Thursday, 13 August 2015

Farewell to the blog

Back in 2010 when I started this blog this is what I wrote:

Every year I am frustrated with the amount of seeds I have to buy, at about £1.99 a packet, to get the dozen or so plants I might want.  Seed will keep (in a cool place) for a year or so but to be honest, when it comes to vegetable seeds, they are better bought fresh each year.  As I am gardening for two, hundreds of the same lettuce seed are not needed.  Multiply this by a couple of dozen different vegetables and I end up with thousands of seeds going to waste.

I am also a belt and braces type person and therefore sow double the number I need in case any any duff transplants need replacing.  For example I sow a dozen runner beans individually in pots for the six I really want. Multiply this by a couple of dozen and a few weeks later I have hundreds of beautiful baby plants going begging.

I need to find people locally who could make use of them.  How to find them?

A blog?  I've come up with the idea of a gardening blog for gardeners who live in and around Bury where we could arrange to swap seeds, plants, ideas, information etc..  

I have gardened for getting on for fifty years and am happy to help people with gardening advice and, hopefully, this blog will become a forum for helping each other.  It is the best kind of help because it is local.  Much of what you find on TV, in magazines, and on-line is very 'Southern' based; up here we are as much as a month behind their timing.  Also locally grown/sourced plants thrive much better and we have a knowledge of what does and doesn't flourish in this area.

I've started a collection of 'useful links' which we can add to.  I also thought people might like to recommend local companies who have proved reliable.  I'm very keen on Summerseat for example as my local garden centre but maybe you prefer somewhere else?  Have you had any landscaping done by a good company?  Do you have anyone doing gardening work for you on a regular basis that you could recommend?.... and so on.

As this blog is in its embryonic stage I'd love you to check it out and send me any suggestions as to how we can make it work.  Who knows, by next Spring, we can have something really useful up and running.

None of this has come to fruition and it really has just gone on as my own record of my gardening.  As such I have decided not to carry on with it.

I am sorry if there is any living soul out there who does follow along and has found some 'help' and will miss it in some way....  but I think that's unlikely.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Farewell to the Lotty

Here is my last haul from the Lotty...

2 bags of potatoes, 3 bags of rhubarb

they were gorgeous

I have decided to quit on the Lotty so Ken and I went over to take our last pickings and tidy the plots for whoever takes them on (or digs them up).  

The raspberries were a joy.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Where did the green fingers go?

I love gardening and I do OK, but I really don't have that magic touch like my mom who could grow an oak from a stone.

I planted a tray of oriental poppy seeds and eventually just chucked the soil on the garden - not one appeared.  Not strictly true a few appeared and had one day in too much sun and fried.

Similarly, the foxglove tray did the same but they have about a half dozen clinging on to life.  I am hoping they will prick out into little pots soon and go in the garden next year - who knows.  So a fiver's (!) worth of seeds and if I manage to get a foxglove from it I'll be lucky.  Mind you I saw foxgloves last year in pots at £6.99 a pop..... so I'd still be in pocket.  Just not the vision of a garden full of oriental poppies and foxgloves that I dreamed of.


I also saved seed from and sowed some hellebores - doesn't look like they've made it either.


This is the best pot as I haven't a clue what I put in here......

the mystery pot

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Flowers in my garden

These were the flowers which were at their best on 29th July.  We had a deluge of Noah proportions the previous day so they may look a little battered.

James Galway is flowering his sicks off right now

All the astilbes are fully out right round the garden

the first achillea 'pretty belinda'

one of my favourites crocosmia Lucifer

day lily - might be 'Bonanza'

last of the orange and yellow red hot pokers

star jasmine - glorious perfume

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Cucumber and Tomato trials

I grew some tomatoes from seed and kept four of the plants - two of which I left in the greenhouse and two went in a pot outside.  I also grew some cucumbers and kept one in the greenhouse and planted one in the tomato pot outside.

here are the results so far:

Tomatoes in the greenhouse: tall, thin, anaemic looking but with flowers and starting to fruit

Tomatoes and cucumber outside:  dark green and leafy, only a few flowers and no fruit.

Cucumber in greenhouse doing OK

It seems the outside tomato bushes do just that - they make large dark green very vigorous and healthy bushes but they are only just starting to flower, so I suspect I won't be getting any ripe fruit off those this year.... again.  Unless you have a really good spot in your garden I think outdoor tomatoes need to be grown much further south than Bury.  I have never had a crop of tomatoes from them and as this is year five (!) that is an end to my outdoor tomato growing.  It is worth your having a go though as I know several people who do OK.  My garden is particularly 'late' with stuff.

I might have a good go at greenhouse ones next year though.

The cucumber needed its own pot to make it a fair comparison with the one in the greenhouse.  Basically it is strong and healthy but miles behind it's sister under cover, who has two cucumbers forming and more to come.

Here is my 'fruit' so far......  not quite a bounty!




Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Adding 'stuff' not plants

We went to an auction to sell stuff on Monday and left with a chimney and a head for the garden!  Think we lost our sense of purpose.

