Category Archives: Gardening

A Truly Kentish Afternoon :: Flower Picking in the Sun

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One sunny Friday afternoon, on a day that feels very long ago now, I hopped in the car and headed out to ‘the countryside’ (near Maidstone) for a spot of flower picking with some of my loveliest lady chums.

Blooming Green Flowers is a small, independent flower business sandwiched between some working farms. On a Friday afternoons during the summer, it’s open to the public for flower picking.

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My delightful friend and co-Aussie-expat Nat suggested that we take a peek, and being the kind of person that I am, I was immediately on board. It’s £10 and you can pick anything you like, up to 50 stems, which I thought was incredibly reasonable. On arrival you’re given a tall tin vase and a pair of secateurs, and are encouraged to snip away to your heart’s content.

I’m fascinated by dahlias at the moment, which were abundant in their mathematical glory, so many were picked, as well as some eucalyptus (#Aussiesrepresent) and a few choice stems of echinacea. I love the elegance of echinacea, and picked up a few plants on my later visit to Stone Green Nurseries.

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As a slight aside, I don’t have a proper camera at the moment, and so while I save my ££ up for a DSLR,  I’m having a play with the settings on my iPhone. I know it’s a bit naff, but there is actually quite a lot you can do with an iPhone, and I’ve been particularly enjoying playing  around with the focus and depth of field. The setting provided much inspiration!

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After we’d all picked our fill, we bundled off into one of the nearby studios, which looked to be some kind of old farm stores, where an artist had set up shop with his mum, selling art, teas, coffees and cake. It was a full-on Kent afternoon, make no mistake. Obviously it was one of the best days of my life, as I like to pretend I’ve stepped out of some kind of Nancy Mitford novel. I relish these days.

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Another friend, Deb, is also a keen allotmenteer (when I say keen, I mean she is very experienced and has managed hers for about 15 years I think!) and so we did a little swap of some of our courgettes for her corn, as ours at the time was still ripening.

Although our lovely long summer days are now past, there remains much pleasure to be had in looking back, to how well those all-too-short days were spent, don’t you agree?

Pottering About :: A Visit to Stone Green Nurseries

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Things on the allotment front have now calmed down a little. We’ve harvested all of our main vegetables for the year, and our minds have now turned to preparing for next year. 

 I plan to do an update post showing you the progress we’ve made over the year, which is really quite considerable, considering that we both work full time, and that we have approximately no clues as to what we are doing. Apart from blogging, I’ve never really stuck with something this long before, and so I find myself quite impressed….with myself…..ahem. 

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A couple of weeks ago we made the journey out to Bethersden, to visit Stone Green Nurseries. The nurseries were originally set up to sell to trade, that is, Garden Centres and the like, but now they have about 10 open weekends a year where they sell direct to the public. 

Mr H and I have been looking for a couple of extra plants, particularly another fruit tree for the orchard area of the allotment, and some echinacea for our borders at home. I was also on the hunt for some raspberry canes, again for the allotment, but unfortunately none were to be found. 

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After a good meander, we came away with a 7 foot fig tree, a lovely thyme plant, some echinacea and a currant tree. We got 20% off as part of the open weekend and walked away having spent less than £30. A bargain in anyone’s books!

I actually really enjoyed the drive there – at the moment I am loving driving through deepest darkest Kentish countryside, with wistful dreams of moving further out there one day. A pipe dream for now…..

If you’re looking to add to your plant collection, I really recommend Stone Green Nurseries, and their next open weekend will be 24 – 26 March 2017. Keep an eye out!

Life Lately :: My Summer Break Begins

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Well the summer has finally arrived in the Hello household, and I am sooooo pleased to have made it through my first year of primary teaching.

The weather in our part of the world has been really incredible recently, nicely coinciding with the holiday feeling I seem to have been cultivating! I was lucky enough to get a couple of bottles of fizz as thank you presents this year, and so I cracked one open at the earliest opportunity and toasted to my class!

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A funny story, although one that I am almost certain Mr H doesn’t want me to share. The champagne flute in the picture above is part of a Royal Doulton set called ‘Linear’. We got a set of wine glasses and some decanters as a wedding gift,  and I’d been searching for some flutes as well, as I’d heard the range had been discontinued. I stumbled upon a set of flutes in John Lewis, and snapped them up as soon as I saw them. I brought them home to some eye-rolling from Mr H, who for some unknown reason, doesn’t get as excited about glassware as I do. Literally, the next day, as he was putting the glasses away in our cupboard, he dropped one, on to two other glasses, smashing half of my new set!

He was obviously devastated on my behalf, although I was surprisingly accepting of it, trying to make sure he didn’t feel too bad! Things are things, and to be perfectly honest I was a bit surprised  that it wasn’t me that had broken them first!

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We’ve also been spending a lot more time in the allotment – it’s basically harvest time! We’ve eaten all of our lovely potatoes, and my god lovely is truly the right word. I’d never considered potatoes to have a particularly distinct flavour, and I’m Polish, so that’s saying something! But freshly dug potatoes are so creamy, and their texture is just divine. All hail home grown taters!

