Rillington Open Gardens

This weekend it was our village Open Gardens event. All week Mum and Dad were busy preparing the garden, which is quite a task when you see how much lawn we have; but not only with mowing and pruning and planting, but also with trying to make a story for people to read. We’ve been living in this house for nearly two years now, and many people in the village knew it from the overgrown junglelike wilderness it was in 2011; others who walk their dogs past our garden every day didn’t know the full scale of the house and gardens we had, hidden behind the huge trees. Dad spent ages picking out photographs that he wanted to show people, then we had no printer paper, and then the printer wouldn’t work, and it was all very stressful.

For my vegetable plots, I thinned out some of my later sowings of turnips, lettuces and chard to try and get some attractive rows in. I also then spent a long time digging up a patch of earth to the rear of my beds where I wanted to plant out my broccolis (long overdue) and squashes. I had some well rotted manure left over from the beds, so I dug that in and covered with topsoil – it sounds really simple to write it like that, but it certainly wasn’t! I was exhausted from it, but at least now my squashes and broccolis are out.

My computer also is underlining ‘broccolis’ as if they’re spelled wrong… (it also didn’t like ‘spelt’) – what is the plural of broccoli?

I took my Nana round the Open Gardens on Sunday and we had a lovely day. The black clouds threatened rain but it held off. It was really good to see what other people have established in their vegetable gardens, what I have that is as good, or what I’ve got that is nothing even comparable to them. A lot of people had much bigger courgettes than me (mine are only just starting and are barely two inches long), and there were a lot of tomatoes coming. It was also really useful to see what sort of pest-control they have in place: netting, frames, scarers.

Here are a few photos from the weekend! I think I may have to make a Koi Pond Special post, as I took lots of pictures of ponds…


A well established vegetable patch here! I think my courgettes are about comparable to these – mine maybe don’t have as many flowers open yet, but they are there!


I love this part of this garden (the same as above, if I remember rightly); Nana and I both loved the use of logs to make a little snug.



Serious greenhouse envy here! Another good part of this weekend was to identify competition in the Village Show…look at the tomatoes! Mine aren’t anywhere near as big in their mini greenhouse, and they have flowers at the moment, but no fruit.


This is major cold frame envy. Look at those lettuces! Don’t they just look beautiful? Nana has a cold frame for me that needs a little bit of TLC, so seeing this one has inspired me to go get it – I just need time, and Dad’s truck!


Another really well established garden. My beetroot is certainly of a comparable size, though I think I planted mine far too close together! Look at the size of things though! I think this family will have lots of homegrown treats! And they have a huge netted frame that goes over the entire plot, which will keep the rabbits and birds off – and the cats, too…


Peas! I haven’t got any peas in at all, though I do have some mangetout (the infamous most have died, except the two on the end which are beasts) which we sampled a bit for tea the other night – it was lovely! Notice the sturdy frame. Apologies for the thumb in the corner of the shot – and you get a nice glimpse of Nana’s expensive skirt!


I had to take a photo of the scarer! Isn’t he grand? The back panels were of a shiny sort of speckled metal, like a disco ball.


It is my dream to have a proper greenhouse – half brick, half glass, just like this one. They advertise beautiful ones in my Kitchen Garden magazine. I had major greenhouse envy at the weekend: not many didn’t have a greenhouse at all. I don’t think any had a cloche from Morrisons and a tomato house from Wilko’s though!


And finally, I couldn’t resist this! Apparently this was in the garden with the hot tub, which both Nana and I missed. We argued with Dad for ages about it. But I just love this idea! Handy way of using up all those old lorry or tractor tyres you have lying around…

I’ve also figured out how to centre-align my pictures, go me! Anyway, sorry for my significant absence: I’ve been working on the first chapter of my dissertation, and it is the busiest time of the year for us at work, before the centres open. Plus it’s now the busiest time in the garden! But I got up early to put up this post, so please enjoy, and keep an eye out for the Koi Pond Special!

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