Thursday, 13 May 2010

In the Jungle

Hello friends, here I am again after an unexpected little break. So much to do at this time of year, don't you find and so little time. Most of our free time here at the HenHouse has been spent trying to tame our jungle...

When buying the HenHouse, we were thrilled to find a house with a garden of this size as gardens in London are notoriously small. In retrospect, I don't think we had any idea of just how much work it would be, mainly because the garden had been neglected for years. Whilst this is a garden which I fear we shall never be on top of, I find it immensely useful and bolstering to look at some "before" photos to remind us of how far we've come. This is a snap of the jungle a couple of months before we moved into the house, whilst we were on a viewing with our respective parents.

(Photo of a photo.)

This bottom end of the garden had really been left to go wild. This is where we have now attempted to have our kitchen garden and my, how we have dug and double dug, but currently, 5 years on, the weeds are still winning!

This photo cracks me up, the way we are all trooping along! Album cover?

So, little time has been spent indoors blogging recently and most of my time has been devoted to outdoors. In between yesterday's showers, there was a spot of painting. How my wrist aches this morning!

The tomato plants are in position with a bit of chicken wire to try to keep off pesky squirrel nutkin who loves nothing more than a good root in my tubs of fresh compost!

Yesterday, post painting, I treated myself to a trip to the garden centre, dangerously just a hop, skip and a jump from the house. I came back with various pots, an obelisk for my sweet peas and a couple of lupins plus...

Oh yummy, kitty mint!!!!

I'm in heaven, purrs Jacky-Ginge.

How long this plant will last is anyone's guess, I have lost count of the number of cat mint plants I've bought in the past which have survived mere days before utter decimation. Jacky-Ginge dived on this one as soon as I brought it home.

In the porch, I found a little parcel stashed away. This year, I am experimenting with buying many of my plants via mail order. This is the first of what shall be many parcels...

...but I am a little alarmed by how small the plants are! Lots of tlc required there, me thinks.

The Munchkin has declared that he is going to grow some flowers too and spent the whole of last week pestering me to go to the garden centre. So, on Saturday morning, armed with his raided pocket money, he spent quite some time agonising over which seeds to buy. He has a patch in the garden which he spent Sunday weeding but he hasn't since mentioned his little plot all week. I don't think he's ever worked so hard!

Indoors, I was thrilled to find some proper beautiful English garden flowers (at the supermarket, so at an affordable price, too.) These stocks smell heavenly and when the sun is on the sitting room in the afternoon, the air is filled with their spicy clove-like scent.

Such fabulous colours nature provides.

Yesterday's post also brought this beauty, Country Living magazine's 25th anniversary edition. The cover had me salivating wildly...

I have had the merest flick through so far but it promises not to disappoint...

...rather to delight. Especially as I spotted some of Donna's luscious fabrics amongst its pages.

This time of year is my favourite for the magazines, usually awash with floral beauty, roses aplenty. Later in the year when the mags turn disappointingly brown, it is always these Summer issues I go back to to get my "fix".

Well, that paint brush is calling to me so until tomorrow, my friends, when we'll have a look at the bit of crafty action that has been taking place round here. Oh yes, there's always time for a spot of crafting squeezed in somewhere! Enjoy the sunshine...

Edit: The paint is from Homebase, the shade is duck egg.


  1. Beautiful garden, especially for london. My garnd parents lived in Enfield and they were lucky to have a large garden backing onto a train track...i remember my visits there alot passing through the busy streets, roads and traffic then suddenly stepping out the back to their garden which they were always pottering about in seemed such a lovely place to be...
    i miss having a large garden, My parents always had a large garden. I just have a small yard now living in devon...but you make the most out of what you have...and i enjoy pottering about in my many pots hehe ;0)...your garden is a really pretty, tranquil place to be ;0) Enjoy x lovely blog x

  2. Hi Hen

    I like the layout of your garden. All those lush looking shrubs! We have been doing much the same. As soon as Alan gets back from work he works for 2 to 3 hours in the back garden. A lot time is spent in the back garden whilst also trying to keep up with ongoing jobs indoors.
    There is so much to be done that it poses a dilemma at the weekends. Should we stay at home and progress further or should we have a day out? We want to have a lawn established this summer so we need to get cracking!
    It's so good that the Munchkin is keen to garden. I look forward to getting Miss involved with the planting when we get to that stage.

    Good luck with it all.

    Warm wishes
    Isabelle x

  3. Hi Hen, good to catch up on your blog! It was so lovely seeing you the other day. Take care, Love, Kathyx

  4. You have a lovely sized garden Hen and very secluded from what I can see.This is such a fun time of the year.The garden centres have so many lovely plants to tempt and it's easy to go mad and spend wildly!Nice for the Munchkin to have his own little patch to tend.
    Hope you manage to keep the bugs at's a constant battle!I'm off to buy CL now.

