Thursday, 27 September 2012

Game bird

Well I leapt out there today and stuffed in the pair of Russian Sages and the fourteen daffs.  I also managed to empty the pots ready for me to pot up the bulbs - probably at the the weekend some time.  The sages look a bit sad to say the least - not a leaf or green bit in sight but as they should be fully dormant that's to be expected.  They will do fine if we don't get any worse weather - is that possible?  I decided to put the best one in the duff side of the border and the smaller one in the good end - there's a perverse kind of logic in there somewhere.  I also potted up the anemones into a small bowl for the table outside.  No photos as I was snatching an hour before presenting myself at the dentists and other chores.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Webbed feet

Those of us in and around Bury must be wondering if we should consider ark building after all.  It really is incredibly wet!!  I have two cachepots standing on my tables on the patio that I had to take the fuchsias out of because they were literally overflowing with rain.  In less than a week they have filled up to the top. 

There is no way I can get in the garden to do anything.  The lawn has a lake at the bottom and the rest of it is a mire.  The beds themselves aren't workable in this even assuming I was prepared to be out there doing it.  One day this week I waited and waited for it to stop long enough to get to the greenhouse to water (!) my plants.  It didn't and by early evening I had to tog up and grab a brolly just to do that.

Meanwhile my fantastic freebie has arrived from Spaldings. They are worth about nineteen pounds - no small beer in my book.  Thanks a lot to them.

I have one hundred perfect bulbs and two Russian sage.  The sodden chap who delivered them said he hoped they were a box of water lilies otherwise he'd probably wasted his time.

So, now I am doubly frustrated by the monsoon as I have 14 free daffodils I picked up from Summerseat and this great gift to get planted.  I am determined the sage is going in tomorrow even if I do it in the rain.  I just don't fancy spending ages removing all the weeds from the bed.  I might just clear a big enough space and hope I can get to the weeds sometime before we decamp for warmer climes.  

I could put all the bulbs in pots except I can't get out to empty the pots of their summer annuals so that I can do that.  Frustration all round.  I bet every gardener around here feels the same right now.

If this is an example of Spaldings' products - so far, so good; very fat, clean, firm, good size bulbs, two promising (bare root) Sages, all nicely packed and with loads of information about how to plant them if you are new to the game.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Annoying nature!

I bet everyone reading this has these problems(?)

First one - weeds.  These two areas were immaculate on the 12th August: look at them now!

Second one - borders with odd sides.

You can see from the weeds photos above that the left hand bit of the border is not too bad whereas the right hand side is chock-a-block with weeds. The same thing happens with things I plant.

The centre of the border is defined by the tree.  I then plant to the right and left, mirror imaging what goes where.  I do like symmetry. Admittedly in a couple of years the plants are absolutely anywhere they like but I start off this way.  These two sets of three plants were pretty much identical.  The right hand side is flourishing while the left  struggles.  

I promise you these photos are taken from exactly the same height.

The obvious answer is light levels and, yes, there is slightly more shade on the left of the border than on the right but the emphasis is on 'slightly'.  In fact, for most of the day it looks exactly the same to me.

The border faces East and there is no shadow that I can see until very late into the day.  I am astonished that it can make such a difference.

Every one of my back garden borders behave in the same way - one side out performs the other.  So annoying.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

New Spalding Link

You might notice there is a sort of badge added to the right column for Spalding Bulbs.  It operates like any other link; it just happens to be a picture rather than words.  If you click on it, it will take you to their site.  They also have a collection of garden blogs (including this one) on their Blogger Club site if you fancy a look around.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Volunteers needed

Close Park Rangers are looking for volunteers to help on the 16th September.  Just an hour isn't a big ask and you get goodies as a reward.  How good is that!  We can do it ......

Volunteers needed!
16th September, 1-4pm, Close Park Radcliffe
For 1 hours volunteering in the park you will receive:
Seed Tray
We have 100 of these hampers to give away, in return for 1 hours volunteering on the park.
Meet at the Ranger Base at 1pm. Hampers will be given to the first 100 people who complete an hours volunteering with us.
Please bring gardening gloves, all other tools provided.
They can ring me if they need more info
Amy Leach
Ranger for Radcliffe
Bury Ranger Service | 15, Stock Street | Bury | BL8 1BU

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Thompson and Morgan Babies

Back in June I ordered these plants from Thompson and Morgan.  They promised delivery before the end of August!

True to their word they arrived while I was away on holiday!!

Fortunately most of them survived as you can see from these photos. It looked like I had lost four but I planted the stubs in hopes there was still life in them.  Sadly not.

This was one of their regular 'free plant' offers. This time there were 36 plug plants; all perrrenials and all in my border colours so I thought I'd give them a go.  I sent off my £4.90 for post and packing and settled down to wait.  Truth is I had pretty much forgotten about them until, as I said we got home from France and there they were.  they were a bit sad looking as they had been awaiting some TLC since leaving T & M's tender care days before.

