Grange Raised Urban Planter: GardenSite’s Gardening Solutions for Small Spaces (Review & Giveaway)

As you all know, we love being outdoors in nature, and part of this includes gardening. I have written before about some of the food we have grown, or at least attempted to grow! So what do we think of our new urban planter from GardenSite? Read my review…

Grange Raised Urban Planter from Gardensite title with image of planter

About the Planter

Grange Raised Urban Planter is built using only FSC timber that has been pressure treated, and is resistant to rot and fungal decay. In fact, it actually comes with a 20 year guarantee against rot. It has six pre- divided sections to grow a selection of plants, and it also has a handy shelf underneath. The planter usually retails for £89.99 RRP but is currently on sale at £77.99 at the time of writing.

Delivery

The planter took just under a week to arrive after ordering. We were kept updated with the progress of our order and delivery details. The courier company they used was a good choice; they followed our delivery instructions, and they were friendly and helpful.

An image of all the parts of the planter pre- assembly

Assembly

The Urban Planter is very well designed so it only requires basic assembly instructions. It is very high quality thick wood, so you will need a decent power drill though; it couldn’t be done manually, or with a small basic electric drill that people have around the house to put together flat pack furniture. It took well under half an hour to assemble with the right drill.

Tip: The PDF instructions on the website are different to the paper version it comes with. Take a look to see which you find easier to follow! We personally found the website PDF version clearer.

It is worth noting that the planter is very heavy so ideally it needs two people to move around. Or assemble it in the right place!

Grange raised urban planter

Our Verdict

We really like this planter. It is really sturdy and of excellent quality. The shelf underneath is useful as storage, or even for small potted plants that like the shade.

The six sections make it easy to grow a selection of plants within a small area. It doesn’t take up too much space, so is a genuine solution for small urban gardens. Also, we often have cats hanging around our garden, so we appreciate the benefits of a raised planter!

It is not cheap but it is made extremely well and is therefore worth the cost, in my opinion; I personally would consider it decent value for money. Overall, we definitely recommend this planter!

Grange raised urban planter by GardenSite

Check out the full range of stock on GardenSite for other planters and a wide range of other garden items. I spent ages browsing their website, they have an excellent selection!

Giveaway

I have teamed up with GardenSite for one very lucky person to win a Grange Raised Urban Planter! Competition open to UK residents only and ends on 3rd June 2018. Other T&Cs apply. Enter via rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I was sent the urban planter for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Relaxed Summer Living: How to Make Your Garden More Private

All going well, we’re going to see some pretty fine weather in the UK this summer. While there are never any guarantees (especially in England), the buzz around the weather stations is that it’s going to be one to remember, with long sunny days and clear blue skies the order of the day. This means a lot of us are going to be spending many an hour in our gardens, enjoying the weather with our friends and family.

Sign saying we are in the garden. Watering can to edge of picture.

But this isn’t always as relaxing as it should be if your garden isn’t private. It may be that you are surrounded by other properties and your garden is very overlooked. Some people don’t mind this of course; I know many neighbours enjoy spending time together, often popping in and out of each others’ homes. But this is not always the case; others enjoy peace and quiet, and value having their own secluded spot to relax. Or it might be that your garden back onto a public space and is therefore exposed to passers- by. For whatever reason it might be, lack of privacy can make your garden less appealing. If this is the case with your property, then take a read below…

Relaxed Summer Living: How to Make Your Garden More Private title with faded background image of a secluded garden bench amongst bushes for privacy

Fill it Out

If you’re just got a bare garden, one with only a large patch of grass and a chair, blanket or lounger in the middle, then it’ll be no wonder that you feel on display when you’re out there sunbathing. Even if no-one is looking, it’s hard not to feel a little self-conscious if you’re the only thing that anybody can see. If this is the case, then look at “filling out” your garden. If you have a shed, plants, water feature, and so on, then your garden – and thus you – will feel much less exposed.

