Cack-handed gardening DIY
I’ve always had a Heath Robinson approach to making apparatus in the garden.
My latest idiocy is hacking into a vast Fatsia japonica to make a canopy over the bench – works very well and has freed up some space.
I do recycle everything if I can. If an object is capable of holding soil, then it’s a plant pot.
My old Jelly Belly wellies are home to Sedums, discarded council recycling boxes make substantial vegetable (or tulip) containers.
The blue, 99p stackable boxes from Ikea are big enough to grow tomatoes in – and much cheaper than pots.
The whopping Abyssinian red banana is making a home in an old coal scuttle bought at Tyneside market.
A Funky Laundry shopper housed cucamelons in 2015 and was so successful, I’m using it again – www.funkylaundry.co.uk.
Then there’s the true kitchen sink drama that is my alpine collection – centrepiece – a Belfast sink salvaged from a house demolition.
I’ve been collecting old and broken pans and teapots to house my now vast Sempervivum collection. This does, of course, mean drilling holes in the bottom, which has proved tricky. The other half burnt out his drill in the attempt.
A trio of upcycled Belgian fruit baskets bought from Harrogate Autumn Flower Show for a tenner a few years back hold tulips, then geraniums as the seasons change (lined with sturdy bin liners).
To stop an old turf stack from collapsing, I built a framework of dahlia stakes and aluminium posts. I covered this with old potato sacks lashed together with strimmer line (it was all I could find).
The whole thing has been hidden with a bamboo fence – but look beyond and what a state.
Many of you will have seen Monty Don’s hazel coppice on Gardeners’ World – sadly, not many of us have the space for pollarding trees to use for bean poles and supports.
I have found a suburban solution – the 8ft flower spikes of New Zealand flax (Phormium) are light but tough as nails. I lash them together to make bean frames.
Other prunings are equally useful – Berberis and roses to keep cats off soil and apple, beech and whitebeam make pea sticks.
Finally, my hard landscaping was done on the cheap – the gravel path edgings are old bricks that were lying around the garden, fired in the Newburn brickworks, Newcastle.
If you’ve got stuff lying around, try to re-use it – lateral thinking gives a garden character.