The Garden: After

As the Autumn is in full swing, I thought I’d share the picture of my finished garden, probably as good as it’s going to get before everything starts to die off for the winter. As you can see if you look back at my last post, the plants have filled out dramatically.

I absolutely love it. If we left this house I would miss the garden more than anything I think.

Before we start, some obligatory before and after shots – the ‘before’s’ with the garage are from the beginning of May and the photos in this post were taken in mid September, so its has really changed massively in less than 5 short months.

I am SO glad we got rid of the garage. Of course we have the luxury of a cellar to store ‘stuff’ in but in all honesty it’s a few garden tools and a lawnmower. nothing a shed couldn’t have handled and it has been so worth it for the extra space in a small garden.

The only thing that is different other than the planting in these pictures from the last post is that we finally finished off the decking with a glass and steel balcony to protect the edges. I think lots of people think we are mad having such a big open stepped area down but it was an integral part for me of keeping the deck a part of the garden, rather than two areas, and due to the cellars there would always be a drop from stepping out of the house, down to the garden. short of a ramp, nothing would have been ‘safe’ for Bea.

I have a ton of pictures to share so I’m going to split this post into two. There will be more tomorrow with the detail of the design and planting. Once again, the design and landscaping was all by Iain at Outer Space Lanscapes and I wouldn’t hesitate to work with him again – he was brilliant to work with, hardworking and did an amazing job. In fact we will be asking him to re-landscape the front garden in the future. I will just share the vegetable area of the garden today.

Some of you may remember we had an allotment before we moved and gave it up knowing the house would take up our time, that we planned a family and that we hoped to grow some veg in the new garden. I asked for some custom designed raised vegetable beds to be incorporated in to the design and space for a greenhouse, and I’m so glad we did. I love pottering in my working corner of the garden but it looks just as good as the rest of it!

I wanted a wooden greenhouse but they are so expensive and eventually we found this tiny one online. It was less than half the price of most as it is untreated, meaning we had to protect it with a stain and protect product but I wanted to Paint it anyway so it was not great loss. It’s also got plastic windows which I wasn’t that thrilled about, but painted up, I love it. It still has some of the green plastic film on the windows in these pictures and the inside needs painting still too, but it has been fab for growing in and we had our first tomatoes in there this year.

For the veg beds we concentrated on stuff we would use, that crops heavily and in a short space. 2 courgette plants kept us fed for the whole summer, we grew salad leaves, runner beans, peas and broad beans. And I had a corner of sweet peas solely for cutting.

Come back tomorrow for some more photos of the planting and detail :) Maybe I’ll periscope it when we get a sunny day!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Florence’s favourite: Gardening books

This morning, I thought I’d share some of the sources of the wealth of knowledge I’ve accumulated on gardening. Most of that came from books over the years and I love getting a recommendation for a good book. It’s also a little distraction from the dismal weather we’ve been having (bonus Florence points if you’ve secretly been looking out of the window thinking how good it is for your garden!) that will get you ready for next month’s warmer weather and gardening boom time.

So here goes…

  1. The Flower Expert - Dr D G Hessayon £6.19. Growing up, this was my bible. I used to read this book, cover to cover, every year when I was deciding what to plant. It tells you what conditions a plant likes, the size and spread it grows into and what sort of plant it is. It’s part of the best-selling Expert series with a book on nearly everything you could need and you can’t go far wrong with them. Must buys for the garden enthusiast or beginner!
  2. The Kitchen Gardener: Grow Your Own Fruit and Veg - Alan Titchmarsh £13.00 I got this one more recently, when we got the allotment. Arranged year by year with list of jobs to do, what to sow and when, and chapters on how to arrange your vegetable garden and rotate crops etc, it’s a great one to turn to for reference.
  3. Alan Titchmarsh – The Gardener’s Year Similar to the Kitchen Gardener, this is a month by month guide to your garden. Think of it as an old friend or taking the place of your grandad and his green thumb which could make anything grow. I love Alan’s books because he’s so no-nonsense and easy to read. No pretences and he has a healthy attitude to just getting on with planting.
  4. Small Garden - John Brookes £11.04 This last two were purchased when we moved into our house. John Brookes is a fantastic garden design writer and a name to look out for if you want to buy a gift you know will be decent. This collection of small garden inspiration is a real treat if you think your garden isn’t big enough to do anything with.
  5. Planting a Small Garden: Simple steps to success (RHS Simple Steps to Success) – RHS £4.89. Taking more of a practical approach, this book has lists of plants perfect for small gardens, from trees that won’t overshadow your patio spot, to plants for tricky shady borders or damp patches. It’s all easy to read and with loads of gorgeous gardens to feed your ideas!

