Roses and quite a change in dad's garden

We were in Norfolk this weekend and it's the first time I got to see dad's garden and many of the changes he's been making. And there's been quite a few which means his garden looks quite different but will be easier to maintain. With the amount of conifers and bushes he's removed it hasn't can't have been an easy task and even though a chainsaw was involved - and I'm sure enjoyed - I do wish he'd taken things a bit slower. 

Some of the larger climbing rose bushes have also gone, but plenty remain and were still in flower for our visit. I think he pretty much has every colour going though, with plenty of pink, quite a few yellow and some orange and peach creeping in too.

Roses in full flower in dad's norfolk garden
fragrant yellow roses in dad's norfolk garden
a small orange rose looking stunning in dad's norfolk garden

It wasn't just the flowers providing colour, just look at this (most likely a) phormium. With the sun on it, the colour is just fantastic.

beautiful colours on the phormium in dad's norfolk garden

There's still some growing space, but not as much, and the growing space is closest to the kitchen, which makes a lot of sense. The apple tree, like ours on the allotment, was laden with fruit.

And apples on the tree in dad's norfolk garden

The big change in dad's garden is some of the smaller beds have been removed and grass seed - and grass - has replaced them. The beds that held the large conifers have also been reduced in size with grass replacing space there too. 

And where it's different is dad's been growing some lawn

And it's growing well.  There's plenty of birds in dad's garden, hence the netting in the photo above. But look in the photo below and see how luscious it's quickly become.

A new section of grass that's growing well

There's still more roses though.

And yet another rose in dad's norfolk garden

And a pile of stones. We have a lot of stones in our garden, so perhaps dad's competing. Although his stones have a prettier Norfolk hue than ours do.  I think I know the plan for these, but I'll save that just in case I'm wrong.

And a pile of stones in dad's norfolk garden

Lupins also do well in dad's garden and throughout his garden the flowers are just about still there, but it's clear to see they're already set on providing plenty of seeds for next year.

And the lupins are setting seed in dad's norfolk garden
Plenty of lupin seeds on the way in dad's norfolk garden

And a final rose. This one with a story. It's a standard rose in the front garden and it was large and a mesh of branches. Dad was considering replacing it but I managed to persuade him to try pruning it first. I'm not sure he was convinced, but he gave it a go. It's at an awkward height and was tricky to get in and under to find the green stems, so with nothing to lose it was dug up, trimmed more easily and put back, just as if nothing had happened.

It's obviously not the textbook way to prune roses, but it seems to be happy and it appears quite happy, with new leaves and even some flowers, which just goes to show plants can be hardier than we expect them to be!

And a final story about the standard rose in dad's norfolk garden

The Blagger's Guide to Gardening...

Gardening could be something you grow into, or maybe it's something we all need a little help with along the way. I first got into gardening through a case of having to when I bought my previous house that came with a Very Overgrown Garden. I had no idea what I was doing, but luckily dad was on hand to guide me - and do a lot of the work. 

Many of you tell me you have no idea on where to start with gardening, sadly I can't lend you all my dad. He'd be very willing you understand (and at times mum would be happy to send him your way too) but I have the next best thing for you and that's this Extremely Busy and Important Person's Guide to Gardening.  The Scotts Miracle-Gro company created this "blagger's guide to gardening" because 61% of Brits say they avoid gardening as they deem it too complicated. Or maybe it's because they don't have my dad on hand to help get them started... 

Photo credit: The Extremely Busy and Important Person's Guide to Gardening

Photo credit: The Extremely Busy and Important Person's Guide to Gardening

It's true that there is a bit of gardening lingo that those in the know often try to bamboozle you with, but this guide aims to help you overcome that so you will be able to "talk the talk" with neighbours, friends and family and well anyone really. 

It's designed along the lines of those popular Ladybird Books for Adults which always make me smile and it also draws on a range of gardening guides from author and botanist Dr D G Hessayon, and as well as the guide there's plenty more useful information over at 

The guide is split into three sections: lawns, plants and weeds.

Let's start with my speciality, weeds!

Every gardener and every garden has weeds. Don't let them tell you otherwise. Really. Even the most preened National Trust gardens have them, I know because I look out for weeds when we visit gardens and it's always reassuring, and I might just do a little dance of joy.

