Seed Bags

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Hurrah, my book is almost off to the printers but my booking doings are officially over. I now only have to wait until the 10th of March to hold a copy in my hands. The book will be in shops on the 27th of March in The Netherlands and Belgium. I will soon dedicate a whole post on dates and future international releases.

And now on with this post and lots more blogging time!!

I always start to plan and gather seeds I want to sow in my garden in January so that I can jump start them in my greenhouse in February. These will be seeds to plant out in the garden in March/April/May/June.

I try not to buy lots of seeds instead I try to save them, dry them and store them in bags. It's simple to dry seeds. For example the butternut seeds are from one I used last week for dinner. I washed the seeds and dried them for a week on a paper towel. In April I'll put them in one of those (recycled hyacinth) pink pots, let them grow in my greenhouse until May and plant them out in the garden. It's so cool to actually grow the same butternut in my own garden just from a seed. Boy do I love growing plants ...

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I've made a seed bag for you and me to join. They come in pink and green and there's room on the back to add information and instructions.

Use a medium weight paper for the bags, for example 120 gram. If you use thicker paper the glue will not hold it once you stuff bigger seeds in the bags.

click to download the green bag

click to download the pink bag

Next time I'll make some boxes for you to store your peas in. But for now, have fun!

ps: there's a typo on all the images (whatch instead of watch) It has been changed in the PDF files.

September Garden

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And all of a sudden it's cold outside, am I wearing socks in my shoes and do I need to put the heating on. Summer left us just over the weekend and my garden is changing.

Do you remember this post?

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This is what it looks like today. I'm so pleased.

Gardening, like decorating, is all about taste. I personally don't like manicured gardens with perfectly cut hedges, flower beds that compliment one another and no room for growth. I basically don't like gardens that are not allowed to be a garden.
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Each spring I plant new stuff in my raised beds and just wait what happens next. Each year I do this, I love it even more as I get to experiment. I will not cut, not replant, everything that goes in in spring will stay there until it's time to clean up. So year by year I'll have a different garden.

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What I've learned from this year's garden is that spring was great, summer good but the early autumn garden is too green. I forgot to plant autumn flowers. 

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The geraniums are still doing great, the verbena I've planted two years ago throughout the whole garden are also doing fantastic, but I'll have to sow more flowers next year.

Thank you so much for reading and for your comments. They boost me, to know that I'm not just writing into the void. 

How's your garden growing, what kind of early autumn plants do you recommend? 

Danny Deckchair

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Last year I bought  two vintage deck chairs at a flea market with the intention to sew new covers for them, but they stayed in the garage as summer was short and wet.

Today I got them out and made new covers for them in just under one hour.

As I like everything in my home we sit on washable, I was really happy with the vintage rod system that these chairs come with. Modern deck chairs come with the fabric tagged or stapled on to the wood frame which makes it so dreadful to get off and give it a wash. It seems to me that in the old days people had more time to make more inventive things and everything seems to work better. With modern mass production we're just looking at wath is simple to make and how to make loads of it, quantity over quality ... I really dislike that.

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Look how great this is; I can push the fabric through the gap, push the rod through the fabric and pull it back ... so much more easier than staples!!

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I've made a small cushion with the leftover fabric, drank my favourite Breckland Orchard ginger beer with chili and read The Handmade Marketplace. It's good that the sun is out.

Download the instructions here

ps: I've named the deckchair Danny after one of my favourite movie characters, Danny Morgan, out of the Aussie movie Danny Deckchair. I've used this fabric for the back and the fabric for the front is sold out.

Dahlia Kick Starting

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In a couple of weeks the chicken will get a bigger coop as the garage is fixed up and we'll be able to park inside.

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This is basically the plan. The gravel will go out, the fencing will be replaced from left to right and the greenhouse will be in corner. I'll plant Dahlias all along the fence to get some colour in as it's a bit boring right now.

But, as always, I am a bit impatient so I'm kick starting my Dahlias in pots in a mini greenhouse. I've done this before and it works brilliantly.

This is also the time to do it. Planting Dahlias in the cold ground will make them die as it's too cold but kick starting them in pots and planting them out in June will give you very early flowers and that's what we want.

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I've cut out the wrapper pictures and stuck them on to the pots so that I know which one is which. I've reused the containers of the Lavatera plants I've bought last year. I really love the colour and the shape. I've bought that mini greenhouse a year ago for just €19.95 and it's brilliant. It's housing sweet peas and tomatoes.

Have a happy monday xox

How To Sweet Pea

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Lets talk Sweet Pea (Lathyrus) today, my favourite garden flower to grow.

I have been growing Sweet Peas for a few years now and I must admit, quite successfully. I stick to a procedure each year and it seems to work as I have sweet peas skyrocketing my garden.

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I start to grow them mid March in my boot room using these fantastic seeding trays, but you can use any other sort of trays/pots as long as you keep them under a dome. I water them every other day and take the dome off as soon as the plants start leafing. Mostly it takes about a week that I keep the plants dome less before I put them outside in the cold ground. By this time it's mid April, please wait (even when they are big enough) with planting them outside if there's still frost. You will kill them!

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Make sure that you keep the trays in a place with lots of daylight and at room temperature, at 18°C at least. You can find the leaves and pinecone poster in Sharilyn's lovely shop.

In my next Sweet Pea update I'll show you how to plant them outside to get an amazing bush like the one below.

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They are so pretty, smell amazing and look so lovely in little vases all over the house. I can't wait for summer!!

Rose Wreath

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Was the weather as lovely at your end as it was at my end today?

I did a bit of a crazy winter garden prep and now all my muscles ache. I'm like that, I always want to get the job done.

Cutting, digging, veggie plot emptying, bulb planting and rose pruning all in one day - front and back. The garden is ready for it's winter sleep.

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I'm always trying to make the most out of my autumn/winter garden as I find that I have a true summer garden. I try to find objects that add some fun to the bleak emptiness and the flowerless, beeless, butterflyless garden. So when I saw the simple wreaths in the recent Martha Stewart Living I decided to make my own rose wreath.

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I'm really happy with the simple result it gives. It's just a bunch of branches turned round and a simple pink ribbon adds some glee. I love the wildness of it, how roses should be.

Don't hang it on a door as it will get you tangled up. I got tangled up so many times making the wreath as it got stuck to me fleece and in my hair.

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In The Meantime

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This is the back of my home. With dodgy main roof, as we didn't make it this summer, but slick new kitchen  roof and a brand spanking new facade. We are in the middle of adding all the wood paneling to what is black now but I want to show you what I am up to right now, so I'll leave the after images for another day.

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This is the back of my home in February 2010. Boy did we hated that facade when we first bought the house. What seemed to be a good plan to the previous owners back in 1974 didn't seem such a good plan to us. We tried to fix that "Swedish hot tub" up by painting it and decorating it but it remained the most ugliest facade in the land. So we got rid of it to everyone's disgust and unbelief, as we quite spent some money on it fixing it up. We have a square house and the lines of the round sun room fell out of harmony with the architecture. Oh and try to decorate a round room! So much wasted space. Now we have a "second kitchen" and it's perfect as we can walk straight into the garden on a deck! I love a good deck.

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The other good thing is that we can bring food out really quickly and feed hungry people like this bunch a weekend ago at The Yvestown Fair.