I bought a couple of courgette and pumpkin seedlings when we went to the Kent Garden Show a few weeks back, and I’m pleased to say they have both gone absolutely mental. We picked Big Bertha the courgette a couple of days ago, and I know she has a couple more friends ready waiting to be picked any day now. No pumpkins yet, but I pruned a couple of the vines back to see if that would make a difference – I want the plant to use its energy to make the pumpkin, rather than a long vine. I do, however, find it rather pleasing to see a huge pumpkin vine cascading over our plot, but still, eyes must remain on the pumpkiny prize. 

I’ve taken this week really easily – a couple of days cleaning up my classroom, some gardening, quite a bit of expensive shopping (more on that to come) and general lazing about. The next few weeks will undoubtedly have more structure in them, as I’m determined to be a super efficient machine-type woman in the lead up to the new school year, but this week I am happy just to take it slow. 

 

 

 

This Week I am Grateful For #8

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Well my Gratitude Series has undoubtedly proven itself to be a huge success, with a grand total of 7 posts so far. Still, I remain determined to continue on, despite the growing sensation that no one actually remotely cares. Never stopped me before!

This week has verged slightly on the ‘Oh my god, HOW is it only TUESDAY’ side of things. Work has been insane, with a variety of disruptions that have cause my class to become shouty and unfocussed. Myself even more so.

And yet. This week I have become even more grateful for my relatively tranquil home life. Mr Hello and I have managed to carve out a delightfully hum-drum routine of quiet Friday nights and long days at our allotment. We’re clearing the wood from our garden and having the odd bonfire.

Quiet home life seems to be just what I need right now. And I am thankful for it.

Allot’a Love

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See what I did there? Almost like a play on words, hey? Almost.

Now this image would strike fear into the hearts of a lot of people, and I don’t think I’m being presumptuous when I say particularly a lot of lifestyle bloggers.

But to some, granted, this is an image of possibility. This is a photo of the entrance to our local allotments, and it’s one of my favourite places. I could be imagining it, but the air just smells fresher and cleaner here, despite what I imagine to be the huge concentration of manure within the fences.

Allotments do tend to look a bit scabby, often with greenhouses cobbled together from scraps. But I think they’re utterly charming, and the sight of people pottering around and being occupied but not busy makes me feel so gosh darn happy.

We’ve got so much to do on our plot, namely because it’s a) huge and b) steep and c) overgrown. I’m trying not to get too overwhelmed by it though, and am taking a ‘little and often’ approach to going. Last night I only stayed for 20 minutes, but got a bit more digging done and met my lovely neighbouring allotmenteer.

I’ve got my gloves, got my wellies and I’ve even got green bits poking up already! It’s almost as if I knew what I was doing!! HAHAHA.

Life Lately :: March 2016

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Long time, no blog! I’d apologise, but….I won’t. As the title of this post suggests, life kind of got in the way of documenting it. I’ve made peace with this style of blogging, and I hope you have too!

Since last we spoke, I’ve had a week’s half term (by which I mean, 3 days since I tend to work a couple of days during each break), and then have headed straight back into teaching, which I’m sure most of you can understand, is undertaken at quite the relentless pace.  Ho hum.

I also had a suspected broken nose after spectacularly hitting myself in the face with my car door. It was dark, I was trying to check my parking, and was sufficiently convinced of its poor quality that I went to move it and – WHAM. Door to the face time. Noice.

In the spaces between, here’s what I’ve been up to. Clockwise from top left:

  1. Super bargainous £4.50 hat from the M&S outlet down the road. Headache-inducing-frozen ears no more!
  2. Getting my allotment on – after a couple of month’s break Mr H and I got the ol’ wellies on and trekked up the hill to our piece of earth. There are few things as good for the soul as a couple of hour’s worth of fresh air.
  3. Work, bitch. I spent a small, insignificant, teeny, tiny (I swear!) portion of my most recent paycheque  in the Body Shop last week. I wanted to check the wear on it, so pre-work selfies it was. Plus, let’s all agree that the eyebrows are on point, no?
  4. I made a thing. A trial run quilt for a couple of lovely pals who are currently pregs. I completely and utterly winged it (shock horror), and to my actual surprise, it turned out rather well.
  5. Planting seeds in trays – I’m sure there’s a technical name for that, but let’s not dwell. One more example of my current obsession.
  6. Champs in front of the TV because broken noses hurt and being tired is laaaaame.
  7. I’m getting….older?! The shape of my face is changing, and getting a bit saggier, but I actually quite like it! Another example of the Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation in Yorkshire Rose. It smells really nice, and it has Aloe Vera in it, so my skin has been rather good lately! I also picked up the Fresh Nude Foundation Brush, which is seems to be a cross between a regular foundation brush and a kabuki – I like it!
  8. Getting in to work at revolting-o’clock isn’t quite so bad when you get to see a sky like this.
  9. My main man. Over half term we went out on mini-dates several evenings in a row, and it was double delicious spending time out of the house, on a school night, with him. We made a pact to get out more during the week once the weather improves!

The days are now becoming lighter, and so I am taking it upon myself to take a few more photos for this here blog, and even once coat weather has been banished, perhaps even a mini shoot! What do you think, pals? Can I do it without being totes awks? Not sure.

Hope all is well for you all out there in Blogtopia.

xx

Sam