Today I’d like to introduce you all to my garden!

Last weekend we completed on our house and received the keys. We moved everything in on Saturday and are slowly finding a place for everything. Who knew we had so much stuff?!

For the moment the house is the priority but the main things like curtains, flat packs and the kitchen are all done.

But the thing I’m most excited about of course is my garden!

Garden

The Garden

It’s not much to look at ATM (a few slabs and a bit of mud) but hopefully this summer it will really start to come together. The top 9 paving slabs will eventually house the shed that comes with the property but it hasn’t been put up yet. We also get a water butt that hasn’t arrived yet (our builders were rushing to get us completed before there year end!).

I’m really pleased at the size of the garden as I thought it was going to be much smaller and not have enough room to house my green house. Turns out there’s going to be enough room up next to the shed.

The downside to the garden is it is north east facing preventing it from getting the maximum light through out the day but we are on the end of the row of houses with no-one overlooking us from the side so hopefully it won’t be to much of a problem!

Planning

We aren’t going to have any TV or internet for a while (Joys of buying a new build!) so I’m excited to spend some of the free time drawing up plans for the garden. I would like it to be made up of raised beds for practical growing but I also want it to be pretty for visitors and BBQ’s.

I’d love any suggestions you have for the area – space saving, veggie growing, anything really!

We’ve been so busy this month and last weekend was no exception. Me and the OH had a weekend away visiting some of his family up in Preston. It’s a really lovely part of the world and there’s plenty to do around there.

Barton Grange

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It has to be said that Saturday was probably my ideal day, we spent the morning looking round a garden centre called Barton Grange, winner of the Garden Centre Association award for Best Destination Garden Centre 2014.

It had everything. There was a brilliant cookware shop with every gadget and gizmo you could ever think to need for the Kitchen, there was homeware and plants, BBQ’s and Furniture, a huge selection of plants, flowers and vegetables and a top notch butchers store. Oh not forgetting the Cafe – Fantastic blueberry scones!

Everything was beautifully presented; just look at some of the displays:

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I am absolutely in love with the watering can flower pot display.  In all honesty my poor photography skills (I was VERY excited) just don’t do it justice. Unfortunately for me most things were a little out of my price range.

Saturday afternoon

On our way back to the house we stopped at another littler garden centre (with prices much more up my street), i’m afraid i didn’t catch the name of it and i didn’t take a single photo. I loved it that much i didn’t even think to stop and snap a pic.

There were several large, long glass greenhouses filled with benches with rows of neatly potted flowers and veggie plants. It’s run by a gentleman that does all of the planting himself (I saw him in action).  He even puts together hanging baskets that you can purchase.

All the signs are handmade and theres plenty of fresh produce for sale in the shop. I tell you i was beside myself, it was without a doubt one of my favourite gardening stores, it’s a shame its so far away.

I brought myself two flower plants; a Madeira and a Scaevola at a bargain price of £2.30 and back home we headed.

The afternoon was spent planting out vegetables and potting up flowers, whilst drinking a chilled glass of wine – Pure bliss. How could it get any better than that you ask? Well we were carefully watched by the neighbouring Alpacka

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There can’t possibly be more

We cycled to the pub for a drink, we had a BBQ, we made the most AMAZING jam doughnuts and indulged in a beef roast. I even managed to get a fair bit of my revision for Uni done.

When i got home i discovered there were signs of growth on everything i’d planted the other week and my strawberry plants are starting to flower.

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What did everyone get up to on the weekend?

I spent some time this weekend potting up strawberries in my new planter, while doing so I came up my favourite 5 tips for growing strawberries that I wanted to share with you.

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Here’s my 5 tips for growing strawberries:

1. Water regularly
Its really important to ensure your strawberries get enough water to ensure as they need it to bulk up. If you think you’ve water enough, water a little more! Water every day through dry spells and avoid the plant itself to ensure your fruit doesn’t rot.

2. Sunshine
Strawberries are sun loving plants and need to be in a sunny spot to ensure the fruits ripen nicely.

3. Protect from birds
The birds love strawberries as much as we do so ensure you adequately protect your precious fruit. Most people use fruit cages or netting to cover the plants.

4. Harvest regularly
At the height of the season strawberries will ripen fast therefore, regular picking ensures you get the best out of your strawberries. Ensure fruit is bright red all over before picking. Strawberries are fantastic straight from the plant, I’ll also be posting some of my favourite strawberry recipes soon including Strawberry Muffins.

5. 3 year rotation
Ideally you’ll be replacing your strawberry plants every 3 years to ensure the best crops. The easiest way to do this is pot on the ‘Runners’ that your existing plants create. Runners are the stems that your plants will send out over your patch or container. They will then root down and produce a new plant. By potting on these runners you can pick the strongest and healthy plants to continue your crop with and best of all it’s free!

My strawberry planter

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I’ve been struggling to decide what to do with my two clearance strawberry plants  when I stumbled across a pop up strawberry planter I received the year before last. Result! When I popped it open I was really impressed, it was a lot smaller and sturdier than I was expected. It holds up to 50 litres  of compost and can hold up to 8 plants.

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I started filling it up and popped my two plants in (which was a little difficult as they had quite large roots and quite small pockets), I was so pleased with how it looked and held up I rushed straight to the local garden centre for more plants. I managed to get 6 strong, healthy looking strawberry plants for £5.99, bargain if you ask me! Look how fab my planter looks now:

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If your interested in something like mine I found this one over on amazon, but I’m sure you’ll find tons if you search pop up strawberry planter.

What are you favourite tips for growing strawberries?