Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


Leave a comment

How does your garden grow? Green fingers…

Well, my garden makeover is ploughing on (excuse that pun) but this week I’ve done something that had left me in pain. Last week I shared my plans for making a big change to my garden over the Summer but now I can barely walk because my legs are so sore. Was it from digging? I hear your ask… Did you hit your leg with a hammer while building? Nope. I hurt my legs from painting the fence. And I have no idea how!

Garden makeover - new fence -1

I think it might have had something to do with bending down, squatting and moving along, repeated 100 times while painting all the planks of wood on the thrifted back fence. It certainly felt like I’d done a ‘buns-and-thighs’ workout afterwards and I actually suffered for a few days! But at least the reddish fence has become a greenish fence after 2 coats of paint. Ideally I’d like to paint another layer of ‘forest green’ treatment on but I was rather fed up with it by the time this run of fencing was finished so it’ll have to wait! Plus, I was covered in green paint. Like nothing you’ve ever seen before. I didn’t think I was being messy but it’s in my hair, on my face, all over my (ok, hubby’s) boiler suit and my floral wellies are now sporting additional foliage in the form of green splotches. Green fingered is an understatement!

Other improvements: we’ve flattened part of the lawn by moving some turf off the bump at the top of the lawn, and we’ve moved excess soil onto the lower part of the grass. It’s definitely not flat, but it’s less of a tripping hazard now! We’ve also laid some weed-resistant fabric over the area that I’m planning to move the caravan to (you can see it in the photo above). I’m planning to cover the area with wood-chippings to save us from needing to move the caravan to weed or mow beneath it. That’s the plan anyway!

More updates to come soon… How’s your summer gardening going? :)

Garden makeover - new fence -4


Leave a comment

How does your garden grow? Making a start…

At the weekend I told you all about my plans for growing a garden that ‘Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary’ would be proud of and this week I wanted to share the first step in making our garden into the ‘outdoor room’ that I’d love for it to become. Essentially, we are overlooked by two neighbours, and an access path runs all the way around the outside of our garden, so anyone can walk-by our garden at any time and see what we are up to. Aside from neighbours wheeling their bins and bikes around the path, it hardly gets used, but even so there is a massive lack of definition in where our garden ends and the neighbour’s garden starts. In fact, when we first moved in the neighbours behind told us that they had no idea that there was even a back door on the house, because they had never seen anyone going into the garden, but could see us very clearly now that we had started to use it! So privacy is an issue – not least because the little girl seems scared to play out in the neighbour’s garden when we are outside too – and we’d like to enclose the space a little to make it safer for our cats to play outside and not get attacked by the neighbour’s “cat killer” dog.

Garden makeover - new fence -2

Garden makeover - new fence -3

So we have put up a thrifted fence. I say thrifted because we spotted it after driving home from the carboot sale. The fence was being taken down from someone else’s garden by a builder, so we stopped for a chat and he explained that the fence had been hit by a car and half of it was damaged so it was being replaced by the insurance company. The old fence was going to be scrapped and a lot of it was smashed up, but some planks were still sturdy enough to use so we politely asked if we could give them a new home. So it took a few journeys to move all the fencing to our house but we got it here in the end and measured it out in the garden.

Garden makeover - new fence -4

Luckily, there was enough of a useable run of wood to fence all the way across the back of the garden. So with the help of my father-in-law, my husband put up the frame and nailed the fence planks to it, and within a day the fence was in place. I’m not too keen on the reddish colour and the planks need treating again, so I’m going to buy some ‘forest green’ treatment and will paint it on myself.

Garden makeover - new fence -5

To celebrate the new fence, mum bought us some fruit trees that had been discounted from QD – pear trees, couple of apple trees and a cherry tree. They are small but sturdy so we have dug them into the corner of the garden, which we intend to become a ‘wildlife’ area of the garden. We may well choose to move the centre tree as it grows, but at the moment it was better to get them into the ground and growing rather than dying in their pots! So after one busy day, we have a back fence up and 5 trees planted and it makes quite a difference to the garden; we can really see what space we have now that a boundary is up! More updates to come next week so watch this space!


2 Comments

Fairy, Fairy, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

Welcome to my new series of blog posts all about my plans for my garden makeover! I know there are probably lots of historical and underlying meanings that you can read into this nursery rhyme but I am simply using it to set the tone for summer, because with the holidays comes the opportunity (both weather-wise and time-wise) to get out into the garden and start making some changes, which is precisely what I’ve been doing.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle-shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

