Thursday, September 8, 2011

Where has all the time gone

I have not touched this blog for so long. But resolve to use it as a record of my ideas for next year and beyond. I have been so tied up with establishing a certain school garden that my own has become a little neglected. However, I am working my way around tidying, clearing, and moving plants about and having idea about where I am going next. Today I painted the rails of the bridge red. I just thought it might work with the chinese pagoda that sits at the end of pond under the tree fern. It is going to take more than one coat of paint and I had to fill a few cracks before starting but if it looks awful I can paint it some other colour.

This year the cardoon lost most of its leaves for an unknown reason though still produced lots of flower heads. I cleared the woody cistus that was planted next to it and put in the 50 gladioli that I had for a certain birthday last year. looking good coming up through giant cosmos. Cosmos however not flowering much whether because it is self seeded from the other garden or for some other reason.

Hot Bed

Cerise dahlia to be moved out in the autumn

My non flowering ginger (hedychium) from 2009 Hampton Court Show

Rubeckia, new this year

Echinacea, new this year

Cosmos and gladioli

Can't remember, pink buds, yellow flowers

A dwarf mallow thing

Persicaria from the Plovers

Helenium, 4/5 foot yellow again from the Plovers

Gauria pink

Friday, April 17, 2009

An experiment with Squash

On 17th April I planted some squash, butternut in fact I planted 4 seeds from a packet and 4 from a fresh squash. Both lots are sitting on the dinning room windowcill where it's nice and warm and I want to see if what the differences are. I'm hoping the fresh seed germinate and amount to something so I don't have to buy packets again.

Also on the window cill are pots of cerinthe, with seed collected in the autumn, so far a third of the seed are through. I may sell them at the garden open day or have to put them in the garden as many of the self seeded ones from last year have not lasted the frosts.

The cerinthe were a pretty safe bet as they self seed readily, however I have also planted seed collected from the cardoon and also plan to plant some echinacha. Needless to say the runner beans from last years seed are romping away and just waiting for me to put the canes in and harden them off a little longer. It is still getting quite cold at night.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring by the sea

Well that was a long break, I rather thought that when I started blogging about the garden last year that as soon as the garden started growing in ernest that there may not be enough time in the day to keep up with writing about the progress, it proved to be true. But, as we all know we were promised great things for the summer last year and it never happened, too much rain, too much wind, this year we are promised a heat wave! Anyway,this year I resolve to write less and more often.
We have had a wonderful spring, probably the best in many years. Two falls of snow in February and March which was unusual in itself. Several old favouries succumbed to the cold. Notabley two osteospernums which were nearly 5 years old, a lovely frilly white daisy thing that I don't know the name of that I grew from a cutting, it was realy dependable and flowered for 8 or 9 months of the year. I am hoping when I get round to cutting it right back it may still have some life in it.

I'm not sure if the dahlias and cannas will all come through, we'll have to see. But the cardoon is well and thriving!

Today, slightly belatedly I dug over my veg patch and planted broad beans (a first) just so I could give the one and only bean that Cameron planted for Cubs one evening in the autumn a few companions, I don't actually like broad beans, well not the fresh ones. I also planted the red onions and a row of pick and come again lettuces (again a first).

Michael and the boys dug over the patch that had the maris pipers in last year. They were a very bountiful crop but took a lot of room and this year I think it is probably too late to put them in so the space will be taken up with cougettes and squash which also take a lot of room.

Made a start on tidying the black bed which for the most part is forget me not blue at the moment but they're easy to remove once finished.

All in all another lovely spring day, now to watch a blu-ray Quantum of Solace.
Sorry Mr Bond... not one of your best.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Maybugs or that monster on the bedside table!

Sunday evening it was hot - I left the blind and the window open and settled down to read a chapter of the latest book, 'When Red is Black' by Qiu Xiaolong before sleep. Something crashed into the bedside light and madly riccoced against the inside of the shade before falled stunned (I presume) onto my bedside table. Initial thought a moth.. first glance a brown monster thingy. Exit from bed swift, oh and I shouted something very loud! Had to get a container and contain the beasty which on close inspection - though not too close - was some sort of large brown beetle of a type I had never seen before.

Come the morning lots of interest and jumping about from the children and we tried to find it on the internet before school 'large brown flying beetle' into google no joy. However after another half an hour searching I came across a neat looking website which clearly showed me what I had got. A Cockchafer Beetle or to give it it's common name 'Maybug' as there are supposed to be lots of them around in May. It amazes me that I have been gardening since I was a child and have only just seen one - how is that possible? I have seen the grubs in the soil only once before, horrible looking things but never thought to wonder what the parent looked like. I grew up in the countryside but never saw a slow worm, that I can recall, and there wasn't a badger sett anywhere near home as a child but the nearest is just 50 yards from the bottom of my garden now.

Another blotanist was discussing the rarity of sparrows, I am happy to say I see quite a few of those quite frequently so there's a plus.

Bought purple carrot seed yesterday!! Carrot that I sowed earlier is only part of a row as an animal (badger/cat/whatever) dug up one end . The garlic was dug up too and what remains looks sick. Someone said garlic was hard to grow! Something is eating the potato plants! The alliums are flowering and it's a beautiful day.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I have a frog in the garage! He lives by the tap which has a slow leak, not just a washer leak which I could fix but a fault with the pipe somewhere. It therefore means there is a permanent damp patch around the drain, the drain is wet anyway because that is where the waste from the sink goes. The frog is not green but black – why?

