Handmade with joy

Garden photos

Posted by Lova on April 12, 2014

Some pictures of the garden this spring.

Mid march:

We had a mild winter so the bottlebrush plant stayed green all winter long (it lost all its leaves last winter), I hope it is going to flower this summer.

bottlebrush plant

The unknown plum tree is the 1st fruit tree to flower in my garden. The olive tree also stayed green and healthy all winter long.

plum and olive trees

This week in april:

In the side yard:

One of the peony trees have 6 lovely flowers.

peony tree

The dwarf lilac is starting to flower.

dwarf lilac

3 Honeyberry plants, they have finished flowering and I can see small green fruits now (they turn blue/purple and are ready to eat in june, they taste like blueberry with honey).


A corner of the side yard with the pink magnolia tree (underplanted with swiss chards), I still have lots of deadheading and weeding to do!

magnolia tree

Front garden:

The lovely blossom of the japanese cherry tree. This tree is bang in the middle of my potager and really needs to be moved.

japanese cherry tree

Back garden:

This is the corner with the red flesh apple tree which is just starting to flower. I’ve planted a few things around it last year and want to make a border out of that area up to the rose arch as it is just mainly gravel at this time. I have no design nor plant combination in mind yet so will wait for inspiration to come.

garden corner

The japanese acer on the patio looks lovely already.

japanese acer

This is the small raised bed in the area where the peach tree/kiwi/raspberry plants are. I’ve planted some wallflower there with tulips (just poking out) and a new (to me) perennial geranium plant that I’ve grown from seed, I can’t wait to see it flower in summer. What look like odd things on top of the soil are egg shells and oat straw (the bits left over after I’ve made an oat straw infusion drink for me).

small raised bed

The cherry tree with all its lovely blossoms.

cherry tree

And finally a corner of the gravel area in the backgarden.

back garden gravel area

That’s it for now. I’ve just received my copy of Coudre c’est facile (a fab french sewing magazine) where there is 2 pages about me so stay tuned as I will blog about that next time.

Posted in garden | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Russian doll makeup bag winners

Posted by Lova on April 4, 2014

Thank you so much to those who participated in the russian doll pouch giveaway.

The winners are: Ana M, yeahitsthaat, and Sarah.

I’ve sent each of you an email, so please reply with your address so that I can post your prize.

I’ve been interviewed by a french magazine recently, so will do another giveaway once that magazine is out. In the meantime, I am busy sowing seeds and planting in the garden. The back garden is full of tulips this year so I dared cut some for the house.

tulips muscari

This week I am:

* reading Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susun Weed

* finally working on the side yard mini orchard, so far I have planted 3 fruit trees there and have 4 more to plant

* doing some research about natural pain relief,  I would like to try cramp bark and skullcap in tincture form. Do you have any experience with those? any other that you can recommend?

Posted in garden | Leave a Comment »

Russian doll makeup bag giveaway

Posted by Lova on March 27, 2014

I’m very excited this week as the ad i bought on Nataliecreates blog is now live. It’s been up for 2 days now and there are lots of viewers but only a few clicks, which apparently is normal as the number of click is usually less than 1% of the number of views (according to Passionfruitads). Still, it is an experiment and at only $10 for a month, it is worth trying. I actually had not planned to buy an ad at all but I love Natalie’s blog and when she started offerings ads, I jumped on the chance. I figured that her readers are my target customers so I went for it without any hesitation.


I used the picture on the back of my new business cards for the banner ad, and made it smaller by using this free imageoptimizer as the banner size had to be 250×125. The picture/banner looks ok on a tablet but does not look sharp enough when viewed on a laptop or desktop, so I think for next time I will need to either use a picture that is already small so it does not lose its sharp quality, or better still I should create a proper banner with my business name on it.

Another thing that I did this week is to test the usability of my blog via Peek. I first read about it on Whileshenaps blog: Peek offers a free 5 minutes video of someone using your site and giving their feedback about it. So I submitted my blog and was impressed by the service, it was very quick and did I say it’s free. Click on the picture below if you would like to view my Peek video (once there you will need to click on the green play button for the video to start):

peek madebylova blog

What do you think? Do you agree with the feedback? I think that she was right in some ways, I need to put a sub heading under my blog title, so that people know what this blog is about straight away (something like: this is a blog about gardening, sewing and running a handmade business), and I also need to put a picture of me on the About Me Page. So those are my tasks for april: improving this blog by making it clearer and less confusing.

