Monday, 30 May 2011

Horsey stuff!!

Once a year Scotsburn Farm plays host to the most northerly  British Eventing one day horse trials, which consists of dressage, showjumping and cross-country for various classes. This was held on Saturday and the weather was as good as it could be given the recent crap we have been experiencing. Anyway I just thought I'd stick some piccies that I took on the day up for anyone who may be interested.

That's it - back on Wednesday night.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

What a difference a day makes!

Well, D Day arrived this morning - and the D stands for digger! Percy and Alan arrived this morning and set about transforming the middle section of the garden. So that you can appreciate what was done, here is a piccie I took before they started .............

and here is one during.....................

And here are a couple that show how it looked when they ( or more accurately, Alan) finished.............

So what we now have is a flat area at the bottom of the slope approx 4m wide and 30m long. This will be the site of the new veg area and although plans are not yet confirmed for the sloped area, several ideas are being considered, including a shrub walk. Anyway, the sloped area is graded into where the first of the apple trees are situated and then there is a semi circular area, sloping down to the bottom hedge which takes in all the other apple trees in this mid-section of the garden. I've just read that back and it sounds as clear as mud - maybe I'll do a wee diagram in the future to try and clarify what has been done - then again, maybe I won't!
Now, although this all looks very good just now, in a few weeks it'll be as green as green can be, so I think my knapsack sprayer will take up residence in the garden for a while, to try and combat all the nasties that will surface.
The first thing that Alan did this morning was dig a nice deep hole to bury the very large pile of weeds that had accumulated from the start of the restoration of the herbaceous long borders and the temporary veg border. So I now know that the topsoil is at least a full metre in depth and is lovely and black all the way down to the hard - almost definitely imported at the beginning of the building of the garden. Anyway, 3 large buckets of this clean soil from deeper down was dumped over the bottom hedge and used to fill the beds in the greenhouse.

The beds were not filled completely to the top as that would leave no room for adding manure etc in future years but even so, there are a lot of wheelbarrow loads in there. The deeper bed is home to 5 Sweet Peppers "Californian Wonder", 1 Cucumber "Petita" and a short row of Swiss Chard "Bright Lights" which will be used as baby leaves for salads. The larger bed is home to assorted tomatoes - "Black Cherry", "Golden Sunrise" and "Tigerella" - and before anyone says anything, that slab was in two pieces before it was laid!!
Back to the long borders now and here is this weeks photo from the potting shed

New arrivals on the what's in flower front are two different iris

and other than these, it's the same as last week only more of them!
Now I need your help to identify a plant that appeared at the base of one of the "Governor" Cherry trees against the SF wall. I have attached a couple of pics below

It is not the most attractive plant, and the flower buds seem to have some sort of outer covering that resembles a cobweb! Remember to click on all the photos to enlarge them! So if anyone can help, please leave a comment - maybe I'm having a senior (ish) moment but my mind is completely blank on this one!
What else did I do today? - dead-headed the poppies and remaining tulips, sprayed one of the rose bushes for whitefly, cut out the blackfly infested new growth on the cherry trees and planted out the courgettes and Sally planted out the Heleniums that had been growing on in the greenhouse.
To finish this week, here is a pic of a little bee on a Star of Bethlehem flower - Enjoy. Catch up with you all again next week

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A new weed!

Not a lot to say this week really - due to a technical malfunction, the digger didn't materialise to start Phase 2, so it was back to the long borders for some more weeding - and as if having nettles, thistles, dockens, dandelions, shepherds purse, annual willowherb, rosebay willowherb and ground elder wasn't bad enough, I have discovered the first traces of Bindweed in the second of the two borders - all I need is Horsetail to make my set complete!!
Anyway, as always, things in the border have progressed again, though it hasn't been quite so warm this week but there has been some rain ( which is why the weeds were needing seen to again!). As always, here are some piccies, starting with the border itself. I am going to take one of this view each week so that I (and anyone else who cares to have a look at this blog) can see the changes as the year progresses.

And here is one looking down the temporary veg bed, from foreground to background we have Rhubatb, onions, lettuce, potatoes, petit posy and brokali, potatoes, carrots, potatoes. Still to go in are leeks, Hispi cabbage, savoy cabbage, chard, psb, kale, broad beans and courgettes - though most of these will have to be planted up elsewhere in the garden this year. I have planted the runner beans in two large pots either side of the Potting Shed arch and these will be trained up over the willow sticks that were fixed there last year.

And here are some final shots of what is new in flower this week. First up is Astrantia

Followed by Lupins

And finally some Geum

That's it for this week folks, catch you again next week.............................

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Yet another scorcher!!

