I'm a garden ruffian - apparently!

Garden Projects for Ruffians by Phil Thane
It has been a crazy, sunny week, which meant doing some work in the garden (click here for a 1930s house update). I have a high-maintenance, mature (read overgrown) garden and so far I have managed to do a lot myself, with the occasional help of my partner who is taller and stronger than me. With the right kit, even a weakling like me can make some progress, the tools being a pickaxe, a metal gizmo to dig holes for bulbs (great for making holes for plants) and a spade. I planted pak choi and beetroots in the ground (I started them in the greenhouse, see here). Then I scarifyed/scratched my lawn with a rake and planted grass seeds to fill bare patches.

I am still learning about gardening - I'm a fan of Gardeners' World and read all articles I come across on DIY gardening. So it was a pleasure to receive a copy of Garden Projects for Ruffians by Phil Thane to review. I did enjoy reading about Phil's approach to gardening, which was championed on TV by previous Gardeners' World presenter Toby Buckland. I'm all for making the most of what you have got and cringe when TV gardeners blitz a perfectly nice garden, throw all the plants away and start from scratch. This is costly and wasteful (unwanted plants can be donated to friends and neighbours, freecycled, given to charity...).

Like me, Phil is a fan of the pickaxe and of using everything from the garden, including stones and bricks. Rubble is notoriously expensive to cart off (or time consuming/hard work if you are doing it yourself), so Phil's tips are very welcome. This handy book has a wealth of advice on practical matters, such as landscaping and planning, and there are sections on how to repair walls, how to choose the right paving for your budget... Of course many tips in this book are eco friendly too, and there is a whole chapter on water harvesting! You can dip in this book and pick what suit you, perhaps attempt a woodwork project without the need of a workshop?

I will be keeping Phil Thane's Garden Projects for Ruffians at hand for quick consultation and report on any project I might attempt, possibly later in the winter or next year. The summerhouse and shed need re-roofing - I will certainly consult this book about these essential repair jobs. I'm still not sure if we are keeping or disposing of the greenhouse, it is old and not safe, and with a young child around... I do hate the idea of throwing it away, hopefully we will use our local recycling centre. I was considering Freecycle but the glass panels are not well secured and I'm not sure it will survive dismantling.