Sunday, 29 July 2012


Another week passes and I just seem to get busier so sorry for the delay (again) in posting this weeks update. This week saw me do a lot of little bitty jobs in the morning - feeding,, tying in and side shooting the tomatoes, sideshooting and tying in the cordon sweet peas, deadheading lupins and dicussing potential sites for two new climbers she has been given as a present - a Winter Jasmine and a Solanum jasminoides album (potato vine).
I then went and got the strimmer and started to clear the long rosebay willowherb and other weeds from the area of what will be the new veg area. There is a lot of clearing and lifting to do but I'll get there - slowly slowly catchy monkey and all that.
In the borders this week we have yjthe Kiftsgate rose - still not in it's full glory but getting closer to it

The first flowers are out on the Hollyhocks....

And we got our first proper veg from the garden - beetroot, onions, Int. Kidney potatoes and a cabbage..

And to finish, here is this weeks pic of the borders from the potting shed....

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sutherland Show 2012

After receiving an SOS message from John Ross, the convenor of the Flower Show at the above County Show, I entered three exhibits in the floral section of the above show. I have never exhibited in the floral section of a show before although we are growing our cordon sweet peas with a view to exhibiting them this year.
Anyway, Friday night found me up at the garden with secateurs in one hand and a florist's bucket in the other. Half and hour later and I had a goodly bunch of mixed garden flowers,  and two groups of 7 sweet pea stems. These sweet peas were not from the cordon grown ones as they did not have sufficient blooms but were instead selected from the border wigwams.
Anyway, after throwing together an arrangement in the bucket, it was ff to the show, where I staged the sweet peas in two bikini vases (thankfully supplied by John) and went for a wander awaiting the judges decision.
To say I was surprised would be an understatement !!
Second for my bucket of flowers.....

and a second and third for the two sweet pea exhibits, one of which is pictured below..

As I mentioned, the sweet pea blooms were taken from the wigwams in the borders so no variety names were known, as it sold as an Arrangers mix. I do not know the name of the blooms above, but I was reliably informed that the other vase was Gwendoline, which is a top exhibition sweet pea up in this neck of the woods, so no prizes for guessing one of the varieties for next season. I was also advised that I would be better starting the seed off in the Autumn as this would give the plants a head start and give us more blooms earlier in the season.
Anyway, a day of success for the novice floral exhibitor with blooms from a garden under construction - happy days !!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Mid July

Well, here we are in the middle of Julyn and finally there are signs of promise. In the long borders, although the lupins are beginning to look a wee bit jaded, various others are almost ready to take their place - the campanulas against the wall are just starting to flower and should look pretty spectacular this year as they are at least a foot and a half higher than last year, the Centaurea is the same, the Echinops purpurea is threatening too, but the most impressive display will be the Kiftsgate rose against the wall up by the summerhouse. It has started to flower but there quite literally thousands more flowers to open, so if all is well on the weather front for the next seven days, it should be in full and spectacular bloom nxet week. Here is what it looks like at the moment....

Apologies for the poor quality of this photo but you can see the mass of blooms just waiting to open quite clearly, especially along the top of the wall.
Elsewhere, one of the roses that were planted in the old rose bed that did survive was a variety called Happy Birthday and it has its first bloom open, with a lot more buds to follow...

The Achillea, variety Summer Pastels, which was a star performer last year has not put on so much growth this year -probably due to it being divided into a lot of smaller clumps, is beginning to flower as well, with an S shape planting across the two borders....

and the Scabious (which ranks right up there with the oriental poppy in my "nice but way too fragile" list) is also flowering and attracting a lot of bees - in fact the whole garden was quite literally buzzing today with lots and lots of bees hard at work...

Away from the borders and onto the fruit now, the Tullameen rasps have a lot of fruit on them and there are quite a few on the Glen Moy and Glen Ample canes too, which is a bonus.The strawberries, planted only a few weeks ago are flowering their socks off and so we should get a few bwerries this year, though what I'm really after this tear are the runners to multiply the stock.
The redcurrants, variety Jonkeer Van Tets, are starting to blush....

but as for stone fruits ? The blossom was late this year and came when it was too cold and wet for most insects so there are very few apples and as for the pears - well I swear to you I took this pjoto today - Pear Blossom In July ????????

