Friday, 23 December 2011

Last day before Christmas

This week saw my last day in the garden til 2012. So to begin here is this weeks photo from the potting shed - it was still dark hence the use of the flash - don't trust the camera anymore so I thought I better get a shot in straight away

Anyway, it was back to the beech hedge again, and the removal of the cotoneaster growing uncontolled round and through it. To give you an idea of how much cotoneaster there is / was, have a look at these two pics. In the first you can see how far out from the beech the cotoneaster is growing and also you can see how thick the growth is in between the beech trunks.

The next picture shows the row of material removed - the bulk of this is cotoneaster, with some beech too - there will be a considerable amount of beech but as most of the beech growth to be removed is high up, a tractor c/w front loader and chainsaw will be required for this task

And the final picture shows the bottom (south facing side of the hedge after initial pruning (to a height of 7 - 8 ft). I have now started on the north faciung side but the growth is much less hedge like and more tree like.

So that's it for this year. Thanks to everyone who has visited the blog and to the regular followers. All that remains is to wish you all a very happy Christmas and I'll be back next year.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Beech Hedge restoration begins in earnest

No pics again but only cause there's not a lot to see at the moment. I will take some next week so you can see what I'm up to as regards bringing the beesch hedge back into some sort of order. Amazingly, we still have a few roses in bloom and through the slowly thawing snow I noticed a few pink and purple blooms on the pulmonaria in the boder against the wall.
Anyway, today started off fairly pleasant weather wise albeit a it parky. However by 3pm it was foul with strong winds and heavy snow - why did I choose gardening over an office job? It used to be that I could console myself with the thoughts of working outdoors during long hot summers but we haven't seen one of them for 4 or 5 years now.
Sally came down to the garden first thing this morning to show me what had been decided re the beech hedge and the cotoneaster growing in front of, through and behind it. Basically all the cotoneaster is to be removed other than those plants that are growing uop the middle of the beech and the beech hedge itself to be cut back quite hard to encourage fresh growth and help it bush out.
So with chainsaw, pruning saw, loppers and secateurs in the barrow, I set about it, and after a full day I have done about half. However, having removed the Cotoneaster at the front of the hedge, I think we shoud remove the cotoneaster growing up the middle too - spoke to Sally and I think we agree that this would be better.
Anyway, the burn piles are increasing and will continue to do so weekly from now til whenever we can start a fire.
That's it - like I said nothing too exciting but it will be worth the slog in the end.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

White Sh*te!

And so it begins again. Winter weather is upon the garden once again and the fork and spade can more or less be put away for the winter and the chainsaw, loppers and pruning saw come into full time employment.
Anyway, here is a pic of the borders from the potting shed on Tuesday, not that there is a lot to see. On the brighter side though, you can't see any weeds !

As the camera has been playing silly buggers this last wee while, I will now show you the rasp bed - with newly planted canes as mentioned in last weeks update. The short canes are the Glen Mmoy and Glen Ample and the long canes are the Tullameen.

And the next couple of photos show some of the area that is to tackled this winter.

There is a large and very overgrown beech hedge, which will need extensive work to bring it back into order. Along the bottom side(the south facing side) of this hedge is a 3- 4ft high coteneaster hedge which might be brought back into line - or it may be removed entirely. This is not my decision to make but I should know on Tuesday next what it's fate is to be. There is also cotoneaster growing right up through the beech so it has to be removed before any real work can start on the beech itself.
I have made a start on the upper side of the beech hedge and have removed on large cotoneaster plant from the middle of the hedge already but it's a real slog - slowly slowly catchee monkey is the phrase for this hedge.
I also removed a lot of growth from a large viburnum up beside the "rose-bed" -  it's a "nothing" tree with only one saving grace - it is supporting a very old and very large climbing rose - if it wasn't doing this I would have no hesitation in removing it completely ( this may happen yet though)

So that's it for what I did on Tuesday - not the most interesting of days from a gardening point of view but the work that will be done over the coming winter will really make a difference to the garden come Spring.
That's it for this week. See ya later...........

