Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Photos from today

Sunshine at last and out in the garden for the day.  

At one point this afternoon Ken was making a brick edge, I was weeding and dead-heading, the chap who cuts our lawns and his sidekick were doing their job and two chaps from New Bank arrived with a tree and two trellises.  Talk about excess.

I took a few photos at the end of the day and added them to the Garden 2012 album.

I'll just pull out a couple.

A friend very kindly gave us some 'bricks' which Ken spent a very hot couple of hours hammering into place.  The idea is that the gardener now doesn't have to do a vertical strim which means I can get plants to the edge and over the bricks without having them decapitated.  I can also add soil behind them to give me a better amount for planting in. This is needed as the edges round the wall are very poor. 

Next year I intend to plant a smaller version of the half circle perrrenials all around the house edge.  I will be looking for a short yellow daisy, small day lilies, small crocosmia, small geum.  Suggestions welcome?

Not looking too terrific yet but it will fluff up nicely next year.  Newbank are in my bad books though.  I bought six plants from their three for nine pounds table (which is extortionate in itself) only to be told when I got to the till the liatris wasn't in that deal.  This meant I paid full price for all three of my six plants.  The only option was to take them back and find something which was in the deal - how you do that when I thought I had already done that, I don't know or just abandon the lot and leave.  We had friends waiting for us to get through the hellish queue in the first place I could hardly subject them to another wait and I wanted something as I had already stripped out the strawberries ready to plant some perrrenials.  They were exceedingly ungracious about it, clearly implying I was trying to pull a fast one, which really annoys me.  Not only am I pernikity honest about such things but I have spent untold thousands of pounds with them in the thirty plus years I have been going there.

To compound my disgruntlement... I paid the required sixteen pounds to get a tree and two pieces of trellis delivered and they arrived with the wrong trellis!  Right style...wrong size.  Not exactly rocket science you would think.  To be fair they brought the replacement very quickly.

This is a picture of the tree in its pot waiting for its new home.  It was a dry as a bone!!  It is only a simple Rowan or Mountain Ash - Sorbus aucuparia.  Good for a small garden as it only makes about 15 feet and is tough as old boot.

Thank you to Susan and Jefferson

This is just a big thank you to Susan and Jefferson for opening their garden last weekend (21st, 22nd).  The heavens were kind to them this year and granted us two good weather days.  Last year we went round in waterproof over trouser thingies, raincoats and umbrellas and we were still running with rain.  You have never seen four more bedraggled specimens lunching at The Red Hall later.  

So, as I said, great weather and even greater garden; go and look at my photos.  I have loved watching the garden change over the past three years and hope to go on doing so.  

Not only do we get to see a truly remarkable garden but we are entertained and fed.  Delicious cakes and drinks and this year a young singer called Grace O'Malley.  Four toasty, warm, cream-caked folk had a great day.

Friday, 20 July 2012


My last post began with an apology as must this one.  Unfortunately when I was busy carping about this and that last time I hadn't given any thought to the people who had done all the hard work so that I could have a great day out touring round other folks gardens. Sadly my criticisms were very much taken to heart by one of the organisers and when I reread my piece I should  have worded it very differently.  I did email her to apologise and she was kind enough to accept my apologies but I thought I should at least share that with you.  The following are a couple of snippets from my two emails to her:

I am very sorry that what I said has upset you and that was certainly not my intention.  I reread what I wrote and realised it could have been phrased better.  With your permission I will copy this email to you as a post in my blog as a public apology for being so nit-picky.  I thought the trail was wonderful and I had a lovely day and it is all thanks to people like yourself and others who spend a huge amount of their time organising these things.  Without such folk all this sharing of our gardens would simply not happen and it is such a great thing to do.  I hope you are able to accept my apology and my huge thanks for all your hard work.

As for my not using the contact numbers I suppose I was doing the overly British thing of not liking to bother people.  As I said we found eight gardens out of fourteen in our bumbling fashion.  Please don't let minor carping discourage you from your endeavours.

Please don't get fed up with doing it because there are chumps like me whose mouths run away with their brains!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Edenfield Garden Trail

I think I'd better start with an apology to those of you who did the Edenfield Garden trail thanks to my recommending it.  Not that it wasn't absolutely great BUT the gardens were a pig to find!

I am sure the map and details in the leaflet were written by local people for other local people and perhaps they don't want all and sundry turning up (?) but for anyone who didn't know the area pretty well (like me and mine) it didn't help.  The numbers marking the gardens covered too big an area to easily locate the house and inside the leaflet we didn't have any actual addresses or post codes to use the GPS.  We spent a lot of time (two times) looking for number 14 for example but gave up on it eventually.  My only handy tip for next time (2014!) is to ask at each house for directions to the next one.

The upside of this (?) was that we and (at least) four other people managed to look round someone's very huge posh garden and they weren't even on the trail.  I haven't posted the photos I took there.  I was a good girl and deleted them.

We had a lovely day having a good old nose around other people's (legitimate) gardens.  I just love it. You get new ideas, compare how they and you do the same thing, discover new (to you) plants - I bought three mystery ones!  Good to be humbled when you think you know everything.  Satisfying though as the 'owner' didn't know what they were either.  I'll post a photo when I get a chance between the raindrops to actually take one.

That reminds me we were crazy-lucky with the weather - the sun managed to shine; it wasn't especially warm but it was dry all day.  What more could we ask for in these monsoon conditions.  I think Edenfield is noted as being a cold area.