Now let’s talk about the giveaway. I recently partnered with one of my favourite bloggers to offer a giveaway on her blog, but the whole thing has been postponed so I decided to do the giveaway on my blog instead. I am offering 3 russian doll pouches, one per winner so I will select 3 winners randomly. All you have to do is check out my main shop and tell me – by leaving a comment here – what is your favourite item in the shop. The giveaway is open till April 3rd midnight (GMT time). It is open to anyone anywhere in the world. This is the picture of the pouch, it can be used as a pencil case but most of my customers use it as a makeup bag. I am offering this particular design as it is the most viewed item in my main shop. The giveaway is for the pouch only, the makeup products in the pictures are not included.

russian doll pencil case

Good luck, and if you would like to partner with me for a mutual giveaway on your blog and mine, please do contact me as I am looking for mutually beneficial blogging partnerships (just leave a comment and I will email you back).

To add a COMMENT (enter the giveaway), please click on “Comment” at the bottom of the post.





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Fruit trees for a small garden

Posted by Lova on February 27, 2014

I love fruit trees. Most of them are easy to grow and give you fruits that taste so much better than those you can buy in the supermaket. Having a small garden does not stop me from wanting to plant more, and I am now looking to buy an asian or japanese plum tree, maybe a Plum Beauty:

Beauty plum fruit treePhoto of Plum Beauty from Saundersallotment

Do any of you grow asian/japanese plum trees? Do they do well in a small garden?

One of my favourite trees in the back garden is the peach tree, I got it from Aldi and am very happy about it except that it gets the leaf curl disease every year. I have restrained myself from treating it but this year I decided to spray it with a bordeaux mixture. You can see it below last year in june, with no much leaves as I had to get rid of the diseased ones. I hope I will get lots of fruits from it this year.

peach tree with leaf curl disease june 2013

I’m currently reading Adventures in Consciousness by Jane Roberts and love this Sumari poem of hers which reminds me of all my fruit trees:

Song of the pear tree

The pear tree grows from the sweet pits of your feelings,

Sunken in the secret ground of your being

It grows in the silence of atoms and evening.

It grows in the knowledge of your unknowing

And blossoms in the clear air of your morning.

The pear tree stands dazzling and glowing,

The fruit of your love made living.

A gift of the seasons from the orchard of feeling,

The atom’s love multiplied.

Each leaf sings your praises.

The air is your breath through which each leaf dances

As your love climbs the steps of your spine

And blossoms in syllables and images,

So your love flows, invisible, outside the window,

And rushes up hollow paths of air.

Your love charms the trees into growing

And carves living plants out of unknowing.

The pear tree and all trees grow from the trance of your love.

silk peony flower

The garden is starting to show some flowers. The plum tree (unknown variety from Homebase that was supposed to be an apricot tree) is the first to start blossoming this week. And then there are purple crocuses, pink and purple anemones, hellebores and some orange calendula. The peony trees are also starting to leaf up, I can’t wait to see their blooms but in the meantime I have silk peonies in my living room.

Shop news:

Handmadewithjoy on bigartel is back to offering paypal payments as I was not happy with some aspects of the direct checkout by Stripe (mainly that the checkout says “shipping will apply” even though I offer free shipping, I thought that this may have put some buyers off). The free worldwide shipping will stop at the end of february so hurry up if you would like to buy something with free shipping. I am working on a flat rate shipping that will take effect from March.

I’ve bought an ad on Natalie Creates blog. I’m so excited by this as it is my very 1st ad, the ad runs for a month from march 25th, and it is for my etsy shop.

This is the new gift box for necklaces and earrings/necklaces sets in the shop. I quite like it but I am still looking for a matching box just for the earrings.

gift box melody note necklace earrings

Do you know any supplier for jewellery gift boxes that you can recommend?

Posted in garden, handmade business, Jewellery, selling handmade, selling on bigcartel, Selling on etsy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Sleeve Cover for MacBook Air in russian doll fabric

Posted by Lova on February 13, 2014

After some requests for custom made Sleeve Cover for MacBook Air, I though I would offer it in my shop. It is now listed in all my shops,  for both the MacBook Air 11.6″ and 13.3″. It can be made in any fabric you want (russian doll, liberty, kaffe fassett etc). You can see pictures of fabrics available in my flickr photo gallery (in the 4 folders called FABRICS FOR CUSTOM ORDERS).

You can still get free worldwide shipping in my main shop.