I did have a head something like this but much nicer which we bought in France, but it fell off the fence - the wire rusted at the back - and broke on the slabs below.  We got this one for a fiver so she'll do.  The chimney was £28 just inside my £30 limit so I am happy with that.  They cost more than that on sites like Gumtree and then you have to traipse to the end of the planet to pick them up.  On fancy-schmantzy sites like a reclamation place in the Cotswolds they are around the £150 mark!

I'll show you where they have gone and some of the other bits and bobs I have around.

this has lived in many of my gardens

chimney in place

new chimney echoes the larger one on the other side

she disappears well with a bit of dirt rubbed on her

I have two of these and a third on the way

I managed to buy a pot of plants to go in the chimney for just £6.99 (and  perfect fit) at lunch the following day.  It was all meant to be!  I forgot to look for an alpine for Marianne's hair - will do that tomorrow when we go back for another lunch.

There are a couple more bits and pieces around such as the bird table, some small 'rusty' ornaments and bug boxes.  I like a bit of 'junk' around so it's not too boring in the winter.

Monday, 27 July 2015

If you follow by email

I have just realised that if you 'Follow by email' rather than becoming a follower, you are probably reading the blog post which is embedded in the email.  You are actually getting a much poerer version of the real McCoy.  You need to click on the heading which acts as a link to the actual blog or you won't have access to photo albums or videos or a mass of other stuff. Not to mention that the blog just looks much better!  Obviously the choice is yours but do try clicking on the heading at least once and see if you prefer to read the blog as a fully formed entity rather than just in mail.

This discovery also answer queries from people who tell me they can't see the album link or can't leave comments and various other queries I have had over time and had never been able to resolve.  I hadn't realised they were following the blog from their email.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Keeping a reminder

I have had so many homes and so many gardens over the years which I have usually completely remade and now I can't really remember that many of them - all that work and love disappeared.  I decided when we moved here I would keep a record of what we did.  Eventually years one and two became nine - a very long stay for us - and I love looking at the changes over the years.

Every year, sometime in July, I go into the garden and stand in each of the corners and at each of the half-way points between those - like eight points of the compass -  and take a photo.  They are then filed alongside the previous one from the same angle so I can see just how many changes there have been.

These nine photos shows the corner which faces North East.  They begin in 2007.

2007 - built the patio and cut the border - decking in the corner

2008 - decking is now a summerhouse

2009 - we have swapped flowers to vegetables on  the right

2010 - still vegetables and the box hedge round the patio is appearing over the edge

2011 - forgot to do the photos this is nearest I could find

2012 - last year for the veg and I am working in the summerhouse

2013 - looking mature at last and back to flowers all round

2014 - the patio gives way to the conservatory

2015 - maybe things have settled down now

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Lucky us

It is no wonder we are a nation of gardeners when you look at the riches of our countryside.  We have just spent a week in Northumberland and were knee deep in wild flowers along every roadside verge.

I took photos of seventeen different flowers all of them were in a few hundred yards of each other.  I saw many, many more from the car window as we passed by.  We are so lucky to live in such a temperate zone.  

Monday, 20 July 2015

Wallington, Morpeth

Just got home from a week in Northumberland.  If it is somewhere you've never tried I commend it to you.  The countryside is lovely and filled with small villages and towns offering all sorts of things to do.  We always seem to end up pretty much along the East Coast which is really lovely and unspoiled.  That said this is the first time we have visited in high summer and a couple of the popular beach towns were pretty crowded.

One of our outings was to Wallington Hall in Cambo near Morpeth.  Really do try to get there if you are a garden fan.  The walled garden is worth the trip on its own.  It is huge and rocky and many layered and utterly lovely.  There is a ton more stuff to go at - the house itself is interesting and has some lovely architectural features including a spectacular painted hall.  There is a dolls house collection of 18 houses which is a rare find for anyone interested.

Back to the garden - here are some pictures of the walled garden to whet your appetite:

Monday, 6 July 2015

Buying reduced stock

Over the years I have rescued many a battered plant from supermarkets, garden centres and B & Q - not only are they cheap I actually feel sorry for them - yes I know, potty.  It is generally successful for them and me.

Recently B & Q were selling off long-overdue-for-planting plants in root, corm, tuber and bulb form for a pound a go.  I bought and planted a packet containing two phlox called Classic Cassis another pack contained four oriental lilies - Stargazer and the third pack had 30 peacock orchids (gladioli callianthus).

The lilies and phlox have not appeared yet, but its early days.  Meanwhile look what the peacock orchids have done so far in just a couple of weeks.  Even if the others never arrive just look at what I have for a total of three pounds....

every one a winner

This is what they will do for me soon...

Sunday, 5 July 2015

In the garden today

We seem to be at a point where all the white plants are coming into flower.  The white roses are now blooming their socks off and the astilbe and gypsophila are about to do their thing.

Meanwhile we have these today...

love it when the borders get frothy

this is the prettiest little star, wish I knew what it was

small white geranium used for ground cover

they smell glorious - a tiny noisette rose - even the pink buds look pretty

again no name, sorry, plant from a friend

Incidentally I do add these and other pictures to the 'The Garden 2015' web album, so if you want more they will be there - link over in the left-hand column.