Monday, 15 October 2012

Tip from GW

I mentioned recently that I can never remember which clematis to hack and when, so I just hack down anything I don't want looking straggly in April when we get back from Naples.

On Gardeners World on Friday someone who was growing hundreds of varieties said all he did was:

If it flowers before June - don't prune

..............and everything else he hacks to the ground (!) on February 14th

No use to me as I won't be here but I thought it might help someone reading this?  As usual I wonder if the the June and February timings are good for us 'up North'?  How late do your Spring Clematis flower?  February seems an odd month to do it?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Sunshine at last

I managed to get a full day in the garden at last.  I know you had sunshine over the weekend in Bury, but I was in Kinross for four days enjoying the Scottish sunshine and just praying it would be waiting for me when I got home and last through Tuesday..... and it did.

I planted up six pots of bulbs - the ones from Spaldings.

I don't exactly follow the rules for planting bulbs but I always do it the same way and it works - so here is how I do it.

No bulb is going to need much more than six inches of compost, so if I am using a big pot I pack it with styrene packing chips to where I think the compost should start.  If I haven't got any of those lovely noodles/chips I just break up any polystyrene packing.  Those trays you get fledgling plants in from B & Q are ideal. .  
The compost I use for everything is B & Q's grow bags - unless I find a cheaper deal somewhere   Usually you need a maths degree to figure out the best deal on compost as you need to calculate price per litre to be able to compare them.  Any way in that goes, then the bulbs, right way up and evenly spaced, top up with compost and top off with a layer of (horticultural) grit.  I get that from Summerseat if you are on a hunt for any of it.  You might have to ask where it is - it isn't always easy to locate.  Mostly I use it to stop weeds getting in.  Oh, how I will miss my Summerseat lunches in Naples!

The six pots are:  Iris, narcissi  alium,  tulips, muscari and anemones.  It will be really interesting to see how they do.  I might miss some of them as I don't get back to Bury until April, but I am hoping the folks who look after our place will take photos for me.  If so, I will keep you posted.

I also planted up my (little bit larger) plug plants that I had from Thompson and Morgan in my top and bottom third of the new border. I honestly don't hold out much hope for them.  The only ones which put on any decent size in the last month were the foxgloves.  Hard to believe there are eighteen plants in this square!!  The only way they might make it is if you get a freaky warm October/November to give them a chance to get their little feet down.

Interesting to test it though?

The plants are echinacea, foxglove, lavender, geum, penstemon, delphinium.

I emptied all the summer baskets which is always really sad, especially as there was life in them yet.  I stashed my big strawberry pots on the gravel in the utility area near the greenhouse to give them some protection over the winter.  I left their wooden trolleys on the patio to stand the bulb pots on as I don't want their feet in any freezing water.  Hence no saucers under them.

The furniture is all stored away.  I don't think there would be any sitting in the garden even if we were here.

I checked plants to see if anything needed tying in to prevent wind-rock and there were some odds and ends of stuff like an Iceberg (rose) that had broken free of its restraints and some newish growth on Lady Boothby (climbing fuchsia) .  She is an annoying lady - so late into flower she is hardly worth having.

I also pruned New Dawn (climbing rose) which I know shouldn't really be done now up North, but it was hugely 'leggy' and flailing around.  I'll do a more severe prune in the Spring, no doubt.

So that's me and my garden put away for the winter.  I will try and stay in touch over the coming months so you don't forget that I am here for next year.