The September Garden

The kids are going back to school and summer is starting to feel like a distant memory but there are still a fair few jobs to be done in the garden, weather permitting of course. The following tips have been lifted directly from ‘My Garden Journal’ – an any year printable you can grab right now at my Etsy shop…

Monthly tips and an infinite number of journal pages!

My Garden Journal

Suggested September Garden Jobs in a Temperate Climate

Food Crops:
September is traditionally the abundant month for gardeners. And as October can be wet and windy, now is the time to harvest many crops. Leave the hardier plants in until the end of the month, or longer if October turns out nice! Bring in all the summer crops and eat, give away or store for the winter. You could be in the kitchen a bit more this month; freezing, bottling, baking etc; but it will all be worth it. Imagine organic home-grown veggies with Christmas dinner.

Pick all apples and pears and any other fruits still in the garden. While you’re doing that, check over the trees and bushes for any signs of disease or strain. Usually, these plants will need pruning soon so an idea of what you may have to do keeps you one step ahead.

Compost:
Remember to compost any food plants you didn’t get around to cropping as well as any other plants that have to be removed now. All dead leaves, stems and windfallen inedible fruits can be composted. If you haven’t already got a compost heap, now is a good time to start one. Compost all the summer organic debris and then add peelings and leaves to it throughout the winter.

Bonfires:
If you have a ton of leaves and sticks, a fire may be a better option. Too many oak leaves in a compost heap can make the resulting soil quite acidic, so have a bonfire night! Always check that no animals have started nesting where you plan your fire. And also check before you light it if there’s a delay between building and lighting.

Plants:
Now is a good time to plant spring flowering bulbs. Choose carefully and remember to position taller growing plants towards the back of a bed so they don’t block the light from lower growing plants. Check all stakes and supports are firm before the Autumn winds arrive. If a support falls over, it will inevitably take your plant with it.

New fruit trees can be planted towards the end of the month, but check on the producer’s suggestions before buying. Not all species will cope with a hard winter when they’re young. You could start pruning raspberry canes now, as long as they’ve finished fruiting.

Clear summer bedding plants. Prune and check over your herbs. Mulch around the more delicate plants and cut out dead wood from the woody herbs.

Care:
Take care of your tools. You may have been leaving them out during the summer, but now’s the time to put them away at night. Get into the habit now and they’ll last a lot longer than if they get left out in the rain.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

July Gardening

Long, hot and lazy summer days are here! But the garden still needs attention.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most from the garden and still enjoy the sunshine.

**Plants will need plenty of water in prolonged sun and heat. Most of them will anyway. There are only a few plants that survive well in near-drought conditions. Check on your seed packets or online if you can’t remember but generally most plants will get thirsty in the summer.

**Keep cropping your salad crops and stop eating asparagus. It’s often said that asparagus season ends in mid-June but sometimes it goes on a little longer. Let the asparagus do what it wants to do. Often a tall fern will appear – careful these tend to be sharp – and you either cut it down in the autumn or let it flower and collect the seed. It’s unlikely you’ll get a good crop next year though if you leave it to flower.

**Keep on top of the weeds and check your plants daily for any disease or pests. Blight can be a disaster for tomatoes and potatoes. Check for signs of disease every day and if infected, it’s probably best to pull up the plant and burn it before it spreads. That’s the general gardening opinion but you may feel differently. If plants are spread out in the garden they are less likely to be infected.

**Some winter crops can be started now. You could get some oriental type cabbages or kale seeds going. And some of the faster growing vegetables can be started now. They will come on quickly in a good summer. Carrots, beetroot and even a few more lettuces can be sown. They may not reach full maturity but you can enjoy them when they’re small. Or buy some ready-grown plants at your local gardener’s market.

**Check strawberry plants and place some dry straw underneath swelling fruits. You don’t want them touching the soil as they will rot quickly or get eaten by slugs. Protect all soft fruits from birds with a wildlife friendly netting.

**Apple trees may have dropped some immature fruits in May and June but they could still need thinning out. Check all the bunches you can reach and take out any fruits that look weak or damaged. This will allow the others to develop more efficiently.

**Make sure all those little extra branches on your tomato plants aren’t growing. Pinch them out. If the plants have four trusses starting to develop their fruits, it’s often suggested that the next one should be removed to allow the plant to put all its energy into the already growing tomatoes. It does depend on your growing season though and the variety you are growing. Cherry tomatoes ripen quickly and you could perhaps have as many as a dozen successful trusses.

