The Contemporary and Family Fun garden room sets

I’m sharing two of the garden room sets today from this year’s Ideal Home Show. I’ve already shared the Grow Your Own Garden, which means after today there’s just one more to share, and you’d be right to think I’ve saved my favourite garden until last. But before I tell you all about that space and spoil that post, let me share the pictures and info on these two gardens.

I’m sharing them both together so you can see them both, as I’m unlikely to share the Family Fun garden on its own, it’s just not content I usually cover, but it is full of bright colours and colour is quite at home here on my blog, isn’t it?

The Contemporary garden

This garden was sponsored by Gardena, and is an ultra-stylish garden, full of modern planting and design ideas by Charles Benton, one of the Benton Brothers, who you may know from their appearances on ITV’s This Morning.

A place to dine in the Contemporary Garden at the Ideal Home Show

The space is based around entertaining and making the most of the garden, as well as somewhere to eat there’s somewhere to cook, complete with a barbecue I’m not sure I’d show MOH for fear of it ending up quite high on his wishlist, on size alone.

Somewhere to cook and something to cut the grass

There’s also somewhere to relax, which was my favourite part of the garden - and it seemed the perfect spot to sit and watch the robotic lawnmower go about its work. There’s other gadgetry in the garden too, including smart watering which is part of the Gardena smart system, which comes complete with its own smart app so you really can garden from your armchair, or sunlounger.

Somewhere to relax in this contemporary garden room set

Family Fun garden

This garden room set was sponsored by Flymo and according to the leaflet it’s inspired by children and includes all the fun things they can get up to that will keep them entertained all day, and focuses on the sensory experience. It seemed to be well received, as unusually for a space like this, children were in the garden playing.

In the family fun garden room set at the ideal home show

It was designed by the Skinny Jean Gardener who’s aka Lee Connelly, best known for his work as the CBBC Blue Peter Gardener. It seems gardening for kids has come a long way since Percy Thrower was the Blue Peter Gardener when I was growing up!

A colourful spot with a blackboard and planting

The bright colours, activities and sensory elements were all very much evident, and it shows you can have gardens, or spaces in gardens that are child friendly and stylish.

So two very different gardens, with quite different audiences in mind, but two great spaces. Look out for the final - and my favourite - garden room set next week.

At the Assembly House in Norwich

It’s almost two months since our short-stay in Norwich, and I’m not sure where the time in between has gone. I shared a few pictures of The Assembly House, where we stayed while we were there, but nothing since. Our room was pretty special, in fact all the rooms are - and what’s even better is you can see each of the rooms on their website, before you book. Each has a different vibe and colour theme, and ours was blue and yellow.

A four poster bed and homely decor
cushions on the bed at the Assembly House

The colour scheme may have influenced my choice. And maybe the four poster bed did too. Truth is it was one of the available rooms in our price range, so that helped quite a bit too. What’s strange though is even though we knew what the room would look like before we stepped in, when we did, it still took our breath away. MOH was suitably impressed saying something like “it’s like someone’s house.” And what a complement to any hotel, and it really did.

cushions on the bed

Although not many homes we know of have grandiose lights like this, let alone in the bedroom.

quite a chandelier in our room at the assembly house
the same light a different view

And I couldn’t help have an arty shot or two.

it was great to have a room that was big enough to have space for some decent sized armchairs, winged at that. And we made good use of them, much better than having to camp out on the bed, which isn’t ideal and is often why we choose apartments when we go away over hotels. Not this time though.

a winged arm chair
A free standing wardrobe

The old fashioned armoire was authentic as it was stylish. It needed some persuasion to open and shut, but that’s all part of the charm n’est pas?

