Instagram pictures

You may have noticed on the right side of my blog some pictures from Instagram. Yes, I have finally joined Instagram and am enjoying it so far. I am using  a samsung tablet to take the pictures and like the convenience of it, I hardly use a camera anymore when I am out and about or away on a trip as I can just use my tablet.

To view other people’s pictures you can just go on Instagram and view them on any computer (it does not have to be a smartphone nor a tablet), but if you want to post pictures then you can only do so on your smartphone or tablet.

You can view my pictures here

Here are the ones I posted so far:

This is my mum’s potager and garden in France. I took this picture end of june. She is also a keen gardener and the 1st thing that she planted when she started this garden from scratch are those 2 palm trees. I dream of having one palm tree in my garden one day.

my mum's gardenThis is a fabulous houseplant book. I first saw it on morganours blog and had to have it. I want to review it in another post as it really deserves a review. Suffice to say, it does not have a lot of pictures but each plant has its own lovely illustration. You can get it on amazon or ebay, second hand, at a bargain price. I think I paid less than £3 for it (postage included). The book is from Readers’ Digest, the english version is called Success with Houseplants, and the french version is called Guide des plantes d’interieur.

success with houseplants bookThis is an echeveria plant that I got from Tesco while grocery shopping. It came with a square glass pot and only costs £2. It already has a little baby so I can propagate it later. The plants in the backround are some of my tomatoes.

echeveria plantI saw this butterly in the garden and snapped a picture. They are next to some housplants that are having a holiday in the garden during the day in summer. You can see there 2 purple oxalis triangularis, 2 pilea peperomioides, a philodendron from my mum’s house and a coleus that I have since planted in the garden.

butterfly plantsHere you can see some of those plants on my mantel shelf: a senecio or string of pearl plant, dracaena marginata, purple oxalis triangularis, pilea peperomioides, echeveria, money plant or crassula ovata and a papyrus plant.

plants on mantel shelfMore plants in the living room, next to the french patio doors: asparagus fern, philodendron xanadu, anthurium and a zamioculcas. The pots and plant stand are from Ikea.

houseplants on ikea plant standThis is a calathea plant that I got from Wilkinson (or Wilko), I love that the underside of each leaf is purple, and I was very taken by the lower leaves that have a pink edge. Wilko can be a great place to shop when it comes to houseplants as you can sometimes find treasures there at a great price (this one was only £3) but you have to be quick if you want a healthy plant. Anyone knows how to encourage this plant’s leaves to have a pink edge?

calathea plant from wilkoAnd finally a surprise flower bouquet delivery from Marks and Spencer. Thiis was from my bosses and colleagues at the counselling charity where I volunteer, as a thank you gesture for my work. How nice of them!

flower bouquet from marks and spencer



Chateau le Stelsia

These are pictures from my recent trip in France. We went to visit the Stelsia castle (which is also a hotel), and spent a lovely time visiting the garden. It was a feast of colours!

castle le stelsiacastle le stelsia 1castle le stelsia 2castle le stelsia 3castle le stelsia 5This is my mum in front of one of the patios.

castle le stelsia 6There were some nice sculptures.

castle le stelsia sculpturecastle le stelsia sculpture 1I love the esplalier fruit trees in the potager garden.

castle le stelsia potagerYou can see more photos on their website:



The garden in may

If you follow me on flickr, you may have already seen some of these pictures.

This is the first year that the garden stayed green all winter long, thanks to some plants such as perpetual spinach, kale, corn salad and parsley. A quick and cheap way to have greenery in winter is to buy one pot of parsley from the supermarket and plant them everywhere (there are usually about 20 plants or more in a single pot). Parsley is very hardy and you can harvest it all winter long. Plant them before it gets cold so that they have time to establish (I usually try to plant them after I have pulled out my tomato plants, in the same pots or raised beds with added fish/blood/bone fertiliser to revitalise the soil).

Also some plants did not die, which makes me happy as it means I won’t have to buy new ones this year. I am particularly happy with the lemon verbena, vietnamese coriander and rose scented geranium (all 3 were bought from Sarah Raven last year).

Beginning of may:

This is the small raised bed behind the peach tree. The tulips were finished and the perennial wallflower plants were lovely.