Build Up

If you’re concerned that you are overlooked when you’re in the garden, especially if your kids are playing out and there are strangers looking in as they walk by for example, then why not just neutralise this problem by blocking their view? By installing solid fence panels around your property, or building up the wall at the back or side of your garden if there’s one already there, you’ll be limiting the view that others have of your backyard space. The taller the fence, the less that they’ll be able to see. This is a quick process, so you’ve got more than enough time to get it installed before summer arrives.

Find a Cosy Corner

You’re unlikely to be using all of your garden when it comes to simply unwinding. So instead of working to make the whole garden private, pick a cosy corner in which you’ll relax, and focus on making that space covered. If you have a corner with a few trees already there, then you can attach a hammock, and you’ll feel like you’re in your own private oasis, even if you know there are dozens of people living around you.

A large patio area with porch. Seating and table. Two ladies with snacks and drinks chatting, one playing guitar.

A Porch Area

Of course, a hammock isn’t going to be much good when you’re hosting friends and family for an afternoon outdoors! To make a more private social space, consider building a covered area at the back of your house. This doesn’t have to be anything complicated; it can be as simple as installing a wooden structure with plants that grow up the side. It won’t bring total coverage, but will be enough to feel more comfortable. A gazebo would also do the trick.

What tips do you have for a more secluded garden? Tell me in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.

How To Get Your Garden Ready For Summer

The sun is starting to finally make an appearance and Spring is now well underway! But is your garden ready for the summer yet? If not, don’t worry! There is still time yet to get it into shape for those lovely long summer days ahead! Read my guide and your garden will be ready to enjoy in no time…

How To Get Your Garden Ready For Summer title with faded background image of garden

Tidy Up

Get the lawn mower out, or at least use a trimmer around the edges. Weed the nettles and cut back any overgrown sections. There is no need to overdo it, especially if, like me, you prefer a more natural feel to your outdoor space. Just a quick neaten up is all it really needs. Also, put down some grass seeds if it is looking bare in places too.

Close up image of a lawn mower

Get Planting

Now is the time to make sure you get planting, if you haven’t already done so. Growing your own food is a brilliant way to enjoy your garden, be healthy and help the environment too! Choose companion plants to protect your crops and encourage pollinators to your garden.

Consider your senses when selecting your choices of plants and flowers too; for example, lambs ears are wonderfully tactile, and herbs will give your garden some lovely scents, while flowers will provide vibrant colours. Also consider growing some climbers for shade and privacy too.

A flatlay picture of gardening gloves, hat and pruning shears

Furniture

A well chosen piece of garden furniture really helps to maximise enjoyment. Table and chairs are a popular choice of course, particularly for dining al fresco, or perhaps you might like a garden bench. This teak garden furniture guide is a useful read before you invest. Don’t forget some cushions and blankets for your outdoor comfort too!

Also, it is handy to include a parasol in your garden set- up for shade. Or perhaps even consider a gazebo, especially if you are likely to have guests outside.

An image of a garden patio with various items of furniture, including sun lounger, table and chairs, and a bench. Plus parasol for shade.

Lighting

Get some solar outdoor lighting so that you can continue to enjoy your garden long into the warm summer evenings, even as the sun sets. Fairy lights, around the edge of a gazebo for example, also look really pretty.

Remember the Wildlife

Whilst getting your garden ready for summer, remember the wildlife too! Take care when mowing that there are no creatures hiding anywhere, and also spare a thought for their habitats when gardening. I personally like to leave a section of garden growing freely to encourage wildlife into our garden as well.

Bird baths and feeders, bat boxes, hedgehog hideaways and insect hotels are an asset to your garden all year round. Being around nature is relaxing and therapuetic; you will likely find you enjoy your garden even more when you share it!

Bird house hanging from a branch of a tree

What are your top tips for the perfect summer garden? Share in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Simple

If you’re one of the growing numbers of people who are becoming more and more concerned about the use of pesticides in the food chain, and you’re thinking of feeding your own family by growing your own healthy organic vegetables, here are some tips that will make the whole process much simpler for you…

 Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Simple title on faded background image

Get Yourself in a Greenhouse

If you get yourself one of the greenhouses from https://www.swgreenhouses.co.uk/greenhouses-for-sale.html, you will be able to grow a wider range of vegetables for a long period of time. You may even be able to grow some of your favourite fruits and veggies out of season.

