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UPDATED: RENAMED: Gardening, 'all shapes and sizes, hints, tips and pics' thread!

LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 789 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 2020 in Cancer Coffee Break

Hi everyone,

As you may have heard, this week is National Gardening Week here in the UK, it is the country's biggest annual celebration of gardening. Now more than ever due to the current circumstances we are all living in, people are spending as much time as possible in their gardens. It is providing a huge 'breathing space' for many, I know I find it incredibly peaceful, it really helps my mental well-being.

I thought it would be lovely to share some of our gardening photos, tips and ideas, I know a lot of you also love gardening as I have read all your posts! @NanaBubbles , Michele, @Peter , Peter, @Jimjam yes, you too! 😀. Perhaps, even, this could become our 'Gardening, all shapes and sizes, hints and tips' thread!

So whether you have a huge estate, or a small patch, an allotment, patio with pots, or even a window box, please come and share what you are doing here.

Are you just growing flowers, or also growing fruit and vegetables?

It may be Gardening Week in the UK, but this thread is open to ALL members of our community wherever you are in the world, so yes, @Anneb , Margy, @Chilali1531 , Ali, this is for you too! 😀

Please don't be shy, looking forward to reading and seeing all of your creations!

Lou x



  • JimjamJimjam Posts: 15

    I can't do much in my big garden at moment which I find very frustrating and I've gone through quite a few stages of anger and tears as my garden has kept me going for years through very difficult times and my garden has always been a constant way of giving me comfort beauty and satisfaction.

    During my on-going chemo I've quite surprised myself by adapting to only doing what I can when I can. That might only pruning a bit of a plant or pulling up one weed. But the satisfaction is still there and my biggest joy is just walking round most days to see what's growing, just to see something growing on a daily basis. All the plants that never got pruned in the Autumn, the lush growth of the clematis that have gone mad, the Apple tree reaching for the sky and five little lavender plants that I planted in the Autumn in tears as I'd just started being investigated and it looked serious and I just didn't know if I'd be around to see them grow. They've given me hope to see them in full bloom with bees buzzing around in the height of summer and to be in a better place than I am now. All that from just a garden!

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 789 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Jimjam @NanaBubbles

    Hi Jimjam,

    Your pot brought tears to my eyes when I read it! I know you are going through a really tough time at the moment, and doing chemotherapy in the middle of a pandemic is even harder I can imagine. How wonderful to hear how seeing something come back to life like the lavender can cheer the heart and soul. I have been getting very excited each time I see a new sunflower poke its head above the soil! 😂

    Spring really does bring hope, and hopefully this time next year you will be through all of this. (no...we won't be millionaires...little memory from Del and Rodney there 😂)

    Share some pics when you feel like it and are able to..


    Hi Michele,

    The tulips are beautiful, they are one of my favourite spring flowers. Yes I agree, I think this is something we can continue, it is great to share and chat like this. I will post a couple of pics in a while, I have to do it from my phone though as that is where the photos are! lol!

    I hope you are having a good day,

    Chat soon,

    Lou xx

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,435 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here is a photo of one of our azalea plants. I love these, as the colours are so vibrant, we have a purple one that is just coming into bud now.

    We also have these in the garden, but I always forget what they are called!!Rhododendron I think.

    Rain's stopped!! 😄

    Lou xx

  • Chilali1531Chilali1531 Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Hello everyone !

    Great idea to share garden photos. Since my 2 yr confinement ( Lymphoma followed by Leukaemia) I've found that photos are SO important as they allow you to " travel" & share family & friends' lives, and the smallest things can bring huge pleasure. My best friend from Germany sends me a photo every day of nature on her daily walks. All my family live abroad so I'm always pestering them for photos or videos. I'm not sure people who haven't been stuck in the house for a long time understand this. It really hit home last Nov & Dec when I spent 2 months in a protected room in hospital. The view out of the window was v limited & the sky became so important to me. I used to photograph the clouds & send them to friends - slightly mad !!

