Monday, 22 April 2019

Blood, Sweat & Garden Shears




Did somebody mention a holiday weekend? There's been no rest for the wicked at Stonecroft these last few days. With the Easter weather predicted to be hotter than the Spanish Costas, it was the incentive I needed to get our poor neglected garden sorted (although when I say garden, I mean the area directly outside the front of the house as opposed to the remaining 100 metres of wilderness - that's a step too far.)


By way of a change we decided to give the DIY Superstore a miss and visit a local garden centre instead. When we'd last visited some twenty years ago it was all rather depressing, all naff garden ornaments and eye-wateringly high prices. Two decades on and its a whole new world, a team of young knowledgeable staff, a wide variety of plants (many grown in the UK) and all at prices significantly cheaper than the big chain we usually visit. We even got an additional discount at the till for no other reason that the boss was in a good mood.


Back at home I rummaged through the outhouses and under the kitchen sink for any suitable containers to serve as planters for my new greenery (and not-so-new but in dire need of re-potting). The succulents that grow like weeds in our borders were transplanted into old enamel teapots, antique earthenware pots, a Victorian jelly mould and even a tiny terracotta pot I'd found washed up on a remote beach in Tamil Nadu shortly after the Boxing Day Tsunami.


My Green Man wall plaque (bought from a car boot sale about four years ago) was looking a bit shabby so I repainted him with a selection of Barry M Nail Paints.


I hauled this cast iron chair from out of a skip over a decade ago. It's too far gone to sit on but far too pretty to get rid of.


I bought these aluminium window boxes from a half price supermarket clearance sale fifteen years ago. 


Back in the 1960s when everyone started having central heating installed these chimney pots were chucked in skips. My Grandma, an avid recycler, used to rescue them and use them as planters - a tradition that's passed down to me. We had quite a few nicked when we first moved into Stonecroft - lesson learnt - these days I fill them with builders rubble and old bricks so they ain't so easy to shift.


I uncovered these Victorian cast iron railings when I was digging further up the garden. They're quite rare, the majority were removed from houses and melted down to make ammunition during WW2.


That was my watering can until the bottom dropped out but I didn't throw it away. Beneath my feet are Victorian Staffordshire blue bricks, produced locally and found by Jon on eBay.

The original owner of The Cottage (my parental home) amassed hundreds of these Edwardian terracotta pots, I'll never have to buy a new plant pot as long as I live.


I love how the Greeks use old tin cans for planters. I found this catering sized tin by the bins at the End of The Road festival on the last day. I've keep it outside for a couple of years to give it a bit of rust patina.


Who needs to drive long distances to see bluebells? Not us! We've got hundreds of them.


The repro P&O enamel advertising sign ( a charity shop find years ago) hiding a bit of paintwork that needs a touch up.


That's better! Now the outside of the house matches our eclectic interior, a mishmash of salvaged, secondhand and bits found on our travels. 






And what am I wearing? An early 1960s cotton column dress by legendary Hawaiian designer, Tori Richard of Honolulu via Moseley Vintage Fair and last worn HERE when Jon & I met Polyester Princess, Ann & Jos on a similarly gloriously sunny day.

WEARING: 1960s Tori Richard dress, assorted plastic bangles (charity shopped), Krishna earrings (India) and some 1970s bug-eyed sunglasses (gift from a friend), nails by Barry M (obviously!)

Is that all I did this weekend? No! In my infinite wisdom I decided that newly painted Gilbert needed a new set of curtains, tie-backs and a cushion so I've spent a large part of the hottest weekend this year on attached to my sewing machine. I think a large glass of something alcoholic is called for.