    Bellaboo :0)

  5. I agree - love spending time in the garden at this time of year. Somehow working in the garden never feels like drudgery in the same way as housework does, to me at least!
    Looking forward to picking up that edition of Country Living later - will keep my eyes out for some stocks too!
    Jo x

  6. I found a solution the the garden dilemma. . .chickens!
    No garden left at all to do anything with!
    Have fun

  7. you're so lucky to have such a great space, we live very centrally and have a tiny patch. So great when weeding, but limited when planting! Have you ever tried a weed wand? I found it invaluable when we did have a garden.

  8. I love the before and during photos of the garden! We have a biggie here, but it was 18 years old yet hardly planted when we moved in. Not so much neglected as never even started...

    I so agree about the spring and summer magazines. I wondered why my CL subscription failed to enchant me over the winter, but I discovered the old joy when the spring editions came round again!

  9. The garden looks great - is there no part of your home that isn't gorgeous?! The paint colour is lovely, couldn't read the side of the tin, may I ask what shade is it? Thanks xx

  10. You have a lovely long garden Hen, with some beautiful shrubs. Our garden is wide, and full of shrubs.
    This is a lovely time of year, so many surprises in the garden, and beautiful flowers, love the stocks, they smell gorgeous, don't they?
    Well done to Munchkin for doing the weeding, my 2 love playing in the garden, not working!!!!
    Linda O xx

  11. I once planted a catnip plant in the border and my cat duly rolled all over it. We always keep our cats in overnight, so the next morning, I let him out and nothing was left except a brown stalk, lots of cat hair, all colours, and polished brown earth; yes, literally polished! The smell must have still been there, because my cat rolled on it for ages afterward. The only way I found to keep catnip for any length of time was to plant it in a pot and surround it with wire mesh supported on stakes!

  12. You have a lovely garden, and I don't blame you for spending more time out there, than blogging. I bet you're glad you did take the "before" photos. I must admit we did that too.

  13. Lovely large garden especially for London as you say. When we first moved in to our present house the garden looked like a fallow field! Now we have grass and flower beds and the fruit and veg grow in pots. Nice Munchkin wants to grow things.
    Julie xxxx

  14. What a difference you have made on the lawn! You should be very proud and it looks so inviting! I love all of the flowers and I am also doing things to the lawn in between thunder storms. I think it's raining as much here as there. Thanks for your interesting Blog and I miss it so much when you don't post. Yours is the first one I click on each day.

  15. You have a beautiful garden! Your hard work is definitely paying off! Cx

  16. I read your blog all the time Hen, but don't always comment. If you would like me to get some of 'those' books for Munchkin, let me know and I can pop over tomorrow as there were still quite a few left last time I looked.

  17. A lovely post Hen, especially the expression on Jacky-Ginge's face when sniffing the mint!!! You have a glorious garden - just right for a garden party! x

  18. It's all very exciting! I'm in the process of reviving my yard..."this is the year" I keep saying. But it's much more fun to watch you work on yours... :D

  19. You've worked really hard Hen..our garden looks awful at the moment! I love stocks they always smell so wonderful. Mr D said I could order some flowers from the CL rose lady..hehee I dont think he has any idea how much it'll cost!!!Have a good week x

  20. Your garden is looking lovely! Thank you for the photos of those gorgeous stocks. They have to be one of my favourite flowers. The colours and scent are just heavenly! Ros

  21. Fantastic and enlightening post like always (thanks very much!), but I was wondering...
    Behind the flowers in the photograph captioned 'Such fabulous colours nature provides', there is a large picture of a sort of stylised flowers and branch on it in different colours (there is a bigger picture of it in one of your earlier posts). Would it be possible to know... maybe... where you got it from??? Thankyou oh so very much!

  22. Dear Anonymous,
    The canvas was from Habitat, but many years ago, and now discontinued I think as others have asked about it before...
    Hen x

  23. Gardening is such hard work isn't it? Mine is such a mess at the mo. As always I love the photo's of Jacky-Ginge.... my cat mint is doing very well even though Nanny lies in it all the time. :) x

  24. Oh I just love the photos of Jacky-Ginge and the cat mint! So, so sweet!

  25. I love garden makeovers.. probably more than house ones.. as the garden is an ever changing canvas and is constantly evolving.. I think you have worked wonders with your jungle.
    I dare not grow catnip in our garden.. the whole feline neighbourhood would be queuing up to have a nibble .. much to Pickles dismay!

  26. I got very excited about Country Living too and desperately want a tea party now! I hace similar 'Before and After' pictures of out garden, doesn't it make you feel good! P x

  27. Hello. Have a nice day, Ilove is blog.


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