    So, here is my small garden (50m2) & we only have pots. It's SE so gets a lot of sun & we have a lot of that in Toulouse. Inevitably we have lots of Mediterranean plants. The main problem is keeping the dog's nose off the thorns !

    My husband looks after the plants, I just tell him where the pots should go! We had a lovely red nasturtium flower a week ago - already- which caused excitement!

    During this confinement period we are all literally watching the flowers grow ! And learning to appreciate such small simple things .

    Take care, Ali

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Jimjam @NanaBubbles @Sunshinedaff @Chilali1531

    Good evening everyone.

    I did not know that it is National Gardening Week Lou. Thanks for letting us know and thank you everyone for posting your lovely photographs.

    Your garden sounds lovely @Jimjam and it is great to know that it gives you such pleasure and hope. It would be great to see a pic if you are able to post one.

    I am afraid that I do not have green fingers but I love to see other people’s plants and gardens. 🌹🌸🌻

    Rob x

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,435 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RobertA , @Chilali1531

    Good evening! 🙂

    Ali, your garden area and is a lovely space! Having an abundance of sun helps too!

    I can also imagine your home near the Alps also has a lovely garden, and spectacular views! Hopefully soon, in the not too distant future you will be able to visit.


    You may not be a gardener at heart but I bet you have a lovely garden anyway! Does Mary like to look after it?

    Have a great evening!

    Lou xx

  • AnnebAnneb Posts: 171 ✭✭✭

    Hello everyone from Down Under. We are in Autumn now. We had 70 mil of rain the last 2 days. Just wonderful💚

    I will send a photo of my roses out the front of our home. They always make me smile😁😁😁

    Love and hugs to everyone

    Margy 🌺⚘🌷🌼🌻🥀🌸🏵🌹

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,435 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Good afternoon Margy! 😄

    Wonderful to hear from you! 😄

    Your garden is lovely, I love those rose bushes like that. Amazing that they survive the heat from your summers!

    I know you love the autumn and winter months, so I am happy for you! 😄

    We have had rain again for two days, I can see a little bit of blue now as the sun is coming up. Two days is enough for me. Haha!

    Hope you are having a good day, chat later,

    Lou 💐😄♥️🌻🌻🌺🌷🥀

  • Chilali1531Chilali1531 Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Hi everyone

    Those gorgeous tulips, azaleas & rhododendrons are SO colourful !!

    I love bright colours & photos of such flowers always make me smile. Here in the south of France we have a lot of fields of sunflowers- I drive my husband mad asking him to pull over so I can photograph them! Here's one ( I've restricted myself!) .

    Take care, Ali 🌻

  • NanaBubblesNanaBubbles Posts: 149 ✭✭✭

    @Sunshinedaff @Jimjam @Anneb @Chilali1531 @RobertA

    Good morning everyone from a rainy and cool Banbury!

    It is so lovely to see everyone’s photos and hear how gardens help everyone to feel better. I know for me even a short time in the garden lifts my spirits although I usually spend too long and exhaust myself! This year with the pandemic I think I would have gone stir crazy if I could not have spent some time outside.

    @Jimjam - I so understand your frustration as I was like you last year when I first started my immunotherapy which knocked out my adrenal glands. This year we have been playing catch up and my husband has done the hard things for me. I am so glad your little lavenders have grown - lavender is such a worthwhile plant both for us and for bees and other insects. We live near the National Herb Centre where they distil essential oils and have a shop with all sorts of herby things in it, as well as a bistro where they use lots of herbs in cooking. Until I went with a friend for lunch, I did not know that you could use lavender in food - Victoria sponge cake with a little lavender in it is amazing! All the spring rain and mild winter has made the gardens here very lush with everything going a little bonkers but the plants seem to love it - fuschias flowering in April and geraniums flowering all winter long. Nature is just amazing and goes on when we cannot. I bet the birds and wildlife love your garden just as it is.

