Category Archives: Greenhouse

End of month view – yearly round up 2017

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I’ve started my Yearly Round up with a photo of the garden in June as June saw me coordinating the St Helens Secret Gardens event (the garden opening of a dozen local gardens in aid of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance) for the first time.

I was so relieved and delighted all went smoothly – largely due to the fabulous weather.  The event is only every other year so I can put my feet up this year!

As ever, there were successes and failures in the garden, with a really annoying number of bulbs, particularly tulips, lost to some nibbling critter.  I like to think it might be one of our beautiful red squirrels as at least that means they were lost to a good cause!  However, there were also successes, and I’ve shared some favourite garden photos below:

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I added a new tree to the garden – Albizia julibrissin ‘Ombrella,’

had fun with pots

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and tried new edibles in the greenhouse – Pepper ‘Tequilla’ and

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Aubergine ‘Slim Jim.’

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I also continued creating various vases, both for Cathy’s ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme IMG_2342

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as well as to take to work with me.IMG_2237

I shared a few more photos taken on the daily dog walk on the St Helens Duver –  the National Trust land opposite where we live that gives this blog its name.img_1532-1

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And also shared plenty of garden visit photos, including, in March, Le Jardin de Secret

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and Jardin Majorelle, both in Marrakech,dsc00100

in May, Gravetye Manor,IMG_2462

and Parham House and Gardens.

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In June, The Old Rectory Gardens, open for the NGS on the Isle of Wight

In September, Hauser and Wirth in Somerset

and in October, a couple of gardens on the Cote d’Azur – Jardin Exotique d’Eze

and Ville Ephrussi de Rothschild.

On the learning front, I finished the second year of my Level 3 Certificate in Garden and Planting Design course at Capel Manor College.  I toyed with the idea of embarking on the RHS2 course but I was concerned it would all be a bit ‘schooly’ with little of the lovely gardening chat we had on the design course, so instead I took a six week photography evening class at the Bishopsgate Institute.  However, the learning highlight must have been my crafty visit to the reopened Garden Museum where I created my festive robin.image

So, another busy year chez Duver Diary – to be honest, sometimes rather too busy, and blogging has increasingly taken a back seat on occasions since I went back to working full time in February, but I still enjoy capturing and sharing photos both of my garden and others, and hope I can continue in 2018.

Thank you so much for supporting Duver Diary and sharing your likes and comments.  They are such delight when work – or the wider world – are getting me down!

Wishing you and yours a fabulous, flowery 2018.

Veg patch panic

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I feel a little silly that it only really hit me on Saturday that I’m going away next Friday for a week and I have a greenhouse packed full of seedlings.  IMG_0473

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Although we have someone house sitting for the dog, the worry is they’re not a gardener and, as has happened before with someone else, I’ll come back to a greenhouse and garden full of death and destruction.  Consequently, during today’s beautiful sunshine, I finally sprung into action.

I decided to focus on the veg patch as many of the flower seedlings are still quite small and so will hopefully last better in their seed trays than some of the larger veg.  And none of that hardening off nonsense, – no time – into the ground and get on with it!

So, after a great deal of structural work by the other half (thanks Andrew!) I’m delighted to report I now have Cavalo nero ‘Black Magic’, Broccoli ‘Early Purple Sprouting’ broccoli, Courgette ‘El greco’, Courgette ‘Gold Rush,’ Broad bean, The Sutton Dwarf.

Oh, and all those things that look like peas, well they’re Sweet Peas.  Close enough!IMG_0481 - Copy

Fingers crossed for everything else!

 

 

My name’s Jenny and I’m a seedaholic

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I’ve always loved growing plants from seed and last year, following an email from Chiltern Seeds announcing that they were offering a 20% discount for November’s Black Friday, I went a little mad on the ordering.

I’ve already sown the majority of the hardy annuals, and they’re starting to appear.  So exciting!IMG_0090

The good news is that the number of different seeds is under 100, but the bad news is it’s definitely well over 60, so I’ve set up a spreasheet to try to keep track of things.IMG_0088

Following another seed sowing session today, I’ve filled in all the sowing dates of everything, and am almost feeling on top of things.

