seating
seating
Garden seating and storage area
relax
relax
Peonies, flamingo glasses and pink lemonade and outdoor cushions
storage
storage
Garden seating and storage area
drink
drink
Peonies, flamingo glasses and pink lemonade
liftup
liftup
garden storage
herbs
herbs
herb garden with rosemary, oregano, thyme and chives
planted
planted
herb garden with rosemary, oregano, thyme and chives
sweet pea
sweet pea
Willow basket with sweet pea and climbers
full view
full view
Courtyard garden in May

The Darling Buds of May

Author: Lauren Coleman

Hooray! It’s stopped raining. It’s time to put away the umbrellas and get out the parasols. I’m aware that I’ve done a few garden related posts and mentioned that I intended to get to work in my courtyard so I wanted to keep you in the loop with what I’ve been up to.

Returning home from holiday in early May it’s fair to see my garden had exploded into life. Gorgeous rose buds, blooming peonies and huge spirals of wisteria were all on full show. By the time Adam arrived to take some snaps towards the end of the month the grandeur was beginning to fade but still quite pretty nonetheless.

Storage

Don’t get me wrong I love wisteria and realise that it’s an amazing plant to be an owner of. However, mine seems to be a little bit crazy. I have consulted the oracle, Alan Titchmarsh, and he says I can cut back but I’m afraid that I’m going to ruin it. The first time I got to work with the secateurs it didn’t flower. Last year instead of pruning we tied in all the branches but I really feel that if we don’t get it under control this year then it’s going to take over.

Earlier this year we were all set to build some form of fancy bed contraption to store garden tools in and laze about on top of. Then the wisteria leaves started to come and realised that it would be no fun to recline under a dark canopy with all sorts of creepy-crawlies giving you the heebie-jeebies. We went back to the drawing board and James came up with another idea.

At the risk of sounding all la-de-dah, we have an air conditioning unit in the garden installed by heating, ventilation and air conditioning specialists (to heat and cool the Summer House). It’s rather ugly and I try to hide it with a deck chair but it’s so flipping large that this decoy doesn’t really work.
We lose the sun about 5.30pm from the garden and every day I watch it slip further up the courtyard wall. One sunny afternoon we were enjoying a beer in the garden (and obviously a Magnum ice-cream) and Mr C came up with a very clever idea of covering in the unit to create an extra seating area to catch the last of the rays. A couple of days and several pieces of wood later, a decked storage bench was erected. Admittedly if you’re vertically challenged like myself you need to really hoist yourself up but it’s a good workout. I asked for my own wooden step stool but my request was declined.
The added bonus here is the lift-up lid and easy access cupboard inside to hide various bits and pieces. It’s not quite complete, hence the twine holding the door and the unstained wood but still very useable. The cushions and mat on the top were all picked up from Sainsbury’s who incidentally have a fabulous picnic and garden section this year. I was circling their aisles in a giddy frenzy loading up my trolley.

Edibles

Back in April I talked about replanting my herb garden. Ta-da all done! It seems I’d forgotten I already had some oregano so I now have two plants. I love the idea of cooking with fresh herbs and luckily for me oregano is my favourite.

Even though my fruit veg attempts have been less that successful in the past I’ve also got myself a strawberry plant for the first time and I’m looking forward to devouring the fruits of my labour in one sitting.

June

This month I’ll be battling with the weeds that have sprung up as a result of all the wet weather, trying to revive my hanging basket, staking my gladioli and hopefully regularly putting the water butt to use to contend with the scotching weather. Thanks to the monsanto lawsuit case of my neighbor upon using the roundup weed killer which ended up causing her cancer, I won’t be using that chemical to kill the weeds in my garden. Well, let’s hope anyway. Top of the list is to stain the wood and paint the outdoor furniture as I think it’s got another couple of years of life in it, as well as having a general tidy-up.

