Tag Archives: gardening

GTech Cordless Strimmer – Product Review

The lovely people at Gtech recently sent us a cordless strimmer to review, and typically, it’s rained ever since. Thankfully we had a break this past weekend so finally got to road-test it, let’s just say it had it’s work cut out – here’s how S got on with it.

Assembling the strimmer out of the box was very easy – there were only a couple of pieces which clicked together easily, and which didn’t even require instructions.  My first impression was how light it was.  The battery had been charging before this point and even after pushing that into place at the head of the handle it made no difference to the weight and feel of it.  The cutting blades were also amazingly easy to fit – no cartridges needing plastic wire threaded through here – instead, just a small plastic blade which you pop into the head.

 

IMG_9129
Yes, that’s really how bad it got!

 

So, with that, I was very keen to try it out.  I was wanting to level out a small patch of lawn, which had got very long and thick (20+ centimetres in bits).  Starting it up was easy, with the safety switches not requiring you to change your grip on the handle at all.  It performed very well, there was plenty of power and, because it is so light, was very easy to precisely cut through to the right length.

 

IMG_9139
S in full strimming action

 

While using it the blade pinged off a couple of times (and had to search for it in the long grass), but that was due to getting too close to a rock on the border.  However, there is no worry at all about the blade getting broken and jammed in the rotating head – it just can’t happen.  I got through a couple of blades, although did not do too much experimenting with how much life you can get from one use.  The plastic did not have a particular cutting edge as such – and could be inserted either side up – but did get a little rough and flattened round the edges, possibly from hitting the stones and rocks. But, again, it was easy to pop another one in and so much better than some which use plastic wire.

The plastic did not have a particular cutting edge as such – and could be inserted either side up – but did get a little rough and flattened round the edges, possibly from hitting the stones and rocks. But, again, it was easy to pop another one in and so much better than some which use plastic wire.

 

IMG_9192
That looks better!!!!

 

I used it for about 45 minutes in total until the battery was used up, but that was plenty of time to do several passes over the surface, cutting down to the right level, and through some pretty thick and long grass.  I didn’t try out the option to rotate the head for edging.  That wasn’t quite so straightforward to push the sides in to allow the rotation.

In conclusion, I’ll be using this each time, since it is so light, easy to use and handle and makes doing the chore much more appealing!

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 08.31.21

 To find out more about GTech’s range of cordless garden equipment you can check out their website here

Finally, a dry weekend for gardening!

Hurrah, after weeks of seemingly endless rain Saturday dawned bright, if a little breezy so it was straight out into the garden to get some much-needed jobs done.

 

IMG_9129
Just a little bit long…..

 

There was a lot of weeding, there was also a lot of grass that was well overdue a good haircut. We got to try out the new GTech Cordless strimmer that we’d been sent too (review to follow).

 

IMG_9123
Courgette flowers

 

I cleared out a couple of the raised beds and planted lambs lettuce, spinach, mizuna, mustard, rocket, broccoli romanesco and pak choi. I also sowed a couple fo different carrot varietals and some dwarf and climbing beans – it may be a little late but then everything is this year anyway – we’ll soon see!

IMG_9157

I trimmed the cherry arch – it was wild! I’ve also been digging up all the bulbs from various pots around the garden – then re-planting them using a multi-layering ‘packing them in’ system in just a few pots and then we’ll need to get some annuals to plant on top instead of having empty looking pots for a large part of the year – see, I’m learning :o)

 

IMG_9156
A bulb packed pot with obelisk and Sweet Peas

 

I was sent a rather lovely wrought iron obelisk so planted that in one of my new bulb containers with sweet peas – can’t wait to see how that turns out.

I also planted up a self-watering hanging basket that had been sent to me by Stewart Garden to review with a lovely Heliotrope and white surfinia. The massive blue Delphinium that I bought at the Newhall Walled Garden open day found it’s way into the front garden – it’ll flower any day now.

IMG_9012

I also ended up doing an emergency wasp nest removal after S noticed wasps flying in and out of a garden cupboard. I was a little surprised when I opened the door and a whole cloud of them flew out – don’t think I’ve ever run so fast! I guess with all the rain we hadn’t been outside to notice them before now.

 

IMG_9190
The remains of the nest after it’d been sprayed and left overnight

 

I started to chicken proof the bed we recently planted up with Periwinkles, Heuchera and Hellebores but I ran out of bamboo canes so that’s now a work in progress until more arrive.

 

IMG_9191
A couple of Rose Bushes finally housed

 

The front garden also saw some love and I put up a trellis and planted a couple of rose bushes that were wedding presents last year. I also planted an Osmanthus, a red Acer and a bunch of different lavender plants.

 

IMG_9192
Things are looking a lot tidier now

 

S finally got round to trimming the hedge all the way along the back garden and we took a trip to the recycling depot with a load of old flower pots a bbq and a chimenea. All in all things are looking ever so much tidier now. There’s still a mountain of stuff to do but we’re getting there.