Or you can buy it here if you would like to pay in dollars.

cover sleeve macbook air russian doll fabric

cover sleeve for macbook air matryoshka fabric

Other shop news: I have decided to offer direct checkout in my bigcartel shop. For buyers, this means that you will be able to pay with any direct debit card or credit card. If however you prefer to pay by paypal, then you need to contact me with the details of the item you want to buy and I will email you a paypal invoice which you can then pay.

This week I will be:

* sewing a batch of new large cosmetic toiletry bags

* reviewing my business and production plan

* making time to bake biscuits and muffins

Posted in handmade business, selling handmade, selling on bigcartel, Selling on etsy, Sewing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Aldi fruit trees 2014 rootstock

Posted by Lova on February 9, 2014

As you may know, Aldi is selling some fruit trees this week. I have bought some from them in the past (peach, cherry, apple, pear, plums) and have been happy about their quality. I have also bought other trees from other suppliers, some costing 10 times more than the Aldi ones. In my experience, the Aldi fruit trees are as good as the more expensive ones, so I went and bought 2 more Aldi trees this week (czar and opal plums). The labels on my trees say that they will grow up to 3 metres. I’ve temporarily planted them in a 55cm pot until my garden buddy is able to come to help me plant them in the ground.

aldi fruit trees

I know that a lot of people with small gardens or allotments want to know what rootstock are used on the Aldi trees, so I contacted them and this is their answer (unedited):

Apples, – These will be budded onto a “M26” rootstock, which will fruit earlier.

Cherry, – These are budded on to “Colt” rootstock which has uniformed growth pattern, it is semi vigorous and will not grow too large.

Pear, – These are budded on to a “Quince A” rootstock which is a virus free example.. Williams Pear – Pyrus Communis

Plums, – Will be budded onto a “St Julian A” root stock or a “Myrobolane” root stock these are virus free and semi vigorous growing.

I will grow my trees as standard and will prune them if they get to big. While looking for ideas on how to fit more trees in a small garden, I stumbled upon the picture below (the fruit trees used in the picture are from Lidl, so I am sure that you can also get the same results with Aldi trees). I would love to do this somewhere in my front garden.

criss cross cordon fruit treesPhoto via www.pinterest.com/pin/134545107591887908

In my own garden, I finished weeding the front garden and have planted lots of tulip bulbs there. There is still lots of tidying up to do in the side yard and back garden, and I am going to start sowing seeds indoor this week-end.

On the sewing side, I finally sewed a cover for my sewing business diary/planner. It’s an A4 size and I used a fabric called Giverny Wildflowers (by Kate Spain/Moda) for the outside, and the lining is made with a paisley fabric (by Wendy Bentley/Timeless Treasures). If you fancy sewing one for yourself, there is a very good tutorial on Lara Cameron Design Blog.

handmade sewing diary planner cover sewing diary planner cover

By the way, thank you so much to those who have ordered from my new shop. You can still get free delivery this month. I’ve set up the shop to have prices in pounds but I am now wondering if I should change them to dollars as a good majority of my customers are international. Also, payment is processed by paypal but I wonder if I should sign up to direct checkout which only accepts debit and credit cards. For those who have a bigcartel shop, do you have any advices for me regarding those 2 issues? For my etsy shop, direct checkout and paypal are offered and I have noticed that most buyers use the direct checkout.

I’m also in the process of re-working my packaging, and have ordered some new business cards from Overnightprints. I’ve used Vistaprint and Moo before, but found out that Overnightprints offer better prices, I paid £32.16 (VAT and shipping included) for 500 double side cards. I am very happy with the quality of the cards.

business cards handmadewithjoy business card

This week, I have enjoyed:

* watching Sean’s allotment garden 2013 movie on youtube

* reading Creating Money by Sanaya Roman

*doing a meditation on magnetizing business for self employed people by Orin / Sanaya Roman

Posted in garden, handmade business, selling on bigcartel, Selling on etsy, Sewing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Happy new year

Posted by Lova on January 11, 2014

Happy new year everyone!

I am glad to start this new year with a renewed energy and a sense of gratitude for my life. Last year was a difficult time for me as I was struggling with my health (endometriosis), so my resolution this year is to continue exploring ways of healing this condition.

My other resolution is to work better at my little business. It has been more of a hobby than a business up to now as I only work part time in it, but this year I want to be more productive and more organised. So to start the new year, I treated myself to a new shop: handmadewithjoy.bigcartel.com . Yes I alreay have 4 shops so I don’t really need a 5th one as ideally I would rather just have 1 shop but they are each useful in their own way so I keep having them. For example, etsy and folksy are very good for me as it is where editors (books and magazines) usually contact me for various projects that end up being a good exposure for my business. Also most of my big orders ($150 upward) come from etsy, and it is where I get a good percentage of my international sales. Dawanda is also useful for me as it allows me to attract french speaking buyers (as I list my items in french and english there). And as for ebay, I also get a good percentage of custom orders there, and most of those buyers become private clients, so it has its merits.

