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 !