Friday, 9 October 2015

Vegetable Gardening - Is It Worth It?

Yes I do confess I asked myself this question earlier in the summer. Returning from a short break I discovered there had been an intruder in the garden – the young mange tout plants had all been eaten bar five plants, as had the lettuce and the tops of all my chrysanthemums plus the broad beans were covered in black fly which had then jumped across to the runner beans.
Countless spraying with soapy water didn’t get rid of the blackfly and I only had a few helpings of mange tout from the depleted plants. The cats got a scolding for not detering the rabbits but the consensus of opinion was that this time a deer had got into the garden whilst I was away and had a healthy dinner at my expense.
All that effort, all that nurturing from seed to young plant, hardening off, transplanting, watering etc etc had all been undone within the space of 5 days and I actually said to myself – is this really worth it??
I resorted to buying (yes parted with money) some ladybirds – you can get everything on the internet these days – which met with some derision from certain quarters but I have to say they did the trick and got rid of the invasion of blackfly on the beans – hooray! Now the beans aren’t setting very well so I’m out with the sugared water to attract more pollinators.
The jobs never end when growing your own crops – it is hard work at times so back to my original question – is it worth it??  Yes said my husband – he likes eating the produce you see but not necessarily the work that goes into producing it.   However when we looked back at this seasons successes it didn’t seem so bad – we’ve had rhubarb, raspberries, a few broadbeans and mangetout, courgettes, the potatoes are magnificent, the onions look fine and the baby carrots are delicious. There are plums and apples ripening on the trees and I am sure I will get a few runners. As my old Mum used to say “You can’t win them all”
So I’m not giving up – just revamping the veg plot a bit – as soon as I said “I might like some raised beds” to Mr Woodworker he was out there sawing and drilling making me some fine new raised beds – which at the moment, filled with compost from the overflowing compost heaps are just nurturing baby foxgloves, calendulas and wallflowers.

So YES I say to you all – growing fruit and veg is worth it on so many fronts – good exercise, good for the soul and good for the body – eating often mis-shapen veggies grown by yourself, harvested and on the table ready to eat in less than an hour. Don’t give up, however many problems you incur from pests large or small: there’s nothing like serving up a meal and saying “I grew that” and I tell you what, you don’t get that taste from the supermarket.
If you want to try growing something yourself, why not take advantage of 20% discount on the Growing Kits from Plant-n-Grow and get ready for next year or buy as a lovely gift for your keen gardener.   Plus keep your eye on our website for some very special seeds coming soon.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Wishing for Warmer Weather

Well it’s not exactly been great weather for gardening recently but I have still managed to do a few bits and pieces in between the snow flurries, ice and gale force winds. 
I am very lucky to have the ever handy Andy who has now made me a new black planter which I am filling with a pyramid box and box hedging with yellow Crown Imperial - all bought from the fantastic plant stall on Hitchin Market - Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  This is work in progress as I started it on one of our slightly warmer days!

Handy Andy has also made me a new mini polytunnel and rejuvenated raspberry cage.
I have also managed to get out and cover up some of my raised beds with fleece in the hope it might warm up the ground (well it’s worth a try isn’t it!).  In addition I have added some of our new products to my very own garden.  These new Eco bird feeders have gone up in my garden to keep the birds fed during the snow.  You can feed fat balls, apples, cheese etc with these feeders which are made from recycled plant pots.  A very innovative product that can be used over and over again to keep those birds well fed!

Like the rest of the UK I am wishing for some much warmer weather so I can get outside and enjoy some sunshine whilst doing a spot of gardening.  I have to say I wouldn’t have attempted any gardening at all without my gardening gloves as my fingers seem to be instantly numb in the chilling winds!  We have a super selection of ladies gardening gloves available so depending on your gardening tasks to be completed, we have a super stylish pair for every job, including the new design from Bradleys below.

Fingers crossed it won’t be too long until the sun is shining and the plants are growing- here is a lovely photo I took in my garden this time last year, bit of a difference to the colours out there today!

Monday, 21 January 2013

January Blues

Feeling blue, stuck in because of the snow or even nursing an injury if like me you have taken a tumble in the icy conditions!!  Then light the fire, make a hot drink and browse the gardening catalogues to your heart's delight!
Today, apparently is classed as Blue Monday - when it has been calculated (not sure who by) that we are at our lowest ebb so what better reason could there be to take time out, put your feet up and dream of bright spring days in the garden when we will all be once again sowing and growing.
At Garden Divas HQ we are busy finding new products for our website and scouring umpteen catalogues in preparation for our annual trip - weather permitting - to Spring Fair trade show at the NEC in Birmingham.
Already tho we have deliveries arriving with new products - a brand new design Backdoorshoe called Stir Fry. gift packs of Twool - a very British and eco-friendly alternative to twine
and  Gardener's Therapies Outdoor Tapwash and No Gel Hand wash - essential for the greenhouse and allotment.
We have also sourced some stylish seed packs from the London Seed Company which should be arriving soon and are looking forward to ordering more of the new Sophie Conran range for female gardeners, including a pretty garden kneeler, garden stationery, mugs and flasks - well we all like a cuppa even when we are not snowed in!
So sit back, let us do the hard work and keep an eye on our website for all the new products and some of your old favourites too.
View from office window!!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

It's that time again

I can't believe it!!  It's that time of year when thoughts turn to the swiftly approaching festive season. - it is just 10 weeks away!!
At Garden Divas we have been busily sourcing lots of new products for all you stylish gardeners, from a Gardener's Rescue Kit (that doesn't contain gin!!)