The good weather continues, and thanks to days where we got some rain but it still managed to stay nice and warm, things really are starting to motor and flowers are ready to burst out all over the place. Most of the tulips have now gone over, though the ones planted in the rosebed are hanging on in there, the poppies and the white geraniums are in full swing, there are a couple of roses open just by the gate, the first hemerocallis opened today and numerous other perennials are on the point of flowering.

So, on to what I did today. First off I planted out the brassica plants from the greenhouse - the Petit Posy (sprout x kale) and the Stem Broccoli . 1 dozen of the first and a dozen and a half of the latter. I also tried to prick out a pot of lettuce Salad Bowl Mixed that Sally had been given, but after getting a dozen or so into the ground, I gave up as I was destroying too many - their roots were a tangled mess. So I took the remaining clump, potted it up and gave it to Sally to take up to the kitchen to use as CCA salad leaves.
I planted up the 4 bamboo wigwams I erected last week with sweet peas (Horizon Mixed) and also planted up some Primrose and Primula plants that I brought back from my mum's garden in Glasgow at the weekend.
So what's left in the greenhouse?
There are still some Heleniums that Sally already has a spot earmarked for in the long borders, the Hollyhock and delpninium seedlings, the 54 cell pack of assorted veg, the runner beans and broad beans, a few Sunflower Pastiche, three courgettes plants, a dozen tomato plants, a cucumber plant and 5 Capsicum plants.
I laid the four large slabs at the entrance to the greenhouse today - they are laid on top of granite dust and we have decided that the rest of the floor area will be gravel. The beds will be filled next week.
And on the subject of next week, the digger is coming! Work to landcape / terrace the middle section of the garden is planned to start next Wednesday - so Phase Two commences!
This is what it looks like just now.
The plan (at the moment - always subject to change until it is finally completed of course) is to have a semi circular area sweeping round the existing apple trees, a level area about 12ft wide along the bottom hedgeline which will be where the vegetable beds will go and the top area, which will be slightly sloped will be planted up with shrubs and small trees and will have a winding path through them. As I say, that's the plan - watch this space!!
And finally, at Richards behest, I dug up some self seeded Horse Chestnuts and potted them up. As you all know, there is a saying "Big Oaks from little acorns grow",  Well, if we can succesfully translate that into "Big Chestnuts from little conkers grow" we'll all be happy people, though it might take a while for these.......

 to get to be as spectacular as this stand just outside the garden..........

Well, if they keep growing, who knows, maybe Jen's grandchildren will enjoy them !!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Phew! What a Scorcher!

Well, first thing I weeded the rosebed but as this week has been amazingly hot, this has meant that everything has really got going and the perennials in the herbaceous borders are beginning to fill in the blank spaces ( anything that means less weeding has to be a good thing don't you think?).
The tulips are still going strong and have now been joined by the massed ranks of the oriental poppies and two of the peonies are flowering too.

Other plants starting to flower include the white Geraniums and the Centaurea (aka Knapweed)

Courtesy of our local Gardening Club, a member of which got hold of his neighbours bamboo which had run to seed and then died, as is the way of all bamboos, the garden is now the owner of approx 100 bamboo canes cut to approx 8ft in length, ( the actuial length is the length of my van, from front windscreen to rear doors) with the removed tops, which are about 3ft, being kept too for use as pea sticks and plant / bulb markers. These will be used for beans and sweet peas in the borders this year.

Sally had been to Inverness and returned with another couple of perennials so I planted out 5 x Campanula persicifolia Alba and 2 x Erysimum Bowles Mauve. The ground is unbelievably dry and all the plants received a full watering can to help them settle in. She (Sally that is) then brought down 4 pot grown lavenders and some clumps of Nepeta (I think that it is probably Six Hills Giant) from the house to be planted out alongside the steps down to the greenhouse. The lavenders needed a bit of TLC and the Nepeta just needed a haircut after planting.  I think that the top side of the steps would look quite nice with Alchemilla mollis and some welsh poppies (Meconopsis cambrica) - all yellows - and I can dig these up from my own garden without missing them! Feel free to suggest alternatives though!

In the greenhouse, although the toms hadn't put on as much growth as I had expected, the Petit Posy and Stem Broccoli had not only fully recovered from their mice attack but had grown on so well that they will be ready to plant out next week. The hollyhocks sown last week have germinated already and so have most of the other veg that was sown, with the exception of the crimson flowered broadies and the runner beans. I spent the rest of the afternoon knocking together two raised beds for the greenhouse - one being a deep bed and the other a single height bed. The photo shows just how much ground needs to be brought in just to raise the floor level to the correct height, never mind to fill the two beds!

That it for another week, hope you're enjoying the journey as much as I am.