Wednesday, 17 September 2014

This is what you do when you want to see the pot from inside the conservatory!  i reckon no-one will be sitting outside much from now on.

Got a great deal in tulips from Lidl - £3.99 for 20 spanking healthy fat bulbs - downside they are a mixed pack of three varieties and I am a single variety in one pot person - hey ho - not this year.

This is my other absolute bargain.  If you are looking for standard olive trees or standard bays of a decent age/height get to B & Q (Crostons Road) there are a few left.  I went for just bulbs and a couple of large pots (£7) but saw these.  They were priced at £19.98 for the olive(these) and £18 for the bays.  I thrashed around mentally as I wanted a pair and that is a bit rich for my blood.  I talked myself into it as I haven't bought much for the garden this year (conveniently forgetting other expenses which is why I haven't bought much for the garden this year!) and picked up a pair.  Got to the counter and they were reduced to £10 - typical of B & Q 's rubbish display (or lack of) pricing.  Any way with old person Wednesday discount - two pots and two standards came to £30.60.  Wish I had somewhere for a pair of bays.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Logan Botanical Gardens and Castle Kennedy

I think Logan comes under the banner of Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh as I couldn't find a website particularly for them, but click here if you want to know more:  Logan Botanical Garden

Last weekend we had a couple of days in Leswalt near Stranraer and visited a couple of gardens.  There are six very well known ones all in a small area around the Mull of Galloway and all worth a look, I am told. 

Sadly this is not an area you will be 'passing' or 'near to' if holidaying elsewhere; it is very specifically its own destination as it is the (UK's old man's beard) peninsular hanging off Scotland and, as such, becomes its most southerly point.  Add to this the power of the Gulf Stream and you can see it is something of a gardener's paradise in the North.  Indeed Logan is loaded (for me, overloaded) with sub tropical planting.  

fleabane doing its thing

Our other garden visit was to Castle Kennedy Gardens which was also glorious, especially considering we are at the back end of the gardening year.

First, the practical; here's a simple way to support large areas of floppy plants.  I have seen it done more discretely but the idea is always the same - a framework of something attached to legs on a large scale.  I am doing this next year in my front garden for sure.

This is part of the same border with that system running all along it.

I you want to see more photos of these two gardens click on Galloway Gardens

Monday, 15 September 2014

On buying cyclamen, fleabane, clematis

First let me show you my nice little obelisk and clematis that I bought this summer:

Very pretty, just a pity that it's not what I thought I had bought.  Someone had done the classic poking the wrong label back into the wrong pot.  I can't tell you what variety this clematis is but it isn't the patio size pale pink one I thought I'd bought.  So that's a switcheroo to do next year as there is about thirty foot of clematis starting to cling to a four foot piece of wire.

More successfully, take a look at these lovely cyclamen - bargain from Lidl at £2.99 for the four pot pack.  You could split them already, if you wanted, into more planting pieces but they multiply pretty quickly if they are in the right place (wooded area - no, I don't have one!!).  They are delight in the rotten winter months.  (yes, just look at the weeds!!)  nice in pots waiting for the bulbs to appear.

Next, come some of my all time favourites, fleabane.  I just love them.  They are considered to be something of a weed and will seeds themselves in every nook and cranny - unless I grow them!  I had about six from a friend a couple of years ago and I have trouble finding the odd one or two daisies even if I go on a specific search for them.

Come back tomorrow if you want to see them in their full glory somewhere else.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

What not to do to trees

.... or a lesson in being lazy!

At the beginning of the growing season I hired a gardener to remove a small willow tree as that was a bit beyond me.  She made short shrift of it and seemed to know what she was doing so I decided it was the moment in my life to relinquish the hard graft and the boring jobs and pay someone else to do it.

Weather permitting, she had done the chores asked of her each time she came and we have gone on OK.  Any wrong judgements - such as allowing her to cut the small box hedge with huge electric clippers which seems to have stunned it into looking very sickly - have been of my own making, so no complaints.  Retrospectively, I think those sort of hedge trimmers tend to tear rather than snip which is what the box hedge requires.

On her last visit I asked her to weed as usual.  There is always enough of that to completely fill her time but, understandably, she gets fed up with it so I try to throw in something else.  On this occasion I didn't bother to do that and assumed she would use all the time weeding and tying in and supporting and dead-heading and those sorts of things.  But no - she pruned a tree and six of the eight (?) the roses.

Trees only need pruning if you are tackling disease or they are in the wrong place and need to be kept restrained in some way.  Often is isn't something an amateur should do as you can make a right cod's ear of it.  If a tree needs 'topping' you need someone who knows what they are doing so you don't spend the rest of your lifetime looking at a deformed specimen.

Why, oh why, she thought my little amelanchier (snow berry) needed hacking back I have no idea.  It is compounded and compounded by all sorts of things - it was struggling enough and was just about getting its feet down in a north facing border at last after three years there.  You grow them for their autumn colour!  It is the main focal point from my kitchen window and where I sit in the conservatory, so I see it endlessly day on day and inwardly howl.

It is too late for me to deal with it this year which might be a good thing as my first instinct is to rip it out and start again.  I am now trying to give it next year and see what happens to its growth.  I suspect it will be as ugly as I think and will have to come out.

She also pruned the roses right back - in August!!!  Never, never prune roses in summer - they want a lot of tying in and maybe the judicious nip because they are so unruly but if you hack them now they put on a spurt of growth to try and make amends and weaken themselves just in time for the cold weather to arrive.

Even stranger - look at the photo (you can see the new red growth appearing) - she left one piece standing.  I have six climbers all 'pruned'.

The moral of the story - if you want a job done well do it yourself or don't let anyone loose on your garden without strict instructions.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Scarecrow trail

Here's the map for the trail - what a lot of entries - well done you..........

To download a copy to print, click here:  

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

A garden really worth seeing....

Don't Forget our Open Garden 13/14 Sept 12 noon to 5pm
Please pass this email on to your friends who may be interested

The wonderful Rossendale Community Ladies Choir will
be singing for us.

Please can you help
If you would like to donate a cake please contact Susan Tel 01706 213934
Thanking you in advance for your kind generosity.

We look forward to seeing you at 
23 Dalesford Haslingden BB4 6QH
Jefferson and Susan Conway