It’s all about the plants this month although you may have to drag the lawnmower out a couple of times.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. These notes are taken from the Any Year, Any Time Garden Journal! Keep on top of the garden chores and get the most from your garden experience.

Download and print out the pages as you need them. Documenting your garden experiences gives you a heads up in the following year! Available at Etsy now and super cheap 🙂 Garden Journal

Lots of Lettuce

I decided to grow lots of lettuce this year.

This tray of lettuce is a mixed Italian Bowl variety and it seems the more I cut it, the more it grows!

It’s supposed to cope with four cuttings but I’m sure we’ve eaten more than that so far.

There are some really good reasons to grow lettuce like this:

  1. They grow in a shallow tray – less soil/compost needed
  2. They’re easy to maintain – just water regularly
  3. They are organic and delicious
  4. The initial cost of seeds and a little soil is minimal compared to how much organic ‘super fresh’ lettuce you can buy in a shop, even if you COULD buy organic ‘super-fresh’ lettuce.

I tried this method last year but the plants got too much sun and bolted – ran to seed – very quickly. Shading them a little from the hottest parts of the day is the best way to go, and make sure the soil doesn’t dry out.

Growing in (well-drained) pots and trays is practical, especially in a smaller garden. But pots can dry out quickly so keep an eye on them.

The same goes for tomato plants. If they get sporadic watering rather than a regular drink, the fruits can be affected.

Although we have lots of rain in Cornwall, on hot days, everything can dry out very quickly. One thing we invested in last year was a rain barrel – in fact we have acquired two now 🙂 – and I only water the plants in the garden and greenhouse with rain water. I don’t know if that makes a huge difference but, as I filter the tap water to drink myself, I figured the plants may not like all the added stuff we get in the water supply either.

The lettuces seem to be thriving anyway!

Sow some seeds now and in a few short weeks, you could be picking your own organic lettuce.

The seeds I bought cost £2.49 from Ebay – Italian Salad Bowl, Cut and Come Again.

Happy Salad Days!

Linda x

The April Garden

We’ve had a few chilly days and even chillier nights lately in Cornwall and I worry about my baby plants – so much so that I carried a lot of them indoors on the coldest night.

But the sun’s shining today and it is April after all so wrap up warm if you need to and get out in the garden! These are some tasks you may need to tackle in the April Garden.

Care and Maintenance:
Remove any unwanted weeds or moss trailing close to, or in, your planting areas. Although we are surely in Spring now, there will still be wet days to contend with. When you’re in tune with your garden though, you tend to listen to your intuition a lot more. So nourish the gardener in you!

All mulch should be removed by now to give the plants some fresh air. If the soil is particularly dry, water existing plants if necessary. But only if it’s dry. Don’t waterlog the ground or the roots could perish.

Preparation and Plans:
Finish preparing your beds and layer on any well-rotted manure or compost, if you haven’t already done so. Dig in gently. It MUST be well-rotted or the strong chemicals, although natural, will burn small plants.

Keep notes of when and where you added compost.

Plants:
There isn’t much you can’t plant by now. Although, with climate change comes weather changes so again, use your intuition to help you get the best from your garden.

Asparagus crowns can be planted. Many seeds can be sown and many young plants will be able to go outside. Always check on your seed packet for further growing instructions. Or, if the instructions aren’t available, do a quick search online to make sure your particular variety of seeds or plants can be put outside this month.

April can be a month of pots and dirty fingernails! Make sure you have enough pots and/or seed trays before you start. Sow seeds in an organic seed compost rather than soil straight from the garden. Planting outis easiest if you’ve used degradeble pots. But if not, soak the pot first and ease out the plant. Avoid touching the roots and then pop it into prepared hole. Gently ease the roots out if the plant was pot-bound for some time, then fill in the hole with crumbly soil or potting compost, gently firm in the plant with your hands and water gently.

This is probably the planting month generally. Keep lots of notes and remember to put plant markers in all seed trays, pots and lines of seed in the garden. So easy to forget which brassica is which, especially when they look very similar.

Lawn:
If the Spring is dry, you may have to make your first lawn mowing expedition of the year. Keep grass clippings to put on the compost heap. Layering lawn clippings in your compost helps keep the heap warm and working.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. This text was taken from My Garden Journal – a printable you can ( and should!) use every year. Find it at Gran’s Choice on Etsy.

