Showing posts with label garden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garden. Show all posts


An Organised Sun Room

The Sun tried to come out on different occasions this month but was terribly hindered by the wintery conditions that kept butting in like winds and rain and sleet and hailstones.

I was tackling the Sun Room but this fact about the weather did not encourage me at all.
Though as I write this the back garden is brightly lit from the sun after another lot of hailstones yesterday.

The Sun Room

The Sun Room in itself did not need much work as there are not too many places for items to be kept.

But a few tips are always useful to keeping it organised.

1.  Think about what you want in your Sun Room
2.  Think about what you want to be able to take outside quickly
3.  Think about how to make things HANDY!

The only cupboard we have in the Sun Room is in the TV unit and it is useful for storing light bulbs which I sorted and made a note of the types we did not have a spare one of.

Also in that cupboard we keep the 3D glasses that the kids got at various times just in case we need them to go see a 3D film sometime - which really is a very faint probability as Fred & I have not ever gone to a 3D film.  Perhaps the kids should have each kept theirs for wherever they are?

Then the other main things in that cupboard are
  • a few puzzle magazines,
  • Sun Tan lotion,
  • Sun Tan wipes
  • After Sun Wipes
  • and some pairs of sunglasses.

This is a useful spot to keep these as the Sun Room opens out to the Patio and when the sun appears (for the short periods that happens here in Northern Ireland and let's face it we need to make the best opportunity as we can of those short periods of time) we can grab those things on the way out to sit on the Patio or Deck area.

The bulbs were already in a basket but these Sunny Day items were just lying in the cupboard so I got one of my favourite small Lakeland Storage Caddies for these items that we need for hopping out to sit in the sun.
You can see in the pictures above & below that it is ideal in size and that handle makes it so easy to grab.

What else might I want in that cupboard if I am going to use it daily during the next 5/6 months?

Well I decided to add
  • a post it pad 
  • a notepad 
  • and a pen 

 because those are always useful things to have at hand instead of having to run to the study.

there was still room for the three remotes that are needed in that room.

There are two other things that I like to keep in the Sun Room but they will not be in that cupboard.

A navy fleecy throw 
which is very handy if it gets a bit cooler in the evenings 
or even if I just feel like curling up on the sofa to read .

The 4 cushions for the Patio Chairs 
which I keep in a jute type bag pretty much out of sight behind the chair which sits beside the door out to the patio so that any time we are going out for breakfast we just grab a cushion on the way past.  
With our climate the cushions never stay out!

I have already written about how much I love Arks and pictures of Arks last year but now I had decided that some of these may go soon!!! but some will stay here in the Sun Room.  Some of my favourite Ark pictures just match in nicely with the style and decor of the Sun Room.

Here are two on the bookcase that holds most of our CDs

And here is another one above a window

That does not mean that some other Ark decor items will not be found in other rooms in the house of course.

The Easy Way to Prune The Buddleia (Butterfly) Tree - Organising the Garden

Do you have a Buddleia Tree in your Garden?

Have you ever seen a tall bush that has a very attractive purple flower that tapers to a point?

This is a Buddleia Tree or as many people have named it the Butterfly Tree because it attracts butterflies to nibble and devour those lovely purple flowers.

Let me say right from the start today that this job was not FUNWORK!

No definitely not.


Because I am not a keen gardener.

I ended up tired and with sore hands and arms.

Fred was also very tired.

However it was made EASIER because 

1.  we worked together on it 

2.  we had the right tools 

3.  we had the right plan for the job.

It all started when we realised that Fred was able to take some time off last weekend from the report he was writing and the weather was dry and not too cold.

So we went out together to the front garden to tackle the pruning of the Buddleia Tree or Butterfly Tree.

Right Tools

Fred got out the big tarpaulin type thing we have for bundling up the branches to go to the dump and then started into the tree.

Now the first year we had to do this we were inexperienced and did not have 2 pruning shears nor the tarpaulin but we learned from that experience and now we are properly equipped.

When I came out Fred had already started and was busy in behind the tree.

He had one side well started


a pile of branches were waiting for me to cut them up smaller and put them on the tarpaulin


so were a second pile.

Yes that is me with the pruning shears cutting branches to make them smaller to be more manageable for collecting up and going to the dump.

Fred was of course still busy cutting at that tree

and throwing out more & more branches toward me.

When I had got through those two original piles I called Fred out to do another job that is not so hard.

Right Plan

To jump up and down on the pile on the tarpaulin so that they didn't get too high.

Definitely think he enjoys that more than the pruning from the look on his face in the different pics.

Then the same process started all over again with the rest of the branches until we had them all cut and flattened and some of another bush added to the pile.

Of course a good workman will always clean up after himself.

More Right Tools

Next comes some more very important equipment for this job.

The Bungee cords (at least that's what we call them).

I love these things because they are so very useful inside and outside the house.

Continuing the Right Plan

The tarpaulin has metal eyelets at the corners and along the sides so Fred takes one of these elasticated Bungee cords and attaches it to one of the corners and then

stretches the cord out and attaches it to the opposite corner.

He repeats this in the same way for the other two corners and then

joins the opposite sides together to complete the bundle.

Now that really is a large bundle but with the 4 cords it is well held together ready for the journey in the boot of the car to the dump.


will it fit in the boot of our car?

That is what we said the first time as well and there was no problem but the car we had then was bigger.

However we still have no problem with this car as well as the boot is a good size

and with the back seats down the bundle goes in easily, and yes I do help him!