    Your roses are lovely Margy, a lovely display, and your azalea and rhododendrons are gorgeously colourful Lou - you are lucky that you have the acid soil to grow them as we don’t here and have to grow them in pots. Ali your pots are so colourful with interesting plants in them. Can you leave your cacti outside all year? I love the sunflowers field too - I would be photographing them as much as possible and then painting them (although I am no Van Gogh! Ha-ha).

    Take care everyone and look after yourselves.


    Michele x

  • JimjamJimjam Posts: 15

    Today it's pouring here. Yesterday I was going to take some garden photos to post here but in the afternoon I was not good so it didn't get done. I keep peeping out the window at the newly opened clematis that didn't get pruned this year and for the moment their holding up in the heavy rain.

    With a bit of luck they'll come through and I'll get my photo. In the meantime I do have a photo from last year I can post. I must get to visit the National Herb centre it sounds great Lou.

    All we need now is the sun to pop through and the gardens will be all the more in back in glorious bloom.

  • Chilali1531Chilali1531 Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Hello Michele

    Im very chatty today as I'm in chemo all day hence the rapid replies !

    I didn't know lavender could be used in cooking either - v interesting! In Toulouse, they use violets a lot in jam, sweets, even chocolate. Whilst I love the smell of them, I can't say I much like violet chocolate !

    We generally don't leave our cacti out in winter- it can get quite cold here, so we either bring inside til March or cover. We need succulent type plants which don't need much water. I've brought a few surreptitious cuttings back from the Med & potted up...doing fine. 🌵

    So you paint ? That's great & v therapeutic. I like to paint stones & cards - that's my limit! But I find if I'm productive it staves off feeling blue. I guess that's the same for gardening. I added colour to our mini garden by painting orange boxes to stand pots on. I love to salvage stuff which people throw out ...before confinement of course. Let's pray this is over soon - Vive la liberté !

    Ali x

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 789 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good afternoon everyone,

    I am so pleased everyone is loving our Gardening discussion, it is such a joyful positive thing to be doing, even if sometimes hard work and very tiring, especially when we spend too long at any one time doing it! Michele I am the same as you, I tend to spend way too long outside, eventually hobbling in as my feet have given up! T hen I get told off by my family for dong too much. Haha.

    The azaleas i have in Pots, I have camelias in pots, but also, they are planted in the beds around the house, nothing seems to dent their enthusiasm for coming back year after year. They are beautiful.

    Ali, I love your sunflowers photo, it reminds me of our French holidays, and it is those that led to my love of sunflowers, I plant them each year, but also have taken lot of photos while in France. Driving through France and seeing fields upon fields of them growing, I love it!

    Jimjam, the rain has stopped here momentarily, I am going to get out while it stays like this and check on my seeds!

    Ali, we have a Creative chat too, where you can share all manner of creative ideas and hobbies, if you have any to share, please do join in! 😁

    Have a good afternoon everyone, Ali, hope it is going well for you today at your chemo session.

    Chat later,

    Lou xx

  • jacksprat_x1jacksprat_x1 Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭

    Hello All,

    I have really enjoyed looking at your garden pictures and the colours are so vibrant, especially your azaleas Lou!

    I was in the garden this afternoon trying to instal low voltage lights to light up the shrubs. Rain stopped play! Was really enjoying the fresh air and the sky went black and the heavens opened. An hour before I took my dog Jasper for a walk beside the beautiful sea and had to remove my jacket it was so sunny and hot!

    I reflected on how much better I feel now that my treatment is finished and I’m getting my energy back. I wish you all the very best and hope that you are able to enjoy the beautiful fresh air.

    I would like to share a photo my sister in law sent me from her village nearby of Mr Teddy posing as Captain Tom and wish him a very happy 100th birthday and thank him for his amazing effects to raise funds for our wonderful NHS!

    Take care everyone.