At various points in the garden there are Hypericum bushes and these too are alive with bees at the moment - this particular one is against the wall at the potting shed arch...

On the veg front, today I picked another Hispi cabbage, dug up the first of the International Kidney potatoes and pulled a heap of finger carrots (thinnings of edible size!!), which I gave to Sally on my departure.
Its all  looking good though the Climbing Beans are still a bit pale for my liking, though they are making their way up the canes, so they can't be too poorly. There are some beetroot growing up between the rhubard and the cordon sweet peas and these were looking quite healthy last week - this week the nice have paid them a visit......

On the Sweet Pea fronr, the cordon grown ones are procing more flower stems now - these should be open in a coule of days/ The sweet peas growing in the borders have started to flower but it is really noticeable how much longer, stronger and straighter the flower stems on the cordon grown plants are compared to those grown up the traditional wigwam.
Anyway, will take some pics of this next week. Til then I'll leave you with the potting shed view, and also the news that the baby wrens went from being more or less featherless and ugly last week, to fledged in a week - when I arrived this morning they were quite literally fleeing the nest.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Gardening Club visit

Apologies for not posting sooner but I haven't been about in the evenings this last week.
Our local Grdening Club came for a look at the garden progress om Monday evening - so I had swapped my work days and spent Monday having a general tidy up and sorting out a few bits and pieces.
When the date was suggested I agreed thinking that when they visited the Kiftsgate rose would be in full bloom - but of course, with the season we've had it has only a few buds open - it will look truly spectacular sometime within the next fortnight .
Anyway, after checking on the cordon sweet peas, there are more blooms forming but quite a few of the buds that had formed last week have dropped off - having done a bit of research on the Interwebbby, (and being unable to find any trace of pests) I think this is "Bud Drop" and is caused by the variable weather we have been having - though I am not discounting small garden birds  Anyway, there seem to be plenty more buds forming now so they remain on track for show day in 5 weeks time.
Elsewhere in the garden, Sally is struggling to keep up with the CCA Salad mix in the greenhouse

And the first full flush of lupins is coming to an end - I dead headed approximately 120 blooms but the second flush is already appearing ! Firther staking of plants was also carried out and the beds were given a quick weed with the Wolf Soil Miller.
The wren's nest in the potting shed is now occupied by three youngsters so I have been consigned to the Summerhouse for the time being as the Mother Wren doesn't like me being in there

Finally here is this weeks pic from the potting shed (taken before I moved out!) and some of the new blooms in the garden......

Geranium Johnsons Blue
Paeony Sara Bernhardt

Peruvian Lily

Rose Climbing Iceberg

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Welcome to July !

Well, here we are in July - not that you'd know it.Maybe we'll get some nice weather in September ?
The day began with the morning ritual of tying in the cordon sweet peas and removing any sideshoots and tendrils as I go. Most of the sweet peas are looking good with quite a few showing their first flower buds this week

After that it was into the greenhouse to sideshoot the tomatoes and tie them in to their cane supports. All now have their first flowers (and in the case of the Gardeners Delight, their second truss of flowers too) and I gave them all a feed of Tomorite.
Back outside and it was onto the old rose bed, which has had a good thick layer of FYM sitting on it for some months now. his was well rotted down and so I got the Mantis out and rotavated the bed to incorporste the FYM get it fit for planting up.

The first new plants in were the remaining 24 dahlia cuttings.After this I staked more of the perennials in the long borders and tied in the Hollyhocks, the tallest of which is now well over 7ft.

Then it was back to weeding and removing rose suckers as a general tidy up -the locl Gardening Club are visiting next Monday night and I want to have the place looking halfway tidy !!
owever, no sooner had I stared this than the heavens opened - here is theis weeks border photo taken as the rain was easing....

Whilst it was tipping it down, I sloped off to the greenhouse to stay dry and sowe three seed trays of Canterbury Bells - these will go into the borders next year but need started now.

After the rain eased, I continued with the weeding until my day was done. But before I go, an update on the nest in the Potting Shed - it is indeed a wren's nest and there at least three youngsters in it, but they are so small their beaks can only just be seen through the opening. Await further updates on their progress !

That's all for this week.