Thursday, 22 August 2013

Dig the City - Part 2

Flower market 
Back in Manchester again for the second part of the horticultural meets city tour. The first half is here if you haven't seen it. I was really tempted to buy another Hydrangea as the one in our garden didn't flower this year - no idea why? I think I'm going to get one in the spring to go in a big tub at the front door so I can manage the pH of the soil better. I'd like to blur the edges of our small driveway a little with some flowers.... so Hydrangea and Lavender will be a pretty combination. Think froth. 
Another idea I have is to put a mini pond together and the picture below has inspired me with Primulas and Astilbe as marginals.
 Mini Pond 
Through the arcade into King Street where all the posh shops are. 
King Street Manchester 
To a funny little alley with umbrellas above and interesting detail. Boardman's Entry it is called, found after a bit of internet searching. The inspiration for the brollies was the scientist John Dalton who apparently kept weather records of rainy Manchester. I found a great site by the way for finding amazing architectural delights in the city  - Skyliner
umbrella alley Boardman's Entry Manchester Shoe detail Boardman's Entry 
Gorgeous VW Campervan that I would love. Some care has gone into restoring this.
Lawn Green VW Camper Van Boardman's Entry Manchester Spooky entry 
Vertical gardening ideas here reminding me to complete my pallet garden next year. I think this is so effective and will break up the fence at the bottom of our garden a bit. I'm thinking grasses and Day Lillies with some Heucheras .
Vertical garden 
Little Bird loved his buggy ride around Manchester. He has become very lazy recently and just will not walk anywhere. If we don't take the pushchair with us he runs around the front of us, arms up and if we don't pick him up there will be a full on knees tantrum. He's 2 stone and my arms are going to be stretched. 
What to do? 
 Buggy travels 
John Rylands Library - a truly spectacular building. I've never been inside which is shocking and seek to remedy this soon. 
 John Ryland Library Manchester 
Next to such modernity. 
I fancy one of these huge red pots at the front door. Hmmm I may be on the lookout for one now and paint it up. 
Big red pots 
Glass, glass, glass.
Spinningfield's Manchester The Avenue Manchester 
A city garden, very trendy with the orange chair. Must grow Dahlias next year.
City garden 
More my style. Rustic and using whatever is available. Plenty of herbs.
Manchester community garden 
I think this the back of The Palace Theatre. Reminds me of Alice in Wonderland with the colours.
Old buildings Manchester
Cupcake cafe! Box shrubs in shocking pink containers - yes please. Another idea.
Cupcake shop Manchester 
That concludes my little tour around Manchester and I did get some inspiration for our front and back gardens. I'm doing nothing more than tidy up the garden now, no more spending aside from spring bulbs. It's always nice to make a few plans to get you through the winter's armchair gardening though. 

Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Dig the City - Part 1

Dig the City in manchester 2013
Last week we went to Dig the City - Manchester's Urban Garden Festival. Starting by Manchester Cathedral we saw some fun and unusual planting displays from a swamp monster to a planted up office and sofa. Fun ideas to do with pieces of old furniture.
Manchester Cathedral
Children's play garden with a wooden snake.
childrens play garden
Lots of colourful planters. Wouldn't mind some of these.
 photo IMG_8888_zpsf49112cColoured wooden planters6.jpg Cathedral planting displays
I'm a Mancunian but do not often go in to the City much these days since moving across into Mid Cheshire. This was a great day to have an explore with such floral treats along the way. The sun was shining and we had to time to look at buildings we would usually pass and ignore.
Swamp Monster pub near Manchester Cathedral
Manchester Cathedral - currently being renovated and a small chapel has been built outside for services at the moment. Can you see the floral cyclist between the pleached trees? I love the filing cabinet display, it was probably my favourite with strawberry plants tumbling from its drawers.
Manchester Cathedral
Filing cabinet planted up with flowers
There are some great bars near the Cathedral Yard, some with real character like The Old Wellington Inn in Shambles Square which is the only remaining Tudor building in Manchester. The Shambles I believe was an area of butchers shops and the gutters would have had all the blood and guts running down it. A spooky area too and I'm sure plenty of folk from a time gone by pass that thin veil from the spirit world many a time past midnight.
Desk planted with flowers
Fancy a rest on the lettuce sofa?
Pub table
Tomatoes lining a balcony taking in the sunshine.
Tomatoes growing in the city
On to Exchange Square and the Printworks which used to be where my father worked when it was the Daily Mirror newspaper, Withy Grove, housing all the printers, until it closed in 1985. I grew up with Robert Maxwell being a common topic of conversation, even after his mysterious demise in the early 1990's off his yacht. 
 View near Printworks Manchester
Beautiful balloon flowers were everywhere, so vibrant against the blue sky.
Balloon flowers
balloon flowers Printworks manchester The bedding display below was Manchester City Council's gold winning entry at the RHS Tatton garden show this year. 
RHS tatton Manchester bedding display
Plenty of places to hide behind a potted plant for a drink and a relax with a good book.
Chilling in the garden city
Scrummy posh food along the route. This ice cream van for grown ups was amazing - they sell ice cream delights such as marmalade and toast or pink peppercorn. I really love unusual combinations of food, makes me think of The River Cottage and these pop up restaurants that seem to be becoming very popular. 
Ginger's Comfort Emporium Manchester City Centre in the summer Pink Ice Cream Van
Trees had sprung up in Exchange Square, about 70 I think. A whole calendar of events from Monty Don to Peppa Pig chalked up. Would have loved to have gone to Monty's talk but you know how it goes when you have children. Luckily we don't do Peppa Pig in our household so it was onto the next street full of flowers and foliage...... 
Exchange Square Manchester Dig the City schedule 2013
Part 2 later this week.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Guest Post: Cosy up your outdoor living space

