Yesterday Heart of a Garden were at Ambleside Sports, an annual event hosting traditional sports such as fell running, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, cycling and hound trailing and a very popular and fun day out. The sun shone for us and it was lovely to meet lots of customers, holidaymakers, locals and friends. It was the first time we'd done anything like this - up to now we have only done online sales - but apart from being a busy and worthwhile day for us, the best thing was being able to see peoples reactions to our products and to be able to interact our customers face to face.
Our garden wind sculptures were popular as ever and quite a show stopper especially as there there was a good breeze to help do what they are supposed to do - spin! We also had interest and positive comments on all the garden ornaments, sculptures and gifts that I had taken and displayed.
It was also good to get to know locals and hear about their gardening projects, large and small. I offer free local delivery whenever possible, please contact me to enquire.
Our next venture out is to the Lakeland Country Fair on Sunday 16th August, so if you are local or visiting the Lakes and plan to come along please keep an eye out for Heart of a Garden and come and say hello! We have special prices for you on the day!
If you've old and unwanted items that you're thinking of throwing out, think again. Why not up-cycle them by making new and unique pots and planters for your garden. It's easy and fun to do and doen't cost you anything except some time!
Tyres: I’ve had a tyre sitting in my garden for a while, waiting to be disposed of. But then I got thinking about ways I could use it in my garden…maybe a small pond or a planter. With a few tyres you could make an eye-catching garden feature such as the gorgeous colourful ones in this photo. Simply paint with some bright colours, add a plastic liner, some drainage material and soil, and fill with colourful plants for a beautiful summer display.
photo from: http://www.birdsandblooms.com/
Walking Boots: I’ve also got some walking boots that are on their last legs so I plan to let them retire in the garden and become an attractive planter like the one in the photo filled with Campanula.
photo from: http://imgfave.com/
Wellies: If you’ve got children you’ll probably have a few pairs of old wellies lying around that they've grown out of. Give the children a project during school holidays to up-cycle them into garden pots filled with their favourite flowers. The more the merrier!
A Colander: They make great hanging containers and come with ready made drainage holes ready to hang in the garden!
photo from: http://www.afrugallife.org/
Teapots: The lid broke on my favourite tea-pot recently and I couldn't bear to throw it out. It now has another job as a plant pot and looks gorgeous planted up with flowering plants. It is possible to carefully drill a hole in the bottom for drainage and always add some old broken terracotta pots or gravel to the bottom - or it could be used for indoor plants. An even simpler idea for a teapot is to use it as a vase for the kitchen windowsill!
Tin Cans: My son recently gave me a gift - a hanging pot made from a tin can. He painted a lovely design on it but if like me you don't have much artistic talent, keep them in their natural state as a plain, shiny tin! Remember to put a few drainage holes in the bottom, then simply fill with flowering plants or hanging plants such as strawberries. A good idea if you've run out of space in the greenhouse.
That's it for now. I hope this has inspired you to find unwanted containers to up-cycle into useful pots and planters for your garden.
I find it’s always good to have some easy to grow annual flowers ready to pop in the garden. These are 3 of my favourites and require little care but are quick to brighten up and fill in any dull spots in the garden! As a bonus they are edible too!
Nasturtiums with their glorious red, orange or yellow flowers will grow almost anywhere….and the bees love them! As well as looking beautiful, they have a long flowering season, right into the autumn and they’re also edible - both the flowers and leaves are great in salads or as a garnish.
Sow them where you want them to flower once frosts have passed. They can be grown as:
Ground cover – sow the large seeds where you want them to grow for a colourful flower border.
As a climber – sow them at the bottom of some trellising or allow them to clamber up a shrub.
In a planter or hanging basket – just pop a seed into the container for a wonderful flowing display.
These annuals have pretty daisy like flowers and are an easy way to add colour to the garden. I usually sow the seeds into trays in the greenhouse before potting them out but they can be grown directly into the earth where they are to flower.
The golden flower petals are edible and good to cook with or to colour up salads.
Image courtesy of Lavoview at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
These are flowers that make a feature in the garden, especially the giant variety. I always loved to grow these in my little garden plot as a child - it’s fascinating watching a tiny seed grow into such a tall plant. Sunflowers do need a sunny and sheltered spot in the garden and I usually start them off in a small pot in the greenhouse but they can be grown straight into the garden. Just watch out for slugs!
Once the flower heads die off, don’t forget to collect the edible and healthy seeds! Or leave them over winter for the garden birds to feed on.
Many words sum up the sound of running water to me - tranquillity, mesmerizing and relaxing to name but a few. No surprise then to find that rain chains originated hundreds of years ago in Japan. They were used as a decorative and practical water feature for capturing rain water for homes and Buddhist temples. The Japanese name for them is ‘Kursari-doi’. They were originally ‘chains’ (a series of chain links), similar to our Om rain chain, which quickly guided rainwater off the roof into a storage barrel whilst providing the tranquil sound of running water.
They have been gaining popularity in the UK since the 1998 Winter Olympics which were held in Japan. Cup designs (such as the Lily and Tulip) in various metals have become very fashionable. They do the same job as a chain but the rainwater flows slightly slower. They are a series of cups linked together with a chain; with small holes in the bottom of each cup to allow the rainwater continue its journey to a container at the bottom.
These kinetic sculptures provide great value to the garden environment, providing movement, beauty and sound. The water sound being music like, gives one a feeling of peace and tranquillity, one of the Zen arts.
Various containers can be used – barrels, pots, copper basins designed to match the rain chains or simply allow the water to drain into the earth.
An added bonus of having a rain chain in the garden is the environmentally friendly factor. Collecting rainwater for your plants is possibly something for all gardeners to consider especially in areas where summer droughts are becoming more frequent.