My Garden Journal

This handy garden journal is printable and usable every year. Although buying expensive journals in bookstores is delicious, printing out just what you need when you need it can be a great help to your pocket and also the resources of the planet. Not all journals you buy are recycled or recyclable after all.

A simple document folder is all you’ll need to keep your pages safe.

Every month has some gardening job suggestions for temperate climate dwellers. Adjust to your region and weather conditions as you need to. Gardening has to be a flexible hobby simply because we can’t control the weather!

There are also a few handy gardening tips and resources you may find helpful. Keep the journal on your desktop or whichever digital space is most easy to access and print out the ‘notes’ pages as and when you need them. In busy months, print out more of the same! My Garden Journal

“Grow Your Own Pharmacy”

Strictly speaking we should be able to get all the vitamins we need from nature, but when you see those irresistible bottles and jars of ‘extra vitamin’ supplements, it’s almost criminal not to give them a try. Though more often than not, they get forgotten about or we didn’t need them in the first place..

Save some cash and go au naturel this year..

There are nine main vitamins we can find in everyday food crops and all of them can be grown at home. Vitamins D and B12 are absorbed through sunlight, and in meat and dairy products, so unless you are keeping your own hens, some vitamins will have to be ‘bought’ in – although that still doesn’t mean hitting the pill bottles… buy organic fresh produce as far as possible and grow the rest of the vitamins you and your family need:

Vitamin C:

Garden produce high in vitamin C includes tomatoes, blackcurrants, peppers and strawberries. Peppers and tomatoes should be planted every year, but strawberries and blackcurrants need a permanent patch and will produce fruit for a number of years with just a little TLC.

And did you know rosehips have more vitamin C (gram for gram) than oranges?

Vitamin A:

One medium carrot can provide all the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, which helps vision, and also acts as an antioxidant in the body to help fight off free radicals. Pumpkin is another good source of vitamin A, as well as winter kale, so remember to plant some before the summer’s out. Fresh green veg in the winter will help ward off colds and flu as well.

Vitamin B1:

Vitamin B1 converts carbs and fats into energy so for a boost of daily energy, keep up with the B1. Foods rich in this vitamin are broad beans ( which can be grown twice a year ), sweet corn, hazelnuts and garlic. Garlic is easy to grow in a small space. Sweetcorn and hazelnuts need a bit more space, but are simple to grow and are popular and nutritious family foods.

Vitamin B2:

Although vitamin B2 can be found in spinach and is easy to grow in the home garden, we could diversify a little here and go for different tastes. Salsify is a vegetable that many of us have forgotten about. It used to be called the oyster vegetable and is a great root crop as long as you have a good depth of soil in the veggie patch. Mushrooms are a good source of B2 and can be grown in kit form indoors. There are some amazing varieties of mushrooms you can grow at home.

Vitamin B6:

Potatoes and onions are a good source of vitamin B6. If you worry about potatoes being a weight gaining food, a fresh potato straight from the ground doesn’t need any additional butter, cheese or other toppings to make it tasty! Buy a specially designed potato barrel to save space – and digging! Onions, if stored well, will last for months.

Vitamin E:

Asparagus and raspberries have often been considered to be ‘luxury’ crops – maybe because they are so expensive to buy? Both crops can be grown at home and will thrive for years with very little attention. Asparagus arrives during the ‘hungry gap’ – after the winter crops have finished and before the spring crops begin. And raspberries turn up in early summer usually.

Folate:

Folate isn’t made by the body so must come from a good source. Luckily it is found in everyday veggies we can grow at home. Beetroot and green beans are good sources of folate. Another source, that we often overlook, is parsley. Chop parsley finely and sprinkle over your food, rather than leave it on the side of the plate as an inedible garnish – it really is packed full of goodness.

Niacin:

Niacin (B3) is one of the most active vitamins in the body and breaks down fats and sugars. It is generally found in protein rich foods such as meat, fish and pulses. Courgettes (zucchini) are a good source of niacin and can crop right through the summer and autumn months. Peas are also high in niacin and can be started off early in the year. Peas are a good vegetable to grow in the home vegetable patch as they can replace nitrogen in the soil.

Pantothenic Acid (B5):

Another of the B vitamins, this one is needed to produce B12 which helps maintain cell structure in the blood. Broccoli and parsnips are a good source of B5. Parsnips are best left in the ground until after the first frost so are a great early winter vegetable. They also store well. Try growing different types of broccoli; dwarf varieties are ideal for container growing.

Don’t forget that all of these crops mentioned have other vitamins and minerals apart from the ones listed above, and the best way to feed yourself and your family is to grow an assortment of fruit and vegetables, and remember to eat them!

Linda x

PS. Garden Vitamins’ has plenty of tips and advice should you want to try your hand at growing some vitamins at home. It’s available at most major online bookstores but you can grab a free copy here for a limited time. Enjoy!

Garden Vitamins

This handy digital copy of Garden Vitamins highlights 28 different fruits and vegetables you can grow at home and collect 9 valuable vitamins to keep your family healthy and well-fed.

All these popular fruits and vegetables have brief but concise growing instructions and are categorized by vitamin so you know exactly what you’re getting from your new hobby.

Garden Vitamins

Strawberry Growing Tips

Your strawberry plants should be starting to grow again around now.

Keep plants well watered. Because they are shallow rooting plants, strawberries can dry out very quickly in hot weather, and your crop will be affected.

When the fruits start to appear, cover the ground around your plants with a fairly thick layer of straw. Try and get ‘weed free’ straw. Barley is the best. If no straw can be found, use black plastic.

Covering the ground in this way keeps the weeds down, and stops the fruits being in contact with the soil, where they will rot very quickly or get eaten by the slugs. If you use black plastic, the slugs will still find your fruits. So keep an eye on them or use any trick in the book you can to keep them away.

We’ve found a good slug proof material this year. The pure wool found in food packaging. It’s organic and the slugs hate the fibres. Anything dry and fibrous should repel slugs and snails.

Birds

Growing strawberries in your garden will encourage just about every garden bird you can imagine. The trouble is, they will ALL eat your strawberries …… if you let them!

Make a small wooden frame to stand over your strawberry bed, and cover in fine netting. Don’t use heavy materials, as you will want to move the cover every day during cropping season. Use light wood, and perhaps tent pegs or the equivalent to secure it against being blown over by the wind or knocked over by cats and dogs.

NB:Always use wildlife friendly fine netting so birds don’t get their wings tangled.

Remove the ‘runners’ – little plants coming off the main plant, before they root. This will encourage your ‘mother’ plant to produce more fruit. Re-pot or re-plant these ‘baby’ plants in a new bed.

Pick your strawberries every day in season.

With good weather and a fairly long growing season, strawberries can produce up to 3 crops a year.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. This handy download will help you get the most from your strawberry plants and it’s super cheap!

How to Grow Strawberries

Whether as a perfect accompaniment to champagne or a summer afternoon treat with cream, strawberries are a popular garden fruit and can be grown in containers, specially designed planters or in a regular strawberry bed. You may even be able to start your strawberry bed with free plants.

How to Grow Strawberries is a mini guide to growing these luxurious vitamin packed fruits at home. Treat yourself and your family to the freshest, tastiest fruits that keep the family healthy and coming back for more.

Choose from your favourite online book store.

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Apple Books , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble , Etsy

A Change in the Weather

This week, in Cornwall (UK), we’ve had a change in the weather – finally! How long it’s going to last is another matter but for now, when the skies are blue and it’s not raining, it’s definitely time to be outside if you can.

Even if you have a small garden, spring can be a busy time. Clearing up the winter debris is probably the first job to tackle.

Before you start strimming or shifting boxes or upturned pots that may have been out all winter, make sure there are no hedgehogs or other delightful creatures hibernating. Give them a chance to wake up and move to a new home.

If, however, you find a nest of the bad bug variety, now’s the time to exterminate! I must have killed at least twenty slugs over the week. All of whom were waiting for my lettuces to feast on.

The west country has plenty of rain and slugs and snails are numerous. Seek them out and get rid of them before another change in the weather brings back their favourite habitat!

While the temperature seems to be increasing, sort out your seeds and plan what plants will go where.

Many seeds can be started around now, depending on the climate in your region.

In the UK we can sometimes be blasted with a fresh spell of cold and even snow in April. If that’s a possibility for you, be a little patient before sowing all your seeds. Seedlings that have germinated very early can sometimes become stunted and later sowings will catch up very quickly.

Starting them off indoors or in a warm greenhouse is best of course.

Then re-plant your small plants outside when all danger of a frost has passed.

I’ve been enjoying the change in weather this week and have lots of stuff prepared for the oncoming season and I’ve already sown some tomato and lettuce seeds. This year I’m going to try and grow some purple tomatoes – why not?!

I bought them from Amazon (UK) – I don’t know how successful I’m going to be, but generally tomatoes are fairly productive so fingers crossed.

These are the seeds I bought from Premier Seeds. They don’t come with instructions but you can find out more on their Amazon sales page or their website.

PREMIER SEEDS DIRECT Tomato – Indigo – Apple – 10 Finest Seeds

Just a sidenote, a change in the weather doesn’t mean you automatically turn into Superman/woman. Take it slowly and steadily until your muscles get used to the activity, especially if you don’t have a physical job. Even if you’ve been exercising regularly all winter ( hhmm ), muscles you don’t normally use can come into play in the garden, so don’t expect too much of yourself and remember to listen to your body. Don’t overdo the digging!

Aside from gardening, just getting out in the sunshine will nourish your mind, body and spirit.

During the winter months I found myself taking a walk to my local shop every day or so, but that was about the extent of my exercise – and social life if the truth be known! But a change in the weather has encouraged me to take a walk in a different direction and it’s so satisfying to take a new look at the world 🙂

Even a 10 or 20 minute walk can inspire and delight if we allow it to.

Allow an extra few minutes to walk to the next bus stop (if possible) if you travel to work by bus.

Could you walk or even catch a bus to the shops rather than sitting in your car? – remembering the skyrocketing fuel costs!

Exercise outdoors if you can. You don’t need to take a five mile run every morning but a few star jumps in the back yard may be just the job for pushing that motivation button.

Previous generations worked and often lived outdoors far more often than we do today – I’m generalizing madly here, but it’s true to say there are far more indoor and sedentary jobs these days, including of course all the freelance writers, web designers and online entrepreneurs. While this change has it’s upside, balance needs to be maintained to retain your healthy mind body and spirit.

When I was a kid, the rain didn’t matter so much – actually I still love to walk in the rain 🙂 – but now I see people putting up umbrellas as they get out of their cars so as not to get a drop if rain on them. If you’ve just had your hair and make-up fixed, I get it but otherwise, it’s only rain!

A change in the weather is welcome, believe me, but we mustn’t forget that without water there is no life. Embrace the spring rains as they help grow your crops and complain about the rain in the summer if you need to!

I hope the sun’s shining in your world today.

Linda x

Healthy Alternatives

We’re pretty much all aware of the chemicals in processed foods these days and try to buy organic when we can.

Unfortunately, there is often a price to pay.

Organic sauces and flavourings can be expensive and sometimes they aren’t necessarily as healthy as we want them to be. Added sugars, however natural, can cause insulin disruption in the body and – horror – also put on weight!

These five herbs are excellent healthy alternatives to flavour your sauces. A tin of tomatoes and a bunch of chopped coriander can make a delicious sauce, even better with fresh tomatoes of course!

Chives

You can eat every part of the chive plant. The edible flowers add colour to the salad bowl or use to garnish any recipe. The grass-like leaves can be cut up and added to cooked potatoes, salads, sauces and even sandwiches, and the bulb can be used in place of a mild onion. Chop finely and sprinkle over cheese on toast. Chives have similar healthy properties as onions but in a milder form.

Coriander (Cilantro)

The coriander plant is two plants in one – a spice and a herb. Chopped fresh coriander will add a mild curry taste to any dish, which means you can save on buying or making curry sauces. And the seeds can be used in pickling recipes. It’s been grown for many centuries as a medicinal and culinary herb. The Chinese believed it to have life-lengthening powers, and it has been referred to in history as an aphrodisiac.

Sage

Sage has been used as a stuffing or an accompanying vegetable to poultry dishes for eons! Sage and onion stuffing is easy to make and can be served with vegetarian meals, poultry dishes, crumbled into stews to thicken and flavour, or sliced and added to sandwiches. It is a strong tasting herb and should be used sparingly. It’s also been shown that a small glass of sage tea everyday will help with hot flushes.

