A Garden Paradise

I have to admit, I love gardens and gardening. I love pretty, country cottage front gardens with rose bushes decorating fences to sprawling back gardens with perfect, immaculate lawns and a summer house perfect for spending lazy afternoons in.

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My own experience with gardening however, has been somewhat limited. I have had several, small gardens which were quite sheltered leading to some very miserable looking plants, which like me, were in desperate need of some sunshine and perhaps a holiday to the Med for a couple of weeks! This was followed by a patio space of the extreme opposite. This space was south facing, leading to sweltering Summers, and sunshine all day long. Whilst my tomatoes (and I!) absolutely thrived in the sunny weather, the lack of shelter ensured not much else would grow!

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One garden I really admire is my mum’s garden, located in Whitstable, Kent. She has always had a passion for gardening and it shows through her beautiful garden designs and flourishing plants.

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I asked her a few questions about her garden and her passion for gardening.

How would you describe the design of your garden?

I have designed the garden by imagining separate rooms. The top garden, furthest away from the house, is the most formal. It has a Summer house, accompanied by a newly built oval pond on an oval lawn.

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The middle garden, is home to the fruit trees and also a vegetable patch with a greenhouse (along with resident frog, who I’m sure will be delighted once the pond is finished!)

The lower garden, closest to the house, is for pots to enable easy movement and an ever changing view from the conservatory. There is also a small patio area with lawn. It has a seating area, with a table and chairs for family BBQs and a vine covered pergola for when it gets a little bit too warm in the Summer. It’s lovely and cool in the shade under the vines.

What are your top 3 favourite plants and why?

  1. Fruit Trees – Beautiful blossom in the spring, shelter in the Summer and fruit in the Autumn.
  2. Cistus – Papery flowers that open in the sunshine. An evergreen plant, they remind me of a south facing garden that I came across whilst walking by the Thames.
  3. Roses – I tend to choose roses that are repeat flowerers with a beautiful scent to make the garden smell wonderful.

What garden project are you currently working on?

The pond! After putting in a Summer house towards the rear of the garden, I have decided to build a pond opposite. I often sit out there in the evenings as this is when the sun is in that part of the garden – it’s lovely and warm!

If you could have a garden anywhere in the world where would it be?

I would love to have a Mediterranean garden. Mediterranean plants remind me of the wonderful holidays I have had and are some of my favourite plants to grow in the garden.

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A garden should be somewhere you can enjoy every day, somewhere that you can spot changes every day. It should cover all the senses – from the smell of the herbs, to the beautiful sight of the roses, the tweeting to be heard from the birds, the taste of the delicious fruit being grown and the plants with the most unexpected textures to feel.

For those with their first garden, where do you recommend they start? Do you have any tips?

Always start with a plan! Shape the garden to your own style. Always include a tree for height – preferably a fruit tree.

Starve plants so that they can develop their root systems.

Encourage wildlife – I have birds regularly visiting my garden to have a wash in the bird bath and to feast on my fruit trees! I have a resident frog in the greenhouse – who I hope will hop into the pond once finished! I also would love to encourage some hedgehogs into the garden.

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Water regularly and feed plants once a week throughout the growing season.

Ensure you walk around your garden to keep a check on things!

Dig in plenty of blood and bone! (*I have been assured that these come in pellet form from garden centres after enquiring what on earth it was!!!)

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For some more garden hacks and tips on how not to kill your plants make sure you check out this amazing article from Pocketful of Rye, so useful for first time gardeners!

Get ready for Summer 2016 in your garden with fantastic discounts with My Voucher Codes – perfect for adding furniture to your garden, or for purchasing some new tools for your shed!

All images are my own taken of my mum’s garden.

Becky at Pretty & Petit

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New Year, New You – Try Something New in 2016

As part of my ‘New Year, New You’ series this month I’m asking bloggers to share their plans, tips and resolutions for 2016! 
My final post in January comes from Charlotte Corner, a lifestyle blogger at www.crunchcorner.co.uk who is sharing her ideas for trying something new in 2016. Let us know if you have tried something new in 2016 by sharing in the comments!

The start of any New Year is always far too chaotic: back to work, everyone’s feeling the need to set New Year resolutions (most of them often fade come March), and you have to pull yourself out of that cosy Christmas slumber where it was acceptable to have a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie every night.

One of my favourite things about the start of a new year is the fact you’re just motivated and willing to make an effort with everyone and everything. One promise I made to myself a few years back was to always try something new and be the happiest I can be. So if that’s something you’re wanting to promise yourself too, here’s my super easy five top tips anyone can stick to.

Venture out somewhere local – You might be surprised what lovely little spots you will find close to home. Here in Leeds, there are tonnes of things to do and places to see, but try and dig a little deeper and see what unusual activities may lurk below the surface. Some of my latest blog posts have featured nearby walks such as Ripley Castle Gardens which was absolutely stunning, with so much to take in; we also had the cutest of cats follow us around until the very end when tea and scones were calling my name!

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Surprise your friends – After all, they’re the ones that put up with you regardless how awful your mood may be, they will make you laugh when you’re feeling down, and listen to your rants about pretty pointless irritations and still take them seriously. Therefore my friends, just take them out, wine and dine them for no reason other than they’re bloody brilliant, and show your lovelies just how much they mean to you. Food is good for the soul and friendship; but what nourishes the soul more is knowing you’ve made someone else happy. Cheesy I know, but it’s so true!

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Redecorate a room – whether that’s a complete makeover, jazzing up your layout or treating yourself to some new accessories to glam up your décor; shifting a room around can be so refreshing. We’ve recently moved home and kitted our bedroom out in white, meaning our old pine pictures frames had to undergo a little makeover.

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Bring the outside in – Everyone needs a little nature in their home, whether it’s plants, pine cones, dried berries or herbs growing for your cooking. For me, this makes a house homely and checking in on the tiny seeds you planted which is now growing is so exciting. Lavender is also a scrumptious plant to pick, bundle together and place in a room- it smells divine.

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Practice yoga – As bizarre as it sounds, I have never attended a yoga class until last year. I was invited to a blogger session focused all around the Ashtanga and learnt fantastic positions to help find your inner peace, release tensions and just feel more relaxed as a whole. Whether you join a class, or check out some online tutorials, learn and practice yoga!

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