Prepare the Soil Carefully

If you want your vegetables to grow and thrive, then you need to ensure that your soil is rich in organic nutrients. That means, before you even think about planting anything, you should ensure that you have worked plenty of organically created compost into the soil. If you do nothing else, then do this because it will ensure not only a bumper crop but a tastier one too.

Delicious looking cabbages growing in the soil

Choose Foods That Will Thrive Where You Live

It’s an obvious one, but there is little point in choosing to plant vegetables that are unlikely to thrive in the kind of weather conditions you’re dealing with. If you’re unsure which veggies are likely to thrive in your garden space, ask an expert at your local garden centre, read a book like the one at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Allotment-Almanac or talk to local gardeners in your area. They will typically know what’s best for you, and most will be only too happy to share their knowledge.

A bumper crop of fruit

Heirloom Veggies are Best

There are lots of things that get better with age – like fine wines and vegetables. No, I’m not talking mouldy old vegetables; but seeds! Heirloom seeds are seeds collected from older varieties of produce, and they are almost always cheaper and more flavoursome, not to mention nutritious, than modern versions. They can sometimes be difficult to find, but it’s worth the effort trying to source them.

Flowers are a Veggie Garden’s Best Friends

You might be wondering why you would want to take up precious organic veggie growing space with flowers, apart from the fact they’re pretty that is, but the fact is that flowers will attract bees and bees will pollinate your veggies, so that you don’t have to do quite so much of the work yourself manually. Plant them around the borders, and you will soon see lots of little pollinators coming to pay a visit.

Worms are Fantastic

When it comes to organic gardening, you should absolutely be creating your own compost, and you know what makes really good compost and garden mulch? Worms. Invest in a wormery, and you’ll never want for high-quality compost again. Seriously, they make way better compost than you’d get just by collecting your scraps in a bin.

Check Seeds are certified Organic

Not all seeds are organic, so when it comes to buying the stock you plan to grow in your garden and greenhouse, you should always seek to verify that your seeds are indeed organic. If you don’t do this, then your veggies simply won’t be organic, despite your best efforts, so it is important to do the checks.

A raised planting bed

Raised Beds Extend the Season

If you plant your veggies in raised beds, using the richest soil you can find, you can probably extend the season of your produces, sometimes quite dramatically. It’s also much easier to weed veggies in boxes because they aren’t as close to the ground. Of course, you need to make sure that any beds you use are made from natural untreated wood, or there could be some chemical leakage into the soil.

Alternatively, you might want to think about growing things vertically using cages or trellis, which means you have more space to increase your yields and better circulation that can help to prevent blight and other diseases.

Plant Companions

Nature is smart, and it creates plants that thrive well together. By identifying these companions and planting them close together, you can cut down on the amount of insects who attempt to lunch on your veggies, grow more volume and cut down on the risk of disease, to name but a few benefits. So do your homework, work out which veggies are best friends and plant them accordingly.

Time to get your wellies on and get gardening! What are you growing this year?

*This is a collaborative post.

The 3 Must-Haves for Any Vegetable Garden

Growing your own veg is such a privilege and if you have the garden space, you should definitely make use of it. However, you do need to be careful about how you prioritize your space to get the most out of the land and bring in a good haul come the harvest.

There are some great advantages you can gain from adding green tools like rainwater harvesting to your garden, but if you are just looking for the basics, here are the things you will need.

The 3 Must-Haves for Any Vegetable Garden title with a picture of delicious fresh vegetables in a basket.

A Greenhouse

Having a greenhouse is ideal for any gardener but it is a must for a serious fruit and vegetable grower. Choose one of a good size that will hold lots of tender plants such as courgettes and tomatoes as well as seedlings that need to be kept warm until they are ready to be planted out. Have a look at https://www.greenhousestores.co.uk/ for some ideas of what you could get.

