A day in the life of Lizzie’s garden.
As new (ish) homeowners, Lizzie and her partner Ben have a patch of land which is pretty much a blank canvas. Literally a dream when starting out in the gardening sphere. As her best friend who works for a garden company and is a little garden geeky, she enlisted my help with elements of the garden. So, I thought I’d feature her on this blog, as it’s great to know you can start gardening whenever, and to encourage new beginners to the gardening world and provide some (hopefully) helpful tips.
They have done a pretty awesome job already on the exterior design! They have a beautiful decking area which was there when they moved in, but they scrubbed and varnished it from old to new, with some awesome garden furniture on. Mixed in with some good lighting and big plants in tubs and pots scattered around delicately, it’s a pretty cosy space in the garden. It’s one of my favourite things to do – sit with some gin, blankets and my best friend for a gossip here. I get real pangs of envy as my garden is still a concrete jungle at the back. Cannot wait for an area to chill with friends on a summer evening.
I love checking out inspiration for my ultimate garden seating area online – places like Instagram and Pinterest are amazing for it.
Here’s just two people I follow and think their seating area is dreamy. I will achieve this. I will achieve this.
Lizzie spent last year asking me every now and then questions about how to grow plants like tomatoes and was it easy to do etc. This year, now they’re fully settled indoors, they have started to expand ideas outdoors. Lizzie decided she’d love some raised beds to plant up veg. I thought it was a fantastic idea. When you have got a big strip of grass and you don’t really fancy tearing it up to create a big ol’ allotment style area, these raised beds are the perfect solution. They’re compact, allow you to avoid poor soil conditions, and I think they’re easier to manage. She had Ben grab some old wooden pallets from his work and got to work constructing them into the beds. Once the construction was complete, I advised her to get some good quality compost, and placed her order at Thompson and Morgan for some seeds and plug plants to start her first year as a self sufficient goddess (well, almost).
She can’t help but be amazing with the aesthetics of it all, (whereas mine is more chuck them in a see what happens) and added the bark in the middle with the awesome hexagon stepping stones. She got these from a place called U.K Salvage – apparently it’s an absolute must for any garden, and house, owners. It’s based just outside of Ipswich and I’m definitely going to be pestering Lizzie to take me soon.
Lizzie had a good idea of what she’d like to grow without my help – tomatoes at the top of the list – and I just suggested some easy to grow vegetables that would start her off nicely to go with. We went with Tomatoes, Dwarf Beans, Runner Beans and Courgettes. Lizzie didn’t quite manage to get the tomatoes potted up before they went in the ground, so unfortunately they didn’t make the cut. Back up plan in place, we popped to the amazing Victoria Nursery in Ipswich and got some replacements, along with some peppers too.
With the runner beans we got some bamboo and used them as supporting canes for when they peep through the soil, tying them at the top to make a wigwam support. Important tip to Lizzie was to follow to instructions on the back of each packet. It literally tells you everything you need to know – simple. We followed it pretty precisely, and even got a ruler out so we knew how far to space them, how deep the sow them and how many rows we would be able to fit in. Not quite experts enough to just go for it yet!
We sowed the rest of the dwarf beans and courgettes in the first raised bed following the same guidelines. It’s always a good idea to mark where you have sown the seeds too. Lizzie goes the extra mile with presentation and added these cute wooden labels (from Tiger for £1-£2).
Once this bed was completed we moved onto the next. This next one was for the plug plants Lizzie had; the tomatoes and the peppers.
We planted 3 tomatoes, leaving space for one that hadn’t quite established itself enough yet, and 2 pepper plants. Lizzie left a gap at the front too for radishes she was going to add at a later stage. I started by showing Lizzie a good way to wriggle them out of the pots, separating the roots gently, digging the hole for them and pressing them firmly into the soil. Then handed the reigns over to her.
I advised Lizzie that tomatoes can get quite bushy if you don’t ‘pinch them out’ so spent a little while explaining some care instructions for them and advising how often to water and how much. Think she nailed it with the awesome watering can too.
She was a little bit chuffed with her afternoon’s work and couldn’t resist showing Ben either. Cute. I said I’ll have to come back to take more photos later in the season, and when they’re ready for dinner, picked straight from the garden! Below are a few photos of the tomatoes well on their way and the beans that have germinated – excited for her.