Monday, 31 December 2018

Moving home...

I have been blogging using blogger since 2000, with blogging about gardening starting back in 2006 not long after I got my first allotment, and started work on revamping the small town garden that accompanied the house that I had bought. It is these early posts that evolved to become this blog (you can still go back through the archives of this blog to view them).

But as with all things, change is inevitable.

My blogging in 2019 will continue, but will be based on a different platform, which I hope will suite my needs more fully. This blog will continue to exist as an archive of my gardening activity, so feel free to click on the archive links to see what I have been up to since 2006.

For all future posts pop over to which will be updated to chart my ongoing gardening and 'good life' journey.

Meantime, check out my Twitter and Instagram accounts (search @suffikboi) for 'as it happens' updates from the gardens that I tend in Suffolk.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Veg Patch

With having neglected the veg patch a little this last year, this morning was spent clipping the perimeter hedges of the veg patch and then removing weeds from the beds and giving them a fork over.

This year I left the foxglove plants that had self seeded as the bed was in shade from a willow tree. the plan being that they could flower next year. The willow tree was pollarded last week, so it shouldn't be so shady next year, however the foxgloves will remain as they should look pretty

Two of the 4 beds will be used for veg growing, not a huge patch to use, however there is an allotment up the road to fill!

Friday, 28 December 2018

hedge removal

A short project in the garden to work off xmas dinner,  removing a section of hedge.....

We decided to remove a section of hedge that I planted some time ago. With it being in close proximity to the house, now grown to the intended height, it was decided that while it does a great job of screening a section of garden in the summer, it also separates the house from the garden and blocks the view of the house from the garden. With hedge removed, we will look at planting something different in its space to define a garden section, but to allow the house to still be seen.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Christmas Decoration

So one of the big Christmas traditions is making a wreath, or buying one from the side of the road. Ive never bought one from the side of the road, but have attempted to make them before now, with limited success.

This year is no different. With foliage and other seasonal plant material snipped, I set about spending a merry ten minutes or so in the dark assembling things by the front door, to give a warm festive feel to the entrance of the house.

With a wreath assembled and pinned to the door, Mahonia was added to the porch, and mistletoe hung above the door. left over material was stabbed into pots that are currently empty of summer planting, these as an after thought look marginally better than my effort.

With it being dark, a light was switched on to illuminate my work, a photo taken for Instagram purposes and with plenty of filtering the image looked pretty ok.

The next morning things did not look quite so glowing, and a week later some of the Hydrangea heads were wilted, not that I care, it still looks like the rest of the garden, a little grubby at this time of the year and has an authenticity and realness that i quite like, nothing in my world is ever striving for the perfect life, the one thats kinda unachievable!

Monday, 12 November 2018

Double border chop

The double border at work has now received its autumn chop! With this years flowers now all but gone, it was time to start tidying, revealing the grasses that have lurked int he background over the summer, ready for winter interest. All the material has been cleared and the flanking pears also revealed, they will provide winter structure within the garden. This year i am hoping to get hold of  a supply of wood chippings, with which I will refresh the mulch. I also plan to lift a number of plants to divide and replant, as well as then propagate from for plant sales. my idea being that visitors can come and look at the border and then take away a small piece for their own garden.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Hedge Lowering

A few years ago I planted hedging around the garden, to divide spaces and provide a bit of privacy. With time the hedge grew to the desired height and gradually widened out. Last year we took around 4 foot from the top, leaving it at approximately 6 foot tall when cut at the end of the year. With an existing 6 foot of height, in parts the hedge reached about 10-12 foot in parts, so this autumn has seen the start of us lowering the overall height to a more manageable level.

With a level decided upon, and a test section confirming that this was in reality what we wanted, hedge lowering commenced. The height was taken down to around 5 foot, which for the winter will lose us a little privacy, but when growth starts in spring this will return as growth will be vigorous. With the front garden hedge all lowered, focus will turn to doing the same in the back garden, so that things are uniform around the property. Its great to be able to see more of the garden, and with the lowering fo the front hedge, the church over the road is visible once more. 