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Preparation for next year

Once again, apologies for no piccies AGAIN - this time entirely my fault - I forgot to pack the camera in my piece bag!! Will do my best to remember it next week but I do seem to be having more and more "senior moments" just now.
Anyway, the rasps arrived yesterday so after unpacking them I left them in florists buckets full of water to give the roots a good soak before planting out. Whilst they were soaking, Sally came down to the garden with an order of perennial plugs / bare root plants. When we got our first delivery a year ago, we planted them straight outside but quite a few succumbed to the cold winter we had , so this year, I potted them all up in MP compost and they are now happily sitting on the greehouse staging.
In no paticular order there are;
26 x Phlox paniculata (mixed)
6 x Echinops baccata Blue Globe
6 x Rudbeckia Goldstrum
18 x Hemerocallis (mixed)
3 x Astrantia major
3 x Astrantia major Rubra
3 x Astrantia maxima
1 x Hemerocallis Double Dream
1 x Hemerocallis Double Dancer
1 x Hemerocallis Double Red Royale.
After potting these up and labelling them all, I planted out the raspbery canes. These are planted at 18" spacings in the new rasp bed, with exactly the right number of canes ordered to fill the two beds. We have 6 x Glen Moy (an early fruiting variety), Glen Ample ( a mid season variety) and 12 x Tullameen (a long cane Canadian variety).
After finishing this, I did a biot more clearing up until it got dark, then finished the day by starting to lay black polythene on the ground where next years veg will be grown.
So a busy day, which will hopefully bear results next year.
See y'all next week.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Moving Mountains

Of manure that is, but more of that in a bit. I think I'm jinxed when it comes to photographs of this garden at the moment, so without any explanations, may I apologise now for the lack of pics again this week. Hopefully I'll get some usable pics next week to compensate.
Glorious day - clear blue skies all day - a wee bit fresh in the morning but considering we're only 4 and a bit weeks from Christmas, I ain't about to complain.
Anyway, today was spent mostly on the "rose-bed", Now, this is the smallest of the borders / beds in the garden bar the two areas either side of the Summerhouse which are home to a Garrya and a Viburnum respectively. So I set about it's upgrade with the words "this won't take too long" rattling around in the space where I used to have a brain. Well, there were three old (and large) thorny shrub roses to be dug out and this took quite a bit of work but eventually all three were removed and all the root sytems taken away too. Then I weeded the whole bed before applying a generous mulch of manure. Doesn't sound much does it. It's only a small bed - if you want to call 14m x 4m a small bed ! Believe me, after barrowing 26 full barrows of muck from the wild end of the garden, it didn't feel so small !
But at least it's a job well done and finished and that bed can be put to sleep for the winter.
I also lifted the dahlia tubers  and after cleaning them up and leaving them in the sun for two or three hours to dry any remaining soil up, they are now residing in floists buckets full of dry peat in the potting shed. The tubers are considerably bigger than they were when they were planted, so we should get a lot of plants next Spring - and the plan is now to put all the dahlias in the newly manured rosebed when the time comes.
I also cleared the tomato plants from the greenhouse - they did okay but not quite as well as I had hoped and although the bell peppers flowered, it was too late for fruits to form so we got a zero return from these. More muck in the greenhouse beds for next year methinks!
Although I was expecting the rasp canes to have arrived, with Sally having been told they were dispatched last week, there was no sign of them, so Sally called the supplier who told us we had been misinformed and they had only started to lift them last week ready for sending out all their orders, so hopefully we'll have them by next Tuesday -but if not, I won't be short of things to do.
The weather forecast says the weather is to turn cold over the weekend and that will be the start of winter proper - this is exactly the same weekend as the snow arrived up here last year, so with that in mind, the chainsaw is away being serviced as it can expect to see quite a lot of use over the coming couple of months.
Anyway, that's it for today, see ya next week

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Another sunny day (in mid November!)

Well, the good spell of weather continues, and there is no sign yet of the long cold winter we have been expecting, though there's nothing to saythat when it does eventually arrive, it won't drag on until May next year !

Anyway, there are quite a few photos this week to make up for the camera's misbehaviour last week, but as usual here are the borders from the potting shed

I'll start by posting up a couple of pics that actually refer to last week. The first shows the stone flag path between the raspberry beds. The raspberry canes were dispatched this week so should be ready for planting next Tuesday.

Not a brilliant photo next, the autofocus still seems to be acting up a bit but this shows the heap of manure and the start of the composting area at the far end of the garden.

The compost heap is being filled at an alarming rate, but with all the deadheading and cutting back of perennials at this time of year, I suppose it's to be expected.

