Wednesday Wants: tools for my new garden

Well I think most of us enjoyed a rather nice show of sun last week. And whilst it’s not quite as exquisite as it was, the rumours of a coming heatwave and the recent memory of blue skies and warmth have me thinking of being outdoors.

There’s the added factor that with our impending house move, I’m starting to think about our lovely new garden. I got really into my gardening when we had a rather large outdoor space to tend to in Hitchin, but knowing we wouldn’t be in this house for long I’ve not really invested any time in the garden here. I can’t wait to get my hands on my very own, ‘forever’ garden though, and that’s got me thinking (as I do) about shopping for exciting things to help me make it beautiful…..

OK, so I already have a little Haws watering can (in a pretty powder blue), but I think this copper one is rather special. It is said that you can improve the quality of water by bringing it into contact with copper, so this can is sure to help my plants along. Plus it’s really shiny and pretty. Just because it’s for the garden, it doesn’t mean I have to be *completely* practical!

And because I’m aiming for some pretty impressive boarders as well as smaller pots, I’m going to need something a little heftier to help me water in bulk. This nine litre galvanised can with copper trim has a top and a back handle, to help feeble little me pick it up and dispense the water more easily.

And keeping with the copper theme….The PKS bronze (aka copper and tin) tools are made to last a lifetime. The Castor trowel has a smooth beech handle and pointed, heart-shaped blade. The sharp edge and scoop shape make it a most practical trowel for general weeding and planting. And yes, again, isn’t it pretty?!

I’ve never really gone in for more specialised tools before, but I have to say that something to help me with those tricky bits of stray grass and weeds would be a God-send. The PKS Tabit weeding tool is specifically designed for lifting perennial weeds such as creeping buttercup and small clumps of grass without disturbing the surrounding plants. The pronged point gets underneath the roots, then using the rounded underside you can lever the interloper out!

Er, yeah, so I’m really into copper right now. Anyway, I love to label pretty much anything that stands still long enough. I’m the proud owner of not one, but four label makers, and so it only seems fitting that I get to label the garden too. These copper ‘Tee’ labels by Burgon and Ball are easy to engrave using a ball point pen, plus the copper helps to repel pests such as slugs. Bonus!

I’ve always bought cheap secateurs in the past, which is a total false economy as they don’t last long at all. There’s also the issue of my feeble little hands, which really struggle with pruning, but I’ve found that a pair of ratchet pruners could help me immensely. These ones by Darlac have a slim profile, perfect for my small hands, and the squeeze/release action reduces effort by up to a third. And they’re gold. Gold.

Not all pruning requires such hard-core toolage though, and for the more delicate plants, dead-heading and flower arranging, these mini snips look great. They work like embroidery snips and come in a handy pocket size, perfect for well, keeping in your pocket!

I bought a kneeler to use in our last garden, and used it precisely once.  The problem is that you have to move it around with you, and I’m so forgetful I just ended up leaving it behind each time I moved. Plus I usually have my hands full whilst gardening, so something that’s actually attached to me sounds like a much better idea! These leather knee pads are made in Shropshire from carefully selected British leather, and feature a soft lining to cushion your knees as you work. They are attached to an elasticated velcro band to make them easy to get on and off, as well as fit anyone (even me with my chubby knees), and are built to last a lifetime.

And on the subject of forgetfulness, if I got a penny for every time I lost my tools in the garden, I’d be able to afford to pay Monty Don to come and work for me full time. Enter this tool pouch, which you wear as a belt around the waist so you always have your most-used tools with you. I’d keep my nice bronze trowel in the main back pocket and my secatuers in that handy pointed pocket at the front.

 

Whilst shopping I also came across lots of wonderful non-tool things for the garden too….so perhaps I’ll share those next week!

 

Do you have a garden? Do you have any tips or recommendations?

 

Ems x

 

 

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Mothering Sunday Embroidered Card Project

You may have read that I’ve recently taken up embroidery, and have been learning some new techniques and stitches as I go along. And because I’m enjoying it so much, I decided my next project would be a sort of embroidered Mothers Day card for my lovely Mummy. 

I had some nice pale pink cotton casement off cuts in my fabric box, and opted for shades of green and orange which are my Mummy’s favourite for for the silks. Having quickly sketched out a design on a scrap of paper, I pinned this to the back of my fabric which I’d stretched into an embroidery hoop, then traced the design onto the fabric. I used some of the stitches I learned whilst making my little bear plushy from the Mollie Makes kit, including a chain stitch for the lettering. I did the same again for the message on the back, then stretched both pieces back to back into a hoop, adding a satin ribbon for hanging to the top.

I’m rather pleased with the result, and my Mummy loves it!