Most of my private clients are happy being invoiced directly via a paypal invoice but a few of them still like the idea of buying from a shop, so the new shop will be good for that as I will be able to create private listings for them in this shop. Also, bigcartel (that hosts my new shop) works on a monthly shop rental fee without  taking any commission for my sales, so it is a good place for high value items like quilts which I want to offer more of in the future. For those of you who sell handmade, do you have any favourite selling platform and if yes why? And for those of you who buy handmade, where do you prefer to buy?

russian doll cosmetic bags

Anyway, I have started listing items in the new shop but still have more to items to upload. I wanted to let you know about it as I am offering FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING for this month (january 2014) in the new shop. Some of my best sellers are items made with the russian doll fabric above, but I only have less than a yard left of that fabric and am gutted as it is an out of print fabric so I cannot buy more of it. I am currently sourcing some new fabrics to use this year and have found one that I am particularly excited about. As they do well for me, I will continue using liberty fabrics and russian doll fabrics among some japanese ones.

Gardening wise, the weather has been quite mild around here so there are nice surprises in the garden. For example, the alpine strawberries are still flowering and fruiting. And there are still lots of greenery and some flowers here and there, including this borage plant.

borage flower in january

Indoor, my african violets are flowering profusely. To make them flower, I put them on the kitchen window shelf (where they get the most light) untill they flower and then I move them to the living room/sewing room. Once the flowers are finished I move them back to the kitchen windowsill.

st paulia african violet plants

I am overwintering some plants as usual, and this year the banana plant is in the bathroom (I try a new space for it every winter to see what it likes best), it seems to like it there as it’s getting plenty of light and warmth. I am also overwintering some hardy fuschia cuttings which grow so easily in water (I use old glass spice jars for them), once they have enough roots I will pot them up.

overwintering banana

hardy fuschia cuttings

I have been very busy with sewing in december so did not finish planting my tulips and therefore am still planting them now. They may flower a bit late but that’s ok, I can’t wait to see them in all their glory in spring.

Posted in garden, Home making, selling handmade, Sewing room | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

2013 garden

Posted by Lova on December 17, 2013

This year, I’ve been busier than ever in the garden. Spring was full of lovely colours in the back garden (see the pictures here), but the side yard and front garden were bare – I have bought lots of tulips bulbs to plant there this month to remedy the situation.


I haven’t done much work in the back garden in summer as I wanted to concentrate my efforts in the side yard and the front garden. One thing that always pleases me there that requires no effort from me is the beauty of the climbing red roses on the arch, this is the 1st year that the arch is fully covered by the flowers.

rose arch june 2013

Another thing that delighted me in the back garden is the red flesh apple tree (pixirosso variety), I got about 30 apples from it this year, they are small in size but very tasty. You can see it here with the blackberry plant, a banana plant and the cotinus grace:

back garden august 2013

All fruit trees/plants here performed well (2 grapes, 1 cherry, 1 columnar cherry, 1 apple, 1 midget apple, 2 blackberries, 1 red currant, 1 buckingham tayberry, 1 loganberry, 1 boysenberry, raspberries and strawberries), except the apricot tree which turned out to be more like a plum tree (maybe a pluot tree?) and gave me just 1 fruit. I also got zero fruit from the peach tree, it suffered the dreaded peach leaf disease and I didn’t spray it on time with a bordeaux mixture solution.

This year, I tried a newspaper mulch system with my strawberry planters. I first heard about it from Monty Don in one of his old tv programs. It does work but it is not visually pleasing.

newspaper mulch strawberry planters

I use this pink table as a platform for growing lettuces and herbs in troughs (ivyline troughs from amazon):

growing a salad bar

This is a corner of the back garden in autumn:

back garden october 2013

One of the new zealand purple castor oil plants, that I grow from seed every year. Next year I’ll also plant some in the front garden.

purple castor oil plant

And the much loved cotinus grace, which is so vibrant in october. Its leaves look like they are glowing from the inside:

cotinus grace


The side yard is south facing so I decided to continue growing some of my vegs there. I got more 55 cm pots from Tesco (free with my clubcard points) in spring and lined the side yard with them.

