• Hollyhocks add decadent architecture to any garden
  • Design With Dahlias for Autumn Colour
  • It’s time for Tulips
  • An African daisy to add simplistic chic
  • Prepare your winter garden with Sedum Herbstfreude
  • Create vibrant winter pots with Skimmia
  • Smother a rockery with thrift
  • Delve into the world of Aquilegia
  • Prepare for bees with Pulmonaria
  • Create a carpet with Ajuga reptans

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Upcycle Pallets for a Homemade Garden

Pallets, pallets, pallets. They’re everywhere, right? Until you actually want one. Luckily, our large vivarium (yes, I keep dart frogs too) was delivered on a pallet and it’s still standing outside the house. But, they’re pretty available; walk past a street full of skips and you’re sure to find some. The thing is, these pallets are sat there just waiting to be upcycled. I can’t bring myself to throw out the current one and, now I’m starting to plan the new garden, I’ve realised there are several uses I can put this too. On my lengthy excursions to Pinterest, and other gardeners websites, I’ve stumbled across some amazing ideas so here’s just three that I, myself, am considering for this sole pallet. I’m sure to be on the hunt for more soon!

A Pallet Gate

The new garden needs to have very specific zones for ornamental and vegetables, largely to keep the dog from peeing on the cabbages. For this, I’m going to need a gate but, you know, buying a house ain’t cheap and we’re not going to be flush with money. Especially after rewiring the new place!

Palet Gate

A pallet gate discovered on Pinterest.

I discovered the post to the left on Pinterest, and it certainly shows just how easy a pallet gate can be to make. Other than the pallet itself, you need very little other than some gate hinges and pivots which can be cheaply picked up from Barrier Components. I’d face the flat side of the gate towards the ornamental garden so the rough looks towards the vegetable patch. OR you could orientate it as is, nail a couple of boards across the bottom to create a box and actually plant into the gate itself; sedums, for example, or some carex. I’d also be tempted to paint the pallet too.

 

 

A Pallet Shelf

I love this idea…and not only for the wine! If you’re like me and prefer planting and digging than sowing and nailing, then this is a project for you. Simple get two pallets, paint them and nail them together. Two or three paving slabs can then be used as a top and, hey presto, you have yourself a ‘wine bar’. I’m pretty sure I’m going to use my sole pallet as a garden gate BUT, I really want to try this too. So, I suppose the hunt (read skip-diving) to find two more pallets in the best possible condition.

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Even I’d be able to knock up this garden table.

 

 A Pallet Green Wall

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An extremely simple green wall

Okay, you seen some pallet upcycles and think ‘there’s no way I’ll be able to do that‘. Well, like the above pallet shelf, this green wall is extremely easy to do. You’ll often see some pallets stuffed with soil and planted up, but I wonder how well those really work unless you actually put some form of lining within. I mean, surely the soil begins to settle downwards and every time the plants are watered, debris breaks out below. Also, they must dry out very quickly. This alternate idea is perfect because it’s simple, cheap and easy to change when you want to.

All you need to do is cut the pallet in half to reduce it’s weight. I’d probably take some wax or oil to the pallet first, or paint, to give it a bit of colour and also repel water as much as possible, particularly if it’s not in a sheltered spot. Other than some stain, you just need a couple of hooks or a chain to hang the pallett.

You can swap the pots and birdfeeders at will. You could use it as a tool rack for trowels and forks. Be careful not to overload the pallet and that it’s securely fixed to the wall.

 

These three ideas as very simple to do and I’m going to attempt all three at some point in the new garden. I’ll post pics when I get my projects completed!

 

On My Oasis – Autumn Arrives

There’s no hiding now; autumn has certainly arrived. There a chill in the air for mornings, those dewy grass stems fail to dry even in the sunlight and the leaves are starting to drop in cascades. I, for one, love it. It’s that time of change, a season of preparing for shut down and getting the garden in order and, for me, the time to move – YES, I’ve bought a house.

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An autumn rosehip.

I know, there’s a long way from having an offer accepted to getting your hands on those keys, but I can finally start planning and getting some new garden design drawings down on paper. I’m very lucky to have snagged at 80ft south facing garden with a little conservatory area; oh, be still now my beating heart. It’s a typically thin, terraced garden so I’m going to have to take care to get my aviary, chickens, veg patch, greenhouse and borders into the mix in a stylish and fun new way. Also, there’s the lawn and a bitch to think about; we do need a lawn, but I’m going to keep it as small as possible and get the dog to piddle to one side (if she’s that obedient).

It’s odd looking out at my current garden and knowing this is the last season I’ll see in it. Pot washing and digging up is going to have to start happening in a frenzy now. Luckily it’s the right season to do this; I couldn’t have really timed it better! The herbaceous plants are yet to disappear into the soil so I know where they are. The creatures haven’t yet fully hibernated, so I can still shift log piles and compost heaps. And, to get through some of the summer’s growth, I needn’t be too concerned about chopping things back.

So, it’s all go on my oasis. What’s happening on yours?

A spent agapanthus sheds its seeds.

A spent agapanthus sheds its seeds.

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The leaves on a cornus start to change.



A History of Summerhouses

You’re probably all bored to death of me going on about how I’m moving. But, for anyone who has bought a house, you know how it completely takes over your life! One of the good things about the house hunt, is the excitement of what’s to come. And that, for me, is all about new gardens and SHOPPING! I’ve been looking a lot at chicken coops, but also summer houses and sheds that I can both use to convert into my birdroom and a cosy spot to enjoy the views of the garden from. iLikeSheds.com got in contact about this infographic, so I thought I’d share; I think perhaps I’ll just opt for a wooden structure rather than a brick-built castle turret!

