Tag Archives: gardening

The HPL urban garden

So Spring is sprunging in my little London garden and it looks fantastic. The daffs and crocuses I planted a couple of years ago are, as ever, popping out all over the place, and the bulbs I bought last year from Portobello Market with mi madre have appeared, to my complete surprise as I forgot I’d even planted them. That’s the fun of gardening – some of your hard work doesn’t show until much later on and when you least expect it. Its also such a peaceful way to spend an afternoon.

So Titchmarsh style, what should one be doing in the garden now? God knows – the planting of Spring bulbs should all have been done around September so all we need to do now is enjoy it really*. And we just need a little more sun and a few more degrees and its almost BBQ and Pimms time all over again.

*this is based on no knoweldge whatsover. We should probably be pruning and like weeding and stuff as well.

London garden – Autumn

Can’t believe how red the leaves are – ridiculously pretty. And can someone tell me why I’ve got mushrooms growing?! Only experience of field mushrooms is, ahem, picking season of the magic variety at Uni. Any info gratefully received.

Nurture – Gardening London Style

As you may know, one of the HPL Rules is to plant something and nurture it – which has been proved by happiness experts to increase happiness.  Inspired by Penny Golightly’s windowsill gardening, I decided to do some gardening this weekend. I’m in my early thirties thank you very much, but I really enjoy gardening – it takes your mind off absolutely everything else and is very rewarding – whatever you put in you get back out.  I know very little so what I do is based entirely on trial and error and tips from my mother.

At this time of year, gardening is more manual labour and maintenance – cutting out dead bits of plants and preparing the ground for the wonder and growth of Spring.  Here’s how I got on:

1. House plants (status – pretty much dead)

I wouldn’t call these an unmitigated success, but I have managed to keep these two plants living (a peace lily and bamboo).  Ideally I want the peace lily to flower, but it hasn’t done so for 2 years now.  Anyway, I put in some plant food and water, talked nicely to them, and cut off any brown leaves.  Grow my pretties!

Rather less successful:

Yes these are almost dead.  The first was a gorgeous pinkie green fern which didn’t survive winter, and the second was a peace lily.  Both I cut all the dead bits stuff off and added some Miracle Gro (“miracle” being what is needed) and have hoped for the best.  By the end of the week if not growing, I’ll have to say goodbye.

2. The garden (status – spring has almost sprung, heavy cutting back needed)

Good news is that the daffodils and crocuses that I planted rather haphazardly 2 years ago are popping up yet again (plant bulbs in September and wait for spring, no other maintenance needed really) .  Can’t wait til they all come out.

Also good news is that you pretty much cannot kill rosemary.  It is the only herb apart from chives that I planted that survived winter (bye bye mint, basil and lemon thyme – sorry my flat isn’t big enough to take you indoors over winter).

I then did some maintenance on my hydrangea which is incredibly hardy and re-grows beautiful blue/pinkie flowers once I cut the dead ends off.  See before and after:



I then totally cut back my clematis which I failed to maintain much last year but which grows green and healthy over my side wall, and produces these these pretty little white flowers in summer. 

Before (yes I also removed the light stick, leftover from the last party we had)



After – cut right back

I found this very therapeutic to do, and I’m proud of the results.  I’m hoping it will grow back strong and healthy and I’ll then intertwine it more in the lattice.

Photos to come throughout the year on how it develops!