The only thing to worry about now is where on earth they’re all going to go…

Meanwhile here is the latest progress of the ‘Winter Sunshine’ sweet peas  from Owl’s Acre.  They’re supposed to flower in March under glass.  I’m not holding my breath.

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What are you growing from seed this year?  And who’s your favourite supplier?

Happy sowing!

The Greenhouse Review – mid September 2015

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I’m joining Julie at Peonies and Posies (rather late) to share what’s going on in my greenhouse this month.

After a delay in planting my tomatoes out, they’re finally cropping well and I’ve made my first Panzanella of the year:IMG_4597

The tomatoes at the top are Tomato Black Cherry, and I think these are my favourite new ones this year.  I’m also growing old favourites SungoldIMG_8480

and have grown the popular Gardeners’ Delight for the first time.IMG_8484

Also new this year has been Green Zebra, which is fun to look at, but difficult to judge when ripe, and in my opinion, not a great taste.IMG_8485

And lastly, the only large tomato this year has been Ferline.  This is better tasting than I thought initially when I ate the first one a month ago, so I may grow this one again, but I’m certainly open to suggestions for alternative larger/cooking tomatoes to try.IMG_8486

As well as the tomatoes, I’m growing Cucumber La Diva.  These are supposed to be mini ‘cigar’ sized cucumbers, but I’m not a huge cucumber fan and so they tend to get left on the vine, and then grow to much larger proportions:

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And in pots I have Pepper Marconi Rosso, the little mild chillies, Padron Peppers,IMG_8489

and my aubergines, Aubergine Kaberi.  I haven’t yet harvested any, and whilst they’re definitely getting bigger, I’m not convinced they’re actually ripening, but I can wait….

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And lastly, at my ‘potting shed’ end of the greenhouse, I’m afraid all my biennials – wallflowers and stocks, are still waiting to be planted out – and are definitely suffering for the neglect.  Tsk tsk!IMG_8487

With regard to future plans, I don’t suppose the veg will continue for too much longer and then I will need a good clear out.  And at that stage I’m wondering about trying the early sweet peas Julie had success with in her greenhouse last year.

The only problem is, if I fill the greenhouse ful of sweet peas, where am I going to put all my tender plants?

The Greenhouse review – mid August 2015

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I’m joining Julie from Peonies and Posies, both of us after a month’s absence, to update on my greenhouse.

Although I planted my seeds in a timely fashion, I was definitely late getting all of the tender plants out of the greenhouse, and as a result my tomatoes went in late and are rather behind.  I have six varieties this year – Black Cherry, Country Taste, Ferline, Gardener’s Delight, Green Zebra and Sungold.  Of these I’ve only grown Sungold before, and I have long since forgotten why I chose the others.  I bought them all (apart from Green Zebra, which came from Sarah Raven) from Chiltern Seeds, so their descriptions must have won me over.

The one above is Ferline, which is a rather attractive heart shape, but I’ve only cropped one and it wasn’t particularly exciting.

The one below is Sungold, still my favourite, reaching for stars.IMG_8192

This one’s Black Cherry, but some are actually quite big, and generally bigger than both Sungold and Gardeners Delight, but they’re pretty tasty and a bit different.IMG_8193

And here’s Green Zebra, again a bit different, but I’m already finding it frustrating that I don’t know when they’re ripe as they never turn red.  I picked a couple which were quite soft (the way I thought you were supposed to tell) and tried one, but it really wasn’t very nice, so I binned the first one and put the second in the with the bananas for a second chance!IMG_8194

At the far end of the bed are two Cucumber La Diva plants, which are already taking up far more than their fair share of space.  These are short ‘baby’ cucumbers which I’ve had a lot of success with in the past.  I didn’t grow them last year, instead growing the grape sized Cucamelons, which was a definite mistake!

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At the very end are two plants of Melon ‘Sweetheart’.  As I mentioned last month I’ve never had any success with melons, but thought I’d give it another go.  And once more, I’m not very hopeful – not least because they’re being smothered by the cucumbers….

