Tag Archives: Rhubarb

End of month view – March 2019

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What a difference a month makes!  Not only is the garden alive with fresh, springy growth but the puppy is about twice the size and very keen on ‘dancing’ with her big brother on the lawn.

The Spiraea japonica which was just twigs last month, is now beating the massive Coleonema in the foreground for zingiest green award.

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In the Veg Patch the various rhubarb plants which were moved last year from the Strawberry Bed (as I thought they’d get more water) are still looking pretty pathetic.  Admittedly they still haven’t had much water nor their manure mulch.IMG_4702

However, look what’s doing far better – one plant accidentally found its way on to the compost heap and is far happier that any of the planted ones!  Why do I bother?IMG_4704

Meanwhile the Strawberry Bed is in serious danger of being overcome by the Agapanthus and requiring a name change!

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In the Swing Beds the ‘Pink Impression’ and ‘Menton’ tulips have returned almost as well as last year, and are joined by ‘Jenny’ Narcissi.  I finally got round to pruning all the roses and also had a very brutal cut back of the Clematis ‘Freckles’ planted up both front posts. 

I can confirm the damage to the grass was done by the OH, not the dogs, as he rather zealously cut out various weeds.  Annoyingly, the replacement seeds have just fed the local pigeon population, rather than being allowed to germinate. IMG_4711

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In the Grass Bed the ‘Peeping Jennys’ (with the larger brighter yellow trumpets) are starting to go over, but they are being replaced by the softer coloured, flatter trumpeted ‘Lieke’.  

Normally these bloom together with the Forget me nots, but whilst the Narcissi are much earlier than last year, the Forget me nots have barely started.IMG_4716

In this photo, looking from the Mid Century bed across the Lavender Bed, you can see two big clumps of ‘Red Jep’ Erysimums.  I’ve taken quite a few cuttings of this as they are getting rather leggy, and have introduced them into other areas of the garden.IMG_4719

Over to the greenhouse and the two Greenhouse Beds have been tidied up and mulched with just the Agapanthus above ground at the moment.IMG_4725

The Greenhouse Pots are a bit depleted this year, but I still love the soft pink of the ‘Bellsong’ trumpet together with the terracotta of the pot.IMG_4723

Into the greenhouse and, marvel of marvels, not only has it been cleaned inside and out, but also repainted.  I can’t take any of the credit apart from paying the bill, but it’s been a massive weight off my mind as I just couldn’t see when I was going to find a whole weekend to do it myself.  I can’t remember the last time I was so chuffed! IMG_4726

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I’ve had a few issues with seeds this year.  I think some have been eaten, probably by mice (see the terracotta coloured pots only one of the seven ‘Soleil’ courgettes has come up) which has never been a problem before.  I’ve replanted various, but annoyingly that was all of the yellow courgette seeds.IMG_4731

The OH is very proud his citrus trees are finally bearing fruit, so I have to point them out below.

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At the other side of the garden the Wisteria is just on the cusp of floweringIMG_4735

and the Narcissi (‘Cragford’ and ‘Yazz’) are crowding out the Bronze Bed.IMG_4736

The Melianthus major is back (hurrah!) but being rather squeezed out by the Acanthus (which I’m far less keen on) so think I need to address that.IMG_4737

And to finish, a tray of succulents that has just been moved out of the greenhouse.  Looks like a couple haven’t made it through the winter so I’ll have to keep my eye out for  replacements….. IMG_4740

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

Phwoar eh?

IMG_1676 (3)Now I’m not much of a gadget girl, and could bore for GB about the evils of leaf blowers, but sometimes you need a bit of kit to do a specific job, and today, after hours of using both, I’d like to celebrate two tools.

Firstly, my brand new, very handsome Spear and Jackson half moon edger (above, leaning seductively against the second wave of narcissi in the troughs).

When we had the garden reconfigured four years ago, we used 3 metre iron strips to edge the lawn and new beds, and initially they did a fabulous job.  However, over the years, soil has crept in between the pebbles and where there’s soil there will be growth.  And whilst some of that growth was rather charming (Cerinthe or forget-me-nots I might ignore) much was just grass.  And today was the day to reclaim my edges, and I’m delighted to say my half moon edger did me proud.

Secondly, my Burgon and Ball Paving and patio Brush and Knife.  I’ve had this over a year and actually bought it at Mottistone.  It has a metal point at the end. and then a heavy duty wire brush, and is just perfect for scraping and brushing between paving slabs.  Admittedly on its first using the head fell off and had to be screwed on by the OH, but I’m prepared to forgive it as it has done yeoman service ever since.

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And to finish, two close ups of plants included above.

The rhubarb, newly emerged from the forcer and blinking in the sunshine:2013 05 and prior 065

And then a close up of my new Tulip ‘Avignon’.  I spent far too long going round and round the ‘Bloms’ stand at Chelsea last year trying to choose a tulip which would show up in the garden when observed from the house in the sort of murky, grey weather we suffered last spring, and I went for Avignon.

I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but the colour really is like shot silk and makes me think of evening dresses (and The Sewing Bee!) and guess what?  Like so many things, it’s even more gorgeous in the sunshine.

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