Category Archives: Resolve and realise

Resolve and realise – April 2015

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Such beautiful April weather and yet I still find myself gravitating to the greenhouse rather than doing ‘proper’ gardening outside.  What’s that all about?

So let’s see what I was supposed to do this month:

New for April

  • Prune various shrubs that probably should have been pruned already

Sort of tick.  I delegated the pruning of the shrubs in the shady bed to the OH and he hacked through in a style which I’d like to say was reminiscent of Ross Poldark, but I can’t lie to you.  He hacked through.  Enough said.

  • Continue planting seeds, pricking out and potting on

Oh the seeds and the seedlings – I’ve now planted over 75 different seeds this year.  And no, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with them all.

My dear mother, who sadly never had a greenhouse, raised all her seedlings on the kitchen windowsill and called them her ‘babies’.  As a stroppy teenager I was indifferent to the green fingered nurturing going on in front of my eyes, and yet now, of course, I’m the one doing the nurturing, with unimpressed teens of my own.  I’m sure there’s no coincidence that as my children have grown and required (demanded!) less nurturing, I’ve transferred my attentions elsewhere…

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  • Plan cutting garden

No.  As I mentioned last week, I have had the offer of space in J&A’s walled garden to grow cutting flowers and so now I need to plan which plants might survive the shady spot, which will require the sunny spot and which I should grow at home in the very shallow cutting beds I used last year.

  • Provide supports for broad beans and plant out second wave

Tick.  I planted out the last lot and then rigged up a cat’s cradle affair with poles and string.  And forgot to photo it.

  • Start to erect structures for beans and sweet peas

No structure for beans yet but I have used two of our West Dean made willow structures for sweet peas.  The first in the greenhouse and the second, a semicircular affair, which was made by the OH with no particular purpose, turns out to have been made to measure for wrapping around a crab apple:

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Sadly, the two largest willow structures we both made, which were made to fit into two particular pots, look rather ridiculously top heavy and so I think we’ll have to buy new pots to accommodate them, which wasn’t really the idea.

  • Tidy up shady bed and lavender beds

I’ve had a tidy of the shady bed (see top photo).  The white honesty I grew from seed last year is flowering well, together with the Anemone blanda White Splendour I planted as bulbs in the autumn.

  • Continue planting up the two new beds

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It’s a bit difficult to see what’s going on but there has been further planting.  Firstly the new roses mentioned last month have gone in, including Rosa Falstaff Climbing on my ‘obelisk’.  I’ve also planted out some Cirsium riulare ‘Atropurpureum’ I grew from seed last year.  And also, since this photo was taken, I divided up a clump of Astrantia Roma and have put in a couple of clumps of that.

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There are plenty of seedlings to go into the Bronze Bed but apart from a few more Calendula Sunset Buff, I haven’t planted anything else out.

So carried forward

  • Plan cutting garden
  • Erect structures for sweet peas and beans
  • Tidy Lavender Beds

New for May

  • Plant out sweet peas, peas and beans
  • Plant out greenhouse plants
  • Continue with seeds and cuttings
  • Improve watering options (we have a well and two ‘holding’ tanks and many watering cans, but sometimes you just need a hose!)

So not a bad month.  What have you been up to in this glorious weather and what are your plans for the coming month?

Resolve and realise – March 2015

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Well a much better month than last (although I’m a day late posting!) with all jobs pretty much completed.

There were many jobs carried forward:

  • mulch all beds

Hmm, not quite there, but the vast majority done, so think we can tick this one off

  • prune and feed remaining roses

Tick.  Herewith a photo of my roses from last year,  rather than a pruned and fed twig, but trust me.IMG_2873

  • pot up dahlia tubersIMG_6470

I have some dahlias in the ground, some that were overwintered in the greenhouse in a large terracotta pot, and then these few, which were dug up and overwintered as tubers.  I think it was because they were in pots I wanted to use for something else, but it’s all a bit of a blur now, and I certainly can’t remember their variety.  Oops.

  • chit potatoes (and decide growing approach)IMG_6467

I finally got round to buying some potatoes – Ratte and Anya this year.  I’ve also bought some potato growing bags for the first time, so I think I’ll put some in the ground (in the top ‘tier’ of the veg patch) and some in the potato bags.  I’m planning to put the potato bags in the area of the veg patch behind the raspberry canes.  It’s pretty dark but I did grow potatoes there before in the ground, but then they got blighted.  Clearly I can’t grow them in the ground again, but hopefully they will do ok in the bags and make a difficult area productive.