    Love Jackie 🙋‍♀️ XX

  • jacksprat_x1jacksprat_x1 Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi here is Capt Tom

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,435 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Jackie,

    It is so lovely to hear from you!😄

    Haha! Lovely photo of Mr Teddy! Yes, definitely share your thoughts in wishing Colonel Tom a very Happy 100th Birthday, I understand the RAF were going to give him a fly past, very well deserved and an inspiration to all of us. God bless him.

    We have also had very changeable weather here too, lots of rain, this afternoon a mixture of sunshine and the most torrential hailstone storm. That was while the girls were out walking too, turned into a run. Lol!

    When you eventually get the lights done in the garden, you can take a pic!

    I am so pleased to hear you are feeling stronger now, with more energy coming back. That is really good news, yes, a year ago! How things have improved for you! 😄

    I do hope you, Norm and the family are all keeping well and clear from the virus!

    Have a great evening,

    Chat soon

    Lou 💐💐🤗🤗♥️

  • Chilali1531Chilali1531 Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Lovely pic Jackie !

    Ali x

  • Chilali1531Chilali1531 Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Hello all ( again!)

    i just wanted to share with you a French tradition as its May 1st & national gardening week ... Here we give loved ones a sprig of lily of the valley on May 1st. This year it's been hard to get it due to Lockdown but my husband Peter managed to get some. I love the smell & as my smell is heightened now it smells delicious !

    It's also a special day for us as it's our daughter Hannah's birthday (24). How time flies ...

    Happy Mayday to you all, Ali X

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Anneb @jacksprat_x1 @Chilali1531 @Sunshinedaff @NanaBubbles

    Hi Margy. Lovely to hear from you and to see your lovely roses. It all looks so green around your home and you will be looking forward to some nice cool weather and putting the dreadful fires behind you. Our house sale was due to go through on 17 April, but it was put on hold due to the virus. Still, better to be safe and life here is fairly relaxed in the circumstances.

    Great to hear from you too Jackie. It is lovely to know that you are feeling so much better and getting your energy back. You will be looking forward to the day your folk group will be able to get together and start making music again.

    Hi Ali. Thank you for sharing your French tradition involving the lily of the valley. It is a lovely tradition and it must have been difficult for Peter to source some during the lockdown. I will make a note and get some for Mary next year.

    Good evening Michele and Lou. What wonderful gardens you both have. I think you must talk to your flowers.

    Rob xx

  • AnnebAnneb Posts: 171 ✭✭✭

    Sunshinedaff robertA jacksprat_1a chilali1531 jimjam

    Hello everyone,

    Well a hive of activity here today. We had a Dingo digger come and remove soil from driveway to make it wider ( my husband Pete thinks i need as much room as possible to reverse 😂😂😂) also as we live on a pretty steep hill he is making a pathway near my roses for me. So our front yard is looking quite a sight now. Definately not pretty as a picture🤣🤣🤣

    Yes Rob, we are so happy to be done with the bushfires for another year. They are saying that as tourist stopped coming because of the wild fires we were saved a little from higher covid virus numbers. Looks like we will be out of home arrest in the next week or so.

    We have been very lucky to be an isolated country this time.

    I love all the photos of everyones garden and the chats. So great to hear you are feeling better Jackie. Such good news.

    Well back to some photos of our messy front garden.

    Also a photo of my plants on the balcony. They brighten everyday 🌷⚘🌺💖💗💖

    Pete trimming our trees yesterday.

    As i said it is a hive of activity hete🤣🤣🤣

    Well off now to plant my new parsley out in my garden💚💚💚

    I will send a photo looking towards the mountains from the balcony as well

    Love to you all

    Margy 💖💚💖💚💖💚

  • AnnebAnneb Posts: 171 ✭✭✭

    Autumn in australia sofar. The first pic is of my messy yard but if you look further up the hill, that is where a mob of 15 to 20 kangeroos live. They come out in the afternoon to graze so i will try and get a photo for you💖💖💖next time i see them

    This next is a pic looking toward the Snowy Mountains and Mt.Kosiusko. it is snowing there this weekend so if we get out of confinement it should be a great season for all the Snow Bunnies 😂😂😂

