I’ve been laid rather low since the new year with some weary inducing virus, topped off by conjunctivitis, and as a result haven’t felt like tackling any outside jobs. Instead I’ve spent many languid hours curled up with gardening blogs, magazines, books and seed catalogues, but sometimes you just have to (wo)man up and get out there, and today was the day.
I wasn’t really feeling up to proper digging (I still have my new bed to dig) and so instead tackled my climbing roses which had got rather out of hand towards the back end of last year. I have to say rose pruning was something I found rather scary when I first arrived here as I’d never grown roses before and had inherited quite a few (and now planted a lot more). However I’ve quickly grown to love it and find myself drifting into a totally absorbed, Zen like meditative state! It seems to me that roses (all plants really) inherently want to grow and therefore I don’t think there’s much I can do with my trusty secateurs to upset them (particularly when I’ve seen how the shrub roses in a National Trust cottage down the road bounce back, when their pruning appears to be achieved with a chain saw!)
This is the before picture. The front two uprights have Rosa St Swithun (pictured top and below) and Clematis Freckles growing up them.
These St Swithuns, and the two behind , Rosa Korizont, see below, are climbers, whereas the two on the outside pillars are ramblers.
There is some confusion about what the ramblers are, and in fact I have just looked back in my records and realised I’ve been misleading myself and you too with my posts last year. I thought I’d ordered Rambling Rector and received one Rambling Rector (on the outside left hand pillar) and one other, which I’d decided was Snow Goose. However, having just checked back in my records, I realised I’d actually ordered Rosa Alberic Barbier, which must be the rose on the right, making the one on the left the mystery, as it clearly isn’t Rambling Rector.
I’ve just had a look at the David Austin website and think it might be Kew Rambler, but what ever it is, it certainly isn’t another Alberic Barbier!
Rosa Alberic Barbier (with Digitalis Suttons Apricot)
Whatever the roses are, they have all had a very good tidy and a rather brutal cut back.
The after picture is a little fuzzy as by the time I’d finished it was heading towards 5pm and there was very little light left so I’m afraid this is camera shake from the long exposure.
I still need to give them a feed and a good mulch of well rotted manure, but a very satisfying afternoon’s activity. Worthy of a rosy glow? Well maybe, but there’s something else.
Last week I was delighted to hear that Julie, at Gardening Jules, had nominated me for the Liebster award.
As Julie explained on her blog, “it’s an award from one blogger to another and a way of letting other folk know about blogs you enjoy to read”. To accept I need to answer 11 questions from Julie, then select 5 blogs I’d like to share and then ask my nominees 11 questions. Choosing young blogs with less than 200 followers is good too.
My answers to Julie’s questions are:-
1. Do you encourage wildlife to your garden?
Yes, I try to. There are certainly ‘wild’ areas, as well as food for the birds and a bug hotel, but we don’t currently have a pond, which would definitely help with wildlife.
2. Do you grow organically and use natural methods?
This is a tricky one. I tend to, but have a husband who’s not as convinced. For example, I used the wool pellets ‘Slug Gone’ to protect my hostas last year, and they were pretty successful. However, one time when I’d moaned about some slug nibbling, the OH was straight round with the little blue pellets. I wasn’t happy….
3. Any tips for recycling plastic?
No easy answers here. I think the key is to avoid/reuse as much as possible.
4. Any recommendations for flowers to arrange in your home?
Lots! However I think one of my favourites has to be Cosmos. I love daisy flowers anyway, there are many different Cosmos varieties to choose from and they are SOOOOO productive, you can pick armsful through the season
5. Have you tried edible flowers?
Yes, I like adding nastutium and calendula to salads, and have frozen borage fowers in ice cubes to put in Pimms!
6. A favourite fruit recipe?
This isn’t quite the right recipe as Deb Perelman, who writes the Smitten Kitchen blog has written a book and there is a different Lemon Bar recipe in that. However I love this blog so I’m sure this one will be good too.
7. A favourite vegetable recipe?
I ‘m hoping I’m allowed to call tomatoes a vegetable, in which case I offer up Panzanella:
8. Do you like to create anything other than flower arrangements using natural materials?
I’d love to be able to weave with willow, but never have, so just flower arrangements for me.
9. How do you feel about growing natives or non natives?
I’m relaxed about both. I think we have to be careful about what is introduced, but think it would be a terrible shame not enjoy non native plants.
10. Any recommendations for an unusual fruit or vegetable that is good to eat?
This is another trick one. I do try to try new things but have often been disappointed. a recent case in point was my Cucamelons. Revolting! Likewise Electric Daisies.
Something I do like to grow are the small Padron Peppers which have a bit of heat and can be cooked up with olive oil and sea salt and used as a starter. And also the Pumpkin Munchkin, which are a single serving size and can be grown up bamboo and so don’t take up too much ground space.
11. Do you have a good view from your home?
Yes. We pretty much bought the house for the view. From one side you can see south across Bembridge Harbour towards Bembridge and from the other, east towards the Solent. The views are actally better in the winter when the trees are bare.
And the blogs I’d like to nominate are