Posts

Well overdue post - transforming a patio

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Having had a break from writing on these pages, I felt it was as good a time as any to return with transformative news, both in reinstating the original name of this blog 'SuburbanGaze' but also of the outside space.   Over the summer months of lockdown I began researched ideas around renewing the patio.  We had spent so much time concentrating on plants and nature that we had forgotten our own basic needs.   So many options to choose from, so many trawls through Google images to find inspiration.  I knew we needed a large flat area with a built in pergola for shade but all off-the-shelf models lacked the bold clean and dark masculine straight lines that I was looking for. I realised quickly that our needs were not catered for and I would need to design something from scratch.  So the process began, like so much in the outside space a lot of thought and planning has gone into it. The problem: A hideous eighties patio, hiding a revolting fifties concrete patio beneath with an en

Lockdown NT overdose

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This is a lazy post so that the photographs can speak for themselves.  Over the last few weeks we have been visiting National Trust gardens as the lockdown phase begins to ease.  It's been an absolute joy. Often being the first few people to be let in to enjoy the vast, diverse and beautiful spaces.  Baddesley Clinton Croft Castle Hidcote

Lockdown transition from Spring to Summer

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This whole pandemic has been an odd one for me.   I continue to work from home on a full-time basis whilst I observe many who appear to be either bored or, enjoying learning loads  of new skills - if that is gardening then the more the merrier.    I think I've probably gardened less this year.  This is due a number of factors including my change in working arrangements.  To add to this, like many, m y current office is the same place that I normally relax in the evenings.  I have therefore partly swapped gardening for running, sometimes up-to 5 times a week.  It is a way to free my mind of work commitments, to meditate, to find oneness, and to re-energise.  When I originally wrote this post, I was reflecting on life post-marriage, and it was timed for a Spring publication date that I never got round to sending.  That seems to be a pattern at the moment.  Although, to give me credit, I have begun reading The Jungle Garden which I highly recommend.   Normally, Spring cannot come aro

New year, same old me. Thankfully.

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Last year I promised the garden that I would  bring new gardening practises and refinement, new plants and cohesion.  I'm not sure if I managed the refinement and cohesion but I definitely kept my other promises. I didn't use any chemical pesticides in the garden at all.  I had thought that this would be really challenging.  There are aisles full of various killing products in the garden centres, they've even made their way into the supermarket. They are so easy to just pop in your basket. Well it's been a simple adjustment.  It has meant thinking differently about the garden and its place in the wider ecosystem where one creepy-crawly eating a leaf is feeding a frog, that is feeding a bird and so on.   During 2019 I opting for two types of nematodes to combat my biggest issues in the garden, namely slugs/snails and vine weevils. I also brewed some nettles and made a concentrated spray that helps with aphids.  I've noticed a big difference, mainly more birds

Finally got round to this

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Today, I spent literally 15 minutes from start to finish, doing something that's been on my to-do-list since 2017.   Having seed a video on GW ages ago of how easy it is to do root cuttings, I spent two years procrastinating.  Now, armed with an RHS L2 qualification in Practical Horticulture, I feel I can no-longer put it off for yet another  year, and I have prepared some hybrid Japanese Anemone root cuttings.  I saw some today in pink that were 2-for£15 and thought how pricey that was. So, if you have 15 minutes to spare, follow these steps: 1) Find plant (before you lose all the flowers, if like me you're after a particular colour), dig with fork around the base, pull out roots and cut some off 2) Moisten compost with tap water and put into module trays, pressing down to get rid of air pockets 3) Cut roots into small strips and press onto the moist compost, 1 per module 4) Cover with a thin layer of hort grit 5) Water again

Parcevall Hall Gardens

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Whilst in the Yorkshire Dales recently on a family holiday, a garden visit was needed to enable us to spend some quality time together.  Further research gifted  Parcevall Hall Gardens  to us.  We found it listed in both the RHS partner gardens and GW 2-4-1 offer. We were glad of the buy one get one free offer.  For an additional fee you will be provided with a well presented booklet that maps the history of the 17C farmhouse up to present day when Parcevall Hall was developed from the addition of building works in the 1920s and the 1960s. The centre pages provide a double-page illustration of the building and garden and a prescribed walk that takes in all of the delight in  the garden up to the Tarn, around to the Red Border, up to Old Camellia Walk, taking in The Chapel Garden and Rose Garden, up to the Silver Wood, back down via the Rock Garden and onto the Terraces for the spectacular views. On the way in or out, dependant on your preference, you will find well-stocked

To prune or not to prune

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One aspect that attracted us to this garden when we were deciding to buy, was an arch that had formed naturally from two trees standing close to each other.  It was a pleasant feeling walking beneath them when no formal path existed and it seemed like the garden was directing us that way beneath the crossing branches. (Ignoring the 6ft high brambles, wild tangle of forsythia, grasses and nettles everywhere else).  Six years on and we have an informal grass pathway going through here past the wildlife pond and on to the boundary fence. Looking back through photographs there are none in existence of this magical place from that period to reminisce over, but those feelings remain and this part of the garden remains my favourite. Tree on left has failed to provide us with fruit/Tree on right has lovely large yellow fruit that convinces us it's a Victoria Plum Later, it transpired that these were two of a group of three plum trees.  Over the last 6 years they have periodic