Thursday, 20 March 2014

'Plant Me Now' Garden Challenge...

Spring is most definitely in the air and I have really enjoyed the occasional sunny day we have been having. As such, I couldn't wait to get involved in a Plant Me Now blogger challenge to make 'blooming' an unloved, neglected area of my garden. Now, I certainly do not claim to own the greenest of fingers, so this really is a challenge for me and especially as all efforts for my Home Sweet Home and been concentrated on indoors. My poor garden is most definitely in need of some tlc and as I've been known to enjoy a crafty/creative challenge or two, I have digged out my dusty and unused gardening gloves with the aim to create my own piece of paradise at the bottom of the garden. Perhaps somewhere I can sit and relax, partake in a little tea drinking, reflection and maybe even a little poetry writing. 

Tim, the gardening guru at Plant Me Now invited me to choose a particular space in my garden that I was keen to makeover, and straight away I knew it had to be the small area at the bottom of our garden. Having no dishwasher at home I often spend time at the kitchen sink washing dishes, daydreaming out of the large kitchen window, and instead of seeing such an unloved, unkempt area at the bottom, I want to see pretty flowers, the bees, the birds singing and generally a much happier space. At one point we were thinking of doing a little allotment, but loving all things floral, I am delighted to finally get the opportunity to makover the shabby area, and with the hope of turning it into a country cottage style space. My aim is to fill it with lovely spring/summer colours that attract butterflies, bees and birds and perhaps plant some home grown lavender that I can use for my handmade lavender hearts. I would like to eventually put a couple of chairs and a table near the space where I can sit and truly enjoy the flowers. 

You may wish to avert your eyes to this very messy space, but here it is. 

My before image, looking so unloved and uncared for.

The area, which is a rectangular space, is jam packed with weeds, autumn leaves and debris. It's definitely the area at the bottom of the garden that has been forgotten about!  

 Along with my before photographs I sent to Plant Me Now garden expert Tim, I also sent an image of my dream garden space, including my favourite colours of pink, purple, lilac, white, cream and vibrant green.

Tim kindly advised my how to prepare the area before planting and also about my soil conditions. He recommended me laying down some standard compost to get the soil in better condition, and keeping to one side the posh compost for when the plants arrived. It was jolly hard work clearing that messy space I can tell you, and with all the tall weeds gone, soon realised how bad the fencing looked. We have decided to take a shopping trip to our local fence shop as I cant have new pretty flowers surrounded by such a drab, looking background. 

There's still quite a bit of tidying up to do before I get planting and which the children are going to get involved in  too. But for now the space already looks a lot better.
 With me being a novice gardener, the personal planting guide sent from Tim was ever so helpful. It explains the best areas of the space to plant certain flowers, and how to best achieve the county cottage style I was after. He explained in the guide "To get the country cottage feel, keep all plants of the same variety together, this will create beautiful swatches of colour with a patchwork feel around the flower bed". Ohooo I liked the sound of that. I eagerly awaited the plant delivery and was so excited about the flowers and plants that were chosen for my unloved space. Here is a little selection of some of my favourites that shall be adorning my garden. 
Achillea Summer Berries.
Astilbe Astery Rose.

I especially love this Shasta Daisy White Knight plant.
And yay, some lovely Lavender Hidcote.

Tim must know my taste well, as this beautiful Veronica First Love plant is the most beautiful pink!
My ocd type habits shall probably want to take over at times and plant very specifically but I know to achieve the natural look I want, I can afford to be a little bit random in places. The advice from Tim about laying them all out before planting to help get an idea of the look I want is excellent. In fact I know I'll probably have a little change around here and there before deciding where to plant them. I am a little worried about planting wrongly or in the wrong area, but I shall let me heart take over, follow it, and with the help of the family we'll just get stuck in!   
The plants have happily arrived safely so now it is time to get them planted, watch, wait and let them bloom! Hopefully they'll be standing a little taller, happy and proud in time for a very special occasion we are having in June and where time shall be spent in the garden.

For now and as I get busy planting on this first day of spring, I have my green fingers tightly crossed that they take well to their new home. That soon, I can indeed call this newly loved area of my garden, my little piece of  paradise.
Back in a couple of months with an update :) 
Disclosure: We were provided with compost, and all plants for the purposes of this garden blogger challenge. All words and opinions are my own.