Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Spring has sprung !

What a cracker of a day! Really warm and sunny - just what was needed to perk everything up in the garden.
First off, Richard and Sally have spent the easter week completing the glazing of the greenhouse and installing the staging, so today I set about filling it.

The greenhouse is now home to 16 young tomato plants (6 x Tigerella, 6 x Golden Sunrise and 4 x Black Russian Cherry), 5 young Capsicums, and newly sown :- Courgettes, Cucumber, Runner Beans, Crimson Flowered Broad Beans, Kale, Cabbage, PSB, Lettuce, Beetroot, Cauliflower, Savoy Cabbage, Delphiniums, Hollyhocks, Sunflowers and some young Heleniums and sweet peas (which had their growing tips pinched out today).

Just need to decide on a final floor layout and get the raised beds built and filled in time for the toms etc to be planted out.
I took the opporchancity of such a warm, still morning to spray the area round the greenhouse, as well as all the paths, the unreclaimed area of the fruit border and round the base of the apple trees with weedkiller.
Elsewhere, I planted out the onion sets, and sowed 5 rows of carrots in the temporary veg bed

I mustn't forget to mention that if you click on this photo to enlarge it and compare it to any earler shots of the same border, you will notice that the dry stone wall at the bottom of the bed has been rebuilt in sterling fashion - well done Richard - sorry I didn't mention it when you came down with a coffee this morning! In the borders, the daffies are going over but the tulips are all in flower and the oriental poppies are just starting. Here are some pics but sorry if they seem too light, the camera I was using doesn't auto adjust like the Nikon does.

The purple tulips in the top pic are in the small bed just inside the doorway and are mixed with white tulips tinged with purple, as well as a Rosa Rugosa and a silver pear tree, so as Sally had two young Hebe "Purple Shamrock" which go well with these colours, I planted them out in this bed.
I finished the afternoon off by weeding the two herbaceous borders with the Wolf Soil Miller, and just to prove I was watching what I was doing, I marked about twenty or so very small baby lupins, all self seeded, with canes, so that I didn't inadvertantly hoe them up. These will be left to grow on a bit before I dig them up and move them.
The borders are looking considerably further on than last week - which shows what a run of four or five consecutive warm days can do in such a sheltered garden - the peonies are showing colour through their buds, the geraniums are now formed into perfect mounds and have a lot of flower buds on them, all the hemerocallis have lots of buds, the cherry trees still look incredibly healthy compared to last year, there is blossom on all the fruit trees and bushes, the roses are looking healthy, the ornamental quince is flowering itself stupid, the Centaurea is starting to flower, and finally, as another nod to Richard's rapidly improving skills as a gardener, here is a photo of the flowers on the geranium that he rescued from death's door

That's it for this week folks, see you next time.............

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Greenhouse - not so easy peasy!

When I arrived this week, most of the roof glazing had been done
So, myself, Richard and Sally set about glazing the remainder of the roof section and then we started on the sides - this is where the problems started. It took us a long, long time to figure it out but the two base rails that form the extension end of the greenhouse (the back 8 ft section) were on the wrong sides and so a lot of little aluminium bolts had to be undone, struts pulled out of the way, the base rails swapped over, then we were off and running, so that when I left, the roof section, including 5 roof vents, and both sides, including two sets of louvres were complete.
My two daughters came to visit as Maggie was otherwise engaged in the morning, so the girls came to see where their dad goes on Wednesdays - they were both very impressed by the size of the garden. Iona loved the apple trees which were just right for climbing on.............

and Niamh thought the summerhouse was cool, so she hung out there and produced some more of her fine artwork................

On to the garden itself and I'm pleased to say that both the chery trees seem to have responded well to the Winter Wash they received as the leaves are out (as is some blossom) and there is not a trace of blackfly, which last year appeared in swarms as soon as the trees thought about producing anything that remotely resembled a leaf!.
And one final picture, by the entrance door to the garden, is a pear tree (variety uncertain but possibly a Beurre of some sort) now in blossom, but look at the colour of those tulips - gorgeous or what!