With your greenhouse set up, you will be able to multiply your output easily as critters are kept away from your more tempting plants and youngsters are kept away from the frost. Your greenhouse will also come in handy over the winter when less hardy plants need a little bit more warmth.

A Compost Heap (or Two)

To grow great crops you need great soil. To have great soil, you need compost. Compost is simply a large pile of rotting materials including things like old leaves from the garden, kitchen food waste and green matter such as grass clippings. While you can certainly buy decent compost and fertiliser at your local garden centre, it seems wasteful to get rid of all the natural goodness coming from your own garden.

Making a good compost heap is very simple. All you need to do is set aside a space like a compost bin and then add in all the organic materials. Turn the heap over using a garden fork every so often to ix the ingredients as they degrade. This will also increase the amount of oxygen in the heap, fuelling the whole process.

Worms will do most of the work for you with your compost heap so make sure that if you find any around the garden, you introduce them and let them settle in. If you want to, you can also buy worms over the internet and add them to your heap.

A Plan

You might not think it, but planning a year ahead is vital for making the most of your vegetable garden and increasing your crops. From making sure that your rotate crops to give the soil a chance to recover to planting seeds at the right time so that they are ready for planting out, having a vegetable garden planner is vital.

With a bit of planning, a sensible use of space and a healthy compost heap, you and your vegetables will be as happy as Larry under the summer sun. Though you can never guarantee the best crop, with a little bit of help, you can get a little closer to perfection.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Planning Your Vegetable Garden

This is a guest post written by Tim from Yard and Garden Guru.

garden,gardening,fruit and veg growing,grow your own,growing food,clean eating,green living, outdoors, wellbeing

There is no right way or wrong way when it comes to having a vegetable garden, although things have to be done a sure way to help your plants prosper. Vegetable gardening for beginners can be as natural as you want to make it, yet it is advisable to ease yourself into rather than becoming overwhelmed.

Your area will detect how large a veg garden you have, yet lack of size is no excuse not to give vegetable gardening a go. If you plan it right, you can have an abundance of crops even in the smallest of places. Regardless of the area and how you grow your vegetables, there are a few things that you will have to adhere to.

garden,gardening,fruit and veg growing,grow your own,growing food,clean eating,green living, outdoors, wellbeing

Location

As you will be deciding where to have your vegetable garden, it should be noted that vegetables require 6-8 hours of sun per day. To make sure they can achieve this, you choose the sunniest parts of your garden and make sure your rows face east to west. Leafy green vegetables require a little less and are not keen on the harsh sun so these can go in your not so sunny areas.

It is also advisable to have direct access to your garden from your home, this way you will see when it needs tending to.

Size is Important

The ideal space allocation you are looking for is 16 feet X 10 feet. As your rows will face east to west, this means the longest edge of the bed will face north and south. If you are limited for a space of this size, you can scale it down or use raised beds. The critical thing to remember is that your rows are 18 inches apart.

Raised beds, on the other hand, should be 8 feet by 4 feet, and the depth of the bed should be 10 – 12 inches.

Soil Preparation

This process will be mainly for direct planting into the earth rather than a raised bed. However, it doesn’t hurt to add some organic material as this is full of rich nutrients that will only help your vegetables.

The first stage is to remove all weeds and then turn your soil. Regular soil should have a pH of around 7. If you find your ground is below this, a good inch to 2 inches of organic material can be added. Once done you should water thoroughly and leave for 2 days before commencing.

Planting

Once you have your prepared patch, you can think about planting your seeds. Some gardeners germinate their seeds indoors and transplant, although a plant will be hardier if they are directly sown.

Growing distances are explained on the packs of seeds. You also have climbing vegetables which have to be considered. These often go on the back of your patch to catch the most sun. 

garden,gardening,fruit and veg growing,grow your own,growing food,clean eating,green living, outdoors, wellbeing

Raised Beds

When you plan on having a vegetable garden, you always read that you should start small. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using raised beds. They might appear to require a lot more work with construction etc… Yet they do bring many benefits when compared to growing directly into your garden patch.

