I tend to ramble on which makes my posts rather long so I only put small pictures on. If you'd like to see a bit more just click on the pictures to make them bigger.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring has sprung - March 2010

The winter has been very cold, we've had snow and frosts here which is very rare. It seems to have gone on forever. But in February we had a good two weeks where the sun shone every day and I decided it was time to start tidying up the garden and get ready for this year.

My big clear out of the wild garlic last year was mainly successful although there were still quite a few which reappeared. They must have been so small that I missed them first time round. Without disturbing the plants we want to keep I dug over the borders again and removed a lot more although some were impossible to get to as they're growing through other plants. I also weeded as I went along and after a couple of weeks of working every afternoon the garden was tidy and free of uninvited guests!

The white camelia blooms in February so all that remains on there are a few rather rusty looking flowers, but the spring bulbs are coming through bringing colour and life to the garden once more.

The pink camelia is in full flower with plenty more buds waiting to open. It seems to have liked the clear out around it's base last year and the pruning. The primroses seem to like it there too.

The strawberries have been removed and replanted in a couple of containers to keep them off the soil, hopefully we'll get a better crop this year. The rhubarb has been dug up, split and replanted giving it a lot more room. It's looking healthy and a few stubby sticks are coming through.

The corkscrew hazel has now been planted in this border, along with a new gooseberry bush this year.

Gladioli are planted each side of the concrete urn but we'll have to wait quite a while for them to show. The hyacinths and miniature narcissi are doing well and the perfume from the hyacinths is lovely.

The cranesbill geranium is coming through and there's signs of life from the paeony and the two tall lobelia. We'll have to be careful to cut back next door's plants when they start to grow through as that's a hiding place for snails and if not kept in check they devour the lobelia. The blue pot contains bluebells which I love but don't want rampaging through the garden.

The alpine bed's looking good, the Blue Moon rose has had a good prune and there's one of the tubs ready for runner beans to be planted out a bit later on.

My lovely azaelia is in the pot at the front, behind it is the Michaelmas daisy which we're hoping will give a better show this coming autumn than last year. We've pruned and kept the fuschia to see how it goes this year.

The two grassy clumps either side of the tulip leaves are Armeria Maritimia and will have little pom pom type flowers on during spring-summer. The white camelia with it's fast fading flowers and the rest of the primroses seem to be thriving underneath.

Salvia Hot Lips is in leaf and the lobelia is poking through. The large hardy fuschia has been heavily pruned and the slate chippings have been put down around the base of the bird feeder as so many seeds were falling into the soil and germinating giving us a variety of unwanted grasses. We're getting daily visits from pigeons now who are pretty good at tidying up the dropped seeds from off the slate and the path.

The curly red's looking nice and healthy and the prairie mallow is coming on. A few of last year's primulas are in flower and the hosta in the pot has just started to show through the soil.

The big red rose has been pruned hard to try and get a better shape and I think that's another old fuschia next to it which has been pruned. The two concrete planters are ready for some summer bedding.

Miniature fuschia on the left, lots of montbretia coming through and a few tulips and daffodils dotted about.

Hopefully the arum lily is coming back to life, there are some fresh green shoots so fingers crossed the frosts didn't do any lasting damage to this lovely plant. We now know we need to mulch it in future if the winters are as cold as this one has been.

We've plenty going on in the sun room too.

Four tomato plants are potted up, about 15" high and ready to go out when the weather is good enough. There are three red pepper plants coming along nicely but I'll keep those indoors this year. There are runner beans, parsnips, sprouts and a few leek seeds planted, also some cherry tomato seeds. We have lupins, sunflowers, penstemmons, African marigolds and paeony type poppy seeds planted and the seedlings are looking healthy.

The sprouts have just sprouted! I only planted three seeds for now, we're not too keen on sprouts but this is a red variety so we're happy to give them a try. I just need to read up to find out how to grow them now!

The tubs are filled with compost and ready for the carrot seeds to be sown outside in the next couple of weeks. The strawberries are in the tall two tier containers and I'll plant some salad leaves in the little white tub.

I've put some Rooster seed potatoes out in the big tub.

Hopefully the snow that's fallen today in Scotland and Ireland wont reach us, I'd hate to lose anything now.