I first noticed the frog a couple of weeks ago and jumped and screamed. I thought maybe he was lost and I should move him out to the pond but since I didn’t do anything about him and he’s still there despite the door being left open I presume he stays because he’d happy. Well perhaps ‘happy’ is not a term applied to frogs. He or maybe she sits below the tap hands neatly folded and doesn’t seem bothered by anything I do. I think he probably has a good supply of spiders and woodlice to eat, I’m not sure about tap water? I will have to think of what is going down the drain in case he should be taking a bath when I’m bleaching the tea stains! Eeeck not a possible frog killer too! Anyway I shall call him Percy. Cameron my 9 year old wants to put him in a container and make him a pet. Cameron is very, very keen to have a pet. We finally got him a hamster 2 weeks ago but it is very disappointing, I think maybe because it’s female, moody or something. Never comes out to see him and bites if we try to pick it up and sleeps 18 hours a day – truly no fun. I wish we’d got the rabbits but we have regular foxes and badgers in the garden and anything in a hutch may be terrorised. Still rabbit manure is probably good for the compost heap.

The compost bin has reptilian visitors too – they really do make me scream. I have an aversion to snakes and no amount of common sense can endear me to slow worms which seem to enjoy nesting in the bins. However they are apparently a sign of a healthy bin so I will leave them alone and just bang about a lot before I open a bin. That’s another thing compost – who has time to turn compost? How are you supposed to turn it if it’s in a big bin. My bins are proper compost bins with ventilation/slow worm access holes and when I think the stuff has broken down I just remove the sides and dig it out, but turn it – never!

I have fish in my pond too. Too many to count, they started out as 4 from the pet shop and just bred, they must be happy there. But they eat the frogspawn so I never have tadpoles but that doesn’t seem to stop frogs from laying eggs each spring. I have a ball with a little fountain and the frogs like to get inside – perhaps the vibration of the pump does something for them? I have to routinely evict the frogs to clean the pump – definitely a ‘marigold’s job. They’re green frogs.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Pots and pots.

Lovely day – not a cloud in the sky, typical after a bank holiday weekend. Monday which was May day was damp and grey and not a gardening day. Yesterday it was18 degrees by 10.00 in the morning sun hats and sun tan lotion weather - looks like the same for today. I do feel sorry for the people in the offices. Not that sorry though it used to be me.

Planted out the first of the ‘climbing’ petunias. Some in little plastic pots, some in peat pots (never again!!) and some in newspaper pots. See below for the difference between the plastic pot roots circling the bottom of the pot and the ones of the newspaper pot which have pushed their way through. The newspaper pots are longer too so deeper roots to start off when in the ground. Definitely a must from now on. Need to sort out making larger pots ie ‘pot into a 3 inch pot’. The principle for making the pots does not work much above 1 and a half inches. I have a cunning plan – watch this space!

Anyway half of the plants are in, may have put too many in we’ll see also I have no idea how the ‘climbing’ is supposed to happen. The T&M dvd was a bit vague, I suspect I will have to tie them up.

Had to find a home for a dwarf conifer that was occupying the one pot that was the right size for the second batch of petunias. I would have given it away if I could think of someone who would want it. I could have chucked it but it deserves a chance, just hope it goes on being dwarf once in the ground.

This is the wire frame purchased in a rash online moment for the petunias, some bamboo canes would probably have done just as well.

Cosmos seed were up by last Friday!! Must be the growing season or something.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More seeds planted

True April weather still going strong - it’s somehow comforting when the seasons do what they are supposed to rather than the boiling hot temperatures we had this time last year. However it does mean it’s raining again! Good job it runs away into the sea.

Planted cosmos seed yesterday for filling in spaces in the borders. The packet said sow in a seed tray – I made more newspaper pots and sowed single seeds direct into the pots, surely that will cut out the pricking out stage which disturbs the plant? I have had cosmos self seed in the past in the garden so am fairly certain they’d do OK. I only planted 13 of each sort tall and dwarf, it’ll be interesting to see the success rate.

I haven’t got to the escallonia yet, but having decided it has to go I am itching to make a start cutting is down but there are more pressing tasks at the moment like planting sweet corn seed and nasturtium seed. I have never planted sweet corn before and an not sure where I shall squeeze it in but it obviously grows well because there are fields of it around here even if they are grown for silage and not the cobs – or so I believe. Come to that I even saw a field of sun flowers last summer up by Dorchester, how ‘climate change’ is that or perhaps not? I certainly don’t remember ever seeing such a thing before, except abroad in hot countries.

Other task to be done is tidying the front garden hands and knees job. Poor soil in the front garden as unlike the back it has never been cultivated and had lots of mature etc added. I am very lucky with my back garden soil, no stones, easy digging – what I do need to do is to get a soil testing kit and actually find out what I’ve got. I would hazard a guess that it’s fairly neutral but that is only a guess.


I was very nearly a Camellia Killer, if I hadn't sought help on line I would have been - hopefully someone will learn from my gardening trials and tribulations. Never, never use tap water to water your prized Camellia if you live in a hard water area - make the effort and walk round the back to the water butt.