10 Jobs for the Autumn Garden

The weather went from 26 degrees yesterday here in Wiltshire to a chilly 14 degrees today with lots of rain! It feels Autumnal already so I thought I would share with you some of the jobs that I plan to do in the next few months in the garden.

Here are my top 10 jobs for this busy season.

  1. Collect seeds. Collecting seeds to grow more lovely plants is a great way to save money and still have wonderfully full borders! My favourite seeds that need to be put away and sown in the Spring are; Cosmos, Sweet peas, Sunflowers, Marigolds, Zinnias and Poppies. My favourite seeds that can be sewn straight away as they need the cold weather to activate them are; Foxgloves, Yarrow, and Astrantia.
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Collect seeds in Autumn

 

2. Keep harvesting vegetables and sew some green winter manure plants now. Harvest fruits. Make apple juice from your apples or slice Bramley apples and freeze in bags to be used to make lovely apple crumble or apple pie.

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Harvest apples.

 

3. Rake and feed your lawn. Repair holes with grass seed.

4. Plant Spring bulbs. My favourites that I will planting this Autumn are snow drops, Fritillaria, daffodils and English bluebells.

5. Sort out your pond. Clean out any leaves and put up some netting to collect falling leaves. Amphibians such as frogs and newts will have left the pond to hibernate so this is a good time to do these jobs.

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6. Divide perennials and move any plants at this time. I don’t tend to tidy perennials now as I like to leave them for wildlife to feed on.

7. Make new compost bins for leaf litter. This makes a lovely compost.

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Leaves make lovely leaf mould that can be used on your plants in the Spring.

8. Clean out water butts and plan any hard landscaping ideas for the winter when plants are dormant.

9. Rake up leaves once a week so that the job doesn’t become too big.

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Rake leaves regularly to stop this job getting too huge!

10. Clear out summer bedding, add bone meal and feed to the soil giving it a good digging over before adding Winter bedding plants.

10 Jobs for the Autumn Garden

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The Old House Garden Round up: Blight, Mildew, Apples and Enormous Dragonflies!

The round-up this week is tinged with sadness as some of my vegetables are just not doing very well! My outdoor tomatoes had blight so I had to take them all out and burn them. In the same vegetable bed I have pumpkins and they have mildew! I have cut off all the affected leaves but I think it has already spread to the other bed. I think I’m going to hope that I can manage it until the pumpkins are ready to harvest. If any one has any suggestions though? I will burn all the leaves and give the bed a good turning over in the Autumn. I expect I will take out most of the soil in this bed and replace it. Luckily, my large compost bin is full and the compost is ready to put onto the garden. I think both the mildew and blight are due to all the rain yet humid conditions we had in July.

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Mildew on the pumpkin leaves that I have removed and burnt.
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It has just spread to the other bed -you can just see the splodges of mildew on the leaves.
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If the pumpkins can hang on I think they should be ok!
The tomatoes in the Greenhouse have been producing fruit though and the beans have been great. The salad leaves, rhubarb and beetroot all seem fine too and we have some plums, pears and crab apples appearing now on the new fruit trees.

The old apple tree is groaning with Bramley apples! They keep falling down though and giving me a shock; especially when the squirrels are chasing each other through the trees! One apple hit me directly on the head the other day and it hurt! Some of the apples are huge!

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Bramley apples on the old apple tree
We had to employ a dry stone waller to repair the wall that fell down. Dottie kept trying to escape so it was a job that needed doing and this was one that we couldn’t do for ourselves. This is the third section of wall that has needed repairing so we are keeping our fingers crossed that this is the last, at least for a number of years anyway!

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The dry stone wall has been repaired.
We have enjoyed some calm and sunny weather here in Wiltshire for the past 2 weeks so I have seen lots of insects enjoying the garden. The most spectacular are these huge dragonflies and damselflies that can be all sorts of stunning colours. This one today was a beautiful red and was massive! I believe you tell the difference by looking at their wings; if they are closed at rest they are damselflies and if they are open at rest, they are dragonflies.