Who would have thought the glorious weather we are having would have lasted longer than a week? It has certainly been a welcome break from the freezing temperatures we saw earlier this year and is expected to continue for the summer! 

Retailers have seen a boost to the economy since temperatures have soared; with a rise in sales of DIY goods, garden furniture and outdoor toys such as paddling pools and slides. This is no surprise really; as Britain basks in the current heat wave, there is no better time than now to get out in the garden and appreciate the great outdoors. 

Gardens can often be overlooked when renovating and remodelling your home, but for those lacking in space, a garden is a great way to widen your living area and provides a perfect environment for socialising and entertaining.  

Initially, it is important that you establish what you want to use your garden for, as this will help with your planning. Emulating the design and character of your home is also another significant element as this will help to connect the two areas. 

To tackle space issues, more homes are adding a garden room to their offering. These rooms are a step up from the usual garden shed or playhouse and provide a tranquil escape for the user. The room can be used for a multitude of purposes including; office space, a place to undertake hobbies (without annoying other members of the household), a guestroom or an extra play space for children. The options are endless! As a homeowner, you can tailor this room to suit your needs, requirements and tastes. 

As more and more people move outdoors, there has been a greater focus placed upon patios, decking and garden furniture which helps to make this space feel more homely. There are a wide range of furniture brands available, all offering individual pieces to suit different aesthetics and tastes along with household retailers providing a variety of options. 

Rattan garden furniture, such as Cozy Bay, is always a popular material choice, and these pieces look great outside; providing a comfortable option for sofas, chairs and loungers which will last for summers to come. 

With longer days and warmer evenings, these warmer spells encourage alfresco dining. One integral piece that most British homes have within their garden is a barbeque which is dusted off as soon as the sun comes out. But why not try an outdoor kitchen? This can be as simple or as elaborate as your indoor kitchen, with the outdoor setting providing further scope for being adventurous! 

When the temperature does drop in the evening (this is inevitable in the UK), you may want to move into the dining room or living area. To stay connected to the outdoors, let as much natural light into these rooms; patio and bi-folding doors as well as conservatories are a great way of achieving this whilst still feeling as if you are outdoors. 
These great tips have been provided by the South’s leading house furnisher David Phipp; stocking top brands and lines for all rooms of the home (including the garden). Visit them in store where they can help you to cosy up your home! 

*disclosure - this is a guest post*

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Picnic in the Park

Picnic in the park Church kids circus games picnicing on the field cream teas girl carrying inflatable dolphin eating crisps Hartford
We love stumbling across events at the weekend. Sometimes this works out better than lots of preparation, although it might have been nice to have a few butties for the local picnic in the park last month.

Still it suited us to just walk around and see what was happening. Little Bird is more observer than getting involved in activities so we all walked around the stalls, the BBQ and the sports quite content.

Some people had really gone to great lengths with their picnic baskets and hopefully we will do this next year when LB will sit awhile - it would be hard to do this at the moment. Still, it's great to live in an area where they do so many great events and one that's now marked on the calendar.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall