Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Last Post of January

Today is 31st January -Jen's 24th Birthday - Happy Birthday Jen - and co-incidentally,  my daughter Niamh's 4th birthday too.
Anyway, today was quite a nice day, cold but sunny and I got quite a bit done today that the weather has been delaying.
I started by emptying my knapsack sprayer, washing it out thoroughly and then refilling with Vitax Winter Wash

This was then sprayed onto the fruit trees n the garden - 2 x Cherry, 8 x Pear, 11 x Apple and 4 x Plum. I also gave the currant bushes a spray. The trees were all sprayed with winter wash last year and it did make a difference to their health, so hopefully they will continue to improve again this year.

After this, I returned to the border along the west facing wall. This was home to the veg last year - a permanent use is still to be decided on  but possibly a cutting bed for flowers for the house.
I had started to dig this over but then the soil got too wet and claggy so it was left to dry out. And with it being so mild, it wasn't long before the weeds began to take over. However, today I finished digging it over, pulling the weeds as I went - 2 wheelbarrow loads (including some branches that I removed from the ornamental quince nearest the potting shed). So that's that border done, ready for whatever we decide to plant up in it this year.

There are three Rhubarb Crowns right at the top of this border and I think we are going to try and procure some plastic dustbins to force a couple of these this year, but we'll need to be quick as the buds will be breaking out pretty soon.
After that I thought I'd better weed round the hundreds of daffodil bulbs in the top long border as Once the bulbs are up a bit, the weeds will be impossible to get to, so I spent a couple of hours on my hands and knees extracting a variety of weeds whilst trying not to damage any of the bulb shoots.
And finally I finished the day off by starting to weed and tidy the small borders in front of the house, the plan being to finish this next week and plant out the 30 or so primulas that are currently resident in the greenhouse. So that's about it for this week - I'll finish with a pic of the view from the potting shed, though no real difference from the last one !!
Catch you later....................

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

January overview

Well, now that I have reverted to taking the compact digital camera as opposed to the SLR digital camera, I should be able to keep you all supplied with plenty of photos from now on.
As per, here is the view from the potting shed this morning

Not terribly exciting at this time of year I know but hey ho, things should start to perk up in about a month or so, especially if it stays mild. The ground was still very wet and sticky today so it was back to clearing the cotoneaster hedge.




The original line of the hedge can be seen on the right of the photo. The "new hedge" on the left is where the original (and seriously overgrown) hedge leaned over and touched the ground putting down fresh roots ! The two lines are about 4ft apart. There are quite a few gaps in the original hedge so the new growth shall be dug up and transplanted to help fill the gaps. The green growth on the right of the original hedge is the row of cut material waiting to be burned.
The cutting back of this hedge also revealed two large fallen trees, which I have now logged.

The garden, being so large, it is probably quite difficult for anyone reading this to try and understand whare I am talking about and I will get round to doing a plan at some point this year but in the meantime, I clambered onto the roog of the potting shed today and took a couple of pics so that you can have idea of the scale of the place.

The pic above shows the two long borders (each approx 40m in length and 4m deep). At the far end of this you can just see the summerhouse (beyond which is the fruit bed) and  to the left of this is the old rosebed and to the left of this again is the box archway which is Richard's preserve.
In this photo you can see the corner of the west facing bed, the lower of the two long borders, and some of the middle section of the garden. The lower part of this middle section will be home to the veg patch for this year at least and what is to be done with the remaining sloped area above the veg patch  has yet to be decided. Below this is the greenhouse and another large area of garden - this could quite possibly be turned into a formal orchard area but that is well into the future.

The project for the this year (over and above looking after and maintaining what is already done) is to reclaim that section of the garden beyond the summerhouse and below the fruit bed. This area is enclosed on one side by the beech hedge and on the other by the cotoneaster hedge. The plan is that eventually this will be the veg area of the garden but as you can see from the pic below, it needs a lot of work.

In the greenhouse the various perennials that are in pots are starting to produce fresh growth and all look to have survived, so come the Spring proper, we shoud have quite a few new plants to help fill out the long borders.

The old rosebed has been given a generous application of FYM and will be home to the dahlias

That's all for this week. When the long borders start to take off I think I'll try and take the photos from the roof of the potting shed as opposed to inside the potting shed as you will get a much better idea of what's happeing where. Bye for now

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Beautiful winters day

Today was a cracker - sun, blue skies, no wind. I woke up to find that most of the hard white frostof the last two days had vanished but the ground was still rock hard, so my plan to get up to Scotsburn and plant up the thirty or so primulas in the small borders in front of the big house was thwarted, as was the digging over of the rest of last years veg bed.
So it was back to cutting back the beech hedge on the top side but as I have reached the point where the cotoneaster hedge meets it at right angles, I set about it instead. This hedge is severely overgrown and has sprawled to a width of about 6ft and a height of about 7 - 8ft. So I have set about it with a petrol hedgetrimmer, a chainsaw and some heavy duty loppers and have so far cut about a third of it's length back to about 4ft high and in so doing reducing the width to about 2ft. Running up the middle of the hedge is an old fence, complete with chicken wire but the hedge had grown over through and under this fence so it may have to stay in situ, My hope is that by cutting it back severely, it will encourage new growth from lower down and the hedge can be saved, but if not the whole lot will be ripped out and the hedge replanted.
That's about it really -pruned one of the small apple trees as I was passing and lifted a row of leeks for Sally.
Camera woes continue so only one photo this week - the view from the potting shed. I put fresh batteries in the camera this morning before I left the house, amd they went flat after two pics!! - so I'll change cameras as I need to start getting some piccies of what I'm doing!

See ya next week

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

2012 - and Spring has Sprung ??????

Welcome to the new year at Scotsburn, and hopefully there will be  a lot going on this year, with more of the garden to clear, the veg patch to get a much larger and more permanent residence, a cut flower bed to be started up, more plants going into the long borders, a fruit bed to get up and running and more besides.
Anyway, today being my first day back at the garden since before Christmas, I took a wander round first thing to see what was what - and came across these harbingers of Spring (slightly early methinks !)

There are thousands of these, all over the garden, sticking their heads up for a look and three or four clumps in full flower already. There are also lots of the daffs having a peek as well but these should - hopefully - wait for a bit longer before producing their display.
Anyway, everything seemed to have survived the recent gales and storms, so it was on with the job. I began by cutting down the last of the herbaceous perennials in the long borders, dividing a clump of "Garden Original" Iris and moving a large scabious as I went.
After this I set about tidying up the climbing roses against the SF and WF walls. This job not only requires leather glowes, secateurs and telecopic pruners but also entails a trip along the top of the wall to remove the tallest branches  - and given that the top of the wall ain't flat (it's about 45 degrees), it can make you sweat a bit at times. But that's it done for now - no more wall clambering til April now.
Whilst I'm talking about the climbing roses, there is one still in flower - well it has one and a half blooms open but still has several fresh buds as well

After I had finished the climbing roses, I cut back the Rosa Rugosa in the small bed beside the gate. Having then had a chat with Sally, I retreived the cuttings from the compost heap and used them to plant up a small hedge between the box arch and the viburnum below the rose bed - I planted them a lot them at a short spacing as I want to be sure that enough root to make a decent barrier hedge.
I also ripped out the remaining Petit Posy plants. You may remember these - a cross between Kale and Sprouts - but in Sally's words, they were "disappointing", so out they came and I doubt they will be seen in the garden again.
Then I lifted some leeks and cut some PSB.
And I finished the day by starting into the apple tree pruning - this was started last year but the trees still need a bit of work to bring them back to their best.
So that was my first day back in 2012 - and instead of staring with the piccie from the potting shed, I'll finish with it. See ya next week