Photo credit: The Extremely Busy and Important Person's Guide to Gardening

Photo credit: The Extremely Busy and Important Person's Guide to Gardening

Scotts Miracle-Gro sent me products to tackle each section of the guide, for the weeds there was this rather large vat of Weedol Pathclear. And it was perfect to help us tackle our front garden.

Weedol pathclear

It's powerful stuff and prevents new weeds appearing for up to three months, which even in my book is a big win. As with any chemicals it's important to read the instructions carefully and avoid getting it onto yourself. 

Here you can see MOH taking it all very seriously. 

Reading the weedol instructions, something I'd always recommend

Now if you're wondering what the toothbrush-like attachment is for (tip: it's not a toothbrush) then this is another fabulous work saving innovation, the power sprayer. While using your forefinger to operate a manual spray doesn't sound overly onerous, I think it depends on how many weeds you have, and how much of a workout your forefinger wants.  This device is battery operated and makes spraying weeds easier for your forefinger, and helps you to get the weedkiller exactly where it should be, with three 'flow' settings.

Getting to work blitzing those weeds

It's worked well on these smaller ground level weeds and some moss which started to grow on our driveway, and if you have weeds that you want to zap I'd recommend getting them early. I have a few larger weeds and they've been a bit more resistant to its charms, but not for much longer I hope.

So, moving onto plants

With the weeds under control it's time for the part of gardening I find the most rewarding. The plants. The bits that make our garden look like a garden, rather than an outdoor rectangular space. They're how we can stamp our personality on a garden, and my tip here if you don't know what to grow is to take a look at gardens near yours. You'll start to see plants cropping up regularly in those gardens, and that's a good indication that this plant will also grow in your garden.  

Your next challenge is to work out what it is. The easiest way is probably to take a photo and either search for it online or show a friendly person at the garden centre and ask for their help.  Everyone likes to share their knowledge, right?

Photo credit: The Extremely Busy and Important Person's Guide to Gardening

Photo credit: The Extremely Busy and Important Person's Guide to Gardening

Where the Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food comes in is that it's the easiest way to feed and water your garden so you can grow spectacular flowers, bigger vegetables and so on. I mean imagine if you were a happy plant in a garden centre being regularly fed and watered and then you were bought, planted in a new space and then left to fend for yourself. Exactly.

Using Miracle-Gro all purpose plant food in the greenhouse

You'll not be surprised to know that dad's a fan of feeding his plants, and as he has some spectacular results in his Norfolk garden, which can't just be put down to "good soil" I think he's got a point and we should all feed our plants, and give them the help they need.


And so to lawns

You'll know grass - and circles - have been a major project for us this year, and grass, or lawns, are very important in our gardens. Whether they have bald patches where the goal has been or maybe the dog has been, or in our case where the squirrel has started digging, they can prove to be very emotive things lawns. 

Photo credit: The Extremely Busy and Important Person's Guide to Gardening

Photo credit: The Extremely Busy and Important Person's Guide to Gardening

Grass quite happily grows in most places, and often ends up growing in places you don't want it to as well.  We've got some bald patches in ours where we need to give it a bit more attention, but generally it grows, and often there's weeds and moss in there too.  There definitely is in ours.  This EverGreen Complete 4 in 1 Lawn Weed & Feed aims to help making it easy to feed lawns for thicker, greener grass and killing weeds and moss all at once.

Miracle gro complete 4 in 1 lawn feed and all purpose plant food

As with any pesticides it's important to read the label and follow the instructions. My challenge here has been the weather and enough good weather when we've been around. After all the rain, the grass has grown, so understandably MOH has wanted to cut it, that's meant no lawn feed for 2-3 days and then of course the rain has been back, or we've been out.

So I've yet to try this but I am keen to see how it goes. The pack says the moss and weeds will go black, so that's something to be aware of, and that any grass blackening is temporary. I'm running out of potential good days to try this out, but I'll be sure to let you know how this goes.

So if gardening scares you, take a look at the guide and let me know what you think, because gardening really isn't - or shouldn't be - an exclusive world for the knowledgeable, and if all else fails perhaps you can open negotiations with my mum to borrow my dad!

* This is a collaborative post but all views are my own

Post Comment Love