side yard in june

This is the entrace to the back from the side, the wisteria plant has not flowered yet, and those purple flower plants were grown from seed but I lost the label so don’t know their names.

wisteria plant in a pot

I do an intensive planting here, which works as the pots are deep and roots can go down instead of competing at the top. Each 55cm pot usually has 3 or more plants in it. This is a typical pot with a purple sprouting broccoli in the middle and 4 pineapple berries around it:

broccoli pineable berries

Or a hibiscus plant (flowering for the 1st time) with 4 strawberry plants around it:

hibiscus plant strawberries

Even small pots (35cm) are planted intensively, like this chilli plant surrounded by 4 thai basil:

chilli thai basil plants


Ah, the front garden! It’s supposed to be a potager but it was more like a weedy messy jungle this year. And it was my fault. I was overwhelmed by the amount of weed there (creeping buttercup mainly) and did not add any fertiliser there (I use chicken manure pellets everywhere else) as I was afraid I may make the weed problem more proeminent. So I just added bark after weeding, and planted vegs and fruits here and there (squash, pumpkin, melon, watermelon and herbs) with a bit of the chiken manure pellets in each planting hole. But this was not enough and the plants struggled to grow. As a result, I only got 3 small squash (potimarron/red kuri) and no much else. Lesson learned, next year I will buy some proper bagged manure and will add it everywhere.

This is just after I’ve done a proper weeding in june. You can see that the right side area is just a temporary place for pots as I (or rather my partner) still need to build a raised bed along that mini wall.

front garden june 2013

Here it is again in october:

front garden october 2013

The plants that did well here are the dahlia planted last year, they were bushy with lots of flowers so I guess they are happy here. The 3 fruit trees here did not seem happy: the plum tree was on strike and did not even have a single leaf (I was worried it was dead but it is alive as the bark is green underneath, I read that plum trees do not like to be moved and I already moved this one twice), the apple tree did not have any fruit and the pear tree only gave me 1 fruit.

The dahlia are done now and I need to cut out their dead leaves. I leave the tubers in the ground as I found that they survive quite well here. And once the whole area is cleared and tidied up, I will need to plant some white onions and some tulip bulbs (I always plant them in december without any problem).

I can’t wait for spring. I am already dreaming of new things to grow. Do you have a garden? If so please leave a link to your blog so that I can see what you are growing in your part of the world.

Posted in garden | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Handmade Gifts book

Posted by Lova on November 25, 2013

Sorry I have not been blogging for months. I really want to make more effort with this blog so I am thinking of having a blog post once a week from now on. I would be very grateful if you could let me know what you would like to read more on my blog: gardening, sewing, selling handmade, sewing room ideas? Thanks in advance.

Do you remember the book I was working on beginning of this year? It is now available to buy in all bookshops and you can view it on amazon (ISBN-10: 1409334058  ISBN-13: 978-1409334057):


Amazon and some of its marketsellers offer international deliveries if you would like to buy one but live outside of UK. I’ve bought several copies there for members of my family in France. I got my copy from the editors and it is a great book with a lot of lovely crafts to make. I will do a proper review of it another time but here are a few pictures:

Handmade Gifts book   Handmade Gifts book DK

The book was written with several other crafters and is published by DK (they also sell the book directly there – as a hardback and an ebook), my contribution is on page 106 and my name is on the authors page 251).

my ipad cover in Handmade Gifts book

This is the list of projects in the book along with the name of all the contributors. My name is on the top right of the right page.

Handmade Gifts book authors

Handmade Gifts book Lova

Yes I know, I have a very long name. For those wo are curious about it, I am originally from Madagascar.

To celebrate the release of the book, I thought I would offer FREE DELIVERY (including international deliveries) for all my handmade items (including custom made items) that are purchased directly from me (not from my shops). So if you would like to purchase something, have a look at one of my shops (links on the right column bar) and contact me here  – by leaving a comment (or via any of my shops) and I will email you a paypal invoice. You can pay by bank transfers (or cheque/postal order/cash at any HSBC bank) or by paypal.

Here is a Nook cover that I sewed lately for a customer.  I now I offer a custom fit cover for any ereader (Kindle, Nook, etc), and you can also chose the fabric you want (I have more than 100 fabrics to chose from).