DSCN0126The midget apple tree is full of flowers (and now have loads of fruits). It is underplanted with strawberries.

DSCN0127The columnar cherry tree is also flowering.

DSCN0130The wisteria is flowering for the 1st time. I want to keep it as a standard tree so need to prune it more.

DSCN0152End of may:

Seedlings are being hardened off during the day and go back indoor at night.

I want to have lots of beetroot this year so have sown plenty of them.DSCN0238I also want some melons and watermelons so have sown more than usual in case some don’t make it.

DSCN0235The berries in the backgarden raised bed grew lots of super long branches so I had to train them horizontally on some bamboo canes above the mini wall. The plant with the purple flowers is a comfrey, I use the leaves to make a liquid feed for my other plants.

DSCN0213Some volunteer colombine and pineapple mint in the spring onion pots.

DSCN0215A corner of the garden near the pink potting shed.

DSCN0217Only one fruit on the apricot tree I planted last year.

DSCN0233A corner of the back garden. The big cherry tree is full of fruit. And the red flesh apple tree also has plenty of fruits.

DSCN0210I love this cotinus grace. I have never pruned it so it stays airy.

DSCN0241I lost 2 fruit trees in the side yard (due to a drainage problem) so will replace them but this time they will go into a big pot in the same spot. The opal plum from Aldi has some fruits on it, can’t wait to taste them.

DSCN0228And finally, this geranium maderense that I have sown from a seed is flowering for the 1st time.

DSCN0222How is your garden this spring?


The garden in august and september

It is already autumn in my part of the word (small town outside London) but it still feels like summer. Right now, the garden looks messy as I have lots of deadheading, tidying/cleaning and grass cutting to do (path between the raised beds in the front garden). But despite its shivelled look, I love this garden, I can see some progress made every year, it is getting greener, prettier and more productive.

Here are some pictures taken in august and september.

Back garden

I didnt’ have much time to work on the back garden, I hope to focus more on it next year. One thing I did was to plant some dahlias and zinnias as companion plants to a gooseberry plant (this is the plant last year) and a fejoya goyava (planted last year also), both are each in a 55cm pot. The banana plant you see there is still small as I keep it in a 35cm pot.

dahlia zinnia bananaMost of the strawberry plants in one of my blue raised planter have died so I planted lots of other stuff in it: cosmos, marmalade rudbeckia, thai basil, vietnamese coriander, lemon verbena, lettuces and some chives.

previous strawberry planter

I also planted an early moorpark apricot in the raised bed against the garage wall.

Side yard

I wanted to incorporate a sort of mini orchard in this area and I am glad to say that I finally made it happen, I planted some fruit trees in the ground along the boundary wall (I lifted some paved tiles and planted them there). Some of the trees are doing OK, a few are struggling, I have to wait till next year to see if they all make it or if I need to replace some of them. The varieties are: opal plum, czar plum, early rivers plum, lord napier nectarine.

side yardI planted a clematite with each fruit tree, I find that if planted together at the same time, the clematite fares better. This one is with the greengage Reine Claude Ulena tree planted last year (the 1st planted in the ground in the side yard).

clematite up a greengageI plant most of my tomatoes in pots here as it is south facing. In this 55cm pot there are 2 tomato along with 2 cucumber plants (next year i think I will only put 3 plants per 55cm pot).

tomato cucumberThe midget pear tree is having 5 fruits this year.

midget pear tree with 5 fruitsI also grow most of the courgettes here, these are the varieties I planted this year: black beauty, golden zucchini,  round de Nice and lebanese. The lebanese one is the most prolific, each courgette becoming huge before I get a chance to harvest them so I make a courgette lasagna with them.

2014 courgette varietyThese autumn raspberries are not very prolific in a pot so I will re-plant them in the ground later on (don’t know where yet) so that they can give me as much fruit as the summer raspberries planted in the ground in my back garden.autumn raspberriesI feel that there are not enough flowers in this area, so I wil try to amend that next year. Here is the only purple ricinus planted here, it is still small as it was sowed very late.

ricinus plantAnd an exciting (for me) purple flowering tree – abutilon suntense –  that I grew from seed in 2012, you can see it as a baby tree here. It hasn’t flowered yet and I want to keep it small so it is currently in a 35cm pot.

abutilon suntense treeFront garden

This is the nicest part of the potager. The pear tree flowered profusely but it only has 7 fruits.

front garden potagerOne of my arches collapsed due to several gale force winds, and also because I planted a new squash there this year which I thought has small fruits but the squashes are big and heavy, to heavy for this kind of arch.

collapsed archAnd some of the raised beds.

veg raised beddahlia raised bedrhubarb raised bedAs you can see, I struggle with the grass in this area (it grows faster than I  can trim them), I want to change the path between raised beds into a gravel path eventually so I am saving to pay for that.