Hopefully over the xmas break there will be time to revisit the cutting of the hedge sides, ina  bid to straighten it all up, and to hopefully promote  bait denser growth in the coming years. A hedge while growing stronger each year and providing privacy and  a home to wildlife does however need to have regular attention to avoid  becoming out of control.

Sunday, 4 November 2018


This autumn has seen a few bonfires at work. I have started doing the autumn/winter chop and given time constraints have opted to not separate material to burn/compost, but to put everything on the bonfire heap for burning.
Normally I would love to compost material, however with limited space for composting in the garden, and with no real time to spend turning it in coming months, the quick and easy option is to burn. fortunately with the fire area being not too large, the ash pile is quick and easy to scoop out, so that the ash can be added to beds to return some nutrition to the soil. I guess that the added bonus is that if there are pests on leaves and stems that are chopped, that they are disposed of, and so with returning ash to the walled garden, I am not bringing in disease.
with finally after two years starting to get on top of the garden, I am optimistic that some of the large jobs will not be so large next year, which I hope will free time to be able to compost the material that I would like to. Meantime, I am raking up leaves and using them as leaf litter to mulch a couple of beds within the garden. Nothing really goes to waste where I work, everything that is no longer needed becomes a material or resource for another project!

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Fruit tree pruning

Over the last two winters i have been working on over 150 fruit trees at work, to get them back into shape following 5 years of neglect. The first year I completed a hard prune, to get a bit of shape to each tree and to gain the goblet shape to the standard trees. Last year I pruned back growth on around half the trees, so to set up a two year pruning schedule, to reduce workload and also to distribute when heavy fruiting would occur the trees, which will allow us to not have to much of a glut in any particular year. this year I have started pruning the other half of the trees a they are coming out of leaf.

The pear espalier trees were tidied over the last two years, but this year is all about getting them back in shape, so a they have come out of leaf, i have started pruning for shape, which will see a fall in fruiting next year, but hopefully will make them look more attractive and productive in coming years.

the cordon apple trees are this years main focus, they are horridly over grown and out of shape, so I ma taking drastic action, taking them all back to their main trunk, to relieve weight from their wire supports that need re setting, and to in future years be able to then prune back into productive and more attractive looking shape. 

While it feels that there has already been a lot of drastic work, this winter will see yet more, which come this time next year will hopefully see the trees and orchard start to turn the corner and look far improved than when I took it on two years ago.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Dead head

With re-engaging with my DSLR of late, i have been thinking about what i might want to be saying through the photos that I take. For many years i have taken photos of flowers and posted them online, trying to capture bright colour, things that make me happy. But given that with better kit at my finger tips, I was keen to start thinking again about my approach to doing creative stuff. I used to make comment through visual work about the issues and the word around me, sometimes my comment was about the sadness, the ridiculousness or the irony that I saw. 

I started to think about flowers, about my world. how online we have a tendency to post the perfect, the ideal. So I decided to start making a series of images that were of the subject that I love (flowers) but from the imperfect point of view. 

I chose roses as they were just out of flower at work, and there had not been time to dead head them. The results by most peoples standard was looking unkept, gone over, not beautiful and colourful, however with a bit of dew and good light, i saw the dead heads as looking beautiful in a  different kind of way.

Decay and decline for me is a vital part of the process of life. compost is testament to that, bringing rich nutrients to the next generation plant and ensuring a survival.

The dead roses for me echo a sadness through the moment, but also share the opportunity to look deeper and find beauty beyond the surface, beyond what is typically presented as beautiful.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Rose prune

The climbing roses over the rose arch went in a good few years back now, and following one year when I left pruning back till late in the year and the arch bent over a bit when there were winds, i have taken to pruning the climbers hard around the start of October, generally before high winds are forecast to hit us. Each year it looks like I may have killed the 4 plants, however each spring they bounce back, flowering and growing vigorously. This year has been no exception, and to add to my pruning regime, i have used a find day towards the end of October to prune hard the bush roses that are in the garden at work, earlier than last year, so we shall see if my action produces the same results as it does for climbers at home come spring.