I hope you’re having a nice Mothering Sunday,

Ems x

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Spring in the air

Well ok, it’s raining right now as I type, but wasn’t yesterday just blissfully sunny?! I just adore this time of year….the post Christmas blues and cold weather seem to ebb away as soon as the snow drops appear and little splashes of colour brighten up the garden. I love the thought that warmer and sunnier times are not far away, long dog walks beckon, and for this year of course spring time means our wedding too!

I had a little wander down the garden yesterday, and was delighted to find the lawn is filled with pretty pastel prims, glowing purple crocuses and dainty little snow drops already. The flower beds and pots are also coming to life with darling little tete-tete daffodils starting to bloom and even the tulips are starting to out on a show.

And so to brighten up a rainy grey day, I thought I’d share a few snaps from my wanderings……hope they bring you some Spring time love……

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Ems x

Something from the weekend….in Instagram

We’ve had a lovely relaxing weekend up in Hitchin with Adam’s parents. We did all the usual things….. Slobbing about with the dogs, browsing the market and a couple of car boot sales, spending time in the garden, and eating lots! There was also plenty of wine, catching up with friends, and getting to watch the lovely James Christie perform at Corks wine bar (he is amazing!).

It’s been a photo-heavy weekend, at least for my iPhone…. we took our cameras with us but hardly used them because it was so rainy. Anyway, I thought I’d share my weekend using the many snaps I took……

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For my 30th Birthday present, Adam’s Mum gave me a flower press…..she has held onto it for now though so that she can fill it with flowers from her garden…..

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……so when we arrived on Friday evening I spent a good while carefully taking out the ones that she had already pressed, and collecting new ones to press…..

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…..there are lots!…..

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….I’m planning to use them to create little pretty scenes and to decorate cards and things

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Newton was up for a relaxing weekend too…..he likes to rest his head on things…. including my foot!

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It was super rainy on Saturday, so we didn’t go to the car boot sales we’d planned to……. instead we headed into Letchworth for a browse of the little antique and craft shops along The Wynd.

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I loved this pretty sensory garden in Letchworth….. the planting is beautiful and there is a big tree mural made from bits and bobs!

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On Saturday evening we met up with some friends at Corks wine bar in town, to see James Christie play…… he’d already performed at Rhythms of The World that day, but performed wonderfully despite probably being shattered…. his own songs are really quite catchy, and we loved his version of Bon Iver’s Re: Stacks

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The town was full of traffic cones as we wandered home, to help control things during the Rhythms of the World music festival……

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…..the bunting is still up from the Queen’s visit last month and still looks super festive

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It was very wet out after the day’s pounding rain…..it made everything really shiny in the night time street light

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I seemed to have gotten a bit snap happy on the way home….perhaps a bit tipsy!

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One good thing about the rain…..everywhere looks so lush and healthy….. this was the garden from the sun room first thing on Sunday morning

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Hedges however, does not see a bright side to the rain at all!

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After Sunday breakfast, we took a walk through the town….. the weather was such a stark contrast to Saturday!

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It was almost as though we were in the middle of Summer!

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Heading over to the football ground for the weekly car boot sale there, we wandered over the common and past the open air swimming baths….. I’ve never seen it from this side before and Adam hasn’t for years…. he was flooded with memories of his childhood!

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This was me taking a snap of the sun and blue sky, to prove that we did get some this summer!

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It was even sunny enough to play around with our shadows on the grass!

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The first car boot sale of the day….. out next to the football club

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We walked through town back via Waitrose to get supplies…. this cobweb and graffiti was in the car park

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The second car boot of the day was in an even prettier location….. every Sunday there is a car boot sale at the market….. it extends round the corner too, in front of the pretty St Mary’s Church. I got lots of treasure…. stamps….. an old wooden box to use for my stall….. a mug with my initials / the Queen’s on….. and lots of cakes!

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We spotted these curious objects on one stall….. on the left is a shoe carrier, and on the right a campaign camp bed, both originally used by an officer in the first World War. Amazing!

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For lunch, we treated ourselves to a selection of cakes from Daisy Cakes….. this one was the delicious Parma Violet cupcake, but also yummy were the Viennese whirl and the rocky road!

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After lunch, I spent a little time in the garden, which just looks amazing after all the rain!

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I adore Forget Me Nots…. I have pressed some and hope to use them in some resin jewellery

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Fuchsias are one of my all time favourite flowers…. when I was little I used to think they were little ballerina costumes for fairies! Well, they could be!

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Adam’s Mum has loads of different fuchsias which all look amazing at the moment

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I’ve tried pressing some, although they may be too big to come out well…..we’ll see!

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The big frilly poppies are just amazing!

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I don’t know what these are but they are just lovely! They are sort of spiky and sort of fluffy all at the same time!

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The lobelia are everywhere, and are so delicate and colourful

The afternoon was mainly spent packing away the treasures to bring home, and watching Summer Holiday… I’ve not seen it for years and it really is a perfect Sunday afternoon flick!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and managed to avoid too much rain!

Ems x