So back to this week. As mentioned, deadheading and cutting back perennials continues - more lupins being dug up, only to reveal fresh babies underneath - these will all go to make the Lupin Wall just below the lower border hedge. I have been marking the perennials, after I cut them back, with smallish canes, but I have also put 8ft canes in alongside the hollyhocks in both the borders and these can act as stakes for when they take off next season.
I have started (not quite finished but close to it) digging over what was the the veg patch this year. This is the west facing border and decisions will need to be made what this will be home to next season. Similarly, the rose bed will need to have a decision made about its' future for next year.
The lower branches of the Garrya have been removed for no other reasons than to let more light in to the small border below it, and to tidy up its appearance. I know I've said it before (probably more than once) but I do like this tree so here is another photo of it!!

All this good weather is obviously upsetting Mama Natures clock, as we still have roses in bud
And even the snowdrops and daffodils are coming up for a look see - though I think they'll get a fright shortly.

As I've mentioned over the last couple of weeks, winter is when the chainsaw makes an appearance and we start removing more of the mature weeds (26 year old sycamore and ash mainly) and clearing sections of the garden. This winter's projects will be thebeech hedge at the end of the garden, as well as the hedge along the bottom perimeter of the garden. The latter is still very much a hedge but has gone a bit leggy as the photo below will demonstrate. Whilst these need to come down, their removal will open the garden up to full view from the road below so it better look tidy from next spring onwards !!

That's it for this week, back next.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Feckin camera!

Took loads of piccies this week to make up for none last week, especially as the weather was fantastic - beautiful blue skies, not a breath of wind, definitely T shirt type weather. Got home - every single one blurred - must be a problem with the autofocus system as it was still beeping at me to say it was focused, and it did look focussed in the viewfinder but not in reality! So another week with no piccies I'm afraid, Will need to "borrow" Maggies camera next week!
I have had a large load of manure tipped into the garden at the far (and as yet untouched and still wild) end of the garden, and after a mooch about, found some old fenceposts so I could put up the first compost bin - 1 pallet wide and high and two pallets long. This is alongside the pile of manure so I spread some on the floor of the bin and will add more as the bin fills up - which it is doing quite rapidly!
So more deadheading and removal of unwanted lupins, all into the compost bin.
To get to the compost bin with the barrow, I have to pass the new raspberry beds and in doing so for the umpteenth time, I thought a path down the middle of the two beds would be a good idea. So off on the mooch again, uncovering large flagstones from various areas where they have been more of less buried under the weeds for a couple of decades. A quick clean up and a lot of sweat later, and there is now a nice stone flag path between the two rows.
After that, I finished dividing all the remaining white geranium clumps and finished planting the line of divisions along the inside of the top border hedge.
Whilst I was at it, I moved one of the Sea Hollies as it was getting lost amongst the Red Hot Pokers.
As a result of the recent spell of good weather, we still have dahlias floweing, as well as lupins, oriental poppies, white campanula, some of the roses, sunflowers, helenium, verbena bonariensis, scabious, geum and geraniums.
That's it for now - back next week - hopefully with some photos for you!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Well, no pictures again this week as the borders are basically going to bed for the winter. However, this gives us the chance to re-assess where certain plants are planted, to divide larger clumps of perennials and take stock of the borders in general, planning for next year.
We can see which plants were successful and worked well, which need to be moved and also which plants will need to be staked at an earlier stage in their growth.
I spent most of the day, lifting and dividing perennials, moving and removing others and deadheading those that have gone over for the winter. I also potted up some more self sown buddleia plants and finally removed all the sweet peas from the borders.
As we move into the colder months now, it will be time to reclaim more of the garden from the wild, starting with the large beech hedge which needs to be brought back under control, and the removal of any large trees that are not where they should be. Also, the veg area for next year needs to be readied, the cut flower bed, which is the current veg bed, needs to be dug over and readied, and the hedge along the bottom perimeter of the garden needs to be shaped, sorted and the large sycamores and ash trees that are growing up through it will need to be felled too. All in all, a busy winter looms - at least it'll keep me warm !

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Got piccies this week !!

