Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Half-Hour Gardening...

I can do this again. I can. It's no longer overwhelming. No longer a weight pressing down on me. I can garden again. MS has changed my life unrecognisably. It's took away so many things, it's took away so many of the choices I once had. Don't get me wrong, it's given me things too, time, an understanding that my health should be a priority. It's given me this blog too, this community. I would never have had time to blog before MS. So it's not all negative...there are the positives in there too.
A couple of years ago MS threatened to take away my ability to garden. That was scary, well it is for someone who loves her garden. My garden is my sanctuary. When I went out into the garden, my heart would sink. I would look at the weeds, the untamed shrubs, the uncut grass, it made me feel so sad. My beautiful garden, that I loved so much, felt like a huge burden. A constant reminder of what I couldn't do anymore. Salt in the wound, so to speak.
It feels very indulgent spending my little pension pot on my garden. We need other things, what family doesn't? Indulgent perhaps, but essential too. Essential to my health, both physical and mental. I'm certainly being more active, and it's enabled me to feel positive about my future too. I can do this, I'm thinking...I can still do this.
The Half-Hour Allotment by Lia Leendertz, has also been pivotal in enabling me to feel I CAN garden again. Yes there's been the physical changes made, but my mental approach to gardening has changed too. I no longer think of my garden in terms of a whole space, but small manageable chunks. Half hour chunks, little chunks. Even on those bad days, I might still just be able to achieve a small task. This book is a must for those who are time, or like me, energy poor.
I now set myself small attainable tasks, prioritising what needs to be done. I've put lots of little rest areas around the garden too, I can just sit if I need too, my bottom is never that far from a chair! I've still got things I want to get done, but these can all be done one small step at a time. It's been expensive, but has it been worth it? Yes every penny...it's given me back some hope, and positivity, and for me that's priceless.
Over on Instagram I've changed my name to Happy Little Plot. This little plot of mine, with it's kitchen garden, it's beautiful studio, and easy peasey flowerbeds is making me very happy. And maybe, if I can workout how to change my blog name, I'll change that too, who knows. Happy Little Plot reflects WHO I am, and WHERE I am right here, right now. Vintage sheets and colourful yarn will always make me smile, but there's a spiritual calm I get from being in the garden. It strengthens my body, calms my soul, connects me to nature, and reminds me of my past...it's in my genes. I'm very happy in my little plot.
Amanda :) xxx
Stitches are coming out soon!


Thursday, 19 May 2016

Just Lately...

There's been lots of sunshine and showers here...perfect for my garden, which is filling up brilliantly. This week I've installed my very last veg bed, not sure yet what will go in here, probably flowers. The remaining arches have been installed and planted up. I've also started to create a little pond area, and fingers crossed I will have lots of frogs to help fight the slugs. The garden has been keeping me gently busy this week. I say gently as I've really adopted the 1/2 hour principle to my garden...I will explain more on that over the next few posts.
My little yellow bistro table has arrived, and looks perfect in front of the studio, complimenting my yellow craft cupboard inside. I've seen some yellow planters, so I might treat myself to one...I've got yellow sunflowers to plant out, and I've put a yellow old fashioned rose around the arch. Not bad going for someone who's never really had yellow in her garden!
I'm feeling guilty I'm not posting as often as I want to. I've recovered fairly quickly from my little Venetian adventure, however Otto has had his little operation (to stop any offspring!) and he's now barking and unsettled again at night. Most of you who have read this blog for a while, will know it took weeks for Otto to stop barking at night. It's only been two sleepless nights and I'm absolutely shattered, and I know from experience that we have many more to come! So please be patient with me, because I know the more exhausted I become, the more difficult ordinary things, like posting on here, become.
I will try and catch up with some blog reading over the next few days...hopefully sat at that little table with something nice to sip. Hope the sun is shining for you, now that's some yellow we definitely need!
Amanda :) xxx


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Being Still...