Anyway, see you all next week

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Greenhouse Progress

I arrived this morning to be greeted by the shiny new frame of the greenhouse which was erected on Saturday by Richard, Sally and Matthew, though not without a few problems from what I can gather. It remains to be glazed yet and have the door and the staging fitted but hopefully that should be done soon as time is marching on and seeds need to be sown.

As you can see, the ground elder in the bottom section of the garden is getting out of control and as soon as I get a dry Wednesday, the knapsack sprayer will be out and the Glyphosate will flow!
I also dug over and raked the west facing bed which will again be used for veg this year (but ultimately I would like to see it turned over to a cut flower bed, growing dahlias, gladioli, asters, etc). Anyway, after digging it over, I planted the potatoes - 2 drills of Rooster, 2 drills of Charlotte and 1 drill of Belle de Fontenay.

Then I started weeding again! - First was the small bed just inside the gate, which is home to a silver pear tree, a pear tree, a climbing hydrangea, hypericum, syringia and roses, along with some tulips.

Then it was back into the long borders, though it is becoming noticeably quicker to weed these now.
I also planted out 5 new hellebores that Sally brought down - these are variety unknown but are now planted alongside the existing hellebores near the summerhouse.
On the plant progress front, everything continues to green up, there are flower buds on the oriental poppies and a few flower buds on both the older and the new peonies. All the tulips in the garden have buds just about to open (though there is one group that doesn't look like it will do anyting at all this year - Sorry Jen !), the pulmonaria goes from strength to strength, and the daffies continue to impress.
There is blossom on the cherry trees,  both of which look as if the winter wash has benefitted them hugely (touch wood!!) and some blossom starting on the older pear trees too. There are Rhubarb crowns appearing all over the garden - there have been about 15 transplanted already but I reckon there are another 15 or sixteen growing "wild" 
In the potting shed, the onion sets have all rooted, and the sweet peas are starting to germinate, though something seems to have been nibbling at the Rainbow Chard seedlings.
That's it til next week, byeeee!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Another wet day in paradise!

Yet another day that found the soil too wet to work! I did however manage to weed the two small beds either side of the summerhouse that are planted up with an assortment of bulbs. This was mainly due to the protection from the elements afforded by the summerhouse itself and from the two trees in either bed - a Garrya Elliptica and a Viburnum respectively. I also pruned the last of the apple trees and a couple of roses that I had somehow missed.
It was the last day that I had the kids from the Rural Skills work placement as they are off for Easter and then on study leave before sitting their exams.

From Left to Right; Duncan, Robert, Ben and Stephen
 I got them to break out the old greenhouse foundation that was running across the floor area of the new greenhouse using a sledgehammer (provided by Richard as in spite of my note to self last week, I forgot to take mine!). We also loaded all the old wire and netting onto a trailer and after Richard and myself tried to teach the guys how to tie a Lorryman's Kinch, Richard took it away for us, so that's another pile of rubbish out of the way. And to go out with a bang, whilst waiting on their minibus the boys decide to mess about at the burn, with the inevitable outcome - Stephen, whilst trying to launch Robert into the water,ended up underwater himself and completely soaked through.
Things continue to green up apace (though the weeds seem to green up quicker than anything else) and the daffodils are giving it loads, brightening the garden up considerably.
Sally came down to see what was happening and we discovered several clumps of tulips and what look like peonies on the bottom banking that was covered by trees and scrub and seem to be revelling in their new found daylight. She also brought down some onion sets (variety Setton) and as the veg plot is not quite ready yet, I potted these into 3" pots to get them going.
Hopefully we'll get the greenhouse up next week -watch this space.
To finish here are a couple of photos of a few of the different daffies in the garden.

See you again next week.....................................