|Hardy Annual Seeds for a ‘quick fix’|
At the beginning of June when our children began their summer holidays, I made the decision that I wasn’t going to work as hard during their eight week break as I had over the previous couple of summers.
When you’re self employed, and particularly when you’re starting up, it’s very easy to work ridiculously unsociable hours, sometimes up to 100 hours a week, which can put huge pressures on all the family. The plan therefore was to take some time off and enjoy my family, and so far we’re all loving and benefiting from it!
|‘Go away, this is MY job!’|
We started by taking measurements of the available space and transferring those to graph paper. From there we sketched shapes and sizes, taking into account all of our family needs. We came up with quite a grand design with squares and circles, water and colours and have transferred those thoughts to our ‘master plan to be worked on over the years’ pile. So to begin with, we concentrated our efforts to the parking area, lawn and the first of the flower beds.
Starting a garden from scratch can be a very expensive business, so here’s a few ideas that worked for us on creating a garden on a budget:
- Sow some of the ‘easier’ plants from seed into small pots such as lupins, poppies, perennial cornflower and transplant when they’re bigger.
- Keep an eye out for small bargain shrubs from shops such as Aldi or Lidl. As soon as they arrive home transfer them to fresh containers of compost until you’re ready to plant them.
- Look out for the ‘bargain’ trolleys at the garden centres. In the winter time herbaceous perennials are often sold cheaply as all that can be seen in their containers is soil. We picked up lots of great plants this way, including Scabious, Salvia, Astilbe, Coreopsis, Crocosmia, Aquilegia and a beautiful Sedum ‘Blue Emperor’, all for just €2 each.
- Where there are large gaps of soil consider buying packets of hardy annuals and sow them directly where they’re to grow.
- Pick up bulbs when they’re on offer, checking first that they’re undamaged and firm.
- If you have a favourite shrub or tree that you’d like to grow in your garden, be prepared to pay a little extra and buy a larger, more established one from a reputable garden centre.
- Gratefully accept gifts of plants or cuttings whenever they’re offered!
- Learn to propagate your own plants (if you’re not sure how buy a good book such as the Readers Digest Plant Propagator’s Bible to learn how).
Gardening is an ongoing project that never ends.
|(Lupins grown from seed)|
We’re going to have to move a lot of plants around in the autumn time as they grow bigger and start to compete for space. We’ll also have a better idea of shapes and colours as the plants mature and we’ll be able to work out which plants complement each other and their surroundings too.
So what does our new garden mean to us, apart from more jobs on the ‘to do’ list (mulching with wood chip bark has helped to keep the weeds down)?
I can’t answer for my hubby, but for myself I always smile when I come home now.
|Honeysuckle & Herbs|
And lastly, I love being able to sit somewhere ‘pretty’ on my own for a couple of minutes with a mug of tea on a sunny day, close my eyes for a second and take in everything nature has to offer (and hopefully not open them to find a bug swimming around in the liquid!)