Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Update Mid April 2014

Yet again, time got away from me and so I have quite a bit to update this time round.
Starting with the greenhouse. This is now home to the following seedlings - 76 x Orlaya, 140 x Antirrhinum "Royal Bride", 72 x Aster, 72 x Lavatera, 12 x Swiss Chard,  12 x cauliflower "Cheesy", 12 x PSB "Red Arrow", 12 x Cabbage "Hispi", 12 x Brussels Sprouts "Nelson", 10 x Gardeners Delight tomatoes, 10 x Constoluto Genovese tomatoes, 54 Musselburgh leeks,  and this years selection of sweet peas.

There are 7 varieties of sweet peas and 21 seeds of each were sown, all on the same day in the same compost, However, germination is pretty variable between varieties:- Gwendoline - 21 from 21, Percy Thrower - 19 from 21, Royal Wedding - 5 from 21, Lovejoy - 18 from 21, April in Paris - 20 from 21, Madison - 17 from 21 and Raspberry Flake - 17 from 21. Yet again it seems to be the white variety that is the poorest performer. Anyway, the sweet peas have all been pinched out and the beds for the cordon grown plants are manured and have the canes in situ ready for planting out. The remaining plants will be grown up wigwams in the herbaceous borders.

The dahlia tubers that we wish to take cuttings from have all been planted up in the greenhouse bed and I should be able to start taking cuttings tomorrow. There are also 18 strawberry runners waiting to go out, and the 50 or so gladioli corms have been cleaned and set to chit.
There are also 29 x Verbascum grown from seed and some Delphiniums from seed in there too, so it's pretty crowded. There were, until last week, 100 onion sets (50 each of Centurion and Red Baron) These are now out in the new veg garden - more on that below.
The borders are beginning to green up and most plants are looking good.

 I am particularly pleased to see that all 5 or the tree peonies that I have grown from seed (sown three years ago) have started to sprout, especially as I thought four of them had died!!!!
We have quite a few plants in the nursery bed too  - spares to fill any blanks and possibly to also go to the charity plant sale at Foulis Castle in May.
All the freestanding apple trees have been pruned again and we should now finally be able to harvest all the apples from the fruit ladder without the need for extending poles with bags on the end!
Now, more news. The garden has had rabbit netting attached right around it's perimeter and so we should be able to keep the hare or hares at bay this year.
I finally got the last burn pile burnt and what a difference that makes to the bottom of the garden too.
And so to the major project - the start of the new veg garden. After a series of delays, we finally have all the beds up and I have started to dig them over, removing all the perennial weeds as I go (mainly docken and creeping buttercup with the odd thistle thrown in for good measure).


The onion sets were planted in the first bed that I got dug over as they really needed to go out. No manure or fertiliser will be added to the beds at all this year as experience has shown that with 24 years of plant matter in the existing soil, the soil is pretty rich for the first year or two, depending on what you grow in it.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Garden Update 2014 !!

Apologies for letting this blog slide since last summer but I found I had so much on that other things sort of took over. Anyways, I'm back and shall endeavour to update this blog at least once a fortnight if not weekly.
So, what's been happening in the garden ?

The herbaceous borders are undergoing a mini revamp, with certain plants being either removed altogether or transplanted from one border to the other. The white geraniums that were growing in a row alongside the box hedge of the top border have all been removed and are now planted in front of the Lupin wall below the lower border.
The pink geraniums that were in the lower border have also been removed and are currently in residence in the west facing border until we decide where to put them.
All the Achillea are now in front of the white Buddleia in the lower border. Whilst moving these, I took the opportunity to remove as much of the couch grass from the Achillea root systems as I possibly could. I have also done the same with some of the original Iris in the top border but with limited success.
Both Buddleia bushes have been taken down even further with the chainsaw to try and bring them back to a nice shape and manageable size for this season.
All the clumps of Kniphofia have been cleaned up too, with a lot of dead vegetation removed.
In the fruit bed, I have planted a row of Autumn fruiting raspberries along with more gooseberry and currant bushes, including one whitecurrant..
Elsewhere on the fruit side of the garden, all the apple trees have been given a further prune and been brought down to a manageable size, that size being defined as being able to pick all the fruit by hand from the tripod ladder. The pear trees have also been given a further prune.
The middle section of the garden has all been turned over and this will be filled this year with flowers for cutting. The cordon grown sweet peas will be grown in the bottom section of this area and this year the varieties being grown are as follows - Gwendoline, Percy Thrower, Raspberry Flake, April in Paris, Royal Wedding, Lovejoy and Madison. There are 145 seeds sown so all being well we should have enough plants for the cordon growing and also to put a couple of wigwams in the herbaceous borders again - assuming all hares are now dead !!
And finally, the veg garden is underway - the layout of the beds has been decided and the posts for the beds (all 82 of them) are in situ and the 8" x 2" timbers should be arriving any day now to form the beds - the sooner the better as the beds will all need to be dug over, manured etc before April.
The dahlia tubers are being overwintered in the greenhouse and those we wish to take cuttings from are all marked up, the gladioli corms are in there too, along with some strawberry runners, the sweet peas, leeks and swiss chard.
So to finish here are a couple of pics to illustrate some of the above. This first photo shows one end of the middle section  of the garden. The lupin wall is immediately below the box hedge and immediately below are the recently transplanted white geraniums. This is the section that will house a lot of cut flowers including Ammi, Orlaya and Verbascums as well as the cordon sweet peas.

This second photo is of the area of the new vegetable garden, with all the posts in situ, though not very clear to the eye!
So that's what has been happening in an abbreviated form. Will add more soon.