In the terracotta pots I have Pepper Marconi Rosso, these Padron Peppers (lovely fried in olive oil with sea salt)

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but also, most excitingly, aubergines!  These ones are Kaberi, which I’m growing for the first time.

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And there’s more!

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Does anyone know whether you’re supposed to thin them out, or will they all mature, even if there are two or three close together?  Definitely not a problem I’ve encountered before!

On the flower front, the little table is bedecked with blooms, and sits in front of a support with sweet peas growing up it.

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I think they’re ‘Jilly’ and they have a stunning scent which fills the area around the table.IMG_8199

The other lovely flowers are the ones on my Plumbago plants, such a pretty, soft blue.

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And then thinking ahead, on the other side of the door from the terracotta pots, are various biennials, mostly wallflowers, sown back in June which really need planting outside.IMG_8198

Who knows, in a month’s time I may be overrun with tomatoes, and have eaten my first ever home grown aubergine.  See you then!

Greenhouse Review – mid June 2015

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Like Julie at Peonies and Posies who hosts this meme, things have calmed down in the greenhouse this month.  The vast majority of seedlings have been turfed out to fend for the themselves (and we’ll gloss over the fact that many haven’t actually travelled very far from the greenhouse, are in an unruly array just outside the door…)

At the back of the greenhouse I have sweet peas for the first time.  Firstly Lathyrus tingitanus,

IMG_7705in my view, one of the prettiest flowers, but sadly no scent, so in addition I’ve planted Lathyrus Juliet, which is just starting to flower, and smells gorgeous.  Hopefully I’ll manage to grab the odd moment to sit at the table and enjoy them both.

On either side of the sweet peas are bamboo supports with a variety of tomatoes – this year, ‘Sungold’, ‘Gardener’s Delight’, ‘Black Cherry’, ‘Country Taste’, ‘Ferline’ and ‘Green Zebra’.  All were new to me this year except ‘Sungold’, which is a firm favourite.  And all grown from seed (all seed from Chilterns except ‘Green Zebra’ which was from Sarah Raven).  In addition to the tomatoes I have mini cucumbers ‘La Diva’ as well as Melon ‘Sweetheart’.  I’ve only tried melon once before and it was a disaster, but according to Chilterns, ‘Sweetheart’ is a “very early Charentais type melon, arguably the variety best suited to our irregular climate, more tolerant of cooler temperatures and quicker to mature”.  We’ll see.

I’ve also planted a few clusters of Basil seedlings along the front edge.IMG_7703

To the left of the door I’ve now planted up a number of pots.  Last year the plants in this area were just in grow bags, but they didn’t seem to do very well, and, as I’d used these pots before and so had them available, I thought I’d go back to them.

In the pots I have Aubergine ‘Kaberi’, Pepper ‘Marconi Rosso’ and Pepper ‘Padron’.

IMG_7702In addition, the OH went to the local boot fair last weekend and bought some more Aubergines, which are now luxuriating in this rather magnificent pot, standing about 80cm tall.  I will of course be furious if his do better than mine!IMG_7704

On the right hand side of the door I have the area with the heated propagation mat, but this has now been turned off.  Here I’ve planted a number of biennials and perennials for next year.  I’m not sure they really want to be inside, but I do find I can keep a much better eye on them here, and so I’ll see how they get on.  I could move them out to the cold frame, but plants there do tend to suffer from a degree of neglect which, if they were children or animals, would get me into serious trouble.IMG_7707

And the final area, also to the right of the door, is my ‘potting’ area.  This is still cluttered with numerous tender plants grown as cuttings and still seeking their place in the world/garden.  Amongst other things, there are some Dahlias (Roxy), Pelargoniums, (including the lovely ‘Sidoides’), and  Sedum (looking much better than the mother plant which has been badly chewed outside)IMG_7708

And, right by the door, one of a pair of Plumbago plants.  I just love this plant and do so hope it will be flowering by the garden opening on the 28th of this month.

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With thanks as ever to Julie for hosting.  Why don’t you go and see what she’s been up to in her TWO greenhouses!

Greenhouse Review – mid May 2015

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I was standing in the greenhouse on Sunday and, looking around, I said to my husband, ‘I think things have got a little out of hand’.