So tell me, how does your garden grow this April?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Bulb Diary

Ok, so, first things first, this mornings post isn’t going to be everybody reading’s cup of tea. If I’m honest, (and a few people will attest to this after I bent their ears!) my biggest fear with Florence Finds was that it’s diversity would be it’s downfall. I worried that fashionable types might not be interested in (or indeed lucky enough to have) a garden, or that DIY queens and interiors fanatics may not want to hear about make-up.

Actually I should be ashamed of myself for stereotyping women… I am this diverse, why shouldn’t the rest of you be?

So before we get started, this is a plea, if ever you don’t really fancy something I’ve posted, it’s only a few hours away from being something new and I will always try to vary the content, so please come back!

This post was inspired by 2 things. Firstly, my friend Jess bought some spring bulbs recently to plant in her new garden and amongst them were some tulips, which she planned to plant immediately. This was the end of September and it occurred to me that perhaps not everybody knew that Tulips are in fact planted in November. Secondly, the lovely Eliza Claire specifically requested some gardening tips, as have a few others of you and this is seasonal, so lets get started.

The first thing you need to know is that (although I’m about to tell you something to the contrary,) gardening is not science and should just be about enjoying your efforts. So if you buy various bulbs and just bung them in whenever, they will grow, do not fear! You might get a few popping up at unexpected times but come the next spring they will have reset themselves and be just fine.

However, if you’re going to go to all that trouble, this post is to help you get the best out of them. Planting things when they should be planted and the proper way, gives them the best start possible and you the prettiest flowers announcing the arrival of spring. Like I said, there are no rules, so just consider these ‘tips’. :)

Tip Number 1.
Most bulbs you buy will have instructions but when you get around to planting your bulbs, the way you do it is quite important… possibly the most important thing. As a rough rule of thumb, each bulb should be planted at double to three times their own depth. So small bulbs like crocuses or snowdrops don’t need to go in so deep, and bigger ones like daffodils and tulips need quite a bit more depth.

If you plant them too shallowly they will come up early and won’t get their roots in to stop them blowing over in spring gales and too deep and they won’t be reach out of the soil, but there’s less danger of that.

Tip Number 2.
Plant them the right way up! Most bulbs are quite obvious in their shape… look at the bulb and you’ll see they have a ‘pointier’ end (you might even be able to see remnants of the dried up leaves or new shoots poking through) and a flatter end (again where you will possibly see dried roots.) It’s easy, plant them nose up or they will have great difficulty reaching the surface. If you’re really not sure which is up and down, go sideways and they should still come up!

Tip Number 3.
Plant them at the right time… here’s a rough guide, think about the time of year they flower and count backwards. Early flowering bulbs like snowdrops and crocus need to go in earlier and tulips later, which can flower right into may and June.
September-October = Snowdrops, Crocus, Hyacinths
November-December = Tulips
Daffodils can go in as early as August/September (I know, I’m a little late writing this, but bung them in anyway!)

Lastly… Dig the right hole. Dig a wide hole and plant several bulbs at once to create ‘drifts’ of colour. To get them looking really natural plant in groups of odd numbers and plant them where they fall when you drop a handful rather than spacing them equally. Make sure the bottom of the bulb is in contact with the soil rather than wedged down a hole with an air bubble beneath, and water them in after putting the soil back, taking care not to knock them over.

So that’s it. An idiots guide to planting bulbs and growing your own beautiful spring display. And if you don’t have a garden, try it in pots, you can even grown them indoors :)

Are you working on your green fingers?

Love,
Rebecca.
xo

Image Credits R-L from top: (All found via Pinterest)
Snowdrops in Vase and Hyacinths in tin cans;
Grape Hyacinth mood board and Hyacinth bulbs;
Crocus Bulbs;
Crocus teacup and Rustic Table setting;
White Tulips