Summer Madness

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The beetroot looked as if it might be ready before we went on holiday so I decided to pull a few. One of them was a decent size but the rest were quite small so I left some in the soil to grow bigger. Of course, once pulled, action had to be taken so I made my first attempt at pickling using red wine vinegar, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and a bay leaf. My big mistake was forgetting to add some sugar so the result was beetroot spicy enough to blow your head off!

The buddleija Davidii is a really vivid purple which is lovely alongside the pink phlox and eryngium. This is a rather cramped corner with dahlias, rudbeckia cherry brandy, oriental poppies, geums, jasmine, heucheras and alstromeria. Maybe needs some sorting!
The short-stemmed lilies have now finished and those that were in the shady corner have been removed so these are the only remaining lilies in the garden. The heavy scent carries right across the garden. This poor rose seems to survive in spite of me! It was chopped almost to the ground last year, then I accidentally knocked the first bloom off with my hoe. However, it refuses to be beaten and has presented me with more beautiful blooms.

I’m rather concerned about my Kestrel potatoes as they haven’t yet flowered. The foliage looked a bit sorry for itself after our holiday but has revived with a good soaking. I’ve looked on the internet and some forums say that Kestrel don’t flower. I suppose the only way to check is to have a rummage and see if there is anything there. I might not grow potatoes next year as the compost is very expensive and the results have been less than good value so far.

The peas are a different story entirely. They have exceeded expectations. I should have harvested a bit sooner however, as some of them had started to dry out. I realise now that I should have kept them as they would have been next year’s seeds. They have now been safely harvested, podded and frozen. Haven’t eaten any yet though, I don’t even like peas!

The apples are plumping up nicely.

 

The tomato plants are very sturdy with a few tomatoes although there are a many flowers.
The nicotiana has finally flowered both in the pot (Tinkerbell) and in the garden (Lime Green). I planted nasturtiums in the raised veg bed to keep the cabbage whites off my cabbages.
Right Left

These two silver birch trees are having a short back and sides this week. When we moved in they were nothing more than twigs. Funny thing is, I never even noticed them growing into these towering giants. Mind you, I didn’t notice my two sons growing to over 6 foot either!

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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.

October 2010

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They called it an Indian summer but that meant it just stopped raining! Night time temperatures went as low as 3 degrees. Towards the end of the month we had the coldest October night on record.

1st October:
Aconitum, anenome, fuschia, dahlias, pansies, verbena, penstamon, pink phlox and purple geranium all still in flower. Apples still on tree.

No sign of cyclamen germinating, might try them in the grow house. Cuttings doing well, throwing out new leaves.

7th October:
Aconitum looking better everyday as more flowers open. Purple penstamon and verbena still looking good. Standard fuschia and two others flowering profusely. Dahlias hanging on in there although I have lifted some. White mildew covering foliage of black leafed dahlia. Pansies still nodding their little heads.

Steve dug the rockery and I planted it up with some silver leaved plants, heucheras, aliums and miscanthus. The soil is very poor and full of roots and stones. Have added some manure and bonemeal in an effort to improve it.

Disaster with the Christmas potatoes. 2 sacks doing well, one attacked by blight. Very disappointed.

Steve added another water butt with overflow.

14th October:
Ordered raspberry canes plus 3 astrantia – Moulin Rouge, Major Florence, Venice and rudbeckia – Cherry Brandy.

21st October:
Frost just about finished off remaining flowers. Dahlias lifted and put in garage for storage. All potatoes succumbed to blight.

Ordered 2 raised veg beds 1.20 x 2.40 and 1.20 x 1.80 and some vegegrow soil. Cuttings doing well but no sign of seeds germinating.

28th October:
Rearranged Chelsea border, spacing things out more and bringing shorter plants to the front. Split verbena, penstamon and actea. They will either die or come back looking gorgeous. Took some cuttings of gaura but not sure if they will grow.

Raised beds arrived and erected. Just waiting for soil to come on 4th Nov. Then will have to plan what to grow in them.

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’

July 2010

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This month is very dry and we have a hose-pipe ban.

The red climbing rose and buttercup rose are both in full bloom (I didn’t kill it after all!). Fuschias, iris, lillies, dahlias and gaura are all putting on a beautiful show.

Steve widened the left-hand border and Jean named it the Chelsea Garden (rather tongue in cheek!).

Jean and I once again visited the RHS flower show at Tatton Park and came home laden with new plants. These included eryngium, some lovely ladybird poppies and Jean bought me a present of some bunny tail grass.

I’m not sure when to harvest these vegetables especially as we are going on holiday to China for 3 weeks at the end of the month. I  pulled up some carrots just out of curiousity and was thrilled to find them plump and straight.

My sister, Lorra, gave me a courgette plant which I have grown in a pot on the patio. It has produced endless courgettes which I have tried to make use of but to be perfectly honest, I just don’t like them. Lots of tomatoes are appearing on the hanging basket.

March 2010

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Spring was delayed by 2 weeks because of snow and temperatures of -18c. By 26th March the daffodils were about to burst into flower. The three giant aliums I bought from the RHS flower show at Tatton Park were pushing their fat, lush leaves through the soil. I harshly pruned my lovely yellow buttercup rose (sorry, I don’t know its name) and thought I might have killed it.

Jean gave me dahlias and lillies. The lillies were put in pots in the garage and the dahlias planted straight outside.

Seed potatoes were chitting in the conservatory – Marfona and Caesar – ready for planting in sacks.

Also bought carrot seeds (Autumn King 2) and Beetroot seeds (Perfect 3) and onion seedlings.