  • sow chillies, tomatoes and hardy annuals

Tick.  The seed tray at the top shows my particularly perky looking Padron Peppers.  There may be a few more hardy annuals to sow, but I’ve definitely sown all the tomatoes (Sungold, Gardeners Delight, Ferline, Black Cherry and Country Taste)

  • plant out broad beansIMG_6457

I need to provide some support for these, put at least they’re in the ground.  I have a second wave now in the cold frame which I’ll plant out in a week or so.

and new for March

  • plant aubergines

Tick.  I’ve never had much success with Aubergines, but I love to eat them, so I’m trying yet again.  This year’s variety is Kaberi from Chiltern.  Has anyone tried it?

  • finish planning two new beds and start to buy seeds/plants accordingly.

A lot of time has been spent daydreaming about what to put in the new beds and a few things have already been planted which I can show in the EOMV post, but one thing I will disclose here is my recent extravagance with David Austin:

For the Mid Century bed

2 x Munstead Wood
2 x Jubilee Celebration
1 x Falstaff Climbing

And for the Bronze Bed

2 x Pat Austin

 Rose Munstead Wood, picture courtesy of the David Austin website

So for next month

Nothing to carry forward – hurrah!

New for April

  • Prune various shrubs that probably should have been pruned already
  • Continue planting seeds, pricking out and potting on
  • Plan cutting garden
  • Provide supports for broad beans and plant out second wave
  • Start to erect structures for beans and sweet peas
  • Tidy up shady bed and lavender beds
  • Continue planting up the two new beds

If you’d like to join in with Resolve and Realise, please do, just leave a link to your post in the comments.

 

Resolve and realise – March 2015

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Well I can see this is going to be the way of R&R posts – I’ll always start with an excuse!

So this month, I’ve gone back to work AND spent this weekend in Kent at a birthday party. These photos were taken on Friday before I left, as nothing has happened since.

So, last month’s list was as follows:

Carried forward

  • dig and prepare new ‘bronze bed’IMG_6075

Tick, the Bronze Bed is ready!  But not only that, I’ve also created another new bed, the Mid Century Bed, shown in yesterday’s EOMV here.

  • mulch all beds

Not completely ticked.  Although I have completed something related that didn’t even make it to last month’s R&R.  I’ve dug out and topped up the strawberry and rhubarb bed.  This bed had sunk considerably since it was created and so this month I’ve dug all the plants out, thinned the strawberries and divided one of the larger rhubarb plants, and then replanted them with at least an extra 4″ of compost and manure.

I’ve also planted some of my Agapanthus grown from seed along the back wall.  I don’t know whether they’ll flower this year, but I hope they’ll be happy with a warm southerly wall to cosy up to.IMG_6070

  • Order seeds

Tick.  (Although I’ve definitely also got a list for Derry Watkins’ Special Plants, and I can’t believe Sarah Raven and the RHS won’t be hearing from me.)

  • Prune and feed raspberries

Tick.

  • Prune and feed remaining roses

Hmm, not quite a tick.  I’ve completed the majority but not all.

  • Pot up dahlia tubers

No.  And I need to buy a few more for the new beds…

  • Chit potatoes

Difficult as I haven’t bought any.  I’m flirting with the idea of growing them in bags this year as I’ve read a couple of articles extolling the improved flavour.  I think I need to do a bit more research, but would love to hear your experiences with container grown potatoes.

  • Sow chillies

Er no, as seeds only arrived on Friday

  • Sow tomatoes

Ditto

  • Start sowing hardy annuals

Well I have sown a few more left over seeds, but again difficult to make much progress when I didn’t receive the new seeds until recently!

  • Plant out broad beans

Well they’ve made it from the greenhouse to the cold frame.  Surely that deserves half a tick?

So, all in all, hopeless progress.  I’m blushing as I type.  As a consequence my carried forward list is long, but my new additions short.  I need to get a grip!

Carried forward

  • mulch all beds
  • prune and feed remaining roses
  • pot up dahlia tubers
  • chit potatoes (and decide growing approach)
  • sow chillies, tomatoes and hardy annuals
  • plant out broad beans

and new for March

  • plant aubergines
  • finish planning two new beds and start to buy seeds/plants accordingly.

To finish, a couple  more views of the Stoke City Garden at last year Chelsea Flower Show, the inspiration for my new Mid Century bed.

If you’d like to join in with Resolve and Realise, please do, just leave a link to your post in the comments.  Surely no-one can have failed as spectacularly as I have his month?  I’m certainly not judging 😉

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Resolve and realise – February 2015

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Whilst writing down my January plans definitely helped concentrate the mind, as with all plans, they don’t necessarily go exactly to, well, plan!

Let’s run through last month’s list and see where I got to:

  • spring clean greenhouse (yuk!)

