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.

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