On the sewing room front, I haven’t had time to re-organise it yet but I found a nifty solution for storing my iron board. If you remember, I have found my dream table which serves as cutting table (with a self healing mat on the right side of the table) and an ironing table (with a homemade portable ironing board on the left side of the table). My iron is big bulky and heavy so I don’t want to store it in a cupboard as I use it everyday, but it does not look nice permanently on the table, so I put 2 Ikea mini chest of drawers on top of each other under the table (like this one but mine has 9 drawers) and now my iron sits on top of those drawers and is ready to be used anytime.

sewing room iron storage

Now, I am still debating whether to sew a curtain or not to hide all the junk under the table (right now, my tulip bulbs are parking there until I plant them in december). And talking about gardening, here is a picture of my side yard this summer (in august), as promised. I will write a blog post about my success and failures in the garden this year, next time.

my side yard august 2013


Posted in Books & Magazines, garden, Selling and etsy, Selling on etsy, Sewing, Sewing room | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Back garden pictures

Posted by Lova on May 9, 2013

I’m spending lots of time in the garden, sowing seeds, repotting baby plants and generally tidying up. This year I am vowing to have the part of the garden that is in the front of the living room reasonably tidy at all times.

living room view

living room view 1

You can see that my big cherry tree is flowering (the one with the white flowers), as is my pixirosso apple tree (the one with pink flowers) which was previously in a pot in the side yard but I finally decided to plant it in the ground here. I like it here as I can enjoy its pretty flowers everyday in spring.

pixirosso apple tree

pixirosso apple tree flowers

The fruits on my big cherry tree seem to be loved by birds and they get to them before me (it’s to big to protect with netting) so I bought a columnar cherry tree last year (syliva variety) and planted it in the ground this spring. It is flowering so I’m hoping to get all the fruits from this one this year (it’s easy to protect).

apple and column cherry tree

columnar cherry tree sylvia

sylvia cherry tree flowers

I also moved my apricot tree (early moorpark variety) in the backgarden in order to protect the flowers from the wind. It’s currently in a 66cm pot and was profusely flowering in april. I hope I’ll get fruits from it this year.

apricot early moorpark tree

apricot early moorpark flowers

A new addition (a gift) is an olive tree. I’ve always wanted one so am very happy to have been given one. This one is already 1m70 tall (without the pot) and it seems to have lots of tiny fruits (unless they are flowers?). I’m still debating whether to just repot it in a bigger but smallish pot (so that I can take it indoor in winter) or to leave it outdoor with protection in winter and in that case I could repot it in a big pot (55 or 66cm) or plant it in the ground.

olive tree

olive tree with fruits

I’m glad that I planted lots of flower bulbs last winter. They really make my garden pretty in spring. This is the small raised bed just in front of the living room patio doors, I have a thornless blackberry bush as a main plant in it with lots of other things (small peony tree, hardy fuschia, lots of tulips and daffodils and a few herbs (oregano and thyme). I plant my tulips and daffodils really deep so that I can still plants vegetables above them in summer. I’ve already direct sowed some beetroot there and some chives as front hedging and if there is space left I will grow a small cucumber plant up that little trellis on the side of the bed.

small raised bed

My favourite tulip in the garden is this one. I love its colours, and the way its petals open up. The flower is bigger than other tulips and it seems to get bigger every year. It’s in the L shaped raised bed in the gravel area. It’s a pity I don’t know its name (it was from a mix pack) as I would like to buy more of it.

favourite tulip

This one is one of my midget apple trees (in a 55cm pot). I got 5 apples from it last year but this spring it hasn’t flowered yet (the other one on the side yard already has some flowers). On its left, you can also see a pink magnolia tree – susan variety (in a small pot but I will repot it in a bigger one soon) which I didn’t expect to flower yet but it did.

midget apple tree

pink susan magnolia tree

I’ve started to harden off some plants during daytime and am still sowing seeds.  The chilli plant below is one I rescued from the bargain corner in Homebase, I usually don’t buy chilli plants as I prefer to grow them from seeds but this one was the same price as a seed packet and already has some fruits so I thought I may as well buy it (it’s called Big Banana from the Jamie Oliver range), I’ll save seeds from it to resow next year.

pink ikea table

The plug plants in the green tray are also a bargain buy from Thompson and Morgan: statice (I was offered a bouquet of flowers that contained one dry purple statice in it more than a year ago and kept the statice and it is still looking good so I decided to grow some this year to use later as dry bouquets for the house); a pack of 36 plug plants just cost one pound more than the packet of seeds so it made sense to buy the plants. I’ve sowed some broad beans in those milk bottles.

potting bench

I don’t have pictures of the part of the garden in front of the kitchen yet (except the potting bench above) as it still looks messy but I will show you pictures of the side yard next time.

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