Gardening During Lockdown – Week 5

Can you believe we are now five weeks into lockdown? The weeks are flying past here at Vialii Towers and we haven’t tackled half the jobs we had on our list! We have fitted lots of fun things into our week though and a bit of gardening along the way. So, to help keep you inspired, here is some of what we have been doing this week in “Gardening During Lockdown – Week 5″…

Deadheading camellias

We love Spring time as it is packed full of blooms, from rhodies to camellias, tulips to muscari. We have a beautiful white Camellia williamsii in our garden which is looking wonderful. The blousy blooms don’t last too long though so remove the dead flowers – this helps the shrub look better as well as focusing the plants energy on making new blooms and keeping it healthy.

Deadhead your camellias to keep them looking in tip-top condition
Deadhead your camellias to keep them looking in tip-top condition

Keep on weeding

We spent only about half an hour weeding our garden this week -hardly any time at all as we have been able to keep so on top of it during lockdown. Also, our generous mulching we did a few weeks ago (see Week 2 blog) is paying dividends and suppressing a lot of weeds. Little and often is the secret to keeping your garden looking amazing and to stop you getting scunnered with weeding!

Keep on top of your weeding to make your life a LOT easier
Keep on top of your weeding to make your life a LOT easier

Tidy Up

Every garden has those annoying corners where debris builds up so now is the perfect time to tackle those corners. Tidy up leaves, sweep up stray stones, pick up litter, bin things that have been shoved in a corner – if you’re not using them now, you never will!

Clear away leaves, stones and debris from those annoying corners where things get blown
Clear away leaves, stones and debris from those annoying corners where things get blown

Carry on with your projects

Our archway project is coming in splendidly and one side (the side we can see from the living room thankfully!) is now complete – we just need to clad the other side. This was an existing simple archway which we have widened in parts, painted in parts and clad with timbers in parts. We are very happy with how this is turning out and it has been made purely from off-cuts of timbers. #upcycling

Our upcycled archway is starting to really take shape
Our upcycled archway is starting to really take shape

Camping

One of the main activities in the garden this weekend was camping. Lulu and all her scouting friends camped in their gardens as part of a virtual camping weekend. This is the perfect time to dust off your tents and make some memories outside. Just remember your thick blankets as it stills gets very cold at night!

Our upcycled washing machine drum is the perfect fire-pit
Our upcycled washing machine drum is the perfect fire-pit

Eating outdoors

Another favourite garden activity this week has been eating in it! We have had breakfasts, lunches, dinners and suppers all outdoors. The weather has been amazing and we are so lucky to have outdoor spaces. Take a break from gardening and make sure you enjoy your gardens!

We have been making the most of the weather and eating outdoors lots
We have been making the most of the weather and eating outdoors lots

Other jobs you can be tackling in your garden:

Once lockdown is finished we can help you with all your gardening projects and maintenance so don’t stress if you are not getting all your jobs ticked off either, the most important thing is to relax and enjoy being outside. Stay home and stay safe.

Vialii

Gardening During Lockdown – Week 4

Can you believe that’s been 4 weeks of lockdown? A whole month? It’s a long time in gardening and with all the sunny weather things are growing at a pace and we are being tempted into our gardens all the more. What have you been tackling? Here’s what what has been happening at Vialii Towers in Gardening During Lockdown – Week 4…

Sowing veg

We had sown several seeds indoors during the first week of lockdown so our focus this week we turned our attention to the seeds which can be sown directly outdoors. Lulu and Tilda took over this task and armed with seeds and trowels set forth creating drills to fill with seeds. They have sown:

The girls sowed all the veg in our garden

The girls sowed all the veg in our garden

They also planted two types of onion sets and two varieties of seed potatoes and left space for our broccoli to be transplanted as it gets bigger and stronger. The finishing touches were the painted stones they created last week. Click here to find out how make your own plant labels.

Weeding and Tidying

Life is so much easier if you just weed and tidy as you go. Our rule is never walk past a weed you have spotted. Always stop and pick it out. Then you never have a jungle to tackle which takes hours and makes you dislike gardening. A quick weed, run the lawnmower over the grass or the odd prune here and there and you will easily keep on top of your gardening.

The Vialii rule - never walk past a weed. Stop and pick it out.

The Vialii rule – never walk past a weed. Stop and pick it out.

Encourage wildlife into your garden

Wildlife are enjoying this lockdown period more than ever. From tiny ladybirds and hedgehogs to long-tailed tits and partridges, wildlife are venturing into our gardens more and more. Encourage this by considering your planting, leaving some wild areas in your garden, creating hedgehog houses, putting out bird food, building bug hotels – it all makes such a difference. And all those animals and insects do amazing things for our gardens and eco-systems so we’re all winners.

This little ladybug is in our front garden

This little ladybug is in our front garden

Relax and enjoy the spring sunshine

We have been having the MOST amazing spell of weather recently which is helping keeping us sane. So, in between all the garden jobs, sit back and enjoy your garden, your outdoor space, the lovely view, the beautiful planting, whatever is around you. There is a lot we can be grateful for so take some time to relax and enjoy it.

Relax and enjoy your garden and being outdoors

Relax and enjoy your garden and being outdoors

Other jobs to tackle this week:

I wonder what Week 5 will have in store for us – we still have lots to tackle on our to-do list. How about you?

Vialii

Make Your Own Plant Labels

With extra time on our hands we decided to tackle a project we have wanted to do for some time. We collected some lovely pebbles on a holiday last year which we knew would be perfect for decorating. As we are about to plant our veg seeds, plant labels would be required. But why use the same boring labels we write each year? Instead, Lulu & Tilda decided to do their own creations, drawing each vegetable and writing its name beside it. A much prettier solution for knowing what seedling are popping up. Want to try it too? Here’s how to make your own plant labels.

The painted stones are a beautiful addition to the garden

The painted stones are a beautiful addition to the garden

Find your stones

Collate suitable stones to draw on. At the moment we can’t venture far so hopefully you can find some close to home. Or perhaps you could order some pebbles online.

Decide what you want to draw

Pull together all the seeds you are planting so you know what labels you are going to need. The packets will help show you what you need to draw. Or do a search online for drawings you can get inspiration from. Do an outline in pencil.

Sketch on your drawing and words in pencil

Sketch on your drawing and words in pencil

Colour in your creation

As these are going to be outside, using acrylic pens or paints will be best.

Lulu and her wonderful Broccoli creation

Lulu and her wonderful Broccoli creation

Varnish them

To protect your drawings from rain and wind, you should varnish them and they will look amazing for years to come. A good external varnish such as a yacht varnish is best

Our talented girls created a beautiful array of plant labels

Our talented girls created a beautiful array of plant labels

Set them in place

Sow your seeds and pop your stones in place – don’t they look amazing?

Ready for the seedlings to pop up

Ready for the seedlings to pop up

This project can be used towards your “Gardener” badge if you are in Cubs or for a Green Blue Peter badge.

Happy crafting!

Vialii

Gardening During Lockdown – Week 3

So, as we come to the end of Week 3 of Lockdown, many of us seem to be getting into a new rhythm. And in many ways, this strange new life is actually OK. We can spend more quality time at home, eat meals together more often, play more games, find inventive new ways of staying in touch with family and friends. And of course spend more time in our beloved gardens. Our gardens and pets will be hoping this lockdown will continue for a while. So, if you need some hints and tips on outdoors, here is our Gardening During Lockdown – Week 3 blog…

Scarify & treat your lawn

All the hair & beauty salons may be closed and our own beauty treatments on hold, but that doesn’t mean your lawn can’t get some treatments! Now is the perfect time of year to scarify your lawn and get rid of all that moss. It takes a bit of hard graft but it’s worth the effort. Other things to do include digging out those lawn weeds, aerating your soil (you can just use a garden fork) then top dress the grass and add a fertiliser. For more info check out our blog Lulu & Tilda created 4 years ago (and see how cute they are!)

An ickle Lulu scarifying our lawn

An ickle Lulu scarifying our lawn

Harden off your seedlings

If you planted some seedlings at the start of Lockdown you will probably see some of them shooting up by now. Once they get to a good size, you can start hardening them off so they get used to outside temperatures. Take them outside during the day but make sure to remember to still bring them back inside of an evening for now.

Slowly get your seedlings used to being outdoors by sitting them outside during the day

Slowly get your seedlings used to being outdoors by sitting them outside during the day

Give your outdoor dens a makeover

If you are lucky enough to have a den or playhouse in the garden, now is the perfect time to give it a bit of a make-over. Ours has been painted inside and out, some rotten wood replaced, sign updated and curtains/bunting hung up. Perfect for the summer ahead – let’s hope we can have some gang meetings soon!

Get our gang HQ in top tip condition for when lockdown ends

Get our gang HQ in top tip condition for when lockdown ends

Keep painting!

It’s been 3 weeks of painting and we have achieved a lot! This week we have finished the fences, done the last gate, painted a table and benches, our pink troughs, a retaining wall and the playhouse! We’ll soon run out of things to paint!

There has been a LOT more painting this week at Vialii Towers!

There has been a LOT more painting this week at Vialii Towers!

Top up planters and troughs

It’s important that your pots are kept topped up and given new growing medium and feeds each year. Add new compost (you may need to remove some old compost) and add some fertiliser. Many fertilisers will provide 6 months of feed allowing you to put your feet up and enjoy your blooms all summer long.

Top up your planters with compost and feed

Top up your planters with compost and feed

Start a new project

We’ve been wanting to give our “archway” a makeover for a long time, but like everyone, struggle to find time to fit in new projects when “normal” life gets in the way. This weekend, we decided to make a start. Our 3 existing structures will become two, we are going to adapt the shapes slightly and then clad them with new timbers and paint some edges. Watch this space as this project evolves.

Our "archway" has been on our to-do list for a while

Our “archway” has been on our to-do list for a while

Put up a tent

We have put up one of our tents to create another space for the kids to play. Daddy Vialii should have been heading off to Parent & Cub Camp this month with Lulu. Looks like it will take place in the garden instead! Good job we have the fire-pit from Week 2 to keep us cosy too!

Set up a tent in the garden to keep kids entertained

Set up a tent in the garden to keep kids entertained

Other jobs to be tackling during lockdown:

As always, enjoy your gardens and stay safe.

Vialii

Gardening During Lockdown – Week 2

As we skip, hop and jump our way to the end of week 2 of the Covid-19 lockdown, our gardens continue to flourish and provide a safe haven for us to work and relax. There has been a bit more working than relaxing in the garden at Vialii Towers over the last week as we take the opportunity to tackle our to-do list that has been sitting around for a while. Here’s our gardening during lockdown week 2 update…

Stiiiiiiill Painting!!!

We have a LOT of painting to tackle in our garden. This week we painted:

Painting will help preserve your woodwork as well as making it look smart and dandy.

There has been a LOT of painting at Vialii Towers this week!

There has been a LOT of painting at Vialii Towers this week!

Make Repairs

Now is a great opportunity to fix some broken bits around the garden. Some of the steps to the girl’ playhouse were starting to rot so new steps were made. The little used slide was removed and a new set of ladders added to create two entrances to the Vialii HQ. Just need to paint them now!!!

Tackle those repairs you simply never find the time to get round to...

Tackle those repairs you simply never find the time to get round to…

Add Bark to Borders

In Week 1, we added manure and compost to our borders to give our clay soil the best start to the new season. This week we added a fine bark mulch which will help suppress weeds as well as adding lots of extra lovely nutrients to the soil. Your local hardware store or garden centre should be able to deliver some.

Mulch your borders with some bark

Mulch your borders with some bark

Add Plants To Gaps

If you have some gaps in your border now is a great time to add some plants. Whether you sprinkle some seeds or order some plants online (or even see if neighbours are splitting their herbaceous plants and have some spare) adding some extra plants will add colour and interest to your outdoor space. If you make them wildlife friendly plants then even better!

Add some plants to gaps in your order for a luscious garden

Add some plants to gaps in your order for a luscious garden

Check On Your Seedlings

It’s important to keep checking in on your seedlings, keep them well watered and keep turning them so they don’t just keep growing in one direction. Our broccoli and nasturtium seeds are currently having a race!

Keep your seedlings watered as well as turning them regularly

Keep your seedlings watered as well as turning them regularly

Sort Your Fire-Pit

As the weather improves, we will be wanting to spend more and more time in the garden in the evening. It does still get chilly though so it’s time to clean out your fire-pit/chiminea and get it ready for use. Our old one had died the death but thankfully we had already salvaged the drum from an old washing machine so by simply adding some simple legs we now have a fab new fire-pit to take us through lockdown and beyond! Marshmallow anyone?

We have a shiny new fire-pit made from an old washing machine drum

We have a shiny new fire-pit made from an old washing machine drum

Do Some Cleaning

The power washer was brought out to tackle the girls’ mud kitchen which had gotten a bit, er, muddy! A quick spray, some new writing and a clean of all the equipment (the girls’ were given that job!) and it was as good as new (for now!)

We cleaned the mud kitchen - ironic we know!

We cleaned the mud kitchen – ironic we know!

Other jobs you can be doing during lockdown:

Hope you are all staying safe and sane. Enjoy your gardens.

Vialii