Venice was truly amazing, I loved every moment, savoured every moment, relished every moment. I feel truly blessed that I experienced those few days. Everything was perfect. I will share more about it on another post, as soon as I've downloaded my images.
I'm exhausted now, as to be expected really, but it was worth the exhaustion. So this week I'm being as still as I can, resting as much as I can. A little potter in the garden, which is filling up at a rapid pace. We've had sun, and buckets of rain, all good for the garden.
I've started a new blanket too, gorgeous, luscious colours. More on that soon, right now I'm being as still as possible.
Amanda :) xxx


Thursday, 5 May 2016

Venice...Look Out!

Last year, whilst on our little holiday in Florence, my sisters and I spent the day in Venice. I just fell in love with this beautiful, romantic, crumbling city. I vowed to visit again one day...well that day has arrived!!!
Tomorrow I'm off there again, for a short two night stay with some fabulous ladies. Venice, I wonder if you are ready for us?! We've got ourselves some cheap flights, a brilliant Airbnb apartment, and we are off, to soak up the sun and Italian atmosphere. I will of course raise a glass of something lovely to you all ;)
So this week I've been resting as much as possible in order to put some energy into my reserves, and I've shelved any legal stresses until I get back. I've been determined to be in the best possible place in order to enjoy my little trip. Ciao...
Amanda :) xxx


Friday, 29 April 2016

Down The Garden Path: April

Let me take you on a little trip around my garden...
Well, I now have a garden path!
And a very wibbly wobbly hedge, I really need to improve my topiary skills ;) I'm thinking this will be a great hungry caterpillar, I will under plant it with something colourful.
I'm really pleased with how the top garden has developed. It reflects the studio perfectly. It's in a more formal, modern style than I'm used too, but I shall plant in an informal way to balance it out. It will help in terms of my mobility, and also little dogs that like to eat plants! There's going to be another Agriframe arch over the bench...and a smaller one at the beginning of the path.
You can really see the slope in the the lawn here, it would have cost so much more to have had it completely levelled, actually I quite like it. The beds have been positioned back from the retaining wall, otherwise I think it would have looked too oppressive for the lower potager garden.
The plants are being held in a nursery bed, until they can be planted. This summer we will replace (that's the Royal We) all the grass with slate.
My dahlia bed...nothing! Oh only a rouge potato.
The view up the garden. Two of the beds will be flowers and the rest vegetables and fruit. Down the side of the path I've put a collection of pots with all sorts of stuff in them. I might change the contents depending on the season, or I might just plant lots of lavender into the soil.
Baby verbena, I want a garden full of them.
And this is where my greenhouse will go, it will be arriving at the end of the summer. I'm beyond excited. It's a traditional brick and wood one, with a cold frame. It will mean I can still garden in all weathers, and have more early spring flowers.
Hope you enjoyed your visit. There's still only little bits of colour but it's starting to take shape. I'm pleased with the structure, the bones of the garden, it's now time to colour it in! I've been very fluid with the design, very nearly drove Mr Landscape mad, I've changed things so much. It's the way I work, I have a general idea, but then change it and adapt as I go along. I have an outline, now for the filling in bit.
So what will May bring...
Well I'm hoping warmer weather!
Lots of potting on in the greenhouse.
Putting the veg out into their position in the garden.
Install the arches, and plant the climbers.
Start to fill the raised beds in the top garden.
Decide on the patio furniture, I'm thinking settee and chairs for the top patio and a little bistro table on the bottom one, to catch that early morning sunshine.
Thank you for all the super comments on my last post. I rested a lot this week and I'm starting to recover. Next Friday I'm off for a couple of nights to Venice with some brilliant ladies, so I need to be very careful, and conserve as much energy as possible. I'm very excited...again!
What are you up to in your garden? Please let me know!
Amanda :) xxx


Monday, 25 April 2016

Best Not To Panic...