A few of the benefits of raised beds are as follows:

Easier to Manage – raised beds are ideal for smaller areas.

Soil Protection – as the soil is confined in the surround, it will remain soft and will allow roots to spread much more comfortable over time.

Extended Growing Season – a raised bed will warm up quicker than the ground. Irrigation is also conducted easier due to the softer soil.

Maintenance – Apart from the surround, as many are made from wood. You will have less digging and weeding to carry out through the growing season or during the growing season.

Irrigation – as the soil is much softer, the land can drain easier, and in some areas of the country, you can grow vegetables that would not otherwise grow.

Soil Preparation – Many areas have earth which is not ideal, and it requires a lot of organic material to get the pH correct. Raised beds use good quality topsoil which already has the perfect pH levels. Raised beds also make it easier to control mulch and fertilizer as the areas are defined.

Access – if you have a regular vegetable patch, you will have to define pathways. With raised beds, these paths are automatically determined by the beds themselves. They also make it easier for individuals who are unable to bend or are wheelchair bound to access their vegetables.

A healthy high yielding vegetable garden requires only a few things. Plenty of sun, adequate watering, good soil and some tender loving care. If you have all these things, you can learn the rest as you go along.

garden,gardening,fruit and veg growing,grow your own,growing food,clean eating,green living, outdoors, wellbeing

Author Bio

Tim Graham writes at the yardandgardenguru.com, and you can also find him on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

April 2015

Ok, since I have gotten lazy about blogging lately here is April all rolled into one…

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Spring walks
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Highfield Park, including some of the tree trail with friends
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Growing our own food
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Science experiment- celery in food colouring
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Sand and water play
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Problem solving- how to patch up a leak with resources available
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Art group- foam marbling
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General garden fun
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Squiggle designed a carrier bag kite and parachute
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Quality time with our cats
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Observing and discussing the sky above- including clouds, rainbows, sunrise and sunset
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Playdate at home
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Writing
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Princess Diana Playground, Kensington
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Aldenham SEN playground
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Designing own games and activities
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Art and crafts
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Fun at a park
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Physical games- cone activities
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More playground fun- with grandad
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Butterfly World
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New 'Music Meadow' at Butterfly World
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Seaside- yes, she did steal daddys cardigan for a short while!
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Art group
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Art group- butterfly symmetry painting
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Art and Science! Put a few drops of food colouring into milk. Then put some washing liquid on a cotton bud, dip it in and let the colours disperse. Makes an interesting 'painting'
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Exploring instruments- lots of singing and dancing too!
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Park with a friend

We also did lots of Easter activities, which I blogged about separately, and have been to music class but haven’t got any photos of that! Last but not least, we did various circus themed activities, but that needs it’s own post!

Van Hage- it really is more than just a garden centre!

We went to Van Hage today, not for the first time, but I really think it deserves a mention as a great (and FREE) family trip out. In addition to things you might typically expect to find in a garden centre there is a lovely animal garden. They have a range of animals there and offer opportunities to interact with some of the animals at weekends and during school holidays (see website for details). There is even a miniature train ride (small charge of 80p per passenger applies).

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Stroking a snake at the reptile encounter today.
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She had the opportunity to touch a lizard.
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The chickens roam around freely and some are happy to be touched.
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They have a lovely range of animals.
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Looking at the giant bunnies and goats.
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She was able to stroke a tortoise today as well.
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We enjoy looking at the pretty displays.
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There are fun facts and activities in the animal garden.
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She learnt she was about the same height as a penguin.
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There is lots of useful information available.
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There are lots of flowers to look at to of course!
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The pet shop has a resident cat.
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There are lots of interesting things to look at in general.

 

Definitely worth a visit! See website for more details of events and activities http://www.vanhage.co.uk/garden-centres/great-amwell/