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

63 comments:

  1. Your house is looking splendid, very eclectic and colourful and I love all the plants.
    The dress you're wearing is such a gorgeous colour, and perfect to complement all of the greenery
    Hasn't the weather been wonderful, it's great to be able to eat outside and wear summer clothes. The forecast isn't great but it's been a treat this weekend. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sally! Hasn't it been wonderful (a far cry from today - a sure sign we're trading outside all weekend!) xxx

      Delete
  2. You look so gorgeous and sunny out in garden in that dress! I love all the assorted bits and pieces in your garden. Green Man looks great now!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love your front garden vix, which garden centre did you go to I am on the hunt for some reasonably priced shade plants for round the back of the shed, I have been in the gateden two days too, hopefully will do tomorrow too, love your dress it's really pretty xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! I'd forgotten all about the dress, it's such an easy thing to wear and so light and cool.
      It was the Three Crowns Garden Centre on the Sutton Road, we'll definitely go back. I had a look at Wilko's plants yesterday and was very disappointed, they used to be really good and the few they had in Walsall were half dead and very uninspiring! xxx

      Delete
  4. So cool you have your local garden centre a revisit and found it greatly improved. You picked up some lovely things. Nice to hear that many of plants are grown locally, that's always a better option for the environment. I see a lot of wonderful flowers and plants there. Is the green man made of porcelain? He reminds me of the porcelain pieces and faces I kept seeing when I worked in Sicily.

    That dress looks wonderful on you. I haven't heard of those Hawaiian designers, it's always impressive how you know your stuff. The earrings are a perfect match. I like the blue nail-polish, I need to remind to put some myself.

    https://modaodaradosti.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't considered the local garden centre for years, our last visit left us feeling very uninspired. Thank goodness for new, younger owners adding some much needed life to it.
      The Green Man is Plaster of Paris, I think. There was a lady at the car boot sale who used to make garden ornaments as a hobby. xxx

      Delete
  5. The first thing I thought when I saw your post pop up is:I know that dress! Last seen at Attingham Park, indeed. It's even more gorgeous in real life! I love the collection of containers you've used for your new (and old) plants. Our basement and rickety potting shed are full of likely candidates too, including some inherited terracotta pots and one or two watering cans minus their bottoms! I only need a bit of get up and go to get the garden ship shape. Yours is looking absolutely fabulous! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ann! Wearing it brought back all manner of happy memories! xxx

      Delete
  6. I love, love, love the dress! We've been gardening filling the huge black plastic tubs I've painted with plants, one all white and the other those mixed lobelia. Love your garden, must keep an eye out for items to make into planters. Your house is gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Maureen! I can't believe it took me three months to decide to buy the dress, it wasn't even expensive!
      Great idea on painting the pots, colour is always king! xxx

      Delete
  7. Fabulous frock! You look the part of a '60s hostess, who has a team of gardeners to do the hard work for her... ah, we can dream! We also decided that a bank holiday was the right moment to do some really hard gardening work (landscaping?!) in sweltering temperatures, rather than just sitting in it with a cold drink like sensible people. We are awash with bluebells too, they're so pretty aren't they? I'm making notes about all your planter ideas, some really great ones! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I did have a team of gardeners, I'm definitely of the fair weather variety, only interested when the sun's out and I can pad around barefoot! xxx

      Delete
  8. I love your garden - I know exactly what you mean about the Greeks. The average citizen doesn't have money to throw around so the reuse everything, no tomato sauce or olive oil can goes without something green. You are so inspiring, you have so much natural born style

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just on your tiny terracotta dish you found on the beach - so cute with a chick in it!

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much! I absolutely love how the Greeks utilise everything to make beautiful gardens, they are an inspiration to me! xxx

      Delete
  9. You and the garden - all so beautiful and full of Spring. I adore your creative plant-holders and the authentic feel of your garden - it looks like you! xox

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well done you on your garden work. Can you come and sort ours now, it’s a tip and my poor back won’t run to all that bending and tugging. We’ve actually got one of our neighbours to agree to come and clear it then I can see what I’m going to put where. Picked up some nice bits and pieces for the garden at a yard sale in Grange today. Got a fab Tilly lamp for £1 it’s a lovely blue colour.
    Gilbert will be happy to be spruced up for the summer I’m sure xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Maybe when I've tackled the next 100 metres of wilderness I'll come and do yours!!
      I think I've got a few miner's lamps lurking in the undergrowth - bet yours will look a lot more arty than mine! xxx

      Delete
  11. The garden at Tea Towel Towers has had a make over this weekend too but I must say that we didn't look anywhere near as glamourous and gorgeous as you did...lol.
    Hugs-x-

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a wonderful garden you have - I love the overgrown "wilderness" look of it (vs. very manicured gardens). Much more my style, especially with all of the historical and found objects in it!