September 2009

August had been a month for admiring the flowers we'd grown, geraniums in pots, and enjoying the runner beans and potatoes.

By September we'd cleared out some things that had finished and was giving thought to some winter colour and starting to move some things that were in the wrong place.

Salvia "Hot Lips" and a lobelia "Cardinalis" were new additions along with a campanula and some miniature cyclamen. Spring bulbs had also been planted at the back.

The dwarf runner beans were cleared out and some of the alpines moved over to this bed as they were too tall to go with the others. More spring bulbs were planted and the places marked.

Most of the gladioli had finished flowering and as these were dotted about all over the place it was decided to move them and group them either side of the concrete urn.

Some more cyclamen and spring bulbs planted here. The montbretia, now finished flowering, was moved to join some others to hopefully make a better display next year.

The tubs on the fence were planted up for the winter with primulas, pansies and cyclamens.

After discovering that primroses like shade, those that had been kept in a tub since we moved were split and planted beneath the two camelias.

That's just about it for 2009 but during the winter we did have a couple of visitors as well as the sparrows, various tits and robins. We were delighted to see a chaffinch as we don't see them very often:

And Paul thinks this is probably a fieldfare, he thinks it's too fat and spotty for a thrush:

July 2009

Things are really coming on now and I'm beginning to feel like all the hard work was worthwhile.


Dwarf runner beans

Butternut squash. Flowered and fruited but needs to be in a bed not a pot. Unfortunately rotted away before they grew big enough to eat.

Red peppers

My first pepper!

Paul's Blue Moon rose

This has the most wonderful perfume!

By the end of the month we'd harvested the first of the potatoes.

What a difference a month makes - mid June 2009


Leeks, carrots, peppers.

I never did find out what this was but definitely in the wrong place, too tall and straggly for here.

The red rose in full bloom, and a second surprise lily.

A lovely fuschia, could do with a bit of shaping for next year.

The beans are coming on and there's gladioli coming through the middle of the fuschia.

Signs of life - mid May 2009

It's getting quite exciting now, the fruits of my labours are beginning to show!

Leeks and carrots in the back two tubs and red peppers in the front tub.

The potatoes are doing well, five bags are mine, the other four are Tracy's but I'm looking after them as she has nowhere to put them.

The arum lily's looking good.

Our hosta seems happy enough.

We were too late to prune the camelia this year but the rhubarb is coming along fine and the strawberries seem OK but that corner is very crowded. The primroses are in the tub, patiently waiting for a new home, and there's some sort of creeping plant with flowers that open in the sun - very pretty but far too invasive.

The creeping plant, "Curly Red" (LEUCOTHOE AXILLARIS) in the pot, gladioli, a Christmas rose, another strawberry and a gazania. This bit of border definitely needs a sort out!

Now we've cleared, let's start planting - early May 2009

I've managed to make headway with clearing out the two long borders. I lost count of the nasturtium seeds, wild garlic bulbs and weeds but guess it would run well into four figures.

In this border is the fuschia which we pruned plus some dwarf runner beans. There's a gorgeous azalea which Tracy and Neil bought me for Mother's Day, just in view to the left of that is some aptenia which we managed to grow from seed. We'd seen aptenia in Australia when we visited and it made a beautiful carpet of greenery and pink flowers so we hoped we'd be able to get it to grow here. In the tub on the far left is a clump of Michaelmas daisies we brought with us from the previous house. In front of the birdbath, in the tub, is a corkscrew hazel, again brought from the previous house, waiting for us to find it a new home.

To the left of the alpine border is another runner bean, a lovely pink paeony and a cranesbill geranium. The piece of slate marks how far I'd got with clearing out the border and a bunch of the wild garlic waiting to be cleared is on the left.

The long border on the other side was cleared and there's more dwarf beans, a large fuschia, something as yet unidentified, and another fuschia.

In the middle of this border are two concrete planters which we used for bizzy lizzies, a red rose behind, to the left is a hosta which we brought with us and to the right is the corkscrew hazel. Dotted around are some primulas and a lonely lily which had appeared.

The remainder of this border has a primula, next is something I can't remember the name of, a fuschia, then the miniature fuschia we brought with us and finally the beautiful specimen Arum Lily which is just about the best thing which was originally in this garden. There are some pots with some other primulas in waiting to be planted.