An Extra Hour

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It’s amazing what a difference a few sunny days will make and now that the clocks have moved back, I am looking forward to lots of productive evenings to come.

I now have two beautiful flowers on my orchid which I am very pleased about and lots of buds yet to open. To think I was going to send it off to the great compost heap in the sky!

The plants around the round patio don’t seem too upset by the dousing they got from my jet-washing. I have been down on my hands and knees removing the old cement and filling in the holes. The Pave Fix Plus takes 4 days to ‘cure’ but I don’t think that includes the days when it’s been pouring down. Steve jet-washed the decking and the furniture ready for the teak oil but I think I’ll wait until it stops raining.

There are now 9 cabbages emerging under cover but I’m not sure at what stage to transplant them into the soil. I intend to sow some more soon, still with an eye on a successional harvest.

I opened the flaps of the PVC covers when the sun was shining to let some air flow through then closed them again at night.

Have planted 5 sacks of Kestrel potatoes.

I’m not quite sure why I only have one pea plant (or possibly two) but I am certain there are some signs of beetroots.

I have to say, I am very pleased with the colour arrangement of these narcissi and tulips. I wish I could say it was intentional but I bought a mixed bag of apricot and purple tulips and it seems that I have planted the purple ones in the front and the apricot ones in the back; what are the chances of that?

My unhappy camellia is still unhappy and the leaves are turning yellow. I may just have to admit defeat. On a positive note, the zinnia are still alive!

I have ordered lots of plants and seeds with ambitious plans for gorgeous pots as seen in the Gardener’s World magazine! Well, I’m off to put my Oenothera ‘Sunset Boulevard’ (evening primrose) in the fridge.

Potential Zinnia Disaster

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I didn’t realise that when Raewyn told me that the Zinnia seedlings were ready for pricking out, she didn’t mean that I should plant them in the garden! Now the poor little things are likely to perish 😦

Today I purchased a couple of Fritillaria Meleagris.

How beautiful is this? It looks like it’s been made from a fairy’s tablecloth with its drooping checkerboard bells, made even more fascinating by the fact that some of the flowers come out pure white (you can just see one hiding in the centre).

I also jet-washed the round patio managing to blast everything in sight (including me) with a torrent of water, including my tiny lavendar plants. At least we’ll be ready for our al fresco summer dining – here’s hoping!

The Adams Family

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I must admit, I felt like Mortisha when she was trimming the flowers from the rose stems as I removed the little hopeful faces of the pansies this morning. I’m sure this can’t be right but they were so straggly, the stems not the flowers. I’m not sure how long pansies are supposed to last, do I keep them in forever, will they produce any more flowers?

I planted all the little Zinnia seedlings and scattered some slug pellets to be on the safe side.

Nothing in my garden ever gets the chance to self-seed as I am obsessively weeding all the time. Can somebody please tell me how to recognise the seedlings? The only thing I do recognise is the aquilegia and that seems to get everywhere.

Once again the garden is tidier than the house!

Spring is sprung

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It’s been such a busy week, mainly due to the lovely sunny days we’ve been enjoying. Night times are still cold and we have had some frost.

I planted the English bluebells as soon as they arrived this week.

I am intrigued by my new apple tree. It’s the Redlove which, I am reliably informed, has red flesh and a flavour of berries. I have been looking at it for a long time and pondering whether or not to buy one. I have taken the plunge even though I already have an apple tree with 3 varieties grafted on one trunk. There must be a limit to how many apples two people can eat! Whilst visiting Plantation Nursery this week for afternoon tea with Raewyn, we spotted some lovely bright blue pots for half price; perfect for my new apple tree and my unhappy camellia (see below).

Charlotte and Danielle bought me a lovely orchid when they came to visit about a year ago. I have to admit, I don’t have any house plants as they just die. I’m not sure whether I kill them with kindness or inconsistency but it happens every time. Of course, when you buy an orchid, it comes complete with lovely flowers and all seems very cheerful and so it was for many months. The flowers disappeared and I was left with a pot full of leaves, healthy and increasing in number. As time went on, nothing happened. I suspected that it was getting too big for its pot, probably due to having lots of protruding rooty stuff. The question was, do I spend money on a new pot and orchid compost, or do I cut my losses and send it on its way to the great compost heap in the sky? I gave it a good talking to and warned it that if it didn’t do something soon, it would be shown the door. On a visit to the garden centre, I was drawn to the orchid section and, in a weak moment, succumbed to the necessary purchase. On returning home, I carefully repotted and watered and spoke sternly to said plant. Imagine my excitement when it threw up a stem full of buds! This week one, just one, burst into flower and what a flower it is! So, I am pleased for two reasons; I have managed to keep a houseplant for more than a few weeks and my money was well spent on nurturing this little treasure.

