Thursday, 17 March 2011

Garden DIY.

Following a revamp of the garden back in the early 90's the only space for growing fruit or veg was within the fruit cage. The raspberries were eventually removed (suffered with cane spot disease) and over the ensuing years most of the free space within the cage was used for plant propagation and storing pots etc. We have grown a few potatoes, tomatoes and salad crops in large pots for two years but I have been dabbling with the idea of resurrecting a proper vegatable growing area by creating a raised bed within the fruit cage. The cost of a ready made kit seemed rather expensive so the DIY skills came into operation.

First a measure up of the available space, then a quick sketch and a visit to a local fencing company secured the relevant timber (barge boards and posts) at a much more reasonable cost. First job was to clear out the bed area and then construct the solid beast to sit within the confines of the existing paving.

I have purposely split the bed into two compartments so that it will be easier in the future to replace the soil when needed. You may ask "Why so tall?" ... well who wants to keep bending over as they get older!
The most laborious task was locating existing and buying additional compost to fill it up! Well I'm nearly there (just some good topsoil now needed) and then we can start to plan the crops for this year.

The rest of the garden is looking after itself .... the ever expanding clumps of Leucojum vernum are providing splashes of white, green tipped miniture lanterns throughout the main border.

Elsewhere more colour is now apparent with the yellow Narcissus, pink-red Symphytum (Comfrey)  spreading out everywhere, spots of blue from the Scillas (Squills) and Brunnera 'Jack Frost' starting to open its tiny delicate flowers, plus the pinkish-white Prunus blossom which won't last long if we get some strong winds and the increasing display from the varied Hellebores.  

At long last the darkest of the Hellebores has opened up to provide pollen for any visiting insects.  FAB.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly about the raised, raised beds. ;) I, too, don't want to bend over!

    Lovely garden and flowers.

  2. Frank, you sure are ambitious but nothing tastes better than fresh veggies from your own garden! Your flower photos are so lovely and refreshing to my eyes!

  3. Raised beds are a boon when the joints start to creak and protest. Did you find it surprising just how much soil is needed to fill it - I know I did when I ventured to build one only half the height of yours.
    A lovely show of early flowers to enjoy after a day's DIY.

  4. That box is a great invention Frank.
    Lovely flower collages as well.

  5. Great idea Frank. You should get some good results from that.
    Beautiful selection of blooms too.
    Puts my garden to shame.

  6. You have been busy Frank, well done with the DIY ;)

    Those Snowflakes are really beautiful, I have never seen them in gardens here, I shall have to look into that, I do like them!

    All that delicious Spring colour! Really lovely, and puts my garden to shame.

  7. Raised beds are a good thing - I have a bad back. Have to be very careful how I bend, etc. Your photos are lovely.

  8. Hi Frank,
    There is nothing better than eating freshly picked or dug vegetables, especially when they are from your own plot! Raised beds are a fantastic way of growing all sorts of veg, but especially root vegetables.
    I love it when the Brunnera start to flower, I find their flowers truly beautiful.
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

  9. I have an area that would be perfect for that raised bed. guess I should build one. Start it out as a compost bin and when I have enough good stuff..start planting.

  10. Very interesting article Frank, and lovely pics!

  11. Showing off some impressive DIY skills there Frank. Look forward to seeing some results later on in the year.

  12. As a fellow garden lover and grower well done.

  13. Very nice, Frank!! You put a lot of work into the raised bed...can't wait to see it this summer when it's filled to the brim with veggies!

  14. Hi Everyone. Sorry for the delay in responding but I typed a whole list of replies only to find that Google failed!!

    Hi Lois. Yes, anything to make life a little easier.

    Hi Kathie. Well I'm not known for doing anything by halves .. lol. It is nice to be able to walk amongst the colours at long last.

    Hi Midmash John. My initial calculation indicated that it might require approx 900 litres .. OUCH!! Fortunately I already had a reasonable amount ready to use.

    Cheers Roy. Let's hope it lives up to my expectations.

    Thanks Keith. I certainly hope so. BTW I never show the bare and scruffy parts of the garden!

    Hi Jan. The 'Spring Snowflakes' seem to enjoy our heavy clay. I only started with 5 bulbs and regularly split the clumps on an annual basis.

    Hi Mona. Yes, I've been there and don't want a repeat injury.

    Cheers John. Yes, the possibilities are endless. I also enjoy the Brunnera for its leaf patterns.

    HI Carol. That sounds like a good way to start.

    Thanks IOW BIrder.

    Cheers Adam. It was good to handle the tools again and see the idea come to fruition. Now the fun bit starts ... chosing what to grow.

    Hi Andrew. So, can I look forward to viewing some of your plants sometime?

    Thanks Kelly. If only the crops would grow as quickly as the bed was raised!!

  15. I've already some honey bees checking out our hellebores.

  16. Hi Mike B. That is definitely good news. I like the look of your rhubarb.

  17. Wow Frank I missed this post the other day as I've been away from my blog but you have been very busy and look what you accomplished. I gotta hand it to you, you really did a fantastic job. Carol

  18. Thanks very much Carol. Hopefully it will make life easier and produce a few tasty meals in due time.

  19. Wonderful flower shots, Frank. Esp. like the leucojums (?sp) and the bottom hellebore shot. I got out into my gardens for the first time two days ago. I worked for 4 hours raking, pruning, debri removal, etc. but barely put a dent in it! It always seems overwhelming at the beginning of the season. Your photos have such a familiar feel as a fellow gardener. Delicious flowers.

  20. Hi Frank...Better late than never..I have to tell you your flower collage is so gorgeous,...I can't wait *sigh*
    I haven't gotten into container gardening yet since I had a plowed spot , which is now a lawn lol
    Good work on the container!!

  21. Hi Robin. Yes, I know how daunting it can feel when you realise how much tidying up is required after the winter. All that effort will eventually pay off.

    Hi Grammie. Yes, I know how frustrating it is to have to wait for the first colours to appear. Once upon a time half the garden here was lawn and the other half for growing veg but then flowering plants took centre stage.


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


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