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There is no doubt that my seed growing and cutting taking activities have reached almost epidemic proportions and I can’t seem to stop.  However, these photos do show the ‘before’ positionIMG_7258

I’m delighted to report that since these photos were taken I have moved numerous seed trays outside and the greenhouse is looking a little less crammed.

I still haven’t moved all the tender plants outside, which I’m sure is over cautious, but I’ve yet to plan all my pots and so it’s not clear where they should go anyway. IMG_7259

And there are so many more than last year because of, yes, all those cuttings.IMG_7265

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Last month I was fretting about planting out my sweet peas because I needed the pots to plant my peas and beans, well as you can see, the root trainers still haven’t been evacuated, and so the beans have had to find alternative lodgings.IMG_7263

One place (of three so far) where I have planted out sweet peas is on one of the willow supports in the greenhouse.  The support sits just behind the small table and chairs and I’m hoping when I sit at the table, which I often do to write plant labels (of which there are very many) I’ll be able to enjoy both the blooms and the scent.  I’ve never grown sweet peas in the greenhouse before and I’m intrigued to know how strong the scent will be.  One of the sweet peas I’ve chosen isn’t actually scented (Lathyrus tingitanus) but the other one, Lathyrus Juliet, is, so here’s hoping she can do the job on her own!

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Other plants growing away strongly are my dahlias.  These ones, Bishop of Canterbury, were stored as tubers last year as they had been grown in pots that I wanted to plant up for spring.

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And guess what?  I’ve recently taken a few cuttings of both these and Dahlia Roxy, the other dahlia I had from last year.  There really is no hope for me!

Perhaps by next month the greenhouse will seed tray free, but I somehow doubt it – what about the biennials?

With many thanks to Julie and her beautiful, organised greenhouse at Peonies and Posies for hosting this Greenhouse meme.

The Greenhouse review – April 2015

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I missed joining Julie’s Greenhouse Review at Peonies and Posies  earlier this month as I was away, but after a weekend spent sowing, pricking out and planting out, it occurred to me that this could be the busiest the greenhouse is all year and so thought I’d take a few photos to capture it, even though I’m very late.

Sadly the pictures aren’t great as I’d spent so long playing it was pretty dark by the time I got round to taking the photos.  The shot above is of a number of the seeds I’ve now pricked out.  These are mostly for cutting but there are also seeds I’m growing for the two new beds.  I’m a bit concerned than the plants I’m growing for the Bronze Bed are a rather eclectic mix (Antirrhinum Orange Wonder, Calendula Sunset Buff, Eschoscholzia ‘Cameo Dream’, Hordeum Jubatum, Scabiosa atropurpurea Fata Morgana) but I thought I’d grow them all and then decide which ones worked and bin the rest!

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One of the reasons the greenhouse is so busy is because it’s still full of tender plants like argyranthemums, lampranthus and pelargoniums – not just larger pots but also plenty of cuttings.  Once both these and the (many) sweet peas have been moved out, there should be rather more room to manoeuvre.  Also, I need to plant out the sweet peas so that I can use the root trainers for my beans!

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Meanwhile, on the heated propagation mat, courgettes (Romanesco, El Greco and Gold Rush) are jostling for position with Helianthus and Zinnias. IMG_6990

Some of you may remember last year that I was saved from being completely overwhelmed by seedlings by my lovely neighbours J & A, who allowed me space in their beautiful walled garden to plant some of my cutting blooms (see last year here).

Well the good news is, having invited them over for coffee this morning and plied them with lemon cake, they’ve agreed that I can have space again.  Excitingly there are two different areas on offer this year which, combined, make a larger space than last year, so I’m very excited as to how much I’ll be able to pack in.  Of course the problem this year will be how I can make sure blooms get picked when I’m in London, but that’s something I’ll have to work out.

And to finish, a shot of my big, blousy tulips (Mistress).  Sadly they’ve taken rather a battering in the recent winds and are already looking a little tatty, so I’m sure they won’t still be fit for public consumption by my EOMV post, so thought I’d share them here.