 

IMG_9124
Nicely ripened blackcurrants

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gardening Scotland 2016

Was I the only one who was disappointed with this year’s Gardening Scotland Show? Not at all by the sounds of it.

IMG_8436

We were so excited about going, it was amazing last year, but it turned out to be a little bit of a let-down. The show gardens weren’t that ‘showy’ (or that many either) and both the craft tent and the main indoor hall also seemed to be lacking in both the number of stalls and their ‘substance’ in comparison to before.

IMG_8448

There were still some lovely stalls in the main hall and we thoroughly enjoyed listening to Hamish from the Secret Herb Garden talk about weeds/medicines, and the weather was perfect.

IMG_8451

So although we had a lovely afternoon with our friends  and we did still all come home with armfuls of purchases (and some absolute steals from when the stands were being broken down) I think I’ll have to demote it back below the Royal Highland Show which is coming up in the next couple of weeks.

IMG_8452

Next year we’re going to try Chelsea instead. Maybe the shows are just too close together and people are choosing Chelsea over Gardening Scotland….

IMG_8449

These are a few purchases, we haven’t given up on the Bonsai and have even bought a couple of new ones too! Predictably a succulent and cactus also found their way home.

 

IMG_8467
Crassula Pelucida Marginalis

IMG_8468

IMG_8469
Jade Bonsai (Money Tree)
IMG_8474
Japanese Holly Bonsai

 

Gardener’s Question Time Summer Party at The Botanics

This is VERY exciting, quick, get the 9th July in your diaries….

ImageProxy-1

It’s the gardening event of the year – and for the first time it’s coming to Scotland. BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time is celebrating the joys of summer by hosting its annual Summer Garden Party at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

The day-long gardening festival offers visitors the opportunity to meet the GQT team face-to-face, take part in recordings of the programme, enjoy horticultural walks, talks, plant sales and demonstrations happening right across the Garden – ranging from pest and disease clinics to tips on how to maintain a healthy and productive herb garden.

ImageProxy-4

The garden party will feature the pick of the crop of gardening gurus, including GQT’s Bob Flowerdew, Bunny Guinness, Matthew Wilson, Pippa Greenwood, Anne Swithinbank, Matthew Biggs and Chairmen Eric Robson and Peter Gibbs. They will be joined by Scottish gardening hero, and star of the BBC’s Beechgrove Garden, Jim McColl.

We’ll have live entertainment throughout the day, with hands-on activities, demonstrations, food, drink and fun for all the family.

ImageProxy-5

There will be two recordings of GQT at the garden party, and BBC Radio 4 listeners will be able to hear all the highlights on Friday 15th July at 3pm (repeated Sunday 17th at 2pm) and Friday 22nd July at 3pm (repeated Sunday 24th at 2pm).

ImageProxy-3

TICKETS and Times

Saturday 9th July, 10am – 5pm

Tickets (inc. booking fee): Adult £10.50, children (5-16 yrs) £5, under 5’s free. Tickets available to buy online HERE

Please Note: The ticket price gives visitors access to all the events happening at the garden party. However, entry to the main marquee recordings of GQT is limited and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis to ticket holders on the day.

ImageProxy-2

Spring arrives & it’s all gone bonkers!

In the week that saw us celebrate our 3rd anniversary of moving to our country cottage we saw a lot of changes in the garden.

 

IMG_8097
Our 3rd Anniversary in Nine Mile Burn

 

We have a pair of nesting blue tits in our bird box (yay), the starlings have already fledged and there are now sparrows in their old nest. The swallows are back swooping and darting all around and the geese have returned to the fields roundabout, some with young. After a seemingly never-ending Winter, Spring is most definitely here.

 

IMG_8056
Rhododendron- Golden Witt 

 

The garden has gone bonkers, everything’s growing and blooming and budding and it’s heartwarming to see! The cherry blossom is out and the beech hedge is finally turning, that fresh green really makes a difference in our garden.

 

IMG_7997
Setting up the new Potting Shed

 

The (short) spell of warmer, sunny weather was filled to the brim with ‘getting shit done’ in the garden – everything from getting the potting shed set-up to clearing, weeding and edging, sowing seeds and bulbs (better late than never) and I even made up some hanging baskets inspired by the book Crops in Pots, that I reviewed a while back.

 

IMG_8114
Our latest haul from The Secret Herb Garden

 

We had a lovely trip to The Secret Herb Garden (LOVE this place) to source new herbs as the chickens have self-seasoned and destroyed what we had. We got lemon verbena, lovage and borage (inspired by Petal, Leaf, Seed), several new rosemarys, chamomile, sage, lemon balm, oregano, fennel, jasmine and rhubarb, amongst others.

 

IMG_8014
Re-potting some plants for gifts

 

Our new front lawn is looking great and we’ve just bought a new mower and hedge cutter so we’re getting tooled up to tackle the front garden.