    I have a Tori Richard dress! I see them in the shops here frequently (Hawaii was a major destination from Victoria back in the 70s - it's only a 4-hour flight from here).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sheila! I like a formal garden at a stately home but I'm far too lazy to bother with one at home!
      I didn't realise Hawaii was only four hours from you, I bet you find a lot of Hawaiian dresses in your thrift shops, here they're rare beasts - our charity shops are full of Spanish souvenirs instead! xxx

      Delete
  13. They don't make terra cotta like they used to-mine all cracked in the cold last year! Love your Green Man, and all those beautiful plants.I haven't had anyone steal my planters but someone dug up a few of my potato plants last summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stolen potato plants? What is the world coming to? xxx

      Delete
  14. I just love your eclectic garden. Today I was out walking Teddy and found a small shelf/stand in someone's garbage. I carried it all of the way home so I can paint it blue and use it to hold cocktails. We saved our old iron gate from before our exterior reno and I want to use it in the garden this year for sure. TBG wanted to get rid of it, but I refused! I haven't had people steal my planters but swear someone has dug up some of our plants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yay! I love a bit of impromptu salvaging! I've seen an old gate used as a bedhead, a frame for climbers is a great idea. xxx

      Delete
  15. I love to see you styling such a fab piece and looking so gorgeous! and love your accessories too!
    Love all the different planters, particularly those classic terracotta ones. I'm a huge fan of using any empty container as a planter too!, and paint them if they're not cute enough!. I thought that my geraniums were totally spoiled, as they were all drilled by caterpillars last summer, but they're blooming madly now! Probably the frosts worked as a natural pest control!
    besos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great news about your geraniums! xxx

      Delete
  16. lovely garden in all this pots full of history!
    have yet to put the geraniums out of the cellar - our nights were still frosty lately - despite of 25° at midday. but i did seed out the veggies yesterday - yay!
    totally love that dress - the cut, the pattern *swoon*, the color: GREEN! - and you look fab in it with the top knot <3
    gilbert is a happy bully with his new custom made curtains ;-D
    xxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only a few of my poor geraniums survived the winter so I've had to buy more! A garden isn't a garden without them, is it? xxx

      Delete
  17. That's a gorgeous cheereful post Vix..I love that wide window ledge and you look so colourful and summery. I bet your neighbours love it when you are in the garden.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Your garden is beautiful! I could spend ages just taking it all in. The weather was fantastic, wasn't it? I spent some time in the greenhouse but it got a little hot!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Hazel! Wasn't it an idyllic weekend? A greenhouse would have been sweltering! xxx

      Delete
  19. your garden looks fabulous. I am now off and intend to sort out my garden...i spent easter weekend barrowing a brick wall into a skip at my mums in London, yes it was hot! and cutting a 40metre lawn!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Amanda! that sounds like hard work in that heat! xxx

      Delete
  20. You have been busy! I need you to pop by and sort out my garden although I feel it has passed the point of any return. Truly I just need a bulldozer here to start fresh.

    It always impresses me how you manage to work in the garden in such a pretty dress. I'd have ripped holes in it and been covered in muck from head to toe.

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I daren't show you the remaining 100 metres - it's not a garden, it's a wilderness - but at least it's helping the local wildlife!
      Don't worry, I was gardening in a bikini last weekend, I put the dress on after a bath! xxx

      Delete
  21. A great post! I love your blog < 3
    I am following you and invite you to me
    https://milentry-blog.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. Whew! I felt knackered after reading about your gardening! The garden looks brilliant. Love the succulents especially. I am looking for an outdoors suitable shallow bowl to plant some in; my cousin's wife did this and it looked wonderful. I loved your cast iron chair used as a plant stand and the Green Man and the sun face(?) are marvellous. I'm looking out for nice 'Green Man'; most of the ones I've seen so far haven't been very nice but I'll keep on looking.

    I love your green dress - you look the epitome of summer!
    xxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Succulents are great, aren't they? Alice Fowler suggests planting them in old bricks or in halved drainpipes, such a good idea!
      Our Green Man was a lady at the car boot sale who makes them as a hobby, he was only a couple of quid. He;'s got such a good face. xxx

      Delete
  23. your front garden is my dream. Artistic, rustic, and charming.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love your Tori Richards dress, such lovely colours/shape. The chimneys look wonderful, in fact all the work you have done looks really good. So lucky to have bluebells in the garden!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Betty! Can you believe that I spotted it on a friend's stall last Spring and didn't buy it? I was so happy to discover she still had it three months later!
      Bluebells are lovely when they're in bloom but I hate the aftermath - so messy! x

      Delete
  25. You must be the best dressed gardener ever, that dress is a stunner. The garden looks a treat, love the use of those chimney pots and all your found treasures. I have the same chair, a tip shop find years ago. Jon is to be so talented hand painting Gilbert and will now be complete with the new curtains, tie backs and cushions. Hope those sunny days continue. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jill! That dress is older than me and an absolute joy to wear. Fancy us having the same chair. The garden furniture in garden centres these days is so joyless, it's all grey, I love old cast iron pieces, tatty or not.
      Jon's done an amazing job with Gilbert and saved himself about £3000 in the process, he's a clever boy! xxx

      Delete
  26. One suspects the plant shop owner was in a better mood for having seen you in gardening/shopping gear. (I once was startled when a checkout clerk remarked: "You always cheer me up because you're always wearing lipstick.") No doubt your neighbors also enjoy peeking in the gates to see what's new this year in your front garden. This year I've a patio rather than a half-acre, so it's going to be an "interesting container" year. The Greek tin idea is very appealing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the lipstick comment! Isn't it sweet what people notice?
      Rows of cheery geraniums planted out in old olive oil tins is an intrinsic part of Greek life! xxx

      Delete
  27. That's some great work you've put in there! I love your old terracotta pots - I have one handmade one and it is my favourite; there's something about the slight roughness of texture that's really appealing. And we have loads of geraniums too, though ours aren't as far along as yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mim! Yes, there's something so charming about those old, imperfect pots. Jon's dug out another twenty for me to fill but the look rather attractive stacked up and empty. x

      Delete
  28. I had to quickly Google how hot you were at Easter...we Aussies all fell down laughing!! But we would be just freezing over there. Your gardening style is exactly like mine. I have old bedsteads and pallets and recycled teapots etc. So friendly. xo Jazzy Jack

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know me, I'm a lizard when it comes to heat, the hotter the better! xxx

      Delete
  29. Oh Vix I just love what you have done!!! And all the lovely reusing of items!!
    My Mum has 3 wonderful chimney pots from my very first childhood home- they have been used over the last 40 years to grow potatoes, butternut squashes and all sorts of other beauties! I would love to find some myself! I think they are quite hard to find - how dare someone steal some from you though!!!!!!!!!!!!! I REALLY like plants in pots but CBC is just moaning at me about there being, "More and more pots on the patio!" He's SO intolerant sometimes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Kezzie.
      How lovely that your Mum still has those chimney pots! I toyed with growing potatoes in one of ours, I might have to follow suit next year.
      CBC is a meanie. I love container gardening great, you can move stuff around, change the look and bring the more delicate plants indoors or closer to the wall in the colder months. xxx

      Delete
  30. I have always admired your lovely garden with all the marvelous bits and bobs. If I had the space I would like something like that, but all I have is a tiny flower bed, which I try to make the most of. I've found the odd Tori Richard dress at the thrift stores, but always too small for me. Love the pink and green print on yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes I wish I was still living in the first house I bought - the garden was tiny but everything flourished with very little effort!
      Sheila mentioned that Tori Richards dresses pop up quite often in thrifts due to your fairly close proximity to Hawaii (a short 4 hour flight away!) Here they are rare and exotic beasts! xxx

      Delete

Thank you for leaving a comment. If you've got a blog I'll do my best to return the favour.
All spam will be deleted.
Lots of love, Vix