 Keep Calm and Carry on Weeding T shirts
 HUGO Collapsible Watering Can,
and soaps that look good enough to eat!
There are loads more scrumptious goodies to choose from in our Christmas Garden Gifts Category or our Stocking Fillers for Gardeners where all items are under £10.00.  With more items coming in every day we feel sure that you will find the perfect garden present for your loved one - and if not, we need to hear from you about what you would like to see on our website.  Email us on
Happy shopping and don't ever give up gardening despite our soggy summers!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

When gardening is a challenge

Since I wrote my last blog which admittedly is a long time ago I have struggled to stay on top of my gardening!  Plodding out in kagouls and wet weather gear is not this diva's best way to garden and I know from listening to lots of you that keeping on top of your gardening has been a struggle this year.  Carrots failed to germinate - probably rotted as they hit the soggy soil and  shrubs have put out long leggy arms - searching for some sun I should think.  Plants such as foxgloves and poppies have grown sky high and then been bashed to the ground by the torrential rain and sometimes hail.  Some of the raspberries have rotted - we have to dash out between showers to grab the best of them and what can be said about the slugs!!  Seems it just their kind of weather!!
Although I sound glum there have been some good results too -when the sun does shine the garden looks wonderfully green and abundant, the mange tout in the green house were brilliant - I am now digging some lovely new potatoes and at long last my sweet peas have come into flower (planted them a bit late!)    So all is not lost and I am hoping for an Indian summer that goes on through the whole of September and October when maybe I might just be able to sit and ponder - bring it on!  In the meantime I am just thankful for my faithful pair of backdoorshoes as there was no nipping out in my flipflops or slippers this year!

 Priced at just £17.95 and extremely flexible they must be one of the most comfy garden clogs around and oh so useful to leave by the door - and not only the back door!!   I think I will treat myself to another pair - we have roses, tulips, vegetables, bluebell and grass designs all available from our website.  And if your chosen design/size is not available don't worry as new delivery is coming very soon -

Here's hoping that we get a bit more summer and can enjoy our gardens but, guess what, I have just looked out of the window and it is pouring!!

Friday, 25 May 2012

The only way is Chelsea?

Here I sit at my computer - the sun is shining and Chelsea Flower Show is happening!! This year I don't have a ticket or the time to go and am having withdrawal symptoms. I was telling a friend this and she said "But you don't like it!!" In some ways I suppose that's true - the crowds, oh the crowds - they get in my way and I can't see the gardens over their heads being slightly vertically challenged. But I miss the smells of the Great Pavilion and the sheer colour of the plants and flowers and the sheer volume of all things green!!
 Still it's no good moping - there is plenty of work to be done outside where I have my own little Chelsea - not so manicured, structured or dare I say it contrived but mine nevertheless.
We have a wonderful market near here - (have probably mentioned that before) with just the best plant stalls and I picked up these little beauties earlier in the week.
So after work I will plant them in my garden and then perhaps sit with a glass of pims in the sunshine. I've managed to do quite a bit in the garden lately - potatoes are all in and coming up, onions, red and white of course plus Nantes strain of carrots as my old grandad insisted on plus a few shallots. They are all labelled with red,white and blue labels from Apples to Pears Ltd
so looking very patriotic
am also trying out the Ethel Jubilee Gloves - lovely fit and oh so comfy.    Wash well too.
The best tool I am using at the moment tho is the Sophie Conran Hand Fork which sits in my hand perfectly
Devilishly sharp little prongs which are proving very useful indeed. From prizing out weeds in the lawn and veggie patch to planting up my market finds plus scraping out the weeds in the patio. Now I know they are not intended for that but they do a brilliant job and don't seem to be losing their sharpness or shine. Love it when you can stroll around the garden with just one little tool in your hand which does so many jobs. If you want to treat yourself to just one new tool this summer why not try one of these hand forks - made by Burgon and Ball so you can rely on the quality.
Right - not going to waste any more of this sunshine -the greenhouse must be crying out for water and my sweetpeas need to get into the ground. Now where's that Pimms?? Chelsea who needs you!!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Where have I been??

Wow - where has all that time gone since I last wrote here?? Well I can tell you now that we have bought a brand new house and it has taken an awful lot of time and effort to get sorted. Am exhausted but loving it too. However juggling a busy business, home life and a new property has stretched my brain to it's limits, so it's high time I got out in the garden, back to my therapy for unwinding. Hopefully this year's blog will again chart my trials and tribulations in the garden peppered with some successes of course.
I've managed to prune my roses, using the new Radius Bypass pruner - proving good so far and no exposed spring clip to catch your skin in!!.
The Radius Transplanter also featured recently in the Mail Weekend magazine and I am loving the ergonomically designed handles. If you do a lot in the garden these will help ease hand strain.
In the veg patch I've only set 6 new potatoes - Charlotte, so far. Ground is a little cold and now very soggy since it has rained here everyday since the hosepipe ban!!

At least my water butts are nice and full and all watering cans are kept topped up - have quite a colourful awray of them here including a beautiful pink Haws can, alongside the Daisy and Thoughtful Gardener cans

In the greenhouse I am nuturing along a few Mangetout plants which are not looking too bad at the mo and there are also some baby tomato plants and lettuce coming along nicely.

The rockeries are looking good although the tete a tetes daffs were over very quickly due to that hot spell in March I think. I've also added three of the new bird feeders in orange which are a colourful addition and are already attracting small birds into the garden which I can watch from the window as I work!!
Hopefully tomorrow the rain will hold off and I can enjoy a few hours outside before it's back to work on Monday but at least I'm doing something I enjoy!! Will keep you updated too! Enjoy your gardens whatever the weather this weekend.