Thursday, May 21, 2009

Did less than I should have

Today I went for another nice walk (more pictures on my other blog) and did some shopping. Then I cut down the stocks today, so make space for tomatoes and snapdragons - not common bedfellows but this isn't a common garden! Then I mowed the lawn. Tomorrow will be very busy...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where am I going to put them all?

These are the seedlings I have yet to find a home for. Trying to match plant to place is like a horticultural jigsaw with lots of special rules. By the way, I am not looking for new homes for either of the animals!

Yesterday Pippa and I went for a lovely breezy walk in the Ashdown Forest; you can see pictures of it on one of my other blogs, here.

And since I don't spend my entire life in gardening clothes, this is me last night, helping B with a photographic lighting experiment. Glamorous, isn't it? From 10:30 to midnight in a multi-storey car park in Crawley.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Planting out an olive

Today I planted out one of our olive trees. It's been in a pot for several years and I find it very hard to keep it sufficiently watered. A couple of years ago it nearly died because of this and although it's getting better again, it hasn't fully recovered. It was outdoors in its pot this winter, just as usual, and seemed not to suffer for it. So since watering seems to be more of an issue with it than cold, I've decided to try it in the ground. I planted it in a bed that is a little raised but still fairly lush, so I hope this suits it. I have asked the surrounding apple trees to be nice to it! This year it will have tomatoes around it in the bed, to make it feel more at home.

Other than that I pottered about with pots. I've bought lots more petunias - I just love them. Next year I'll grow my own. Some of these are a stunning deep blue, like midnight blue velvet.

I've got my beady eye on the "in bloom" competition the town runs for houses (and other categories). I'm very aware that the garden is still nowhere near tidy enough, but I hope it will be! Well, tidy by my standards anyway... it's never going to look like a city park. Hence all the petunia madness, to be honest. And I also just love the way these and the helichrysums fill out - it's like putting something raw and horrid looking into the oven, and then taking out a beautiful golden, risen cake!

Anyway, here are a few more photos from today.

This little rose is Phyllis Bide (Bide, 1923) - she's actually a rambler, I have her not-very trained along part of the front fence. To be honest I wouldn't plant her again because I only like the flowers in the early stage of opening, but she has lovely foliage too:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Look out Tesco

and no doubt Saatchi & Saatchi will be seeking out my talents too...

*** Update: I have now sold 4 lots of 3 for 2!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Peony puzzle

I wonder if someone can advise me what to do about these 2 peonies. Please ignore the weeds!

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Both of these plants were in the garden when we moved in. They have not flowered in 6 years. I assume they are peonies: the foliage looks like that, and they put up shoots just like my "proper" peony (which I bought and which does flower). Every year, having a memory like a seive, I get terribly excited as I see their shoots come up, forget they don't flower, and am freshly disappointed by their non-performance.


Thursday, May 14, 2009


Wordless Thursday, if you like. Only of course I've rather spoiled that already!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Retail therapy #2

A grey drizzly day. Good for the garden but it got to me a bit. And I fancied having a go at this bedding plant lark, so I took myself off to the garden centre, where I spent ages rambling up and down and eventually selected this little lot for just under £20.

I'm particularly pleased with this one, a lantana camara which is actually perennial (but tender). They get quite big - up to a meter.

This is my first container planted up (fennel, pelargonium, petunia and helichrysum. It doesn't look great at the moment but I'm hoping it will fill out in a while.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A satisfying day

We had another very blustery day today. It must be very upsetting for the birds - I hope not too many nests have been blown down.

I began the day by feeding the conservatory and outdoor pot plants. I only feed the solely ornamental ones; the edible ones have to make do with homemade compost, until I make up some comfrey liquid. Then I had a good look round everywhere and pulled up a few weeds.

Then I spent a while in the vegetable garden. I hoed a corner bed; it was hard set and difficult, even though it's had loads of compost dug in. Later I watered it to soften it, put some canes in and planted the cucumbers. I worked some general purpose compost into the hole for each to give them a start.

The I planted out sprouts, more leeks, cavolo nero and bunching onions. I weeded round the peas, and did a lot of tidying up around the place because I don't think I'll be out for another couple of days.

Then I mowed the lawn. I did part on the lowest setting but I don't like the look and feel of it: none of our bits of lawn is very flat and even though the mower didn't scalp, the ground feels more lumpy with very short grass.

