Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Jefferson and Susan's garden

Something for you to check out..........

Jefferson and Susan's wonderful garden which we went to this summer (and last year) is being featured in the October issue of Lancashire Life magazine.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Back end of Summer

I am absolutely creased from half a day of putting my garden to bed before we decamp for six months for the winter elsewhere. I've emptied pots and hay rack and hanging baskets and added bonemeal to the lawns and borders.  I've scattered slug pellets to, hopefully, knock down the overwintering population - probably too soon to do any good - end of October would be better.  I've only planted two boxes of bulbs this year as I don't ever get back in time to see them! I did plant a few (white) Thalia narcissi in hopes of seeing them - and smelling them as they have a lovely perfume.   Even the general tidying up of pots and plant stands and trolleys takes loads of lifting and carrying.  Finally Ken and I put the furniture away and now everywhere looks like someone else's garden. 

I've potted on a peony my sister gave me when we visited a couple of weeks ago so  I hope the weather stays mild for a bit to let that settle in.  Fortunately (!) when I'd done all that (and more) I'd managed to (over) fill the brown bin so I wasn't able to chop down all the roses as I'd planned to do.  One job I've escaped from.  That major task will have to be done as soon as I get back in April.

I could do with a piece of advice...  one of the heaving and carting tasks is pulling down the bean plants.  I cut them off at the base as you are supposed to leave the roots in the ground over winter, but it is a heck of a job disentangling  seven eight foot poles all lashed together and twined around with jack and the Beanstalk beans.  Does anyone leave them in for the winter and are they then easier to sort out when they've all died back?  Please let me know here or email me.  Thanks.

Saturday, 3 September 2011


28th August and we are still picking great stuff from our little veggie patch.  As I've said a zillion times before we are in such a cold spot that we run at least a month behind the South. Sadly for us it always means we miss quite a bit of our crops as we decamp for warmer climes at the end of September and a lot of our stuff is still going for another month after that.  I am leaving a tub of King Edwards on the go for when we come home for Christmas - I'll let you know if they are edible in December!  I've frozen the usual gluts of rhubarb and  runner beans but that's OK as they always come back just fine.  I use them both from frozen - chucking the beans into a small amount of boiling water for a few minutes and usually sticking the rhubarb under a crumble mix and into the oven before it has a chance to go 'sad'.  I've never yet had a crop of (outdoor) tomatoes ripen in time and I've pretty much given up on them this year.  Now I have my little greenhouse I might have another go next year though.  Watch this space.  The strawberries are wonderful but they are a rare treat and I always say they are too much work and effort (watering and feeding) for what we get; but then we get those couple of puddings from them and it all becomes worth while.  Pretty much like the rest of the garden really!

Rethink on photos

 I recently decided in all my blogs to add links to individual photo albums in the left hand column.  In a short space of time I've come to realise that's going to be a bit unwieldy as there will be a ridiculously long list very soon; so I've put individual links back into the text of the post.  Don't forget to click on the highlighted text to look at the pictures.  As soon as I can I will remove the links I have on the left and attach them to the appropriate places in the blogs.  I'll just put a link to my main site (containing the individual albums) there instead.  Apologies in advance if that doesn't happen immediately - too many things to do and too little time right now.

NGS Gardens this year

I seem to have done less NGS gardens this year and, in the main, those I have done have left me underwhelmed.  This may just be that I am getting spoilt the more I see and so I get more and more picky.

We have just spent a week in Alston, Cumbria and on the way there we took a break in the journey to visit an NGS garden in Milnthorpe (Sunnyside).  It would have been a paradise I 've no doubt for someone interested in growing dahlias.  The chap there had given over a large part of the garden to growing show-standard blooms - row upon row of specimens tied up sticks.  You had to admire the skill involved even if, like me, you weren't all that fussed about the flowers themselves.  The whole garden as always with NGS gardens was testament to the couple's hard work and love of gardening but I didn't come away with a single new idea/thought/inspiration and it was all very nice but no WOW in sight.  As I said I think I am just getting jaded.

The second NGS garden we did (the next day) was actually in Northumberland not Cumbria. Thornley House, Allendale.  This offered a good deal more to see with a series of small gardens dotted around the house on three sides rather than one cohesive design.  It was filled with bits and bobs from all over the world it seemed which culminated in a huge statue.  I'll let you see it for yourself in the photo album. The artist is Star Liana York if you want to see more of her work.  The interesting thing about this garden in particular was they way that every little garden enclosure had some sort of seating (or lying) area - the garden was meant to be enjoyed.

Don't let my whining put you off doing all the NGS gardens you can do.  Firstly it will support a couple of charities which is good, you always get a great cup of tea/coffee and cake and often a lovely place to sit and enjoy it and most of all you get to see someone else's  garden which helps you get even more out of your own.