Category Archives: Growing

gardening

Lavender Harvest

As the trees are starting to turn. I’m finally accepting that Summer has ended and Autumn has begun. As we’ve had a couple of fine days, I decided to harvest my lavender.

I know that lavender isn’t loved by all, but I can honestly say it’s one of my favourite plants. I love it because I find it incredibly useful; in different forms, I’ve eaten it, bathed with it, and used it when I’ve had a headache. Mark says he finds the smell really comforting. I’ve harvested from one of my plants for the last 3 years with fantastic results. All I do to dry it is put them in a paper bag and leave them in the airing cupboard.

I hope to use my harvest from last year to make lavender pillows to sell at my craft stall in November. I’ve found this lovely website with loads of lavender stuff called everything lavender.

Mr Bumblebee on my lavender plant

This year's harvest freshly cut

Last years harvest dried and ready for use

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Rogue Tomatoes

We’ve had a little surprise in our garden this Summer. We seem to be growing loads of Cherry tomato plants. This wasn’t on purpose. We’ve had the occasional rogue tomato plant before, but I think we have so many this year because of Holly. She adores cherry tomatoes. However, occasionally she doesn’t manage to finish what I’ve bought before they start to go bad. More often than not, we end up putting a couple in the compost bin at the end of the week.

To be honest, much to our disappointment, we’ve had little time for our garden this year. However, each Spring, we religiously mulch the borders with homemade compost.

Our soil is mainly clay and building rubble, so we need to do everything we can to improve it. I find that much of the compost from commercial garden centres can be of poor quality, the majority of which is peat. Our garden is quite small, but we made the decision when we moved in that we wanted to make our own compost. I really hate waste. I just think composting is such an easy way to save money and reduce waste (it also gives us extra space in our household and recycling bins which only get emptied fortnightly). We bought the compost bin for £15.00 from the council who subsidised the cost. Each Spring we get approx 330 litres of rich good quality compost from it for free!

The funny thing is, I’m rubbish at growing tomatoes. I’ve tried for years with little success. Nearly all of the plants are flowering and are producing fruit. I haven’t touched them. I’ve shown them to Holly who’s now 20 months old and she’s tried picking them while they’re still green. She’s only tiny but it’s wonderful to see that she’s taking an interest in the garden.

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Family Day- RHS Harlow Carr

We had a lovely picnic at Harlow Carr today. Mark’s parents gave us a leaflet of up-and-coming events there; one of which was a craft fair. The price was the same as usual, £8.25 per adult and under 6’s go free . We were offered free admission if we became members,  starting at £49.

The selection of crafts were good but it felt a little cramped in the room that they were set up in, and they weren’t accommodating for people with pushchairs/wheelchairs. It put me off from staying too long to have a good look around.

If I’m being completely honest, although the gardens are beautiful, I do think that the admission charge is a little steep. I feel that gardening and growing should be accessible to all. However, I can imagine that the price makes it inaccessible to many people on low incomes, or at best, off-putting. The garden centre and gift shop were also very expensive in my view. I don’t know, perhaps it’s just me! I think I’m turning into a left-wing, thrifty gardener as a head ever closer to 30.

Despite all this, we had a lovely walk around the gardens and Holly managed to stretch her legs running through the log maze. Here’s a few photos, the ones of Holly are in our garden (as if you couldn’t guess!) she was a little camera-shy while we were out, but I couldn’t resist showing you all how beautiful she looked today.

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