Well I hope you’ll acknowledge that the greenhouse looks a lot more spick and span than last month.  I’ve cleaned all the inside panes of glass apart from the very top, but think I’m going to have to get a window cleaner to do the outside.  I’ve also had a good clear out and power washed the floor.  Tick.

  • prune wisteriaIMG_5933

Tick!  Although it could now do with a feed.

(The pink toned leaves you can see are from the Cobaea scandens which is growing through the Wisteria.  It’s rather tatty now so I’m planing to replace it with something else)

  • prune vineIMG_5928

Tick.

The vine runs along the front of the decking, at the back of the two troughs and was planted by the OH (a vine has never featured anywhere near the top of my plants wishlist).  It was also trained along a wire which ran along the base of the decking and as a result got knotted up with all the planting in the troughs which was very annoying.  So, as well as pruning, I’m delighted that I’ve also persuaded the OH to move the wire up by a foot or so which should hopefully reduce this summer’s entanglements!

  • dig and prepare new ‘bronze bed’

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Hmm.  No tick.  Whilst I’ve dug down a spade full and marked the new edge of the bed, this represented six or seven wheelbarrow loads of heavy, clay soil and I’ve got in rather a knot as to what I’m going to do with the spoil.  At the moment I’ve been putting it in empty compost bags (see big white bags below) but think we’re going to have to pay for someone to ‘grab’ them away.

As a consequence I think I need a proper plan as to what’s going to happen with all the soil I’m digging out, as the last thing I want to do is have to move it a second time.   This one definitely needs to be carried forward…

  • sow more sweet peas
  • sow more broad beansIMG_5948

Tick!  Tick! (And the Sweet Peas are in my smart new rootrainers)

  • plant out bought replacement crocuses in pots (after a mouse had all of my bulbs)

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Well Tick and then darn it, unTick!  It really is very annoying to lose bulbs for the second time. And the weird thing is that last year I had a lovely show of crocuses with no extra protection.

As I said in the comments after I posted this picture on Wordless Wednesday, I thought by the time bulbs were flowering, most of the goodness had been used up and therefore they weren’t as attractive to predators.  Clearly I was wrong.

I’ll just have to wait for the later bulbs already planted in these pots in what Sarah Raven calls a ‘bulb lasagne’

  • force rhubarb

Tick!  Forgot to photo, but I should also feed.

  • mulch all beds

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Definitely no tick.  All I’ve done is to order the compost and manure I use for mulching.  A pathetic effort.  Definitely to carry forward.

So, for next month (which is thankfully longer than the two weeks I gave myself last time) the list is as follows:

Carried forward

  • dig and prepare new ‘bronze bed’
  • mulch all beds

and new for February

  • Order seeds (yay!)
  • Prune and feed raspberries
  • Prune and feed remaining roses
  • Pot up dahlia tubers
  • Chit potatoes
  • Sow chillies
  • Sow tomatoes
  • Sow hardy annuals
  • Start sowing hardy annuals
  • Plant out broad beans

If anyone would like to join me, please do, you’d be more than welcome, just leave a link with your comment

Resolve and realise – January 2015

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You know that saying “if you want something done, ask a busy person”?  Well a year ago I was that person.  I was working (and staying) in London, three days a week, as well as working a further day from home.  Consequently, all my gardening had to be fitted in between Friday and Sunday. And do you know what?  I was far better at getting things done then than I’ve been over the last year, when I’ve been working far less, and rarely away from home overnight.  I find the lure of the sofa, a good cup of coffee and a gardening magazine often wins out over getting the wellies on and getting out there.  Procrastination, I love it.

But it’s got to stop, and this is my plan.  I’m going to share a monthly ‘Resolve and realise’ post where I plan (resolve) to do a number of things over the coming month and then the next month share what I’ve achieved (realised).  Not only do I think it will help concentrate my mind over what I should be up to, but it will certainly concentrate my mind over what I’ve actually done.  Bizarrely, I love a deadline almost as much as procrastination, and for me, it’s definitely the lack of one that leads to the other!

Obviously I don’t have any December resolutions to report on, so I’ll concentrate on (late) plans for January:

  • spring clean greenhouse (yuk!)
  • prune wisteria
  • prune vine
  • dig and prepare new ‘bronze bed’
  • sow more sweet peas
  • sow more broad beans
  • plant out bought replacement crocuses in pots (after a mouse had all of my bulbs)
  • force rhubarb2013 05 and prior 065
  • and mulch all bedsIMG_1292

If anyone would like to join in with me, please feel free, just leave a link with your comment.

In future, I plan to write these ‘Resolve and realise’ posts on the first Sunday of the month, so the next one will be on 1st February.