    Hope you like the Aussie photos from way down under


    Margy 💚💖💚💖

  • AnnebAnneb Posts: 171 ✭✭✭

    Afternoon everybody🌷⚘🌺

    Well a huge day. We are all exhausted 😂😂😂

    Planted herbs. Mint is going ballistic 😂😂😂

    My new little Bay tree at the back. When we sold i had to leave mine behind 😢😢 it was 4foot wide and 15 foot high. So this one has a long way to go 😂😂

    Zugo starting to flower 💖💖💖💖💖

    Well tjats about all of my garden and flowers untill Spring which is 6 months away.🌷⚘🌺

    Love margy💐🌸🌹🏵🥀🌺🌻🌳⚘🌷

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,435 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Margy,

    You know how much I love seeing your photos! The autumn colours are beautiful, you have such fantastic natural scenery right outside your windows!

    Yes please to seeing the kangaroos!! Can't wait!! 😄

    Love seeing all your plants too. I am still waiting for my basil and oregano seeds to sprout! I found some mint in the garden, dug it up and have potted it, it is coming up nicely now. Once it gets going I find it goes nuts! Haha!

    One marigold seed has sprouted, to be honest, I am disappointed at the slowness of the seeds! Wondering if I am doing something wrong!! Hahahaha.

    I could take some photos, but pics of pots and soil might be a tad boring😂😂 .

    Hope you are enjoying a well deserved rest now, have a good evening.

    Chat later,

    Lou xx


  • NanaBubblesNanaBubbles Posts: 149 ✭✭✭

    @Chilali1531 @RobertA @Sunshinedaff @Anneb @Jimjam @jacksprat_x1

    Good morning everybody

    I am loving all the great photos everyone has posted and the custom of giving lily of the valley on 1st May is such a lovely idea - well done to your husband Ali for finding some during lockdown. It is a better custom than the old one of maidens going out at dawn to wash their faces in the dew! You have a beautiful dog too who obviously loves you to bits! 🐺😘

    Margy your photos are beautiful, particularly the gorgeous trees and would love to see the kangaroos please. What beautiful cyclamen you have there too - the white one with the deep pink frilly edges is so unusual. I am glad that the fires have given you some benefit but such a high price to pay.

    Jackie, What a super Captain Tom! What an amazing man, he is an inspiration to us all and it is a joy that everyone has made so much of him being made an honorary Colonel and making so much money. He is the same age as my Dad would have been and I think that generation were amazing and very capable - I suppose living through the war they had to be tough and stoic too. Hope your chemo went well and you are feeling ok.

    JimJam, I expect your clematis will look amazing. It is a better and sunny day here today and the garden is recovering after all the rain but I am not complaining as the water butts are now full again. We had a lesser spotted woodpecker on the nut feeder the other day which we had not seen in the garden before so that was a thrill. I hope you will soon be feeling better. x

    Ali, your colourful pots are so bright and cheery, and I am totally with you on salvaging things others are throwing out. I have just laid my hands on a dark green enamel type bread bin which I intend to plant with some white cosmos which I am growing from seed. I love to garden and to paint so when the two come together that’s the best! I am teaching myself to use oils and will be posting a new painting on the Creative page shortly.

    The National Herb Centre is just a short distance north of Banbury and worth a visit if you are in the area. They have quite an extensive plant sales area, some show gardens and a lovely walk down through the valley and back up again although I haven’t been able to do that for some time because of lacking energy.

    Rob, yes I do talk to my plants regularly! They are packed in to the garden as if I see a plant I really like, I try to find a space for it.

    Lou, I wondered if you have been over to Exbury Gardens near Beaulieu? We went last spring and the rhododendrons and azaleas were just amazing. No doubt it is closed at the moment because of the lockdown which must be costing them a fortune in missed entry ticket sales.