Yay - camera is back in the land of the living - actually the camera was always working, it was the batteries (fresh out the box) that were naff.So without further ado, here is the border from the potting shed first thing (almost) this morning

You can tell the mornings are getting darker as the flash came on automatically !! Anyway, today was spent mainly in the pursuit of more free plants!!
First off it was time to set about the various clumps of huge but seriously underperforming white geraniums that are one of the garden originals. These had been cut back last week and after chatting with Sally, it was decided to divide them up and plant them in a line just inside the border hedge - job done

Well not quite, there are two small clumps left to divide and replant but I ned to jig things about at the top of the border first.
I then split a couple more of the garden originals   - a hemerocallis which is now 5 hemerocalli (is that the plural - a bit like hippopotamus / hippopotami!) and one of the clumps of blue iris which now divided into 7.

The lifting and dividing of these plants has given me about 40 or so new plants and also gave me the chance to dig out some of the couch grass and ground elder roots that were enmeshed in the rootballs of these plants, I'm not daft enough to think I got it all but hopefully a greater amount was removed than remains!
I also potted up some more self seeded buddleia that I came across as I was working in the border.
Next I did some deadheading - mainly of the Scabious, Astrantias and Papavers, so all in all the clearing up of the top border should be finished and the border ready for bed next week. However, there are still some bright notes in amongst the dieback.

A couple of the climbing roses against the SF wall are still producing blooms

As are some of the Astrantia

And the Verbena bonariensis
The Bowles Mauve is doing what it does best and is still heavily in flower
And the Sweet Peas, although beginning to go over are still looking okay.

Add to these the various rosebushes covered in bright red hips, the odd oriental poppy, the lupins, and dahlias, and there is still some colour about the place, though we have yet to have a frost.

On the veg front, the leeks are doing well and the PSB is producing its first florets.

Elsewhere, the Savoy cabbage is ready, the last of the cucumbers were picked, the chard is still going strong, the tomatoes are still ripening though for how much longer remains to be seen, the lettuces planted below the tomato plants are now harvestable and there are still some carrots to be lifted.
The Petit Posy plants are looking healthy enough but something is eating the "posies" from the ground to almost three quarters of the way up the stem - mice are the probable culprits - and the garden isn't short of these critters - although I did see a wren today having a peck at the top growth - though it was probably munching a beastie as oppposed to the plant.
Anyway, todays harvest conisted of savoy cabbage, carrots, tomatoes (three varieties) Silver Chard, Lettuce,  2 cucumbers Pepita, 5 leeks and some PSB as well as a small bunch of Sweet Peas.#

And finally, if you remember the potting shed mouse eating the apple, well, to prove he/she/it has cosmopolitan tastes, here it is again this week - this time chowing down on a pizza crust.

And that's it for this week. :)


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

No piccies again !!!

Apologies but no pics again this week. I put fresh batteries straight out the pack into the camera this morning but when I got to the garden, the camera indicator showed flat battery / low battery power!
Anyway, the day started out dull and overcast and went downhill rapidly with heavy, almost constant rain and it began to blw a real hoolie about 12 o'clock and is still giving it yee-hah as I type.
Still no sign of the perennial plugs that Sally has ordered, but checked on the primulas and buuddlieas in the greenhouse and they are all doing fine. Started to cut down more of the perennials in the herbaceous borders - achillea (again) and a white geranium that has not really put up much of a display this year, This was a "garden original" and having cut down all the growth on the four large clumps, I think that it will definitely benefit from being divided this year.
Cut down the runner beans too, after picking what was left (actually quite a few) as the beans wil start to get hard and unpalatable with the onset of this colder weather. I also pulled up some scabby cauliflower and a coule of split cabbage, as well as a black tuscan kale plant that was infested with caterpillars, which after some peeking on the Interweb, looked like those of the Peacock butterfly. All of these went over the back of the garden to my newly started and as yet unrestrained compost heap.
After dinner I started to clear the small bed by the gate, removing the Sweet Peas and cutting back both the shrub roses and the Silver Pear Tree - the latter only having branches pruned where they were smothering the young lilac bush. After this, I weeded the bed and raked up the Lime and sycamore leaves that come in over the wall, tyen on my way to the compost heap, dug up some more lupins!
I had planted two Hebes in this bed - Purple Shamrock- and whilst one was nice and bright, the other which had been overshaded by the sweet peas, was just a plain green colour, so hopefully we'll let more light into it and it will catch up with its mate again.
The two buddliea "trunks" that I sank into holes last week still have fresh looking foliage on them but they are probably still living off what they had in storage so time will tell if the are going to grow away or not. The berries are out on the holly trees and the birds are filling the garden -there were lots of them about today - eating berries, apples and pears.
Ovcer beside the raspberry patch, the PSB is looking good and the first florets are starting to burst through and the leeks are doing really well and should be ready to start lifting anytime really.
That's it for this week - will get the camera sorted for next week.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Free plants a plenty

