Our biggest issue was that of the lawn. It hadn't really recovered from the floods of 2007. Ok, so the garden didn't actually flood (although the garage floor got rather wet), but the water didn't really have anywhere to go, and so it was not a good year for the boys to play on it either as I battled with it to allow to drain properly without having to go to the expense of having a soakaway installed.
The front garden too was struggling. Our neighbours front lawn seemed to have a perpetual puddle, which may or may not have been a factor. We had someone in to take a look. He suggested we drill into our garden walls to allow the water to drain out. Something that the original owner's builder should have done in the beginning. Well, it's not going to cost anything to try it.
The Man that Can and Father-in-Law set to task, and several hours later, covered in brick dust, a couple of broken drill-bits in hand, the job was a good one. Lets see if it helps.
We also had some fella's in to cut the huge conifer hedges. they took about 3ft off the top, and it was amazing how much lighter the garden seemed.
I researched how to help the lawn to drain (don't you just love t'interweb?). I scoured the local garden centres to find a hollow-tined fork and the sward was scarified and aerated to within an inch of it's life. Sand was brushed into the holes created by this odd looking tool, and at the appropriate time, it was fed.
We had a heartbreaker of a loss. The beautiful blue ceanothus just gave up the ghost and turned brown and crispy. It didn't seem sick at all. What a shame.
In the meantime, it's back to containers. I'm getting to be a dab-hand at these now.
This iron basket was a gift from my lovely sister. It sits pride of place at the top of the steps leading to the back door, which allows a good view of the workmanship from eye-level if stood below, and admiration of the blooms within from above.
Desperate for colour, any colour, I filled every pot and container with flowers to brighten up such a drab summer. The roses did well, and my white fragrant lillies didn't let me down.
This year the boys decided to grow pumpkins. The first lot of seeds were snaffled by Mrs Nutkin, so the boys started them off on the windowsil. Once hardened off, the young plants were planted out. This time the slugs ate them! I put a plea out on the local forum, and a kind soul who lives just around the corner gave us some replacements. They looked a little different. Maybe a different type. I've never really grown veg before, so I wasn't to know...
Only this lone flower set, and the boys watered and fed and dreamed of a nice fat juicy pumpkin to carve come Halloween.
And here it is, a whopper I think you'll agree....
Did I say we were growing pumpkins? Erm....
The boys weren't keen, I don't like marrow, so it found a home with some good friends of ours who filled it, and enjoyed the fruits or their labour.