The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

2009 The Year of the Plan

Over the winter months, I've been busy planning. Having saved and saved, I finally have enough for a greenhouse.
I did have a lovely one with some bespoke staging in our old garden, but alas when we moved, it had to be sold as we had no-where to store it, so I have been longing desperately for another.

But first, we have an awful lot of preparation to do. The awful dog-shed found a home via our local Freecycle. A fella came, took it all down, loaded it up on his van and off he went. He was happy to have a new dog run, and we were happy to have the site almost cleared without the expense.

At the far end of the cleared area, we discovered a raised bed. There was very little soil in it, but tonnes and tonnes of york stone and terracotta pots! GOLD!

The next job is a new fence. I want the same sturdy style as we chose for the drive to help prevent the wind trashing it to hide all the mess of the gardens behind us. Luckily The Man That Can's uncle came to the rescue, and a top quality fence was erected within a matter of a couple of very wet weekends. Fencing completed, my new greenhouse was ordered.

The Man That Can made great use of some of the york stone too. He made me a beautiful dry-stoned planter in the corner which fits perfectly among the other dry-stone areas down the bottom of the garden.

My new planter was filled with soil from the levelling prior to the fence being erected mixed with lovely crumbly home-made compost.

While I wait...and wait...and wait some more for my greenhouse, I make a start with my first proper attempt at growing veg with the aid of a plastic grow-house.

Still waiting for the greenhouse to arrive, we threw all our efforts into the floral displays.
I'd trimmed the two clematis back in March, it was do or die time, and it paid off in style.

What looks like a lilac bush keeps tryin to compete with the Nelly Moser. I'll dig it all out once the clematis has finished flowering.

I've finally managed to change the Ph enough in the raised bed beside the greenhouse base to grow a rhododendron. I chose a lovely white one to lift that corner....which turned out in the end to be cerise! Ah well, pretty all the same, perhaps I can bend The Man That Can's arm to try for a white one next year.

The greenhouse finally arrived in June, just days before we went on holiday. It therefore had to wait until our return to be put up, but it was well worth the wait. Apparently the delay was caused by the high demand - it seems everyone is jumping on this grow-your-own band wagon!

Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, peas, carrots, onions, spring onions, strawberries and raspberries were all tried this year. But not all succeeded. The peppers failed to set fruit, the carrots grew to only stir-fry size, and the onions baffled me completely by only growing to the size of ping-pong balls.

We had great success with the strawberries and tomatoes growing in hanging baskets, but very few found their way to the's just too easy to pop them into your mouth each time you pass...

We trialled growing potatoes in bags on the patio too. These went down a storm.

Two other major changes in the garden during 2009 was the removal of the lonicera nitida in the front garden, and a stepping stone path down the length of the lawn in the back.



This freed up valuable planting space for other plants. Our two roses, Jacques Cartier and Pascali have finally found their forever home, along with some foxgloves sowed earlier in the year and a clump of fern lifted from the overgrown rockery behind the garage.

We're lucky to live just a mile or two from the botanical gardens, and a few times each year, the Hardy Plant Society hold plant sales. Many bargains are to be had here, and a recent trip was no exception. A couple more hardy geraniums, a clump of penstemons and some other herbacious perennials join plants given to me by neighbours and family members.

Towards the end of the year, we thought it might be nice to have some chickens. Not only would it be nice to have fresh eggs, but they are said to help gardeners by eating slugs and bugs, and their waste is a useful addition to the compost heap.

Let me introduce you to Lola (no tail), Aretha (no comb), and Gladys (who has a comb and fully feathered tail).

We bought a purpose built hen house with a run, but we soon realise this is far too small, so The Man That Can sets to building a much larger run. As winter approaches, we decide the best place for them to live is on the patio, close to the house.

Within two months, we have our first small, but perfectly formed egg. Thank you Lola!

I don't know about bugs and slugs, but these ladies are rather partial to my ornamentals!

Happy Gardening!


  1. Wow you have totally transformed the garden between you, and its looking so lovely now, you should all be proud of what you have achieved.
    I have also to thank the chickens for some very tasty eggs :o)

  2. LOL Thanks hun.
    You know of course that a garden is never finished. If it were, it would be boring lol x