Late again I know but here it is now, First off as usual here is this weeks pic from the potting shed,

The borders are beginning to fade now and so it's time to start sorting out freebie plants and seeds.
First off there are the lupins - and whilst initially I was pleased to see so many self seeded lupins this Spring in the border to the left of the photo above, they have continued to appear all year and the lupins were in danger of smothering pretty much all the other young plants in the  borders, so a gret many have been removed. I have the seedheads  from a lot of these in bags in the potting shed - one bag of pink lupins, 1 of blue / purple lupins and an empty compost bag filled with seedheads of a general mix of colours. Ther is a bank down where the greenhouse is that these seeds will be broadcast onto in the Spring where they will be allowed to grow and spread to their hearts content (within
The next major freebies are the buddleia - not only have I dug up and potted up six self seeded young plants of the purple variety which are now in the greenhouse, I have removed two section s of the trunk of this one, one about 18" long, the other about 30" long and these have been planted at depths equivalent to half their length in the banking outside the greenhouse. Both sections have planty of green growth buried so should grow away and form decent sized shrubs fairly quickly. The reason for cutting back the trunks is to try and curtail the smothering effect that the original bush was having on the Governor Cheery tree which more or less dissapeared from view from Mid May onwards. I split some more clumps of Achillea Summer Pastels and these have been planted in such a way as to to hopefully provide more of a drift effect in the border than a large clump.
Other plants will be divided over the coming weeks, including hemerocallis, iris, centaurea and geranium.
I also erected the supports and wires for the forthcoming raspberry canes. Theare will be two rows each 5 metres long. The frames are constructed from deer fenceposts, chapped in til only 5ft remains above ground. To these are attached cross members each 2ft long, the first 3ft from the ground and the other at the top of the post (5ft from the ground). Wires are then run the length of the beds between the supports then additional wires are strung across the wires at 1.5ft intervals. The canes will be contained within these wires and the crosswires will help provide additional support for the growing canes.
 It may well be that when the canes are planted we shall enclose them in  a wooden surround / mini raised bed to make future feeding / mulching easier and then any canes that appear outsideof this  wooden frame can be removed  whilst those within the confines of the bed will be allowed to remain and grow on.
Anyway here is a pic of the finished item

I also sowed some Astrantia seed and pruned some more climbing roses.That's about it for this week. Back on Tuesday night. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

After the winds we have had all week I was expecting quite a bit of damage in the garden but the only casualty was one of the Sinflower Pastiche plants which had snapped at the base. Anyway, here is this weeks pic from the potting shed

The borders are beginning to go over a bit so you may (or may not) notice a few things seem to be missing - in particular the buddleijas have gone - only the base stumps remain and these will be cut back even further this year to try and control the size of the plants. There are numerous baby budds dotted about in the borders and these will be lifted and potted up for replanting in the Spring in the bottom part of the garden. I have also started cutting down various perrenials,, especially the campanulas that are aginst the wall and have started to divide and replant clumps of the Achillea, and will be doing the same with the geraniums soon too. There are various plants that will need moved either soon or in the Spring and Sally has another batch of perennial plugs due to arrive anytime so these will also be potted up toawait Spring planting.
After digging over the rasp bed last week, I now have the deer posts so will set to that next week as Sally has decided what varieties of raspberries she would like, although they are not yet ordered.
I also cleared a path through the scrub at the far end of the garden so that I can get my composting area set up ready to take all the dead growth from the borders.
The last of the Dahlias has produced two flowers and although it is almost two weeks later than the rest, I think it was worth the wait.
Also flowering this week we still have geraniums, echinacea, some achillea, sweet peas, roses, lupins, scabious, astrantia, verbena bonariensis, a coule of oriental poppies, erysimum and phlox. We have also managed to het some heleniums to flower - this might not sound too impressive but this the third batch that has been planted ion the borders and the only one to actually do anything !