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Photographing these are very tricky as they don’t settle for long!
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One of the beautiful dragonflies here in the Old House Garden.
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I have been enjoying the sunshine this weekend and reading in this spot!
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Dottie enjoying the Japanese Anemones.
 

 

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The meadow keeps the insects happy!
We have been busy in the Middle part of the garden. We started this section and I blogged about it

here

I will be blogging about these changes soon but I will leave you with this teaser….here is Dottie on the soil that we have removed from this part of the garden! It’s taking a while because we are doing it all and it’s very hard work…..I will reveal all soon, I promise!

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Dottie trying to admire the view over the back fence!
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES!

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When life’s moments become hurdles.

I was inspired to write this post after reading a post by the lovely Roda Here

I read her post and her thoughts resonated with me.

I’m going back to work soon; in another week. There is the usual preparation that all teachers get after 6 weeks off but for me, I am returning to a 4 days week job rather than the 2 days I worked last academic year. I’m already making mental notes. I’m already planning out what I need to do/make/change and this creates a slight mania in me that I don’t like. I enjoy my job so why do I make these life moments into hurdles?

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Hitting 40 was a turning point in my life. I think it is for many. All my life I was making life’s moments into a thing. Always planning the next stage in my life. “After we get married we shall save for a house…..after the house we shall have a baby….after this baby I shall move jobs…..” etc etc .The problem with life planning is that these special moments become hurdles. Planning a baby and realising that we needed fertility treatment……planning a job move just to climb the career ladder rather than stay in a job I loved.  Was all this planning really making me content or happy?

With age comes acceptance and the realisation that life moments are to be enjoyed! Let life take you in the direction your heart craves NOT the direction your head thinks you should be travelling. Knowing that sometimes things cannot be planned for.

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So, for the next week I shall be leaving the plans and enjoying my children and family until school starts. The plans can wait whilst I enjoy THIS moment. I needed to be reminded of this as I was making lists! Enjoy each moment as they come and go. Do not make them become hurdles in life to be jumped over.

OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.

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The Gardens of Alcázar of Seville: #MyGloriousGardens.

During a long weekend in Seville, we visited the Alcázar Palace on a gloriously hot day in August. Whilst the weather looks perfect in photographs, it was in fact 42 degrees centigrade and so our visit to the gardens was not as long as I would have liked as Siesta called! The good thing though about the boiling weather was that the palace was not crowded and we could amble around the gardens at our leisure.

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The Courtyard of the Maidens. The orange trees are a fairly recent restoration as a medieval sunken garden was discovered here. The orange blossom must smell wonderful in the Spring!

The extensive gardens have undergone many changes in the life of the palace which was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1987. The gardens extend over seven hectares and are surrounded by walls of varying age and colours. The different areas of the garden reflect the periods of time that have passed since this glorious place was built. Over hundreds of years, areas of the palace and gardens have been extended and changed giving the whole complex distinctly different areas. In the main, the gardens are formal gardens with water being a major part of the Moorish design in the form of rills and pools. The gardens would have been planted to provide food for the palace but also for pleasure.

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The many trees surrounded by formal hedging in the garden Garden of Vega Inclan.
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Entrance into the Garden of Vega Inclan and English Gardens

Moving away from the Palace lay The Garden of the Poets with pools and rills of water.  The planting is of palm, cypress, myrtle, mulberries, magnolia, orange and lemon trees.

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Rills of water are a major feature in this part of the garden known as The garden of the Poets.
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Beautiful formal fountains
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Mosaic tiled places to sit and admire the surroundings and rest in the heat.

The gardens of the Alcázar of Seville have undergone many changes. In the 16th century during the reign of Philip III the Italian designer Vermondo Resta introduced the Italian Mannerist style. He was responsible for changing an old wall into a viewing Loggia to enable visitors to admire parts of the gardens. This is a fabulous spot to take photographs of the garden as you get to look down and admire the views.