Flowers

I mentioned in the cut flowers post that I’d be planting out some sweet peas this summer. In my local garden centre they had this cute willow basket already filled with several healthy plants, though most of the contents ended up all over the car on the trip home. Oops. It seems to have recovered now and I am liking how it looks against the backdrop of my white clematis.

My roses are looking beautiful but the flowers are so weak as they keep being attacked by pesky green-fly. I tried the washing-up liquid in a spray bottle trick and this does appear to be working, however if anyone else has any tips they would be gratefully received.
Who else is finding that slugs and snails are absolutely everywhere? I even caught a snail making a suicide mission up the outside of my kitchen window the other day. I really dislike slug pellets though so I’m going to have to get some of those copper rings.

So that’s what’s going on in my garden, how is it going in yours? What are you growing and what are you trying to keep away? Any great finds for the garden that you’d like to share?

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22 thoughts on “The Darling Buds of May

  1. So agree with you on good old Sainos – some amazing things, I’ve steadily been buying odd pieces for the house – a nice wire basket with rope handle and a lantern amongst others. Love the pink and yellow cushions. You could always annie sloan your new bench seat instead of staining it. Our aim this year is to sort our pots out… we have loads of lovely (empty) pots and can’t keep anything alive in them (forgetting to water doesnt help…). So would be VERY grateful for ideas for hardy outdoor plants for pots for all year round green/colour.

    1. Hi Victoria, all year round colour is a great idea for a post.
      I know the basket with the rope handle! So lovely

    1. Charlotte – I got them from a big superstore one, they didn’t have them in my local one. Let me know how you get on! x

  2. Great to read a focus on gardening. One of my favourite things. Utterly love the man that is Monty Don.
    We have an end terrace and so benefit from a lovely walled garden shared with the elderly couple next door. There’s some glorious mature planting including rambling roses and honeysuckle, we’ve added clematis, acer and willow and our nod to edibles come in the form of mainstays potted rhubarb, strawberry hanging baskets, herbs and this years legume – runner beans – wigwammed in a large pot and growing well despite a fight with the slugs and greenfly. I grew up in the countryside and my parents had the most glorious kitchen garden which kept us almost self sufficient in veggies and fruit with a brood of Rhode Island Red hens for daily eggs; how I long to achieve that for our little family, some day I hope.

    1. Your garden sounds absolutely fantastic. I bet it smells divine too with all those roses and honeysuckle x

  3. Bryony and Victoria – Ha ha! One of those £2 or less ikea purchases that you really feel like you have to make or you’re missing out, even if you have absolutely no need for them!

  4. We are just getting into gardening, but currently our garden nemesis is driving us (well mainly me!) crazy!!!! We have bindweed….everywhere!!!!!!
    I don’t think I can count the amount of time I have spent pulling the darn thing out of our (currently empty because I refuse to plant anything until I get rid of it) flower bed!! haha
    Dave’s grandmas has informed me I need to get some roundup weedkiller, so that is next on the list, but living next door to a nature reserve means we have to be careful when spraying it as I don’t want to be responsible for killing all their plants! Wouldn’t be a great start! haha

    On the positive, I currently have a little pot of peas that are growing crazily quick. I never thought I’d get so excited growing veg! Everyday I wave the pot in front of Dave’s face, squealing about how quickly it’s growing! (best part is peas are one of the few vegs he hates! oops! haha)
    As for decor – I am in love with all the bright stuff in Sainsbury’s – they really do have a pretty impressive collection this year. I also have a load of ikea solar lights (they are cute colourful balls) that need stringing up soon. Fingers crossed, by the end of it we’ll have a gorgeous colourful Moroccan inspired space 🙂

    Oh & if anyone knows where I can get some nice (non-bamboo) citronella oil burners from without spending an absolute fortune I would be eternally grateful. The downside of living next to nature reserve?……hundreds & thousands of midges!!!