Anyway, that's it for this week, back next Tuesday..

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

A Voyage of Discovery

That's what this garden continues to be - but more of that later. As usual here is the pic of the borders taken this morning - before the rain started again !!

Today was a bit of a mixed bag weather wise - dry for most of the morning and warm too,  but it started to rain more as the day wore on.
Anyway, to begin the day I was feeling energetic so I carried all the remaining logs in the top third of the garden out the door to await removal for winter firewood. and the I  dug over and weeded the area planned for the raspberries. It is now going to be two rows of varities as yet unknown but probably an early and a mid season variety, one row of each. I have asked both Richard and Sally to get 4 x deer fence posts so that I can put the framework and wire supports  in place.
After that was done (and it took a while to remove all the thistles, nettles, dockens, ground elder and creeping buttercup), Sally came down and we taked about what was due to arrive soon by way of plug plants (more Phlox and Astrantia, Echinops, a double Hemerocallis) and about setting up a compost area.
Now, at the far end of the garden, beyond the hedge that may or may not be ripped out (as mentioned a couple of weeks ago, there is an area hat is not yet touched at all. There is a gateway through the wall  to allow trailers to tip manure from the field down into the garden so that would be an ideal place to put the compost area.. All I need now are some pallets and some old fenceposts and Bob's my Uncle and Fanny's my Aunt.
Afytre Sally had gone, I gathered up all the hedge clippings from Richards final foray with the trimmer, and then I cut back both the white and purple Buddlieja bushes and in doing do opened the borders right up. I gave these bushes a severe cut-back last year but they need an even more drastic cut-back this year.
After this I filled the box with this week's vegetables

We have tomatoes (Tigerella, Black Cherry and Golden Sunrise), Runner Beans, Carrots, Rooster Potatoes, a Red Iceberg lettuce and Rainbow Chard.
And finally here are some pics of the Sky High Dahlias that are in bloom - there is one that has yet to open, but time is getting on now and we might not see it this year! I know you have seen most of these - if not all before, but here they are all together. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Today was a"bitty" sort of day with lots of the little jobs that needed done finally being accomplished. First off, here is this weeks pic of the borders from the potting shed.

The roses against the SF and WF walls have their second flush in full bloom at the moment, the Sweet Peas are still going strong, the Geums are still hanging on in there, there are a few poppies dotted, the Phlox are still about - in fact, pretty much everything is still there to a lesser extent, though some are starting to look a little bit jaded. There is however another new dahlia on the block - well, the first bloom opened last week but eejit here forgot the camera, so here it is, taken this morning - it honestly looks better in real life !

Dead headed the Achillea, some more Lupins, the Scabious and the Astrantia.
Cut two branches off one of the cherry trees as although they were leafy at their extremities, both had long sections with no new growth at all. This also serves to make the tree a better, more balanced shape against the wall and frees up space for either a new climber or fruit tree or for the Ceanothus Skylark at the base of the bare space to be pulled up into.
I also finished digging out the last of the shrub rose roots which were left from last week. Whilst removing the last large chunk, I disturbed this chap but I'm not sure who got the bigger fright - anyway, he waddled off to find somewhere else to settle down, though he did look slightly pissed off about being uprooted !
On the veg front, I harvested the first of the Savoy cabbages - a conical variety called "Samantha" which look really nice, not too big and as I havealready harvested and eaten some of my own, I can vouch for them being tasty too. I also picked a heap of runner beans and cleared the broad beans out. I have saved about 50 pods of the Broadies for seed for next year as they are the Crimson Flowered heritage variety. The tomatoes are ripening slightly quicker now but it might be time for the rotten banana trick soon - hanging a couple of ripe bananas amongst the trusses helps promote ripening due to the ethylene gas given off as the banana starts to brown. The leeks and PSB are looking good though there are still a lot of flutterbies about so I'll leave the PSB under their netting for a week or so yet.
Took three cuttings from the productive redcurrant bush and these are now planted in situ where hopefully they will grow to be as good as their mom!
Sally came down to the garden and we talked raspberries and our initial decision is that the garden will have three rows, each about 5m long - an early variety, a mid season variety and possibly an autumn variety, though varieties have yet to be decided.
We also talked about what plants we would use to fill in the spaces vacated by the shrub roses when the time come for lifting and dividing clumps of perennials.
Up at the house I weeded the small borders along the front and lifted three geranium clumps that had outgrown their allotted space - these were taken down to the herbaceous borders in the walled garden and one was split further so we now have 4 new clumps of pink  geraniums in the borders.
I also cut back a couple of rose bushes to allow the hips to be seen to their best advantage.
For those of you who have been with me for a while, you might recall that I sowed some paeony seeds (and some tree paeony seeds too) last year and these were just stuck outside the potting shed and left to either grow or not. Well, I checked them today and they all have tap roots forming - no guarantee that they will all make it to adulthood but if they do, we 'll have 20 paeonies and 7 tree paeonies to find home for.
Other than weeding round the entrance and the potting shed, that's about it for today but I'll leave you with one more photo of my potting shed resident tucking into a windfall apple that was left on the bench last week. Later..................................