Thyme

Add a little thyme to all ‘herby’ recipes. A few leaves tossed into a salad or sauce will liven up the taste buds.
Try adding a lemon thyme leaf to a long summer lemonade and a leaf or two to ice cubes. Thyme is also an excellent addition to fish or cheese meals. Drink thyme tisanes through the winter months to help prevent colds. A healthy alternative to cold and cough medicines.

Basil

Basil is known as the tomato herb and really does enhance the taste of your tomatoes. Use sparingly. Chop finely and mix into a tomato salad, or use the shiny leaves as an attractive, and edible, garnish. It is also a great addition to green salads throughout the summer. A pot of basil near an open window can help deter flies from entering your home. Rub the leaves occasionally to release the scent.

All these herbs can be grown outside in a moderate climate. If you have the space, create a herb garden – A place of tranquillity and healthy alternatives to create your own organic masterpieces in the kitchen.

Don’t know where to start? Check out the Herb Books and Herbs & Healing posts and you’ll be growing your own herbs in no time!

Happy Gardening & Eating!

Linda x

Gardening in March

March feels like it’s starting to get warmer – sometimes! And on the warmer days, get the whole family, and neighbourhood, involved if you can. Even if you have to wear a coat, it’s good to be out in the fresh air and it’s a great time to get the kids involved.

And the oldies can do a little pottering around or sit for ten minutes watching the action.

Gardening in March -Preparation:

If it’s been a very wet or very cold winter, there will probably still be a few winter jobs hanging around. Get them done and dusted this month. Prepare flower and vegetable beds and your herb garden. Many herbs are perennial but may need a little growth encouragement. Pruning off obvious dead wood gives them a chance to grow stronger, and remove any mulch if the soil is warming up.

Flower and vegetable patches can be dug over and raked ready for planting. Don’t dig if the ground is waterlogged. Digging waterlogged soil will destroy it. It tends to dry out in clumps like stone and turns to powder. The voice of experience talking – ahem!

Gardening in March -Planting:

Go through your seeds and sort them in order of planting. If you plant a whole packet in one go, a handy tip is not to use the packet as a row marker – use a wooden stick or something else – because water will wash away the directions that you may want to refer to later. Keep the packet in a separate part of your seed box.

Many seeds you plant now will need to be sown inside, so a bright spot in the house, conservatory or greenhouse is essential. Some can be sown directly outside but always double check on the packet as different varieties vary a lot.

If you’ve been saving cardboard tubes from toilet and kitchen rolls for pots, now’s the time to use them. Try and use degradable pots as much as you can. Not only for the environment but so that you can plant the whole pot and not disturb the roots of your baby plants.

If you’re buying in plants from a local market or garden centre, get them acclimatized before you plunge them into cold ground. Leave outside during the day and bring in at night for a few days or until you feel the weather has warmed up enough. Ready-grown plants have often been grown in greenhouses or polytunnels and need a little TLC for a few days, at least.

Gardening in March -Maintenance:

Make sure any ties that are helping to support small trees and shrubs are not broken or too tight on the stem of the plant. Fix any broken edges. If you have wooden edging round a bed, check it hasn’t rotted anywhere.

Check over lawn areas, but try not to walk on the grass too much if it’s very wet. Remove weeds if necessary, although a few wildflowers scattered around look beautiful on a lawn.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. This article appears in the must-have Garden Journal available on Etsy now 🙂

My Garden Journal

This handy garden journal is printable and usable every year. Although buying expensive journals in bookstores is delicious, printing out just what you need when you need it can be a great help to your pocket and also the resources of the planet. Not all journals you buy are recycled or recyclable after all.

A simple document folder is all you’ll need to keep your pages safe.

Every month has some gardening job suggestions for temperate climate dwellers.

Adjust to your region and weather conditions as you need to. Gardening has to be a flexible hobby simply because we can’t control the weather!

There are also a few handy gardening tips and resources you may find helpful. Keep the journal on your desktop or whichever digital space is most easy to access and print out the ‘notes’ pages as and when you need them. In busy months, print out more of the same!

Gardening in March with My Garden Journal

10 Garden Decorations

While you’re planning what to do in your outside space this year, give a thought to garden decorations. There are lots of fun and interesting things you can do without spending tons of cash…

1.Wind-Chimes – There are some beautiful wind chimes on the market, and you should be able to find some that suit your style and budget. However, you could go one step further and make your own. Study how they are made, and get the kids to join in! Wind chimes are soothing and very compatible with gardening, so position your chimes well.