I bought a camellia a couple of years ago when down at Charlotte’s, I’m pretty sure she bought one too. Last year one tiny bud formed, right at the bottom of the stem – and there it stayed. It never turned into a flower but the rest of the plant seemed quite healthy with lovely green shiny leaves. This year I was quite excited when many buds appeared and I was in anticipation of a display of bright flowers. However, my hopes were dashed when the buds turned brown and that was obviously that! Raewyn told me that camellia don’t like the early morning sun. I had planted my poor camellia in the exact spot where the sun rises and shines between the two houses first thing in the morning. I treated my precious plant to a new pot, some new ericacious compost and a new position. A couple of the leaves are turning brown but my fingers are crossed that it will cheer up soon.

7 cabbage seedlings are now out in the open but I think my successional sowing hasn’t worked as both sets are coming up at more or less the same time. Maybe I didn’t leave enough time between sowing?

It occurred to me this week that the two remaining euonymus shrubs that have been climbing the back fence since we moved in to this house, were not really adding anything to the garden so down they came. It just remains for the long-suffering Steve to do the back-breaking work of digging out the roots. There were several more of these around the garden but they too have been gradually removed as my interest in the garden has grown. Sometimes I think I don’t see the stuff that’s been around for a long time. Anyway, I thought there were more attractive things to grow up the fence. A text to Raewyn and we’re on our way to Fryer’s for afternoon tea! Fryer’s are rose specialists so they have a huge variety to choose from. Did I tell you how hopeless I am at making decisions? After a discussion with the ‘rose man’, I chose a white rose with a pink tinged centre called ‘Swan Lake’.

I also chose a Jasmine called ‘Clotted Cream’.

I fear I may have made a huge mistake in cutting down my red climbing rose. It has been climbing the fence for a few years now and I have had a handful of the most beautiful roses from it but never in great numbers. I suspect it doesn’t get enough sun in its current position and I may ultimately have to move it. I had been out earlier in the month to prune it a little and reposition it on the trellis. Raewyn showed me an article about how to prune roses which said to remove the weak shoots and thin end bits (that’s a technical term!). On close inspection, I noticed that most of the shoots were weak and also that the main stems had at some point been split by I’m not sure what. So I took a deep breath and the secateurs and chopped it right down. I now live in hope that it will be rejuvenated and not killed!

I never seem to leave Raewyn’s house empty-handed and this time it was some tiny Zinnia seedlings. Of course I had no idea what Zinnia were! Have decided to plant them behind the little box hedge.

March 2011

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Still cool with sporadic frosty nights. Some sunny days and plenty of wet ones.

5th March:
Daffs on the verge of bursting open.

Planted peas and 6 more cabbages (no sign of previous ones germinating yet). Trying successional growing so that everything doesn’t grow at the same time, have a feeling they will all grow at the same time anyway.

Potted up dahlias and put them in the grow house. Might be too early but they had little thready roots.

Planted paeonies in pots – Shirley Temple, Sarah Bernhardt and Karl Rosenfield.

9th March:
Snowdrops arrived and planted.

Ordered Redlove apple tree.

2 tiny cabbage shoots have appeared.

12th March:
Can see signs of blossom on apple tree.

 

Daffodils and hellebore in full glory although some daffs have still to flower.

Blueberries are springing into life

Not sure if the standard fuschia will come back

I love this corkscrew grass in the Chelsea border

This tiny eryngium is braving an appearance

Giant alium leaves making good progress

Kestrel potatoes still chitting in conservatory

Hollyhocks making an appearance

Onions under cover

Raspberries have proper leaves on now

This rhododendron has been in the garden since we moved in 20 years ago

Planted 2 rows of Boltardy Beetroot.

Now have 3 cabbage seedlings

Emptied potato sacks at tip ready for washing out and replanting at end of month.

Rearranged and fed red climbing rose. Cut down phormium, don’t know if they will come back.

13th March:
Raewyn gave me some iris bulbs which have been planted.

4 cabbage seedlings.