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Wet Wet Wet

And I'm not referring to the boys from Clydebank. Although we seem to have missed the winds from the tail end of the Hurricane, unlike those firther south, we have had non stop rain for 36 hrs, and the ground is sodden.
Anyway, first off this week, an apology. I forgot to puit the camera in my bag this morning so I'm afraid that there are no piccies today, not that there would probably have been very many with the rain being so heavy - at least this morning - it did brighten up to a drizzle this afternoon but as I sit here typing this it is raining outside the window.
To start the day I thought I would try and take advantage of the shelter offered by the Garrya Elliptica tree and weed the bed underneath it - shame no-one told the tree to stop the rain for me. So, already soaked through the waterproofs, I set about digging out another three shrub roses. The amount of space their removal (and the removal of those taken out last week) has created in the border is quite astonishing and will take a bit of filling, but there are more plants on order. I staked one clump of Echinacea as they had been using one of the shrub roses for support and it's removal left them flopping around quite a bit.
Of the six T&M Sky High Dahlia tubers that were planted, all have now flowered bar one. So far we have a yellow, a red velvet, a dark red velvet, a pink/white and the newest arrival looks like a double with a very frilly centre which is red with yellow edges and reflexed red petals surrounding this - this is where a camera would have been handy! It looks really good so hopefully we'll get loads of cuttings from this tuber in due course - photo to follow next week. I relabelled all the dahlias with the colours so we know what tuber is what when we put them down for the winter.
I gathered up a box of windfall apples, leaving those that were badly bruised or slug damaged on the ground for the birdies to enjoy - there is another huge crop of apples this year and the trees look healthier this year than they did last year - possibly due to the winter wash they received.
Harvested another pile of Rooster tatties, carrots, runner beans and picked some more plums too.
Whilst picking the plums, I noticed small green round fruits on the tree in the corner of the west facing border. This tree did not have these last year, or at least they went un-noticed. They are the size of a very large cherry and have a stone in the centre and I think they ripen to a red colour. The leaves however are definitely not cherry tree leaves. I have taken a cutting with leaves and two fruits attached to try and identify them, so will hopefully be able to let you know soon.
Started into cutting back (I'd prefer down) some sort of Viburnum by the rose bed - it is full of pests and looks nondescript - however it does perform one important role - it is support to a very large and very old climbing shub rose, so for that reason alone, some of it will have to stay.
Anyway, that's about it for this week, aplogies again for no piccies.
See you next week

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Happy Birthday to Richard !

If the recent weathet is anything to go by, we ain't going to get any kind of summer and now that the leaves are turning ( as well as the temperature) I guess Autumn is just around the corner, if not here already.
However, all is not doom and gloom in the garden. And as usual here is the view from the potting shed this week.
So, the Sweet Peas are still flowering their little heads off and are definitely amongst the star performers this year, the Echinacea purpurea are looking well as are the Sea Hollies, and some of the climbing roses are having a second flush of flowers too. The Crocosmia is in full bloom, there are Alastromeria in flower, as well as the Dahlias, Sunflowers, Scabious, Phlox, Verbena (bonariensis and hastata), and lupins by the hundred. The oriental poppies are making a late bid too, along with Geranium "Splish Splash" and the Geums just haven't stopped all season.

