horty culture!


I just spent the last two days in the garden and at the garden centre, my arms feel like they have been wrenched out of their sockets and I am covered in mosquito bites. BUT I have created a garden!

I have been mainly working on the part of the garden nearest the house where previous owners had made a kind of plant bed. It was home to a HUGEMUNGOUS shrub called Spiraea Nipponica
whilst it is not too offensive somewhere else, it took up most of the garden, and looked like an exploded white firework, in a kind of 1970s suburban garden type feel. Hmmm, not my taste, and that planted next to a pinky red modern rose, I kept thinking I would see Jerry and Barbara appear, cocktail glasses in hand!
I nearly killed myself trying to chop down that 6ft x 6ft shrub, and then stuffing the remains into 8 sacks! I started to worry what I had done.
After digging up and removing other bits of ugly plants and raking in 8 sacks of compost to the crappy soil that was there, I then had a big splurge in the garden centre, pretty much grabbing any plant I saw that took my fancy.
Now that big crazy plant has gone, the area of the garden is very sunny, but also very sheltered from wind. I wanted tall airy plants, that would give a wild natural feel.
I also ordered some willow hurdles to help contain them.

Its very hard to see, but amongst the flowers we planted an apricot tree, you can just see the trunk of it below...

We found some lovely irises growing out of the bottom of the fence in the side alley of our house, which were always getting bashed by wheelie bins and such. There were also some nice crimson coloured lily type things and some red hot pokers! I dug them up and divide them and planted them at the back of the bed (as they are really tall). I hope they survive. They will be much more appreciated there.

The grass is the next issue, as you can see it has gone a bit dry, and I would like it to grow a bit longer  and less formal looking. I have cut it short and given it some feed and water, fingers crossed!

My mister managed to put in a metal archway frame for me, and I tied some twigs around it to help disguise it, and also create extra climbing facility for the Jasmine and Honeysuckle that I planted next to it. Can't wait for those warm evenings, with the scent of Jasmine wafting as I meander through the arch, glass of prosecco in hand!

I will see what grows best and tallest out of these plants, and I may re-arrange them later. For instance this fennel I planted can grow really big although I'd be really happy if things grew so much I had to cut them.

I love these deep purple bell shaped flowers, they have really delicate stalk, like they are just floating in the air. I forget the name right now! (written down somewhere ; )

this hydrangea I bought in the spring via mail order, it arrived as a twig with a few roots, it has produced just one MASSIVE flower head. I love its delicate 'almost going to flop over' look.

I planted a little mimosa tree in the lawn to sit under (when its a bit bigger!) I love the way the light comes through the leaves.

we also inherited four HUGE pink hydrangea bushes, which, although I like some varieties, this is not one of them. It kind of clashes with every thing else. I have bought some liquid that helps to turn them blue which I will try, otherwise, they maybe going the same way as that Spirea.

I have moved my magnolia tree to a better position now that we have more room, its looking much better now.

Our garden is really long, and is separated into three sections by bay hedge. In the middle garden we have four fruit trees, this peach tree is one we planted, the rest were already there when we moved in.

ickle fuzzy peach babies.

rosy apples...

and pears.

 (I'll have to get some bird netting, to protect the fruit from toddlers)

at the bottom garden are three much bigger trees, a plum tree that is LADEN with fruit (CAN'T . WAIT) and eating apple tree and a cooking apple tree (which I made a nice apple crumble last autumn).

I'm afraid that you may see this garden a lot now that I have started working on it. My blog is a great way for me to remember what I planted where, and comparing year on year. I'm no gardener, but I do know how I want our garden to look at least! I find it is mostly trial and error, ...and watching Monty Don.
By the way, I know its not ideal to plant plants when they are in flower, but when designing a garden, it find it helps to see the flowers and the heights, what flowers when and what looks best next to what etc...just saying. I think I need a soak in a hot bath now!

p.s. Slugs and snails ate most of the plants I planted in spring, so I have just ordered two bottles of this. (which is natural and non toxic by the way!). I'll let you know how it goes...

Camping in Dorset and the Isle of Purbeck


More camping adventures I'm afraid!
This time we went off to a few favourite places in Dorset. We planned to only go for a couple of nights but we ended up camping for four night at two different campsites.