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View towards the palace from the Loggia. The small orange building plays music
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The Loggia was once an old wall.
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View towards the main garden with pools.
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A lovely and welcome shady spot!

Nearest the Palace buildings lies the Mercury Pond, named after the God, Mercury. This pool was made in 1586 and as it lies higher than other parts of the garden acting as a reservoir for many of the other water features nearby. This area of the garden is known as The Garden of the Reservoir.

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The Mercury Pool in the Garden of the Reservoir
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Lots of Koi Carp in the Mercury pond.
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This section is nearest the Palace and has wonderfully decorated tiles and fountains.
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The entrance to the old wine cellars were a cool place to sit.
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The old wine cellars were stunning inside.

The Gardens of Alcázar of Seville were amazing and I would love to go back in the Spring to see the orange blossom and to visit without battling such boiling temperatures. So many kings and queens have walked in these gardens and there is so much history that one afternoon is not enough.

My advice? Take your time and visit for a couple of days.

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6 Teen Sayings of the Summer

I read an excellent post by Four Princesses and the Cheese Here

A brilliant post about the things Kirstin’s little children have repeatedly said over the summer. It made me laugh as I thought about what my teenagers have been repeatedly saying over the summer. So here is my version….. thankyou Kirstin for the inspiration!

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1. I’ll do it in a minute…..

Well you clearly won’t though will you?? Whether it be chores (my kids get chores each day) or taking your dirty dishes to the kitchen you won’t “do it in a minute!” You will leave it until I remind you and then get cross because I am apparently nagging you to do your chores! Sometimes your chores need to be done so that I can get on and do mine. For example, I would like you to walk Dottie dog so that I can mop the floors when she’s out….actually hang on, you don’t walk Dottie because that would mean getting out of bed before lunch. Doing it ‘in a minute’ means doing whatever the ‘it’ is when you are ready to do it. Perhaps you should say, “I will do it when I want to?”
2. Is that what we’re eating??

Yes, clearly this is what we are eating! Actually, I’ve decided to lay the table with food that I think you may like to eat but if you don’t I’ll just go and prepare something else…….obviously. We have actually eaten this before as I’m not a cook and I have about 3 things that we eat in rotation. Dad cooks more than me and you know that so yes, this is what I am eating and this is what is being offered to you. Eat and be happy.

3. There is never any food in this house!

Clearly as I let you both starve. Let’s look in the cupboards…..oh look! There is lots of food in there. In fact, there is also lots of food in the freezer. No, we haven’t got any treats/snacks/cereal left as you have eaten all of that in 2 days since I went to the supermarket. Why not eat an apple? No? Try toast then and why not drink more milk! I only bought 6 pints yesterday and I will have to go later to buy more bread and milk.

4. Where is my blue top/black jeans/clean sports socks?

I have no idea. Perhaps the clothing fairy has taken it?? The clothing fairy takes all sorts in this house and will sometimes wash and dry clothes too if she feels like it. Or perhaps it is in the washing basket having been already washed by the washing fairy aka me, and needs to be put away? Oh, that was your chore was it? Ok, well that’s where it will be unless……oh look it’s stuffed at the back of your wardrobe where you stuffed it!

5. You are so annoying!

Yeap. It’s my life ambition to be annoying. I love to be annoying so much that I go out of my way to be annoying, just for you. I’m not particularly annoying to your Dad or friends or even work colleagues. I leave that especially for you. Call me annoying mum! Do all of the things you need to do and I become not annoying mum. She is much nicer and less annoying apparently.

6. It’s only like £50…..

Yes. I also love that top/jeans/makeup brush for “only £50.” It doesn’t mean that I’m going to buy it for you. You’ve spent your allowance/earnings by August 1st? Oh! sorry to hear that! Yes, it’s only £50…a bargain apparently. And no, I won’t lend you the money until next month because you already owe me money and I told you not to buy that make-up/pair of ridiculously expensive socks. Yes, I know I’m annoying, you already said that!

