Category Archives: How to

BBC Radio Kent

Hello – I have been away over the summer, moving house, renovating a garden, planting trees and bamboo in Brent. Time goes so quickly, but now I’m back. I was invited to work on the Kent Creative Coast programme in Whitstable yesterday by Catriona Cambell (@escapetocreate) and Southern Water. We had a thoroughly enjoyable day, talking about conserving water, ways to be inventive with mulch and how to create a coastal garden using drought tolerant plants. Photos to come soon.

I had the good luck to speak to Andy Garland and his team on BBC Radio Kent yesterday for their much loved ‘Sunday Gardening’ programme. If you fancy a listen, here is the link. I’m on around 48 minutes into the programme.


‘Container Planting’ Loving these ‘succulent’ spike heels

I just had to share this photo from Kerry Michaels – find her on twitter on @containergarden or at

You really can plant pretty much anything in any shape, size and form of planter. It’s ever so ‘wicked witch of the west-esque’ don’t you think? That really appeals to me – reminds me of playing Evileene, the wicked witch in ‘The Wiz’ at school. Hahahahaha….
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Sowing Tomatoes, Tea & Sympathy

Try as I might, I can’t always blog on the day things happen. Life usually gets in the way – but anyhow, THIS is what girlwithaspade and friends got up to last week at Workshop 24, Peel Precinct, South Kilburn.

"The best time of my life"

Twas a bitterly cold, rainy day, so I decided to host a tomato sowing workshop. The photo above is a quote from the guestbook at Workshop 24, courtesy of Adriana age 10, who came along with her friend to plant tomato seeds in peat pots. Makes your heart sing…I am sooo glad that I saw this. This is one of the best times of my life.”

To have an impact like that on someone so young is a real honour to be honest. That’s what makes working on community projects so worthwhile.

Pier Day report coming soon!

I’m so sorry it has been too long since I have blogged – girlwithaspade has been stretched in lots of different directions recently! THankyou for still taking time to look at this blog. Content will be returning this month. I will be posting a ‘how to’ piece – detailing how to stencil and spray tin cans to create beautiful containers and planters. Bye for now!


We love you


How to transform a jam jar into a vintage style vase

Recycle, recycle, recycle – most of us are pretty clued up now. We flatten cardboard, plastic containers, milk cartons and clothing. However, ‘upcycling is a natural progression from recycling. It’s about taking stuff you don’t use or need anymore and transforming them into new items. Shelves from wooden crates, vases from jam jars… you get the idea!

A stylish vase made from a jam jar.

Easy peasy: How to transform a jam jar into a vintage style vase.

Tools needed: Jam jar, flowers, water, washing up liquid, scourer.

Time: 15 minutes (Easy!)

Are you strapped for cash? (yep, me too!!). I needed a new vase for some beautiful peonies and decided to re-use and upcycle. Simply take an empty jam jar (mine was a strawberry jam flavour), leave to soak for 10 mins in a sink full of washing up liquid.

Give it a good scrub to remove the label. Fill with water, cut your flowers to size and hey presto… a pretty, vintage style vase. Filling this with pink peonies gives a 1950’s, feminine touch.

A thrifty project brought to you from girlwithaspade, don’t delay, do it today!

TIP: Don’t overfill small vases, simple is more stylish.

You can take this further and paint or embellish the vase using glass paint or acrylics.