ILikeSheds Octagonal Summerhouses Infographic

On My Oasis – Coq au vin and Choosing Chickens

Charlotte

The last girl standing – Gabby, the Buff Nankin

So, this girl on the left is the last one standing. In fact, when I say girl, I mean transgender. This little Buff Nankin started life as a hen called Gabby. They’re not huge layers like many bantams, preferring to lay just one or two clutches per year instead of the egg machines we’ve become used to. I found Gabby and her sister rather flighty birds, never willing to become too tame and always ready to flee. The only exception to this was when they were broody – boy, did they give a good peck during those times. In the past year, however, old age has had a rather dramatic effect and Gabby has undergone a transformation. Her wattles and comb have become larger and more vibrant red. Her tail feathers have lengthened a little and……she’s started to crow. Not a enormous, deafening and neighbour-annoying sound, but something that says ‘I’m not a hen anymore‘.

After the last of my Silkies died, I was left with Gabby and two Rhode Island Reds. I say ‘died‘ – it was more like ‘murdered‘. Despite having hatched the Rhodies and looked after the tiny chicks, my Silkie seemed to attract the unwanted attention of her grown offspring and they became huge bullies in the run. Gabby would hide in the corner, whilst my Silkie took to spending her life in the nest box. I separated them to try and calm things down but she wasn’t happy on her own. Unfortunately, the brutes just seemed to stamp all sense of life out of her (it wasn’t physical, but just constant stress). That was a HUGE black mark against them. And, i’m afraid, more black marks came when they started eating their eggs. I tried everything; replacing eggs with egg-shaped wood, putting chilli powder on eggs,  taking out the nestbox, changing it’s location etc. Nothing worked, and for the past six months at least I’ve not managed to claim a freshly and unscathed egg once.

© Geoff Wakeling

Though gorgeous, Rhode Island’s are rather brutish. I’ll be going back to Light Speckled Sussex (behind)

This weekend was the end. I don’t like the wringing of necks, but I’ll do it if I have to. Luckily, a friend was up for the weekend and he came and sorted the hens out for me so I didn’t have to do it myself. That’s the thing with keeping lifestock; eventually, the end arrives. And, much as I like hens, these were bullying, egg eating individuals that I saw no way to keep or pass on to a new home. I have to say, however, they WERE good for something and a scrumptious Coq au vin followed.

Now, alas, I’m left with poor little transgender Gabby who I didn’t have the heart to also say goodbye too…after all, he, she, has done nothing wrong. Despite chickens being sociable creature, there seems to be sense of relief in the coop. He certainly looks happier, scratching around, crowing and even taking some greens from my hand…..far different from the nervous creature he was before the two rogues were dealt their last blow. After the move I’m determined to get some more hens….though now knowing Rhode Island Reds, it won’t be them. Some of the nicest hens I’ve ever kept were Light Speckled Sussex; gorgeous birds, friendly and good, reliable egg layers though not the hardiest of specimens. I also can’t help but love the fluffy Silkie, and I think I’ll get one to have as a brooder. And there’ll be transgender Gabby in the mix too, with his funny little crow to make a mark on wherever new we move to!

On My Oasis – Greece’s Sunny Shores

Okay, this may make some of your green with envy, but my oasis this week was Greece. I finally went on my honeymoon (we split it from the wedding so we’d having something to look forward to). Whilst I sat on the beautiful pebble beach, it was hard to worry about whether my pots were getting blown around by Hurricane Gonzalez. The news seemed to think it was a big deal, but when I got back, every plastic pot was still in place. Did it affect you?

Anyhow, as I was away, not alot’s actually happened at home so I thought I’d post a few pics of the beautiful views, shores and plants of Paxos. This little island is off the coast of Corfu and is STUNNING. Unknowingly, we arrived at the end of the season when most tourists had left, and on our fourth day there everything shut (other than one old man’s grill and the supermarkets). However, it did mean we got beaches, vistas and mountain walks to ourselves. In addition, an EPIC 13 hour thunderstorm whipped the sea into such a frenzy that we couldn’t get back to the mainland and missed out flight. Okay, we had to shell out more money for new ones but we got an extra day in this beautiful place. I highly recommend it!



WIN a Makita Rotary Hammer Drill worth £90

It’s a new month so what does that mean….? A NEW GIVEAWAY. For November, I’ve got a fantastic Makita Rotary Hammer Drill to give to one lucky reader, courtesy of the folks at Anglia Tool Centre. The colder months are the ideal time to do a little DIY work in the garden when the plants don’t need so much care. You might need to repair the shed to prevent winter leaks, or fix-up the fence so storm damage doesn’t destroy it further. Luckily, with this drill making those repairs should be extremely quick and easy!

To maximise your chances, utilise all the Rafflecopter’s options; you can Tweet daily too, so you can gain even more entries. Good luck!

MakitaRotaryHammerDrill

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Welcome to The Guide to Gay Gardening's new look!


Living in the grey smog of London utopia, I forge my little existence in a slightly loopy, hermity, hippy manner, sharing my life with the hens, cats and other menagerie that have somehow taken over my life.

If I'm not enjoying the great outdoors with my netbook in hand, I'll be snipping, pruning, planting, cutting, propagating, shovelling, or just plain admiring. You can even catch the occasional glimpse of me on the TV now and then!

Take the weight off for a while. Sit back, relax, read, send me feedback, but mostly just take a moment and look around you.....mother nature is beautiful.


Geoff Wakeling

Mail Me: geoffwakeling(at) theguidetogaygardening(dot)com
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Humic Acid Manufacturer and Organic Fertilizer Supplier have quality Fertilizers and Humic Acid products.
Disc Plough Manufacturer has reliable Disc Plough and Farm Tipping Trailer.

TV Work

Yes, I occasionally dip my toes into the frenetic world of TV gardening. Below are a few links of items I've worked on.
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