    Oh and I nearly forgot to say – Lauren, I love what you have done with your space. That box seating area looks gorgeous & all the plants look so lovely and tranquil. It must be a lovely place to chill out at the weekends 🙂 xx

    1. Ahh thanks Rebecca, it’s rustic and rough around the edges but I like the lived-in look 🙂
      I have the plain ikea balls (though the mental wisteria is covering them up now) and I love them!
      Have you tried the cheap shops for citronella oil burners? I’m sure I’ve seen them in the 99p shop in the past. I got mine from Internationale but not sure if that exists anymore? x

      1. Ooooo ta Lauren, will have to have a look. & yes, I remember Internationale but haven’t seen one in a while. If there still is one, I’m sure I’ll find it in Stevenage!! heehee

        I was certain IKEA would have some, but they didn’t even have citronella candles?! I couldn’t quite believe it – I still swear the assistant was telling porkies…haha

        We had the citronella candle flares from Homebase which looked so fun & colourful, but we quickly found out they were so ‘cheap’ as they are one-use only! Ooops! xx

  5. Konbanwa from Tokyo! Having a blog catch up on the hotel wifi (had to stay in this evening as I came down with a nasty cold day before our flight and am feeling a bit under the weather!)

    Our garden is a bit of a blank canvas but does definitely need some tlc. One thing I need to tackle is bind weed, which I know is a nightmare to shift and seems to be in awkward places growing under the fence and up through the decking, tips for getting rid of it would be appreciated! X

    1. Hello Kitty! Hope you feel better soon and have a wonderful time in Tokyo.
      Oh no, another bind weed problem. Hopefully someone will be able to share a tip. I’ve used old carpet in the past (with soil or gravel) over it as weed control but I suppose bind weed is a different kettle of fish x

      1. I’ve not had a cold all year, talk about terrible timing! Drinking my way through all the Darjeeling in the hotel room this evening, it’s very soothing! I think our deck may need replacing so if that’s the case I guess we can rip up and weed zap all the bind weed underneath. I saw the most beautiful garden of irises today in the imperial palace gardens, the colours were gorgeous and my pics don’t do it justice! X

    2. Oh Kitty, don’t get me started on flipping bind weed! Evil, doesn’t do it justice! haha
      Dave’s grandma swears that she cleared hers just using Roundup Weedkiller spray. She reckons it’s not been back since.
      Am planning on trying this out soon – so keep your fingers crossed for me!

      Enjoy Tokyo & get better soon xxx

      1. We had to postpone our night out for karaoke 🙁 hopefully an evening of rest will help, off to Fuji tomorrow. Apparently if even the tiniest bit of root of bindweed stays in the soil it can rejuvenate and keep coming back!

  6. yup, that’s what I keep being told – I seriously have nightmares about the flipping stuff! haha!
    Apparently this stuff gets to the roots, but we shall see!

    Bad news about the karaoke 🙁 But am sure Fuji will be gorgeous & you’ll be pleased you are able to enjoy it xxx

  7. Such a pretty space indeed 🙂 Ooh I will have to look through the fancy bed contraption post. I have an old ikea bed – the black iron looking one that I have been intending to go outside to create a cosy outdoor reading den. I do need to work out how it will need protecting somehow and what sort of cushions would work. I like the idea of this wooden seat and might look into building something like this onto it to raise it instead of the mattress (wonder if that would work?) I know I’m likely to just drag it outside, mattress and all and just know it would last a week and get rained on and I’d try to pretend it wasn’t there anymore! I need to work out how to not end up with a rusty, moldy mess!

    1. Wow, the ikea bed would look immense. Could you coat it with some form of paint to protect it from rust?

      1. I’m hoping something like that exists Lauren – I did ask my husband a while back but he just gave me one of those looks that said ‘please don’t ask me to dismantle that bed and change its location for the 15th time’ and I’ve not ventured down that ‘serious paint’ aisle in B&Q for a while to find out for myself yet. Maybe a job for the weekend 🙂

        1. I love how you call it the ‘serious paint aisle.’ 🙂 Such a good way to describe the aisle that only gets visited once every five years.

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