We went straight to Jim's campsite which was lovely as ever. The next day we went to Lulworth Cove for the forth year running! We love it there, its such a happy place even though it is so busy with tourists.

our kiddo was just about 6 months old when she last came here, but I think she remembered it?

after a lot of stone throwing (she is getting pretty good at it now!) we headed back to our tent to cook dinner.

there is lots of asparagus around at the moment!

the lady who runs the campsite, heard of me through my blog (when I posted about their campsite) so when she saw us there, she brought a big box full of vintage fabric and clothes which she wondered if I'd be interested in buying. I could pick out the ones I wanted. The box was HUGE.

during breakfast I sifted through them and these were the ones I kept. In the plastic bag are two little old handmade pig heads without bodies! I'm going to make some bodies for them ; )

we spent another lovely (and very hot) day at Lulworth where the littlun had a loooong nap, so it was very relaxing indeedo.

I had a gorgeous swim in the crystal clear water.

We went to find the guinea fowl in the evening back at the campsite.

and we bumped into Jim and Jill who were busy harvesting the sweet pea flowers (they grow flowers and vegetables to sell, and run a small garden nursery too).

 it was a very lovely day all round!

the next day we went to Monkey World (ape rescue centre) which is just up the road from the campsite.
The littlun was in a bad 'no nap' mood so it didn't go to plan. But this made us laugh (for about 3 hours!)

a monkey with the same hair as Nao!


That afternoon we moved on to another campsite we'd been before, on our very first ever camping trip in fact! It's called Norden Farm, on Isle of Purbeck (which is not actually an island by the way!).
We saw the weather forecast for heavy rain and wind, so we didn't put up our tent, and just cooked dinner on the campervan stove instead. It was SO cosy and we had a lovely view of a valley filled with sheep.

the night was so windy and rainy I was worried some of the other people camping would lose their tents!

The next morning we headed off to Swanage to go on a 'choo choo' as kiddo would say. She LOVED it, stomping up and down the aisle of the train.

 I love old trains!  I. am. a. nerd.

On the way back we stopped off at Middle beach on Studland bay. There is a nice cafe there, but kiddo had another nice long nap in the van so we just stayed there looking at the sea.

when she woke up (full of beans!) we went to the next beach on Studland bay, Knoll beach. All the beaches on this strip of Purbeck are owned by the National Trust. 

...I must say I do like a National Trust cafe and shop.

even though it was not very nice weather, that beach was pretty busy. But I can see why, its perfect for water sports and the sand is so soft.

Littlun had such an amazing time there, I have never seen her so happy. Those dungarees didn't stay dry for long.

after drying off and having an ice cream, we went back to the campsite for fried halloumi, asparagus and toms for dinner.

Lucky we had our wind breakers in the van, as otherwise we couldn't have lit a fire.

one salty, smokey, nectarine juice soaked, exausted baby.

(actually this photo is post bath!)
this is our bed by the way...tot sleeps in her pop-up cot at the moment.

The last day, we made our way home in the direction of Lymington (where the ferry to the Isle of Wight leaves from). We stopped for lunch at a beach called Sandbanks beach (or is it Poole beach??). It was very busy and remended me of 'Baywatch' as it has lots of sand, life guards and beach volleyball tournament going on! Anyways, we had a lovely time when we discovered the beach is COVERED with beautiful shells, which we all started collecting in a bucket.

actually we became a bit obsessed, I love the tiny scallop shells.

another wet tot situation!

after that we wanted to see the light house and castle which is very close to the Isle of Wight but on the mainland. I have always wondered what it was like on the 'otherside'. Its called Hurst Castle, and a little ferry leaves from Keyhaven harbour (which is also a very nice place) Lots of little kiddies at the sailing school there in their tiny dinghies.

the original castle was built in 16th century, but the victorians made it into a HUGE fortress. More recently it was used in the second world war, and you can see all the utility areas used by the soldiers

and the perfect view of the Isle of Wight and the Needles lighthouse across the water.

We just about caught the last boat back to the harbour, and made our way to Lymington to eat fish and chips in the van whilst waiting for the ferry back home.
I highly recommend the Purbeck area of Dorset for a very nice way to waste some time ; )


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