIY extraordinaire, had previously fitted panels to my brother and sister-in-law’s bathroom as well as my Aunt and Uncle’s, so we decided to go down that route and had the panels and various paraphernalia delivered just before Christmas.

My Dad and C were on standby to assist when my new nephew arrived, and he was due in February so we decided to wait till he’d said hello to the world before we got cracking on the bathroom. He arrived safely, and, thank goodness, before the lockdown so he could meet his Grandparents.

Welcome to the world Leon Rye (more about that bunny blanket another time – one of my creations!) I’m glad you don’t know how crazy things are at the moment!

So, sometime towards the end of February my Dad arrived on a Saturday with the contents of his workshop in the back of his car, and we got cracking.

Shower came off first. I was just trying to work out why both the taps are in the ‘on’ position, and then realised it’s because we’d turned the water off. D’oh!

Then we started the process of cutting the panels down to size. Mantra of the day: measure twice, cut once! It gave my Dad the perfect reason (excuse?) to buy a fancypants new jigsaw. My multipurpose tool came into use too. We ended up with blue snow all over the house, and it was really slippy! Cue much skating up and down the hall!

This is where we left it at the end of day one looking much better, and infinitely cleaner!

It doesn’t look like there was much to finish on day two, but it was deceiving. We did the window reveal and all the edging. Sometimes the smaller jobs take as much time, if not more, than the bigger jobs with more impact.

This is how it looked at the end of day two. Sooooo clean! I loved it immediately and my creative brain starting coming up with ideas for how to accessorise. This is where I come into my own!

The first thing that came to mind, was a giraffe that I knew I’d seen (and coveted) somewhere! Now this might sound a bit odd, but it’s where the whole safari idea started to form. Roll with it!

I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I found some amazing tiles from Wayfair, ordered them and then sat impatiently drumming my fingers until they arrived (I may have gone to work in the meantime, but I was mentally drumming!)

Here they are in the process of laying them. Aren’t they gorgeous!

I found the perfect shower curtain from Wayfair as well. I think it helps to make the conversion to safari lodge rather than just bathroom full of animals.

I found the Relax sticker in the background on Amazon and thought it added a certain je ne sais quoi.

By this time, the piece de resistance, the giraffe, had arrived and she now stands regally in the corner, surveying her domain. I’ve no idea where I originally saw them, but this one is a Fairtrade one.

I fortuitously decided to make a trip to the Dunelm and the Range the weekend before the lockdown and picked up the finishing pieces and also managed to find some tile paint in the perfect colour.

I’ve always hated the random patterns in some of our tiles …

… so I decided to paint them.

Turns out it was the colour that I didn’t like, not the pattern. Now they’re a lovely colour they fit in perfectly with the rest of the bathroom.

Here’s the rest of what I bought.

See that elephant hook? It’s balanced on a tack there, but I decided to be brave and drill tile for the first time ever! This necessitated a trip to Homebase to pick up a tile drill bit. The end result is, well, see for yourself.

I’d love to say I purposely gave them a jaunty head tilt, but that would only be partly true! The first one (on the right) ended up wonky due to, I guess, substandard drilling skills, so I did the second one on the slant too to balance it out. But hey, I have a head tilt due to the squint in my right eye, so maybe these heffalumps are just particularly empathetic to my plight! I’m counting it as a success! I didn’t crack the tiles and the hooks are fully functional!

The final touch is a well travelled monkey! I ordered a new light pull from Etsy and had it sent to work, but then the lockdown happened and we all had to work from home. It hadn’t arrived by then and, as it turns out, yours truly had somehow managed to put my work address with our home postcode! D’oh again! It finally made its way back to the seller and she kindly sent it out again to home and now it hangs on the light desperately catching its breath after all that to-ing and fro-ing!

It’s hard to get a decent picture of the overall effect, being the smallest room in the house, but here’s the best I could do.

I ummed and ahed about the monkey candle, but the first time I lit him, I knew I’d made the right choice.

So relaxing to have a candlelit bath.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my bathroom talk! I’m happy I’ve finally been able to do the big reveal. Massive thanks to Dad for making it possible. Just need to beat this corona business now so people can actually come and see it in person!