So there you have it! The 6 teen sayings of the summer thanks to my lovely children. They are great really and I have enjoyed the summer with them but they can go back to school now please. Thank you. 😉

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Blogger Recognition Award numbers 2, 3 and 4!

I have been nominated three times this week for the Bloggers Recognition Award by the lovely Cherylene over at Living Vs existing,by the equally lovely Roda over at Growing self

Lastly I was also nominated by Catie over at Diary of an imperfect mum

Do go and check out their blogs if you haven’t already found them.

The Blogger Recognition Award is one that fellow bloggers can award each other to spread the blogger love and to acknowledge other bloggers. It’s also a great way to read other blogs and to find new readers for your own blog! Some bloggers prefer not to join in and that’s ok! I always do because it’s all for fun.

The Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 10 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

Oldhouseintheshires

I started this blog 9 months ago to document the changes that we had planned for the oldhouse. It quickly evolved into a parenting/educational/garden blog! I tend to blog about things I enjoy and it’s a lovely hobby. I am a teacher and work with Primary aged children in Wiltshire. In 9 months I have learnt so much and “met” so many lovely bloggers’ there is a great community out there!

My advice to new bloggers.

I have written about this here:

Advice to new bloggers

Am I an inbetween blogger?

My nominees are (in no particular order!)

1.Momdeavor

2.Mummybearbaker

3. Lucyathome

4. Motherofteenagers

5. Katiewritesblog

6. Unrewardedgeniuses

7. Rachelmcclary

8. The travellingdiaryofadippydottygirl

9. I am river

10. Vintagefeminist

Have fun!

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How to improve your soil with 5 common kitchen ingredients.

KI have written a post about how to make compost here

Not everyone has room in their garden for a compost bin so here are 5 common kitchen waste products that you can use to improve your soil and enjoy healthy plants.

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Add Eggshells to your soil.
  1. Egg shells
    • Dry the eggshells in a bowl on a sunny window sill. Once they are dry they crush really easily.
    • Crushed eggshells add extra drainage and calcium to your soil. I find they also prevent rot in tomato plants.
    • Work the crushed shell into the soil or add crushed shell to the base of plants to help deter snails and slugs. They don’t like the feel of the crushed shell so should avoid your young seedlings or plants. See my post about deterring these pests organically

here

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Add banana skins to your garden for improved drainage.

2. Banana skins

  • Adding cut up banana skins to your soil will help improve drainage as they encourage worms. They rot down quickly leaving lovely crumbly soil.
  • Banana skins add calcium, magnesium, sulphur, phosphorus, potassium and sodium to your soil which are needed for healthy plant growth.

3. Epsom Salts

  • Magnesium is incredibly low in many people’s diets and has been declining in our vegetables since the 1950’s. Magnesium is needed for enzyme reactions and is a basic requirement in maintaining healthy body functions. Adding Epsom salts to our soil where we grow vegetables will help this.
  • Add Epsom salts to the base of your vegetables; especially cabbages, broccoli, lettuce and peppers.
  • Add to your tomatoes for healthy fruits.
  • If your plant leaves are curly, it may be due to a magnesium deficiency so give Epsom salts a try.  Epsom salts can be added to the watering can too but make sure to water the base of your plants not their leaves.
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Coffee Grounds are great for Acid loving plants.

3. Coffee Grounds

  • I empty my coffee pods of their coffee grounds and add this to my compost bin. You can also add coffee grounds straight to the soil as a general fertiliser adding Nitrogen.
  • Coffee grounds are particularly good for acid loving plants such as Rhododendrons, Azaleas,  heathers and blueberries.
  • Coffee Grounds work very well as a mulch around plants. Earthworms love them but slugs don’t tend to.

5. Tea Bags

  • Snip open dried tea bags and use their contents in your garden.
  • Use them in the same way as coffee grounds to improve soil.
  • Pop them into your watering can and water the plants with your tea water.

There we have it! I hope you have found these tips useful.

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