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.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Good Scottish rain -straight down!

In contrast to the last couple of Wednesdays, today was wet - in fact to say it was wet would be a hell of an understatement. I am typing this at 21.40 hrs and if anything the rain is getting heavier and there has been no let up all day. Who'd be a gardener ? With the winds we've suffered the last couple of days and todays non stop downpour, the borders are looking pretty sorry for themselves - what happened to summertime ?
Anyway, enough moaning - you'd think I was a farmer!
Here is this weeks photo of the boorders from the potting shed

First off the greenhouse. I pinched the tops out on the tomatoes today as we are starting to run out of weeks to get the tomatoes to ripen, but each plant now has sufficient truss numbers.

The greenhouse is also currently home to a Calamondon which is starting to flower.

The leaves however are not their normal glossy green selves

I'm not 100% certain but I think it may be sooty mould that is on the leaves - if anyone out there knows better, let me know.

Elsewhere, I lifted a row of Charlotte potatoes and although one plant seemed to have a prevalence of scab, the rest were nice and clean. However I also lifted the onions today as they had started to go over and those that hadn't had been knocked for six by the weather.
Although those pictured above, hanging in the potting shed are all okay, I did find five amongst them which look to have White Rot

If this is the case then no more onions in this bed. Fortunately this shouldn't be too much of an issue as this veg bed is only temporary and hopefully by next Spring we shall have a set of raised beds to grow our vegetables in.
This leads on nicely to what I did next. Spurred on by the sight of White Rot in the onions, I got my builders line out and marked out where the new veg beds will be going. Including the two temporary beds that currently have veg growing in them, there is sufficient room to have 13 raised beds, each 4ft wide and 8ft long with a 2ft wide path between them - all I need now is 312ft of gravel boards and 52 corner posts!!
Whilst there I staked the broad beans higher up as they too had taken a beating from the winds of Monday and Tuesday.
After that I cut back some of the wilder overgrown roses along the back edge of the lower border, spread some slug bait round the dahlias (first buds showing) and sunflowers (ditto on the bud front) and tied up the Achillea and Centaurea which the weather had flattened.
By this time I was completely soaked through and enough was enough. The only new blooms this week are the Sea Hollies

So that's it for this week

Friday, 5 August 2011

Better late than never

Sorry about making you wait for a couple of days but it's been pretty busy Chez Moi, Anyway, to business - and as usual here is this weeks pic from the potting shed
First things firdst I checked on the greenhouse, where I found two of the aubergine plants sitting outside, one of which was looking very very sorry for itself. Sally later told me of a serious infestation of whitefly over the weekend which pretty much killed one plant and the other is pretty damaged but may recover - anyway, the two healthiest looking plants have been sprayed and we'll wait and see.
The tomatoes were denuded to about 3 ft - or to the level of the latest truss to set - all these plants are still looking healthy and green. The peppers are still a bit slow but the chard and cucumber are both now in full harvest mode. I planted some lettuce along the front of the tomatoes before I moved onto my main objective for the day - further reclamation of the Fruit bed - here it is just after I started

And here is what was achieved - removing tons of fireweed, blackcurrant bushes that had gone feral,, sycamore and ash seedlings, cleavers, nettles etc etc etc

As you may also see, a lot of black polythene was laid on the ground but the bed had been left that long that not only was stuff growing through it but there was a layer of about 3" of well rotted leaf mould on top of it.
As for what is new in the garden,


Self seeded Lupins

The purple Buddleija

And more sweet peas.

Anyway, that's all for this week - will try and get more time next week to update you all on what's happening on the veg front as well as the flower front - just really busy at the moment.
See ya next week