A fireplace with a mirror above

While MOH made good use of the Nespresso machine, I admired the pom poms on the curtains. I know, a new and stylish way for those pom poms. MOH is already braced for the onslaught of pom poms in our house, they’ve made it as far as the cushions, but will they make it onto the curtains?

pom poms on the curtains

The artwork was pretty eclectic too, and I admired the mix of modern and traditional. I’m a gallery wall fan, but always struggle to line pictures up just as I want them. I resisted the strong urge to check the back of the pictures, as I’m pretty sure that if these are anything like mine, there’s often some blu tak, and sheer goodwill keeping them where they should be, and that’s not something you need to put right in a very well put together hotel room is it?

a very well thought out and comfortable room

And there was plenty of wall art - even between the curtains; this yellow butterfly arrangement may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved it.

butterflies on the wall
oh the pom poms on the curtains

The breakfasts at The Assembly House were pretty special too, and it’s fair to say it was probably just as well we were only there two nights, or otherwise I’m sure we wouldn’t have been able to move.


My garden in March

March has been a funny month. It’s had all the seasons and some, and as I saw on Facebook earlier in the week “we’ve had a good winter this spring!” How true is that? I’m hoping that the weather remembers it should be getting warmer soon. Although yesterday was the first time that I’ve got caught in one of the showers, rain, hail or otherwise. It hardly makes sense when looking at the photo below.

blue skies through the trellis

As a consequence we’ve done very little gardening. The grass has had its first cut, a week or so ago and it looks better for it. At the rear of the garden the grass needs some work as something’s been digging out there. I don’t think it’s the foxes, but I do need to put a battery in the fox scarer just in case. It’s more likely to be the squirrels. MOH is convinced they dig the lawn just to annoy him, I nod sagely at this point and then more often than not draw his attention to the latest squirrel workforce in the garden. And to think at one point we used to feed them, but no more - maybe that’s why?!

A euphorbia in the leaves

The euphorbias with their lime green fresh ‘flowers’ are in full flow, following shortly behind the ‘elephants ears’ whose cheery pink flowers have all but gone. The euphorbia above has made a dash for a new location, which I’m rather pleased about. It’s alongside the fence which is nearest to the conservatory, and it’s hard to grow anything there as the soil is so poor. So even if I wasn’t happy about it migrating there (and I am) I think I’d have to let it grow for pluck alone.

On the other side of the patio among the jasmine twigs there’s signs of new life for the clematis and the climbing rose, although I think I’m going to have to get brave and prune the clematis this year as all the growth is pretty much at the top of the fence. I learnt how to prune roses last year, so it’s perfectly doable, just a bit scary when you make the cut.

new growth on my clematis

The grape hyacinths have also been and gone, as have the orangey-red flowers of the ornamental quince. We’ve only really enjoyed these through the windows this year, which is a shame.

a grape hyacinth in the spring sun

The hellebores at the end of the garden seem to have a bit more staying power. I had a wander to the greenhouse this last weekend and they were still blushing away in the shy way that only hellebores can. They clearly like where they are and I’m hopeful that there’ll be plenty of new plants for next year too. It’d be good to move some of them to a different part of the garden, but then again they’re thriving here so it’s a case of finding another spot they like. Planting some into a pot, might help find somewhere they like.

hellebores at the end of the garden

The forget-me-nots are starting their annual spring march. They’re not ones to observe boundaries, as you can see from the various bunches below which have already hopped over the border and into the grass. They will have to face the wrath of MOH and the lawnmower, and I don’t fancy their chances. They are pretty flowers, but we have so many that like ivy, these are allowed to be removed at any opportunity.

the march of the forget-me-nots

What does seem to be lasting longer than usual is the forsythia. Ours is still flowering, perhaps not as much as this, but it’s still obviously yellow. I was expecting to be able to cut this already, but the forsythia - and the weather - had other ideas.

looking up into the forsythia

This one is due quite a heavy trim. It’s shape is just about still there, and now I have my new ladder there’ll be nothing to stop me. It just needs to stop flowering first. Further down the garden the cherry tree is further along than this photo suggests, but I couldn’t resist sharing the cherry blossom when it’s in its brussels sprout stage.

cherry blossom buds

And don’t mention the impending trim to the forsythia. While I’m sure it knows its coming, what it probably doesn’t know is that all winter it’s been harbouring and shelter my partner in crime.

forsythia, a ladder and the spikiest of spiky plants

It’s not all one-sided though, I’m pretty sure the yucca - which is the spikiest of spiky plants - will give me a prod or two as I retrieve the ladder, trim the forsythia and clear up. It’s pretty persistent!