I moved them on into these trays and they have put on some growth in just a week so they must be doing OK.  I have them in the greenhouse with the door open every day just to give them a bit of protection at night and from the hurling rain.  I want to get them to grow at a rate of knots and hopefully need moving out of these trays by the end of September (?).  We leave for Florida at the end of October (late this year) and I want to get them in the ground and ready to face the winter as I won't be here to take care of them in the greenhouse.  Ideally they would be great potted on, kept in the cold greenhouse and planted out next Spring.  I am probably just being super optimistic but it seemed worth a try for less than a fiver.  If I end up with two plants out of the three dozen I will have broken even on buying two small plants next year.  

They are made up of six of each of the following:
Geum, Lavender, Delphinium, Penstemon, Echinacea, Digitalis.

The dividing line in each tray are cuttings of pinks I took a while ago.  Again some are clearly doing well and others not so much.  These too are going to have to take their chances in the ground by the end of the month.

I'll keep you posted on their progress or their demise.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

... and the first shall be last....

If, like me, you read (logically) from the top down, you may have discovered that Blogs file stuff the other way up - last is first so to speak.  This is a great idea except when you want to post several items on the same day.  Today is a case in point.  My ramblings actually start six items down at the post headed 'A Bunch of Stuff'.  So, if you'd like to start there and work your way back to here, I'll let you get on with it.......

Help! Pest???

I am hoping someone out there can help me.

Every year my rudbeckia flowers are eaten by something before they even open.  It has been the worst ever this year.  As you can see I have three puny-looking clumps.  It particularly matters because the half moon bed at the front of the house only has one variety open at a time so they all have to work really well to look good.  

The rotation starts after the daffs with day lilies then a succession of geum, crocosmia Lucifer, rudbeckia , finishing with a late, small, yellow crocosmia.

This is a close-up of the damage.  I am pretty sure it isn't slugs or snails as I have them knocked right back now.

I do wonder if it is earwigs.  It looks like the chewed petals I remember (from childhood) on my mom's dahlias when they were attacked around this time of year and that, most definitely, was earwigs.  

That said, I only see the occasional one, whereas I am seeing a lot of these caterpillars and some ordinary looking small green ones.

Please, please if you know what is eating my poor old coneflowers I would love to know.  Even better if you also know how to get rid of it.......

If you don't want to 'talk' here in the blog (and some folk don't) you can email me.

A bit of support

I try to avoid any plant that is going to flop.  I hate the look of supports and I don't want the work!  This year it has been impossible to avoid it as it has been so wet.  All the rain has made stuff extra tall and extra floppy.  I've found myself shoving plants into the vertical that I've never had to do before.

I may have shown you this before - apologies if that's the case.

They come in three sizes.  This is the middle size which does for my stuff (mostly).   I might invest in a couple of large ones next year.  I've bought two lots of two (they come in two's) for three years now so I didn't feel the pain of six quid a go.  They soon add up to a useful number and make a difference in your borders when you need them.  Dead easy and quick to shove in and you don't have to think about them in advance - just see something having a swoon and shove it in.  I promise you none have mine have been at all visible when they are in place.  The leaves of the plant generally cover them.  Most tall things are also fronted by smaller stuff which neatly hides the supports of their bigger cousins.

They are at any large garden centre.  I got some from Newbank and some from Gordon Riggs.

Plant of the month

My garden is a May, June, July garden so by August onwards it is on the decline.  That said, the Japanese anemone starts to come into its own about now.  I especially love the white one at the bottom of my garden.  It is a border which is pretty much always in shade being North facing and having a  fence and neighbour's house behind it.  White's are lovely there, they just glow.

Fruit to flowers

Nature's normal process is flowers to fruit which I am in the middle of reversing.

Because I have decided to quit on the veggies I also decided to not bother with the strawberry pots and I have converted one to perennial plants already and I have bought plants for the other pot.... I just need the weather to let me do it.



It looks a bit puny right now but hopefully next year it will flourish.  I am also trying to replace all annuals with perrrenials to cut down on the work a little.  This is a start.

An invitation with perks

I just had an email from Spalding's Bulbs inviting me to add my blog to their Spalding Bulb Blogger Club,  which I am happy to do.

I had an email from them today offering me 100 Spring Bulbs free for joining them and an invitation to pick a plant from a list to review.  I chose a pair of Russian sage plants.  So watch this space.

A bunch of stuff

I seem to have a list of things I want to mention and none of them seem to join up with each other so I thought I would just do a short bit on each so you can pick and mix what you are curious about.

The easiest place to start is to point you to the web album with some photos I took in France a couple of weeks ago.

Most of them are flower arrangements like this one which are in Chenonceau.  Every room in the château has flowers and they are spectacular. They are grown on the estate and are created by  two full time florists  who renew each one twice a week.  I have also seen them at Christmas time and they are even more astonishing creations.

The other photos are pretty self-explanatory and all can be found in the  Masbonneau flowers album.

This last one might need some explaining.
I took the photo as I would like my long-suffering other half to create something like it for me on the wall at the (front) side of the house to tie in the rose and clematis that's there.  The stretched (not tensioned) wires we put there don't really work very well. 

This one is actually a very sturdy piece of metal work. We will probably have to replicate it in wood.