We only managed eight of the fourteen houses; time and legs wore out.  I have suggested via one of the gardeners on the trail that maybe the committee might consider spreading it over two days.  I felt particularly sorry for the folks at the end of the numbering system as I think many people follow the recommended route and may not make it to them after all their hard work. I hope that's not the case.  I also hope their numbers got a bit of a boost from you two hundred or so readers.  If we don't support this stuff it will disappear and that would be so sad on so many levels.  I do notice that the majority of people who visit gardens are of a mature age.  This is perfectly logical , they have the time and less other commitments to free them up for doing it but we all need to keep it going for the next generation (and the next) to grow into it. 

For anyone however lightly interested in gardens it is a real pleasure to see garden designs and their planting and a huge variety of lifestyles from the very grand to the very small.  You meet lovely (like-minded) people full of enthusiasm if you want to talk to them and ask questions and share knowledge.  Best of all for the significant other who gets dragged around with you there is always the yummiest of cakes and a drink for just a few pennies.  For the plantaholic many people sell and even give away plants to pop in your own bit of heaven to remind you of a nice day out.  All of this will also be supporting a myriad of charities so you get to feel good about handing over your money.

We had lunch at the Eagle and Child.  Take a minute and click the link.  It was the first time for us there so we had no idea of the trade they do.  Being Sunday, it was very busy.  This did mean a 30 minute wait for a table (we hadn't booked) but it worked out well for us as we were waiting for a friend to join us.  The food was excellent, offering something different to the usual pub grub and at a good price.  You may be wondering why am I telling you this in a garden blog?  If you click on the link you'll see why.

I think their garden project is just brilliant and I will be going back in the week some time to take some cloches and a small greenhouse (and other  bits and bobs)  I won't be needing any more.

I have added just a handful of the photos of the day in its own album.  Edenfield Garden Trail.  So, if you went, they will remind you of happy places and if you didn't it will give you a flavour of the very different gardens you can see and encourage you to try it next time.

How to pick peas in the rain

Being totally cheesed off with the rain I decided this was the way to pick peas.  I went out and pulled up the plants and picked off the pods indoors.  Besides the obvious advantage of being in the dry I discovered another one - it was so easy to find the pods.   I pulled off stems and held them upside down and all the peas hung down like grapes on a vine.  Simple as a pimple! This led me to considering growing them from hanging baskets next year - seriously.

This method wasn't as drastic as it appears as the plants were ready for yanking out any way.  They've done their thing.  I got a couple of pounds off them - fine for us two.

Now if I could only do this for the rhubarb I want.....  on which note, this is supposed to be the last picking for rhubarb according to the 'experts' (from the South!).  I pick on for another month before letting it 'rest' up before the winter.  If I didn't it would be a very short season up here.

As I am giving up the veggie patch at the end of this year I am eyeing up the utility area for a few veggies.  The house wall is reasonably sunny but the pots would do better if they were lifted off the ground as it has the fence about 10 feet away which makes for a lot of ground shadow later in the day.  I am thinking of three foot high shelving and considering where I could  hang some baskets maybe - I'll let you know when plans gel.  The down side is that the bin collection would have to swap sides which puts them more in sight.... I hate them sooo much.  How I wish I could hide them cheaply.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Rain damage

I thought I would share a bit of the damage the rain has done to my garden so far this summer in hopes it might make you feel better about yours.

This is the worst basket ever!  I do one every year and by now it is pretty impressive.  This year the plants are just struggling to just stay alive never mind growing.  They haven't developed that much in a month of being planted.

This is the same north facing side of the house and all this border has been killed by simply being swamped with rain.  Like an idiot I have just replanted it.  Talk about optimist!

As for sweet peas!  If Monty Blooming Don reminds me one more time to remember to keep picking sweet peas so they keep flowering I swear we will be one television less.  I planted these in the greenhouse in March and moved them on in May (?) and outside in June.  They have barely changed since then.  Admittedly they are a small tumbling variety, but if these ever manage tumble I will be astounded.

This makes me so sad.  This is the little Noisette rose on the patio which I just love.  It is usually smothered in roses all summer and smells delicious.  Thanks to the rain the flowers are all rotting in bud.  I did cut them all off yesterday so it looks clean and tidy and there is a promise of a second flush but it won't be anything like as spectacular as it usually is.

Finally on the up side....

..... the lavender has done really well and looks and smells terrific.  Maybe the house protects it from a lot of the rain (?) and it is South facing and surrounded by brick and concrete slabs so does get whatever heat there is.

Nevertheless it does seem odd.  If there's one thing lavender doesn't like it is boggy ground.

I'm not sure if this photo shows clearly what I wanted it to show - maybe I'll do it again in another couple of months and see where its up to.  Meanwhile what I wanted you to see was the tomato plant outside the greenhouse (in the small pot) v. the plants inside the greenhouse.  The inside ones are four times bigger (so far!).  They are all the same tomato, planted at the same time.  I just decided to try one outside to see how it went.  Think I have my answer.  You need cover for decent tomatoes up here or at least a warm, sheltered, sunny spot - which I really don't have.  We seem to be high up in relation of the rest of the houses and catch every wind there is.  It is very nice on a really hot day.  Raucous laughter is heard.

There are some more general photos added to the web album  if you want to check them out.

Here comes the usual appeal....

I started this blog 30 June 2010.  I know that a couple of hundred (plus) people visit it each month.  Please use it to share thoughts, tips, moans.  Even more so if you live and garden in Bury it would be great if you would share anything Bury related - like where the bargains are, plants and places to avoid etc.  That was why I did it.

On that note, just to remind you that the garden trail is this weekend (see the previous post).  I'll be there if the weather is half way decent.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Details of the gardens to visit

I have further details of the Edenfield open gardens.  Talk about efficient - one phone call and a couple of days later I got a leaflet which I've copied here.

If you need each page larger so it is easier to read or you want to print it out, just click on the photo.

Tickets are available from the Edenfield Community Centre, off Exchange Street,  which is circled on the map. 

If we get the weather for it, it should be a great day out.