What’s a Hoedown?

Clue: it’s not a gathering involving shouting catchy phrases like “yee-haw”!  A Hoedown is what I called my Garden Consultation Service, purely because ‘Garden Consultation’ sounds so boring! If you want to yell “yee-haw” at the end I’ll be more than pleased!

It’s usually an hour (but can be more) spent standing in your garden with you talking through anything garden related!  Someone called it Garden Therapy as they were feeling so stressed and overwhelmed by their garden and not enjoying it all!  Others have found it really helpful at different times:  perhaps you’ve recently moved in, about to put your house on the market or have just built an extension and now can see your garden more.  In the past I’ve covered:

  • Identifying what plants are what
  • What to prune and when
  • How to prune
  • What to do after an extension has been built or after a garage has been pulled down
  • How to make fences and walls look better
  • What shape borders or beds to make
  • Ideas on what plants to use in different places
  • Lawn care
  • What materials would work in a small courtyard
  • What plants wouldn’t mind living in pots
  • Making decisions about taking out shrubs or moving them
  • Where it’s best to put waterbutts and raised beds for veggies
  • Pests and diseases
  • What’s a weed
  • Where to put the trampoline!

My objective pair of eyes and ears can be really helpful to solve problems, be a sounding board or come up with ideas.  After our hour I write up our discussion including any links I’ve promised and email it to you so you have a record of our discussion and signposted places to go to to take action (or delegate the actions!).

Here’s what Claire had to say following our Hoedown:

“I spent a lovely hour in my back garden with Renée having a Hoedown.  She is so enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I feel very inspired now and, most importantly, confident that I can change my garden to suit my family.  Renée listened to what I hoped to achieve and asked all the right questions.  I can’t wait to get started and thanks to Renée’s follow-up email with links and reminders of what we talked about it didn’t matter that I forgot most of the plant names we talked about! Thank you.”

The cost of a Hoedown is 1 hour of your time, 1 cup of tea for me and £75 (Monday to Friday) or £95 (weekends and evenings) within 5 miles radius of Redhill.  I’m more than happy to travel further afield but will need to agree additional expenses to cover mileage.

If you need that objective pair of eyes, please do just get in touch at renee@thegirlwhogardens.co.uk

What would you want us to spend our hour discussing?  Let me know in the comments below!



Sowing Seeds Indoors in Spring for Summer Colour

There is cheap and easy way to get some colour this Summer in your garden by sowing seeds indoors this February – April.  All they need is soil, water and warmth to get growing and there is a huge selection of flowers that you can choose from.

These seeds can be bought from the Garden Centre, or on the High Street from supermarkets, Wilkinsons or Robert Dyas.  Pick what colours you like – don’t worry about what might go together just pick what you like the look of.  This year I’ve chosen favourites such as Poppies, Cosmos and Sweet Peas and Sunflowers but added Bergamot, Rudbeckia and Clary to try this year.  All you need to get going is:

  • Seed compost
  • Potting Compost (the normal stuff you would buy for pots)
  • 20cm wide pots that are 20cm tall with drainage holes, seed trays or cardboard toilet rolls for the Sweetpeas
  • Clear plastic bottles to cover (acting like a greenhouse), clear polythene or glass
  • Pencil

Fill the pot or tray with seed compost, shake then firm down the soil.  If the seeds are tiny sprinkle them across the surface of the pot or tray and then cover lightly with a fine layer of compost and firm gently again.  For Sunflowers or Sweetpeas use the pencil to make a hole in the soil about 3cm deep, drop your seed in and then using the pencil cover it up with the compost.  A 20cm pot can take 3-5 seeds and a toilet roll can take 2 seeds.  The seeds should be about 2cm apart.

Label your pot or tray and then water. Keep the soil damp throughout, not soggy or boggy though!

Take a clear plastic bottle and cut in half.  You then have 2 halves you can put on top of your pot to act as a mini-greenhouse.  Clear plastic bags or glass works just as well over pots or over trays (you can buy plastic lids for seed trays to turn them into proper looking greenhouses!)  Keep your seeds in a light place but not in direct sunlight.

Within 2 weeks you should see green stems appearing.  Once you do remove the plastic or glass.

When your seedlings are big enough to handle (with 3-5 sets of leaves) carefully tease them out of the pot or tray with a pencil and transplant them into bigger pots or trays of potting compost 5cm apart.  Keep them indoors or in a greenhouse until the frosts have passed in May.  1 week before planting move the seedlings to a sheltered spot outside to get them used to the outside temperature.

You can see me sowing Sweet Pea seeds here

Just have a go – it’s dead easy, kids love sowing seeds too and they begin to appear pretty quickly so it feels like they are growing in front of your eyes!  If you have any questions just leave them below or share with me your seeds growing!

Renée x