    Below are a couple of photos from Exbury last year - my husband and son took turns in pushing me round in a wheelchair as my rheumatoid arthritis was playing up and I was not feeling good from my treatment that week. The first photo is of some iris which are special because my granddaughter (who was 6 at the time) found them in the market at Chichester and persuaded her auntie to buy them for me! The second one is of some of the roses in our garden and shows the arbour where I like to sit and paint. It is in the shade and a cool place to be in summer.

    Hope everyone has a good weekend.

    Love to all

    Michele x

  • Chilali1531Chilali1531 Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Hi Everyone 🌵

    I think Î'll use the cactus emoji as that's about 80%of plants in our garden - it's more a yard really !

    Lovely tree colours in your Aussie photos Margy . Where are you exactly? My brother lives in Sydney & love visiting him. I was really worried about the fires. I've just adopted a burnt koala thru an online animal hospital.

    That's a good idea using a bread bin Michèle ! I'll scout around the garage & see what I can find ..using old drawers could be good. Love the irises - they grow wild here in the south of France. Have you ever tried painting them ?

    Nothing wrong with talking to plants 😜

    Id better stop, supposed to be having a nap !

    Ali xx

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Anneb @Chilali1531 @NanaBubbles @Sunshinedaff @Jimjam @jacksprat_x1

    Good afternoon lovely friends.

    Hey Margy, I love those autumn colours and like everyone else, I can’t wait to see your pics of the kangaroos. You have started something there. What a lovely home you have and I still remember our voyage up the Murray River with real affection. It was the year 2000 and Mary and I were on our honeymoon. We would love to do it again but it is too far for me these days. Wonderful memories though.

    Your garden is lovely Michele. I love the little seat where you can sit and survey your handiwork. I do hope that your rheumatoid arthritis is not troubling you too much. Perhaps the warmer weather will help.

    Hi Ali. Yes, be careful not to overdo it. Remember the old joke? At our age, our idea of a happy hour is a little nap.

    Oh Lou, I bet your garden is a riot of colour. I know how much you love it.

    I dare not let you see ours just yet. However, the wildflower patch in the park is going great guns so I am attaching a couple of pics I took this morning. There are loads of buds too, so I think it will get better and better. I suspect they will leave it alone when the lockdown is over because everybody loves it.

    Rob xx

  • NanaBubblesNanaBubbles Posts: 149 ✭✭✭


    Thanks for posting this Rob - it is stunningly beautiful with so many different shades of poppies - an artist’s dream to paint. My RA is a bit better today thanks, and yes, it does seem to be affected by the damp and we have lovely warm sunshine here today.

    Michele x

  • Chilali1531Chilali1531 Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Hi Rob

    Nothing beats wild flowers ! Gorgeous ! Since Lockdown all the roundabouts here have gone mad with them .

    Didnt get that nap btw...these forums are far too addictive! 😊

    Ali X

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 789 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good morning everyone,

    Just to say, you will notice I have renamed the discussion, so we can keep it going, even after National Garden Week is over.

    Rob, those wildflowers are simply stunning. I love it back in the days when we could go out in our cars, driving past patches of roadside where the councils had let the wild flowers grow up, there is just something about them that causes my heart to smile and sigh each time I see them.

    Michele, I love those Iris's, can you believe it I have only seen them on a greetings card! They are really lovely. I haven't been to Exbury Gardens, is it a NT place? We used to be members and visited Kingston Lacy near Wimborne often as it was only a few minutes away. We also used to visit Stourhead which is beautiful. Since my treatment ended we cancelled the membership as I am not able to walk around these places anymore, real shame as I do love them.

    I wish I had seeded cosmos too, I know they would have grown! But I thought I would make a change! haha! Not sure what is going on with these others. Not a peep from some of them at all?? 🤔

    Ali, lol, you made me laugh, your husband will be taking your phone away from you soon, haha! Love the photo of you with your dog, pets, adorable aren't they! My eldest daughter is also called Hannah too. 😀

    I hope you all have a good day, chat later no doubt!

    Lou x

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