The Best Tool!

Well in my eyes the best tool for this type of job is the next thing Fred decided to buy because it made my job so much easier after the first couple of years.

I call it a wood shredder because it is just like a large paper shredder.

So much easier on my hands and arms and it is amazing how large a branch it will deal with.

It even took a branch this size

and can manage thick ones well.

The Last Good Tool

Then someone Fred met at the refuge centre (dump) very kindly gave him one of those large white bags and it is easier for us to empty straight from the shredder into the bag

And easier for Fred to get in and out of the car because of the handles.

Now here is the tree when the job is finished.

It is well pruned back as these trees have to be and you do not have to be extremely careful in the pruning and as an experienced gardener told us a few years ago "the more they are pruned back the better they will flower".

So basically it is a relatively easy gardening job to do because 
you do not have to be too careful how or where you cut 
as long as you do prune it well back 
do it either in March or early April (Spring)
or October (Autumn)

So to make it easier learn from us and have

the right plan

the right tools 


right company 

for the job.

Now we are wondering if again we were not stringent enough in our pruning but this is roughly the same as we did last year and we had a good result from that as you can see.

And the best test of all is how many butterflies it will attract.

We had more last year than the year before although they flittered around so much it was hard to get pictures of them.

Although this was a day of hard work for me (I'm not fit) when it comes to the Summer I will have many days of pleasure because of my beautiful Butterfly Tree.

If you have a Buddleia enjoy your butterflies.


Make Good Use of What you Have - A Dose of Encouragement

Each day when I sit at the computer in my study I will at some time turn my head to look out of the window beside me.

Now the weather in Northern Ireland is not that hot and sunny and when we do get good weather it is limited to a few days now and again during May - August.  Although as I am writing this the sun is beaming down into my back garden which is the view I have from my study window.

We are also known for our rain (although we do not get any more in the year than Delaware or Belgium - I know this because those are the other two places we have lived in and I did a bit of research - it just seems like it).

So you may be surprised to find out what is sitting in our garden since May last year (not this year).

This is the view that I have from my study

Yes those are two white PVC sun-loungers sitting in my garden.

And Yes they have sat there for over a year because we are rather lazy and didn't bother to put them away and also because we got a new BBQ last year (we used it twice) and some extra chairs to match our table so the BBQ and the chairs are now taking up the space in the garden shed where these two sun-loungers and their matching 6 recliner chairs used to be.  We gave the chairs and cushions to our son and daughter in law so that they could have something in their garden shed.

Now the point of this is that those two sun loungers always make me think of the chairs and the chairs always make me think of our Sun Room in the house we lived in, in Belgium for over 6 years.

You see when we got to Belgium we had a Sun Room but no furniture to go in it so I thought well we will probably buy a sofa for it.

But also when we got to Belgium we had garden furniture but no garden shed to keep it in and the garage was under the house so it was just not feasible to expect Fred to go down to the garage every time we would want to sit out in the back garden.

So we just sort of started off by putting the garden chairs into the Sun Room.  It was very convenient to just open the door from the Sun room to the garden and lift out whatever number of the chairs we needed.  It was so convenient that they stayed there for the whole time we lived there and we never bothered to buy proper furniture for the Sun Room.

So then you see we could say we just "made do" with what we had for the Sun Room.  


I spent many happy Monday mornings there sitting on those chairs as I prayed specifically for our kids.

Many evenings were spent sitting on those chairs with family visiting from the UK.

Many evenings were spent sitting on those chairs with other visitors from all over the world.

Many very happy occasions were spent on those chairs as our church homegroup met in our home for pot luck dinners.

Our homegroup was like our family away from our homeland.  Most of the group were from other countries having come to Belgium through work etc.  These were the people of all ages who met together on a weekly basis to worship and study God's Word together.  These were the people who looked after each other in all sorts of ways when we had no other family to turn to. These were the people who shared each others joys and heartaches and prayed together through the deep desires of our hearts.

No-one ever asked why we had garden furniture in that room.

So you see NOW I don't think of us just "making do" in all those years;

  NOW I actually think of it as "making use of what we had" 


   it being a "good job".

We had people of every class of life in that room and every single one of them happy to sit on those chairs.  That room was always full of smiling faces and I am thankful for the great memories that were created there.

Sometimes we are tempted to think that what we have or what we can do is not good enough for God.

Sometimes we think we need to go do something someone else has done, or something that seems to have more effort put into it, or something that is more noticeable as being a unique act of outreach for God.

Sometimes we think it isn't good enough just to use what we already have and that we would just be "making do" and not doing enough.

If we think like that we can overlook or miss the opportunities 
God has put in our path.

If we think like that we can always be worrying about getting things perfect before we speak, or act or even pray and read God's Word.

If we think like that we may even be disobedient to God who has already given us the talents we have that we are not stepping up to use.


 If instead we simply ask God to guide us as to what He would like us to do, who He would like us to serve, and where, how and when He would like us to do so and make the talents that He gave us available for Him to use through us we will be in His will.

So the next time you think you are just going to have to "make do" with what you have either in belongings or in the talents and the gifts that God has given you (or as you may think the not so good as other people's talents and gifts) then think of my garden furniture in my Sun Room.

Remember that you can make use of what you have and use it wisely for the benefit of yourself and of others.

Be thankful for what you have and that you are not "just making do".

God wants us to MAKE GOOD USE of what He we have because it came from Him.