 

IMG_7978
Thank You Miracle-Gro for this amazing surprise box of goodies!

 

 

So much to do now but sadly the torrential rain is back so no idea when we’ll be able to crack on – we live in hope though, always hope!

 

IMG_8072
It’s been well over 20 years since our house was a pub (garden find)

 

IMG_8059
Jasmine potted in a vintage watering can! 

 

Petal, Leaf & Seed – Book Review

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 14.05.55

“Cooking with the treasures of the garden” 

Have you ever infused a fig leaf in custard and had it’s coconut and elderflower scent waft up to you on clouds of milky steam? or picked a handful of fennel seeds when they are still green and fat and scalded them with boiling water for a sweet, grassy, anise-scented tea? Or maybe you have decorated a salad with bright purple sage flowers, with a flavour that’s deeply herbal yet honeyed? If the answer to any of these questions is no, this book will open your eyes to the hidden flavours in your garden.

Well someone clearly knew me when they bought me this as a birthday present! What a lovely lovely book!

On reading the introduction above I immediately  wanted to answer yes, Yes, YES to all of those questions! Just those opening words sent me off on a deliciously intoxicating foodie daydream.

Petal, Leaf Seed by Lia Leendertz does exactly what it says on the tin and offers up a whole heap of recipes from cocktails and drinks through to main meals and desserts with butters, tisanes, sprinkles and sherbets along the way. It covers Spring, Summer, vegetable and herb flowers, fruit leaves, exotic leaves, leaves from herbs as well as herb, vegetable & flower seeds.

 

It’s the most bizarre thing, but every time I’ve picked this book up, I’ve sniffed the pages as if expecting to release the aromas from the glorious photography within.

I have a feeling that this book might well be to blame for some of my next few plant purchases, I’ve already added lemon verbena and borage to my list. My new favourite recipe book for sure – a perfect gift for a gardening loving foodie! (Thank you G!)

Products I love that soothe ‘outdoor hands’

I was sent some ‘Outdoor Hands’ skin cream to review last week and it got me thinking that there are actually very few products I’ve tried (& I have tried many!) that really work on my often, dried and cracked, hands and feet so, I thought I’d share the few products that I do rate. 

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 13.20.14

Let’s start with the Outdoor Hands’ Intense Skin Therapy Cream. As you can clearly see from the branding, it’s making a bold statement being aimed directly at builders, bricklayers, farmers, riggers, fishers etc £6.95 RRP for 100ml

The claim – Outdoor Hands is a skin therapy cream formulated by experts. Made from a unique blend of nourishing natural butters, botanical oils, vitamin E and Aloe Vera. Easily absorbed with a non-greasy finish, it will relieve cracked or chapped hands, feet, elbows and other dry skin.

The verdict – It’s great! By day 2 of using this cream I noticed a marked difference in my hands and the horrible dry skin patches I had have either gone or been seamlessly smoothed. It has a pleasant but not overpowering smell, it rubs in quickly and at a £6.95 RRP it’s also kind on your pocket, I’ll absolutely be buying more of this when this runs out.

Massagical Gold (Salt Scrub) & Massagical Cream. Despite the slightly odd name I bought these after testing them out at last year’s Gardening Scotland Show. £13 each for 160ml

The claim:

Massagical Gold – Cleans, exfoliates and lightly moisturises skin. Made from cold pressed rape seed oil infused with masses of elderflowers, and then blended with other healing oils and Himalayan rock salt, creating a lovely uplifting and refreshing treat for your skin.

Massagical Cream – Combines the benefits of shea butter with the Massagical oils for an uplifting revival for your hands, feet and skin. Beneficial for many problematic skin conditions. Apply sparingly whenever your skin feels dry.

The verdict – I adore these products, they smell divine (it’s quite heady), and the scrub followed by the cream combo is like a Spa treatment in your own home. They’re also good value, I got a ‘show deal’ £20 for both products and I still have plenty left, which is just as well as they make them by hand they have a limited stock each year.

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 13.33.58

Hebridean Seaweed, Aloe Vera Handwash by The Highland Soap Co. I was given this for my birthday last year along with a host of other gardening goodies. £7.50 for 300ml.

The claim – Moisturising Aloe Vera handwash with nutrient-rich sea kelp extract, refreshing Peppermint and healing Lavender essential oils. Seaweed is rich in essential vitamins and anti-oxidants for skin. Naturally fragranced with plant extracts and essential oils. Made with over 95% Organic ingredients. 100% of the total ingredients are of natural origin.

The verdict – Clearly I love it to feature it here, but it’s a real treat when I come in from the garden with very grubby hands to use this product, it feels silky on the skin and has a lovely low-key but delightful aroma, which is just as well as it usually takes me quite a while to scrub my hands after a gardening session!

Now I just need to find a really good nail brush!

So, these are a few products that I do rate for looking after hands that spend a lot of time outdoors! I’ll add more as and when I find them.