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The Greenhouse review – March 2015

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This month in the greenhouse there’s a degree of ‘moving on’.  The Calendula ‘Sunset Buff’ (destined for the new Bronze Bed) and first wave of broad beans (Stereo) have been moved out to the cold frame.

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Many of the cuttings taken towards the end of last year like the Diascia  Personata (black square pots in the foreground), and the dark pelargonium (out of shot, but whose mother plant is pictured flowering today in the first picture),  are growing well and have been potted up individually.  Meanwhile, some of the original plantings of sweet peas (in the background) are growing a little too well and need pinching out.IMG_6100

The second wave of sweet peas is developing wellIMG_6103

and a second wave of broad beans and more sweet peas are filling up the right hand end of the greenhouse bed.

The green tray filled with water is what I use to soak my seed trays before sowing.IMG_6104

And, as plants are potted on or moved out, the latest wave of seeds –  tomatoes, aubergines, cucumber, melon and some hardy annuals – are taking their position on the heated propagation mat (and in the rather dilapidated propagator too).

The uncovered seed tray at the back contains the Gentian acaulis I mentioned last month.  So far only three have come up.  The planting instructions suggested a cold spell may be required but I’m not sure how that would affect the ones that have actually germinated (any thoughts?).  But something needs to be done if the Diving Lady has any hope of a Gentian pool!IMG_6105IMG_6101

There aren’t many blooms in the greenhouse at the moment, certainly none actually planned, but I can offer two.  Firstly, the simple daisy flower of the marguerite.  Like the pelargonium, this has ‘offspring’ cuttings now ready to pot on, to fill pots for a summer display, IMG_6109

and secondly Abutilon Orange Marion.  No cuttings this time, but instead I’m mollycoddling some seedlings which self sowed around the plant, were planted up last year and are now individually filling 9cm pots.  Having done that, however, I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with six more orange Abutilons.  A hedge perhaps?IMG_6108

With thanks as ever to Julie at Peonies and Posies for hosting this Greenhouse meme.

The Greenhouse review – February 2015

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I’m joining Julie at Peonies and Posies for a second monthly Greenhouse post.

There’s not much blooming in the greenhouse at the moment, so I thought I’d start with this little Muscari – M. Armeniacum Big Smile.  I planted up lots of these bulbs in terracotta pots and have been bringing them into the house one by one.  Whilst the flowers above are only an inch or so tall, with the blooms still tucked well within the leaves, the pot currently sitting on the kitchen table has flowers stems nearly eight inches tall!

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Since last month I’ve had a significant spring clean.  The tatty Sungold Tomatoes, which were still in the bed above, have all been cleared and the space has now been filled with various tender plants – pelargoniums, marguerites, a grevillea and a banana – which were previously at the other end of this bed.

Other than a big clean, I’ve sorted my seed trays and pots (no, I know I haven’t cleaned them…)

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I’ve continued to watch over seedlings planted at the end of last year – Broad Beans, Calendula and Sweet Peas IMG_5971

and cuttings taken last year.  The ones below have been pretty successful – particularly the Diascia personata and Lavender at the back.  As you can see, the Marguerites at the front were a little more patchy, and the Pelargonium (front right) even worse, but there are still five plants for free – what’s not to like!IMG_5973

At the other end of the greenhouse I have my heated propagation mat.  I was worried last month that this had broken, but the problem seemed to be with the thermometer unit which I’d plugged in between the mat and the socket,  Once I’d removed this and plugged the mat in directly, all was toasty again.  IMG_5981

The problem of course is I now don’t know exactly how toasty, but it seems to be doing the job as a batch of Sweet Peas planted on the 31st January are already showing brave little stems.IMG_5975

Since the 31st I’ve planted yet more Sweet Peas and Calendula (Buff Beauty for the Bronze Bed) as well as some poppies and also a Gentian, G. acaulis.  I would love to grow Gentians in the Diving Lady’s pool and I’ve read that this is the easiest Gentian to grow.  We’ll see.

There are plenty more seeds to plant this month, not only more hardy annuals, but also tomatoes and chillies.  Hopefully by next month there will be many more brave shoots to share.

With thanks again to Julie for hosting this Greenhouse meme.