They must be in at least a slight draught, which you should be able to find outside with ease. Also, they can scare the birds away from your fruit bushes. Hang them on the patio and in the vegetable garden.

2.Lights and Lanterns – For those smooth hot summer nights. Choose candles for calm nights and opt for lanterns if there’s a breeze about. Solar powered lights are a good choice as there aren’t any cables, batteries or plugs to worry about. They must be in sunlight during the day to re-charge though. Large garden candles will burn for many hours and are available in all sorts of aroma-therapeutic scents.

3.Garden Furniture – Invest in some comfy chairs for the garden. We don’t spend half as much time as we should outside, simply because we don’t feel comfortable. Look at unique ways of furnishing your garden. Do you have a couple of trees a hammock could be strung between? Or how about a park-type bench with comfy cushions set under the shade of the apple tree? Whatever the style or size of your garden, look for relaxing furniture so you can fully enjoy your outside space.

4.Fake Flowers – Well, hey, we don’t all have mature gardens and fresh flowers blooming all year round! If you have to resort to a little ‘deception’ who cares if it looks good? Hang some pretty silk flowers on a wall, or low roof or even in a tree! If nothing else, you’ll keep your visitors guessing about your garden decorations. 🙂

These are pretty. I found them on Amazon (UK) and they’d look lovely in a corner of the patio

Artificial Flowers for Outdoor UV Resistant

5.Colour it up – If you still need a bit of colour around the place, get the kids involved. No, I don’t mean let them loose with a tin of paint and brushes… what they could do is draw some great pictures of trees, flowers, animals etc, and you can pin them around the patio area or ‘blu-tak’ them to a tree or two. Remember to rescue them if it rains!

6.Cut down on Big Toys – Children’s outdoor toys, such as swings, slides etc; can take up loads of room in the garden, and they’re not always very attractive. Look for something a little less permanent. Maybe separate items you can load away in the shed at night, or go for something completely different and build a giant chess set. Or if you really feel creative, what about a tree-house? They can always go to the park for the swings!

7.Containers – Collect large pots and grow plants you can move around the garden, every day if you like! Grow herbs and flowers and position sweet smelling plants on the patio or round your seating area. Strawberries grow very well in containers as do other useful plants.

Make sure the pots aren’t too heavy for you to move, or invest in a garden trolley if they are. If you grow colour co-ordinated flowers, a wonderful display can be created by positioning your pots well.

I love this style of planter although these ones are quite small. There are loads more designs and styles available. Browse through some different designs. You may come up with an idea to make your own!

3x Barrel Garden Plant Pots – 20cm Height Planters Outdoor Flowerpots Whiskey Barrel Wood and Metal Effect

Vintage Style Round Plant Container Pots

8.Wild Corner – I know this may be hard if you like a neat and tidy garden, but leaving a wild patch can be very entertaining and visually very pleasing. Nettles and other wildflowers attract butterflies and bees, and it’s often surprising how delicate and colourful wildflowers can be when allowed to grow in their own space. If you’re still unsure, how about building a little fence around the area and making a wooden plaque declaring it a wildlife zone…well, it was just an idea!

9.Water Features – are becoming more and more popular and also more affordable. Create a water feature that will suit your garden. Try not to be persuaded by an over-enthusiastic sales assistant trying to sell you a system that will be far too big or even too small for your outside space.

Do some research before you start. There could be a fair amount of physical work involved and you should arrange some strong arm help. You could go for a full waterfall and pond or perhaps a simple water feature on your patio.

I love this simple but very effective design. There are even lights so you can even watch the water flowing after dark!

Kyoto Three Bowl Cascade Garden Patio Water Feature with White LED Lights

Garden Patio Water Feature

10.Rock Gardens – Rock gardens can take on different themes and colour schemes throughout the year with a little careful planning. There is again some heavy physical work involved when you’re putting together your rock garden but well worth it in the end. Make sure you can get to all areas for weeding, watering etc;

A miniature rock garden could be a focal attraction in a smaller garden and will need much less muscle to create. Try out different rock plants and flowers until you feel happy with the overall view, and even then you can change it. Nothing’s set in stone!

These are just a few ideas for garden decorations. Let your imagination run free and decorate your outside space with love.

Enjoy the moment!

Linda x