Friday, 10 July 2015

Weird trees, floods and weed growth

Mr TG and I ususally take our holidays during the winter months with the idea that it would break up the long winters here in Caithness and give us that Vitamin D boost when the daylight levels are so low here. We also figured this Vitamin D boost would set us up for the following spring and keep SAD at bay for us both, I now realise this hasn't been the case - the Vitamin D would always be depleted by the time spring or summer came so I would usually be well on my way to a bout of depression by the time the gardening months rolled around.
Having just spent 2 weeks at a friends place in Los Lobos, Almeria I've decided that this is the best time for holidays - we've returned rejuvinated and ready to tackle what is now an extremely over grown garden and land.

I've also noticed that all the things that would normally have bothered me in the garden and set me on a downward spiral are actually not bothering me at all - novel! Everything suddenly seems doable and what isn't doable right now doesn't matter - its not going anywhere.

Faced with these weeds I would normally run, hide and possibly cry at the thought of the work, it's not bothering me at all though, in fact I saw it and smiled.

Initially I took the shortcut to the polytunnel but was faced with this and had to go the long way round - honestly there's a path in there somewhere and I found the weeds amusing.

I got to the polytunnel and was faced with a river of water both outside and inside. We definitely need to get the drainage sorted this year because this area tends to hold water the longest and it makes the flower beds in the tunnel too soggy to grow anything.
On the upside instead of having to fill a watering can for some plants that had dried out I just put the pots in the water for half an hour.

This is inside the tunnel after I'd swept most out. The left hand bed is fine as it's a good 18" high but the right hand bed is only about 8" high and you can clearly see how wet it is compared to the one on the left.

While out in Spain I was surprised to find a lack of flowers anywhere. I figured anyone living in such a warm climate would have lovely plants growing. Maybe the fact that every day was over 40 degrees makes it too hot to garden so most places were filled with Oleander in flower and Aloe Vera.
There were these wonderfully weird looking trees though - I wonder what they are!

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Polytunnel produce

Still not much doing here in my Caithness garden. The weather has finally decided to give us a glimpse of a possible summer on its way but everything outside is stunted almost in limbo as though it's all deciding "do we, don't we". As it is right now I'm happy for everything to stay a little shy for 2 reasons 1) I wouldn't be surprised if we have snow next week and 2) I go on holiday next week and I don't want to miss all the first blooms.

The polytunnel is a different story completely, I am getting heaps of Strawberries - at least the ones the birds haven't gotten to first - the apple tree is plastered with fruit so I'm waiting for the June drop to see what needs culling after that and the flowers (especially the Roses) are about 6 weeks ahead of those outside.
Tomorrow I will have to begin moving all the plants in pots to an outside sheltered place, I just hope the weather stays kind.

Rose 'Nostalgia' my first one to flower this year, has a lovely sherberty scent.

This tree has heaps of apples this year but it's destined for the garden later on so probably won't produce this well again.     
I almost gave up on Strawberries this year as I never get a decent crop. I put these into some hanging baskets and the crop has been mammoth so far.

No slug damage here! Hens have made a meal of my Hostas, it's prettier than slug damage though and a small price to pay for the fact that they also control marestail.

Even on the sunny days there's always a storm threat over the sea.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Garden DIY projects

I'm one of 'those' gardeners that despite having what seems like a hundred unfinished projects on the go I am always on the look out for inspiration for more to do. As a consequence of this I am adicted to 'Pinterest' and sadly can admit to spending a ridiculous amount of time on it most evenings.
The weather here has prevented any kind of gardening for some time now, I can't even mow the lawns as it's too wet and on the days when it's just cold rather than rainy it's just too windy to get motivated.
This has given me time to add to my growing 'Pinterest' folders and I thought that as I have nothing to show from my own garden right now I would post some wonderful garden projects that are cheap and easy to do - I'm all for cheap (preferably free) and easy.

I found these concrete globes on 'the garden glove' along with a fabulous tutorial with 4 different recipes depending on the finished look you prefer. For me it would have to be the pure cement one for 2 reasons - 1) Cheaper - I'm not into buying ingredients if I can help it and 2) I think it would lend itself to spray paint alot nicer than the others.

I came across this next project on 'Creek Tree USA' and they describe these as ceramic hummingbird feeders, obviously I would have no need for that here (though maybe Bee or Butterfly feeders) but I thought they would make the cutest plant supports with very little cost or time.
Pretty door knobs are selling for a couple of pounds for a set of 4 in many of the cheaper stores (none of which I have here) and the right gauge wire would only cost a few pounds too. It would be very easy to attach the wire to the door knobs and voila - no more poked eyes.

Hopefully this year we will be building new pillars at the top gate and I have always wanted to add a Narnia style lamp to the side of them. I did some research on the lamps though and to get the exact one I wanted I wasn't going to get much change from £400, plus the cost of then running electrics up to it. I turned to Pinterest to find an alternative.
This guy, Mark, has come up with the answer for me and I'll definitely be doing it. He's constructed a Narnia style lamp from wood and best of all he's included a solar light to the top so no need for wiring. It may not be the exact style I was looking for but it can easily be adapted to what I want and the guy has even done a video tutoral on it. Check it out on 'Mark's DIY solar lamp post'.

This next project is so simple and obvious yet I never would have thought of it in a million years. I'm always thinking that I wish decking was a bit more comfortable underfoot so I could go outside barefoot in summer, obviously a rug isn't going to last too long out there and will only end up smushy and horrible. Not now!
Laura from 'Design share' has given us a fab tutorial on how to turn a tablecloth into a waterproof patio / decking rug - imagine all the wonderful colour and pattern choices available. This is a definite project for me this year.

I have no lighting in my garden currently - I must be one of the few people who just hasn't got round to it - and so I'd like to start adding a few pieces especially around the patio seating areas. I'm not really into buying the ones on stakes though because I can get a bit OCD about them being perfectly upright but I found this great idea (one of many on Pinterest), unfortunately I cannot find an original link to who created it but the photo speaks for itself - vases, stones and solar lights.

Again I cannot find a direct link to the creator of this next one but I like it so much I wanted to include it. It really is a simple idea and seeing as I have all the ingredients to put it together I will definitely be doing this to add some attraction to my garden. I'm not sure how to do the knot but I'm sure a google search will be productive.

I have plenty of wood scraps laying around, usually I put them in the log shed for winter fuel but now I have seen these I think my garden will instead be plastered with scrap wood animals. I'm not sure whether I want a moose but definitely dogs, horses, hens etc.
'Painted Therapy' provides a good tutorial using a Silhouette Cameo but I think I'd prefer to freehand draw.