Also new in flower this week are some Kaffir Lilies

And the small White Echinacea are looking good too

And so to what was accomplished this week. I weeded one of the small "bulb" beds at the side of the Summerhouse, stalikg up some of the dwarf Gladioli as I went, and cut back all the growth on the sycamore trunks that were beginning to get out of hand again - as soon as I get a dry day I will paint these over with the stumpkiller. It should have been done before now but it hasn't been easy getting a dry day recently!! I then cut down three shrub roses that were given a second chance this year but didn't deliver and then dug out the roots - no mean feat as the roses had been in the garden for a long long long time - I also broke a spade into the bargain! However, their removal has let light in against the wall for one of theclimbing roses by the garden door, and has cleared a fair bit of ground for new plants.
On the veg front, I lifted another lot of Rooster potatoes and carrots, picked a cabbage, some beetroot, a load of broad beans, some runner beans and some carrots. Add to that the tomatoes and cucumber Sally took away in the morning and the veg is starting to pay it's way. We also got a punnet of plums off the unidentified tree against the West facing wall.
Anyway, that's it for this week folks. See ya next week.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

I'm back

Sorry for not updating this blog for the last couple of weeks but things have been a bit hectic what with organising and particating in the local horticultural show and going away for the weekend to Airth Castle with Maggie and the girls to join a family party for my mum's 70th.
Anyway, back now so here we go.
First off, Congratulations to Sally for winning the Mounteagle Shield for the best Sweet Pea Exhibit at Tain Horticultural Show on 20th August. - she is already talking about defending the title next year so cordon growing of a show variety is a must (along with the purchase of a couple of Bikini Vases).
Richard's cousin, Tim Patterson, who is a Garden Designer over in the USA was also over visiting and although the timing conspired against us meeting up, I am told that he has measured up the garden, discussed various options with Richard and Sally and has now returned to the States where he is going to draw uip a design plan for the garden which I am looking forward to seeing very much.
On the garden front, the last couple of weeks were spent doing not much more than weeding various beds, tending the greenhouse where all the tomato plants have now been stopped as there are more than enough fruits to try and ripen and given the summer we haven't had, there is no point in letting them produce more. The aubergine plant that survived the aphid avalanche has two fruits forming, though the capsicums have produced absolutely zero fruits.
On the veg front, the onions have been lifted and dried, the Brokali is over and the plants have been cleared away, the early and second early potatoes have been lifted, the cabbages are hearting up well with a couple already lifted, along with some of the beetroot and broad beans, the runner beans have also started cropping now and  and the carrots are just starting too.
The border is looking okay but the weather last week, especially the strong winds has wreaked havoc on some of the plants but here's a piccie for you anyway

As you can see, Richard has started to prune the box hedges to tidy them up, but if you click on the photo to enlarge it, you will notice the sweet pea wigwams on the left of the photo have collapsed - partially due to the huge amount of sweet pea growth and partly due to the recent strong winds. Following a tip on GW from Monty Don about picking every fully open bloom on the plants every ten days or so, Sally has been filling the house with Sweet Peas and they have responded fantastically with a huge number of blooms still being produced.

As I mentioned previously, the runner beans have started to crop and as well as on a wigwan in the temporary veg bed, these are also growing in pots round the archway entrance to the Potting Shed and are doing well.

The onions have now been strung up a la Onion Johnny (if you wanna learn how to do this, go on You Tube and search for "Jack Hargreaves, onions")

Elsewhere in the borders, the "Sky High" Dahlias Sally got from Thompson and Morgan have started to flower

As has the Sunflower "Pastiche"

Anyway, back to what I did today. After trying (and sort of succeeding) to add supports to stay the collapsed  Sweet Pea wigwams and dead-heading both the Lupins and the Mulleins I also harvested Rooster potatoes, Runner Beans, Apples,Cucumber, Carrots and a cabbage, as well as picking a bunch of Sweet Peas.
 At the far end of the garden, at the end of the fruit bed is a hugely overgrown Cotoneaster hedge, which is doing it's best to hide in amongst the nettles and rosebay willowherb, so today I made a start on clearing down the side of the hedge to see what we have and decide whether it can be salvaged and resurrected or whether it shoud be ripped out and a new hedge replanted. Here is a before piccie

And here a couple of" After" piccies. I came across a chickem wire fence through which the cotoneater was growing too, just to make it a bit more interesting !

A Decision has yet to be made! And to finish off with, here is a photo of a Red Admiral perched on a Scabious.

Thats it folks.til next week.