I am already dreaming of next year’s garden and hope that this winter will be as mild as last year.

How is your garden growing?

Winner of the ipad cover giveaway

Thanks a lot to those who participated in the ipad cover giveaway. The winner is Karins28 (I have sent you an email asking for your address so please reply to that so that I can post you your prize).

For those who haven’t won, I have emailed you a 25% discount code that is valid in my etsy shop.

Here is a picture of a 55cm pot in my back garden. I originally planted a pink rose there, the rose is 8 years old now so is not looking its best anymore so I added several plants in the pot to brighten things up (all grown from seeds): a tall pink cosmos, 2 rudbeckia marmalade, 1 dwarf orange cosmos and 2 frilly red lace mustard (that I use in salad). This pot is very typical of the way I garden, I mix flowers and vegs together and plant things closely together.

55cm pot


Ipad cover giveaway

Sorry I haven’t blogged for ages, and thanks to those who keep reading this blog despite the long absence.

As promised, I am giving away 1 ipad cover this month, this is the one I made for the Handmade Gifts book. To win it, all you have to do is check out my etsy shop and tell me – by leaving a comment here – what is your favourite item in the shop. The giveaway is open till August 4th midnight (GMT time). It is open to anyone anywhere in the world. You can enter even if you have won previously. I will select 1 winner randomly.

ipad cover handmadewithjoymy ipad cover in Handmade Gifts bookThe giveaway is for the ipad cover only, the iphone cover on the picture or the book are not included.

Here are some pictures of the garden (taken mid july):

2 grape vines, each in a 55 cm pot, underplanted with spring anemones bulbs, strawberries and purple violas. There are 6 bunches of grapes this year.

2 grape vinesThis is a peach tree, that was supposed to be a nectarine tree from Thompson&Morgan that costs £34 (they completely ignored my complaint so I do not recommend them for fruit trees). It has 3 fruits on it but they are not ready yet. It is in a 66cm pot and I underplanted it with borlotti beans and dwarf french yellow beans.

container peach treeSome squashes climbing up an arch (potimarrom and gem rollet varieties). Because I have a small garden, I only grow small fruit squashes and pumpkins that can be grown up some arches. This year, I grow each one in 35cm bottomless pot (in the front garden raised beds). 3 pots to each side of an arch.

potimarron and gem rollet squashesThis is an eucalyptus gree that I bought very small in a 9cm pot, I grow it in a 35cm pot so as to keep it small as I do not want a big tree. It is now in its 3rd year and is looking lovely.

STA60037Some desiree potatoes, growing in pink flexitubs (£3 from tesco). I only grow potatoes in these pots now. The other potatoes that I am growing these year are the setanta variety.

setanta potatoes in pink potsA lebanese courgette, growing in a 55cm pot along with 3 tomatoes. If you look carefully, there is a huge courgette there that I forgot to harvest on time so it grew very big.

lebanese courgetteThis is the peach tree in the back garden. Despite being treated with a bordeaux mixture, it still got some curled leaves (which I forgot to take off on time so they profilerated). But I got 20 fruits from it this year, and they were big and tasted lovely.

peach tree in backgardenThis was the 1st peach of the year.

huge peach from my gardenI recently bought some peaches from Aldi and they tasted somewhat like a mango so I saved a stone and will try to grow it. I will have to do some research as I am not sure if I should grow it as a tree or grow it and then get a cutting from it to graft on my existing peach tree. Have you grown any fruit tree from a stone or done some grafting? Do you have any advice for me?

Sewing wise, I have finished a batch of these ipad covers, they have a pocket which is big enough for an A5 size notebook and some pens. You can find it here.

russian doll ipad coverGood luck on the giveaway.