It's been a challenging few weeks, physically, mentally, and emotionally. This week I've felt my body become weaker and weaker. What started as a small numb patch, began to slowly spread over almost half my body. I wondered if it would engulf me. But I say to myself, best not to panic.
It's a funny old thing this MS malarkey, you never really know where it's going to go, which path it's going to take you on. You never really know what's going to happen next, will the numbness spread further? Will the weakness take away the use of your legs, completely? Will you be able to use those blinking garden steps, that's just cost you a small fortune to install? But I say to myself, best not to panic.
There's a lot of stresses and strains going on here at the moment. I'm physically exhausted from the gardening, even though I've had lots of help. I'm frustrated by the restrictions of my body, coming many years earlier than I ever thought they would. In my head I want to zoom around doing all sorts of stuff, but now even the smallest activity can leave me wrung out. But I say to myself, best not to panic.
I've been emotionally challenged by motherhood this week too. It's such an important job, but the absence of energy, and the complexities of my little, quirky family, make me feel wholly inadequate. What if I can't be what they need to be? Am I up to the many years of adolescence ahead of me? Even as young adults they will still need me to be there, have I got what's needed? But I say to myself, best not to panic.
Mentally, I'm frustrated. A few years ago I wasn't treated fairly, it's cost me dearly, both financially, and affected my self worth. I've got a battle ahead of me and it seems so unfair. I'm angry that what little energy I have, needs to be spent on a fight. I need that energy for my family, for myself. I don't want to fight this fight. I shouldn't be fighting this fight. I'm fighting a giant, and that's a worry. But I say to myself, best not to panic.
I'm not one to panic, on the whole, I take what's thrown at me in my stride. This week however, I feel overwhelmed by the path I'm on. I know there are many, many people on much more difficult paths...in fact they would think my path is relatively easy. They would swap me in the blink of an eye. I'm overwhelmed because I'm so exhausted, that's all. Things usually work out, and if they don't, there's usually a way of of dealing with things. It really is best not to panic.
Amanda :) xxx


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Modern Garden Magazine: Review.

Hello Everyone,
Here is my review of the new gardening magazine, here in the UK, Modern Gardens. The second issue was released yesterday, and I sat in the evening and read it, almost cover to cover!
The concept is brilliant, it's quite unique in terms of your average garden mag. It's for those who want their outside space to be an extension to their home, but perhaps haven't got oodles of time or money. I love looking through gardening magazines, especially those expensive glossy ones, the ones where each garden is 3 plus acres, show gardens really. They are the gardens of the rich, or at least those who dedicate their life to their garden.
Modern Gardens features 'normal' gardens, by that I mean those up and down most streets in the UK, not on some vast estate somewhere. There's definitely been a gap in the market, and I think it's just been plugged. The magazine is about the norm, but that doesn't mean our gardens have to be boring, or average. They can be creative, beautiful, with a little bit of effort and not too much cash. The thing that's most needed is creativity, and if you feel you haven't much in that department either, well luckily it spills out from every page!
This month there are features on:
Readers gardens and how they achieved the look.
How to choose and develop your gardening style.
Too many Upcycle projects to mention.
Vertical gardens.
Auriculas...I really, really need some of them in my life!
Creating focal points in your garden.
Colourful planting schemes.
Upcycled containers...some of the ideas are brilliant.
Outdoor spas...we all need one of those!
Every single page is crammed full of ideas, in fact it's a bit overwhelming, it's best to keep picking it up in short bursts, perhaps with a cuppa.
So, is there anything I would change?
I think they've got the balance of adverts just right, (please don't put an advert on every other page).
I'd love to see more readers homes in the mag, 3 or 4 full makeover articles, instead of just the 2.
For those of us who like to grow our own, a few more features on growing fruit and veg in your back garden would be fantastic. Most of the grow your own magazines available, seem to focus on allotments, or those with huge plots.
Maybe even a feature about a garden in another country, I'm sure there are loads of people who would like to share their spaces.
It's an excellent magazine, there's even a £1.00 voucher to give to someone so they can by it cheaper. If you've read it, please let me know your thoughts. This isn't a sponsored post by the way, paid for the magazine myself, and thoughts are my own, unbiased and honest.
Right, I'm off to potter in my own garden, Mr Landscape man is back on Monday, curtesy of a tax refund, (now that's never happened before!). So watch this space...I'm ever so excited!
Amanda :) xxx
(My images don't do the pages any favours...sorry!).
Otto, and I have had a difficult few days, both unwell, but getting better :) xxx