We wet our plants!

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My lovely neice brought a smile to my face when she posted this on Facebook.

We have had some glorious sunshine for the past couple of weeks, but we should know it won’t last. The forecast for this week is very much cooler during the day, frosty nights and the threat of rain, or even snow, mid-week. We are desperately in need of some rain.

The garden is at that magical Spring stage where something new comes up every day.

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I spent some time removing all the ugly ‘Honesty’ planted last year. The seeds were free with a magazine but the leaves are so big and unattractive, they had to go. I finally got around to digging up the pink phlox which was badly in need of splitting. It has now been redistributed to the new border and shared with Raewyn. The Gaura seeds didn’t take long to germinate and have now been potted on.  The Night Phlox looks a bit delicate but is beginning to stand up a bit more while the cosmos are now producing proper leaves. I sowed the white sunflower seeds collected last year as well as the nicotiana so am now waiting with baited breath. I received a free packet of centarea ‘snowman’ which also germinated really quickly. The Orlaya Grandiflora is yet to make an appearance. My previous sowing of verbena bonariensis came to nothing as I think I covered them too thickly with vermiculite. The additional seeds I scattered over the top seem to have made the required response.   The free tomato seeds received with Gardeners’ World magazine have been sown and I am intending to grow them in hanging baskets. The chilli seeds kindly donated by James and Rin have been planted in a hanging pot. I’m not sure whether they will germinate but thought it worth a try.  The echinacea seeds haven’t germinated, I think I planted too deeply. The trollius has been retired to the fridge for a couple of weeks. I couldn’t resist ordering Cerinthe Major Purpurascens and some Schizotylis, Pink Princess and Fenland Daybreak which are due to arrive at the end of April.

The carrots have been sown in their usual bag and purple mange tout in Quadgrow. The donated onions are doing well and the beautiful white blossom suddenly appeared on the damson tree. The two apple trees are about to burst into blossom also, I just hope the forecast frost doesn’t kill it.

Finally, I dug up three heucheras to split and redistribute.

A busy couple of weeks but I suspect activity will be curtailed with the deterioration in the weather. However, having turned the conservatory into a small nursery, I will have plenty to keep my eye on.

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All change

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Dissatisfied with the left border, I bribed Raewyn with home made scones and jam to come and cast her expert eye over it. I just keep sticking plants in wherever there is a spare inch of soil, giving no thought to how big things will grow or how everything will fit together. Raewyn sat pondering with pencil and paper and rearranged the whole left border and some of the main border.  The trouble with friends with an expert eye is that they leave you with lots of work to do!  Having spent all weekend in the blazing sun digging, uprooting, planting and watering. The Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ has been gathered from around the garden and planted together in a feathery fountain. The astilbe was really unhappy at the lower level so has now been planted in the deeper soil of the higher level.  I am now much happier with the overall appearance which will be finished off with an architectural angelica archangelica at the back.

First of all I got rid of all the winter pansies that had brought so much pleasure in the early months but were now past their best. I dug out great swathes of crocosmia that was crowding out so much all over the garden and even found some things I forgot I had.

August 2010 May 2011 July 2011

Unfortunately, I managed to knock the one flower off the red rose, let’s hope there are more where that came from. Now the crocosmia has gone from the main border, the beautiful salvia “Wendy’s Wish” has been brought forward into the sunshine and looks lovely with the dark red dahlia.

The front rockery is completely out of hand. I made a big mistake planting so much cosmos all over the garden; I didn’t realise how dense the feathery foliage would be. The artemisia has really spread out and made itself at home and the aliums tower above slowly turning from green to purple. However, the smaller candy stripe cosmos has worked well with the anenomes in the dividing border.

May 2011 July 2011

Although most of the leaves were covered in red rust spots and were removed, the hollyhock flowers are rather majestic.

The veg have been enjoying the sunshine and quietly getting on with the business of growing. The cabbages are huge and one provides 3 or 4 meals. Now I have removed some of the bigger ones, the later ones have more room to grow. The salad leaves are lovely and enjoyed by the whole family and neighbours alike. I keep nibbling on the peapods and some have developed the sweetest tasting peas. The carrots have encouraging foliage although I haven’t investigated further and the onions are pushing themselves up out of the ground; much more successful than last year.

Plants, plants, plants!

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I’m going to have to stop buying plants, I’m running out of garden and Steve won’t let me have any more lawn!

This has been a really busy week in the garden, not least because of the almost daily delivery of plants I forgot I’d ordered. They’re always so disappointing when ordered online. The pictures look lush and beautiful but what arrives is just a bunch of roots or a leafless twig. I know they will grow into the lush and beautiful (if I’m lucky) and I suppose that’s the exciting part.

I had another grow house disaster. Hundreds of Cosmos seedlings were upturned when a strong gust blew it over again. I don’t know why I didn’t secure it after last time when all my autumn cuttings suffered the same fate. However, undeterred, and determined not to lose a single one, I set about carefully gathering them up and repotting. It seems to have paid off as some of them now have two pairs of leaves. The offending grow house has now been secured to the fence.