When I think of this rhyme I imagine a cottage garden, boarders full of tall foxgloves (what I imagine to be the ‘bells’) and rambling roses. It’s the kind of garden I like – quaint, low-maintenance and traditionally British – full of colour, scent and stepping stones. What images do you conjure up in your mind when you read the nursery rhyme? I want to make a start in building the garden of my imagination and it starts here:

garden makeover series on cassiefairy blog

This is the starting point for my new garden. Grass. Okay, mostly weeds. It’s not a large garden, measuring only about 30ft x 40ft, and it’s at the back of the house. This photo is taken from the gate into the back garden. It’s overlooked by the neighbours’ gardens on two sides and looked rather barren. It’s hard to imagine that anything would grow on this bumpy plot of grass but hubby and I are going to have a good go at landscaping it, planting it up and hopefully even grow our own veggies. If you look carefully at the grass in the photo, you can see that my husband has mowed it into the shape of a heart, but that was the extent of our gardening attempts so far haha!

the start of a garden makeover series on cassiefairy blog

Look to the left from the back gate and you can see this view which houses the only other feature of the garden – my little vintage caravan. I’m still working on this project too but it will need to be moved to a new location once we start getting the garden in order. Here you can see the chain-link fence is overgrown with weeds at the side and behind the back-garden fence is the garage which faces the driveway.

the start of a garden makeover on the cassiefairy blog

Looking to the right from the gate you can see this view – the sheds and greenhouse are in the neighbours garden and the brick wall is part of an outdoor store cupboard, which is half joins onto the house. Over the coming weeks I’ll keep you updated with our plans, developments (no matter how dull!) and growth of our garden. Please get in touch if you have any tips or advice or are working on your own garden right now – I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below or email cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk


6 Comments

Colour-changing flowers…

Does anyone know anything about plants? Hydrangea bushes, in particular? It’s one of the few plants that was already living in our garden when we moved in two years ago and I really like it. I’ve been delighted with the sheer volume of flowers it produces each year and I love bringing them indoors for a summery floral display.

100_8038

The thing that has confused me about the plant is that they flowers seem to have changed colour. When we first moved in, the bush produced lilacy-blue flowers. Last year hubby gave it a strict pruning and when the flowers have bloomed this year they are all different colours; pink, blue, lilac and all shades in-between. Is this typical of a Hydrangea or have we done something wrong? Either way, I’m pleased with the variety of colours and it’s created a lovely display this year.

Hydrangea plant

There are so many flower heads on the bush that even after I’ve taken a big bunch of Hydrangea flowers to my mum yesterday there are still about 50 more flowers blooming in the garden. It’s definitely one of my favourite flowers and I’d love to grow some more Hydrangea plants – does anyone know whether I could take a cutting from my existing bush? And does anyone have any idea about why the flowers have changed colour? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Hydrangea flowers-2


Leave a comment

Glastonbury, glamping & Gardenbury

Glastonbury has dominated my life for the past month: I’ve been researching it, I’ve been writing about it (see my festival footwearone-pot cooking and Glastonbury hair care articles!) and watching it. But I’ve not actually gone to it. No, I didn’t spend my whole holiday fund on tickets and I haven’t been getting sunburnt and muddy in equal measure this weekend. What I have done is pitch my tent to attend ‘Gardenbury’ again (read my original blog post about it here) and have been enjoying watching the coverage of the festival from the comfort of my own garden.

During the week Loose Women discussed glamping and mentioned my “Gardenbury” idea on the show – I’ve filmed the segment on the TV and have uploaded it to YouTube – sorry about the quality, I hope it’s okay at your end! My photo pops up on the show after about 40 seconds of the video, which was a very exciting moment for me! During the discussion Colleen Nolan remembers her childhood camping trips and is challenged to pack a tent away, and Sherrie Hewson and Kay Adams reminisce about being in the Girl Guides. Here’s the video:

I think (like the Loose Women!) I’ve reached the age where camping just isn’t that much fun any more. I’m not keen on being cold and damp if it rains, and even more so I dislike being hot and sweaty in a clammy tent when the weather is nice. I basically find something to grumble about at every opportunity while camping! It’s acceptable when it’s part of a lovely holiday to the Lake District, when I have a comfortable blow-up mattress and access to a nearby swimming pool (just like when we went camping last year at a Haven holiday park!) – I enjoy that type of camping. We once camped right beside the lake at Pooley Bridge, which was picturesque and rather romantic to begin with but soon became a beacon for midges in the evening and after a night-time storm, we were practically floating on the lake by the following morning. Maybe that was what put me off camping??

However, I’m sure I’d be happy with a spot of glamping – just look at this Ogden & Jenkins bell tent I saw at a wedding fair last weekend – it has a bed, dining table and plenty of space. I’ve never been glamping before but I’d love to give it a go and am pretty certain that this kind of ‘hotel-room under canvas’ will be fine with me!

In terms of festival camping, it’s the noise that naffs me off the most because when I want to sleep, I want to sleep and not be kept awake by loud neighbours in the tent next door or teenagers shouting their way around the campsite all night long. Nope, I’d much rather stay home, save money and enjoy the best views at the festival by watching Glastonbury on the TV during my Gardenbury weekend!