I refuse to plant the 100 gladioli bulbs so generously provided free with my online orders of plants. I just don’t like them and I can’t be bothered with all that staking. I have had glads before and they spent their lives lying horizontal across the lawn before I eventually got round to removing them. Does anyone want 100 gladioli?

The Magnolia Stellata arrived and has been planted in the pot to replace the dead rose. It doesn’t look like a Magnolia, it’s just a couple of twigs with a few leaves.

This week has also seen the planting of 3 helleborus orientalis and 1 Queen of Night, 3 penisetum alopecuroides beneath the silver birch and 12 pulmonaria – 3 each of Majeste, Blue Ensign, Rubra and Opal.

Two paeonies went from pot to ground but ‘Shirley Temple’ is still in the pot until it is bigger; I didn’t think it was going to grow at all.

The dahlias are still in pots but most are showing signs of life. The black one, which has been my pride and joy for the past two years is sadly not producing any leaves at present.

A couple of Amaranthus seedlings have magically appeared in the conservatory trays but still no sign of nicotiana or sweet peas.

Second cabbage crop is doing well in seed tray, I won’t be so quick to transplant this time as I killed a couple of the first lot. Still no sign of celery.

I dug up a few feet of border in the front garden that the postman uses as a short cut through to next door. Here I have planted 100 anenomes. Now I have to find a way to deter the postman from trampling them.

A trip to the nursery with Raewyn saw two more additions: Dicentra Spectabilis and Dicentra ‘King of Hearts’

 I love this candy stripe phlox nestling among the rocks. It was quite puny when I planted it last year but it is really making itself at home now. I know I’m going to regret planting these cornflowers because of the way they seed themselves but they are pretty.

September 2010

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This was the first month that I kept my Gardener’s diary correctly so it becomes more detailed.

September began dry and sunny but by mid-month it was wet and unsettled. The end of the month saw the first ground frost and a definite nip in the air heralding the end of summer and the imminence of autumn.

There are still plenty of flowers in the garden and 3 apples on the tree (one fell off). The dahlias and lillies are fabulous but I am still waiting for the buds on the aconitum to flower.

1st Sept:
I finally removed the hydrangia which has been in the garden since we moved in but I have never really liked it. This opinion was consolidated when Jean referred to it as ‘old ladies’ hats’. In its place is a beautiful but small buddleja with an unusual dark purple flower.

The remaining potatoes have been harvested, like discovering buried treasure! Decided to plant some for Christmas. Jean and I shared some Kestrel and Beauty of Bute. Why do they sell them in such large numbers?

Planted the strawberry satellites in the new tub.

Planted purple and orange tulips.

If we could decide where the new shed was going, we could organise where everything else could go.

7th Sept:
We have had a damson tree in the garden since we moved in and it has been the bain of my life. I didn’t even realise they were damsons at first. Wherever the damsons fall a tiny tree appears overnight like magic beanstalks so I am constantly combing the grass for fallen damsons. Each year I severely prune the branches in an effort to stop the fruit from forming but the harder I prune, the more damsons are produced. One year I even meticulously removed all the blossom! The final straw came when our unwelcome guest, affectionately known as Roland, was seen peering out from under the shed with a huge damson bulging out of his mouth. Steve was immediately instructed to remove and dispose of all remaining damsons from the tree (I didn’t know what else to do with them). However, this year I had a change of heart and decided to make damson jam which was delicious and I am now looking forward to next year’s crop.

Took some cuttings from penstamons and put in grow house.

We have decided to have some paving laid for the shed so it could be another two weeks before it is erected.

14th Sept:
New plants include corkscrew grass, echinacea, gypsophilia, pretty pink hebe – Nicola’s Bush, weigela, euphorbia and a couple of varigated sedums. Ordered some cyclamen and cosmos seeds.

Paving for shed arranged for 15th. I have asked the man if he will take the soil round the front and create a rockery on the other side of the fence.

Moved pennisetum rubrum to underneath the silver birch where it looks lovely against the white trunk and gets more sun.

21st Sept:
Have planted some winter pansies in the Chelsea garden just to fill the space up for now, they are pretty though. The Japanese anenome is about to flower but the foliage doesn’t look very healthy.

Paving completed, the shed has finally been erected. The man made a right pig’s ear of building a rockery and Steve will have the dubious pleasure of digging it out again and making it good.

I soaked the cyclamen seeds overnight and sowed them in chinese takeaway containers then put them in the conservatory.

Rearranged main border and am much happier with the arrangement. Removed a huge clump of crocosmia which was taking up too much room and replanted as a ‘swathe’ weaving around other plants.

Raewyn gave me some more penstamon cuttings from her garden and I also took some from the new silver leaved plants for the front rockery.

28th Sept:
Japanese anenome in full flower now, still concerned about the leaves though, very geometric discolouration. Dahlias still have some flowers.

Ordered some ornamental grass for front rockery – miscanthus sinensis ‘Kleine Fontane’