A helpful beginner's guide to flower arranging

Arranging flowers is something that many gardeners try from time to time, but it can be tricky to do with real style.

Try this

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy days: flowerbeds reviewed

(PS - I'm sorry this is so long. I will keep things shorter in future.)

Plant of the moment - a poppy. No idea which. A gift from our friend Deirdre about 5 years ago. My kind of plant - corker of a flower and lovely foliage too.

Before I go any further, I want to add a link to a wonderful post on one of my favourite blogs.

Now, where was I. I've been busy for a few days because my mother came to visit. It went off very well and she is now safely home again. She liked the garden, although she did comment on how many borders there are... but she liked the way the garden can't all be seen at once and is there to be walked round.

This made me think it was about time I posted some pictures of how each border looks at the moment. I decided to take some pictures after today's jobs which were mainly watering, because I thought the plants must be dry in the wind, and planting out my black poppies. These are the "big guns" of my little arsenal of annuals, and from saved seed too, so I hope they settle in happily.

Anyway, here are all the planted areas, snapped just as they were this afternoon without any prettification for the camera:

First off, the worst bit. This is the current state of the veg area. So if I turn up making nasty carpy remarks about your immaculate and fecund plots, you'll know why. I'm sorry. All it needs is more work really but I've lost about 6 rows of things to weed competition so I find it tough at times. I'll get there.

Then the front. This bit I'm pleased with:

The other side is less successful just now. The small rhododendron has a disease at the roots and needs to come out. The dicentra near it is also doing badly. I'm trying not to worry about this area. I might put a hydrangea in to give some belated symmetry with the other half of the front. There's far too little space but that's never stopped me yet!

Then the main part of the garden. Here's a bad picture of the herb bed - sorry, the light was bad for it but I want to include every area in this posting:

Next up. This has a couple of gaps but I don't want to fill them up now, I want to wait until I know what I want for some colour a bit later.

A quick close-up of the brunnera, one of my favourite plants:

The bog area, in need of weeding as ever:

Into the square garden, and left of the bench. I love sedums; I'm looking forward to seeing the pale one here once it's settled in. There are Milkmaid nasturtiums and black poppies in here too; we shall see...

and the right side. More black poppies and some foolishly-placed golden rod. I can't remember what colour the hardy geranium is so finding out will be fun.

I've shown this bed recently:

This is the area adjoining it. Some goodies to come in here!

I suspect that's more than enough, so I'll take a break there and post the rest tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A break-in

An eventful afternoon...

I trimmed the clematis up the side of the front door which had grown more than half way across the door. I did some general weeding, the quarry this time being mainly bindweed and dandelions. I did some watering around the conservatory and greenhouse. Then I shredded a load of wild rose prunings - rather a nasty job, got a few scratches. Finally I cleared and mowed the bits of lawn. I intended to do quite a bit more but I was feeling a bit wobbly so didn't hurry things.

Just as I was finishing up I heard Pippa barking, which is unusual. I went into the house and heard a scratching on the front door. So I opened it suddenly - to find it was actually a neighbour who was just accidentally scraping his wing mirror against a nearby telegraph pole. I commiserated with him over the damage and as I did so, heard the front door slam behind me. He kindly lent me a small step-ladder which I used to climb onto the wheely bin at the back of the house and then onto a very narrow wall, topped with trellis with roses climbing through it. From there it looked a long way down. I slithered inelegantly down via the conservatory window-sill. I hope I don't ever have to pursue a career as a house-breaker, I'm really not cut out for it!

My mother-in-law who visited over the week-end has kindly sent this picture she took of muggins reprimanding the leeks for their inadequate growth. I am sitting on a stool you can't see, not the edge of the raised bed. Yes I know you can't see any leeks either - that is exactly my point. I have planted some more.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Book shopping

I've still not been back in the garden properly, I hope to do so tomorrow.

Today we were in London for a few hours. I spent the time having a walk up some of my favourite back streets and going to a second hand bookshop - so no change there then! In said bookshop (Quinto, Charing Cross rd branch) I bought: "England", mainly black and white photos by Edwin Smith, whose work I love; "Foliage Plants" by Christopher Lloyd - given how keen I am on avoiding naff things like flowers, ahem; and "Hortus Revisited" which should top up my taste for double-barrel surnames and small wood engravings. This little hoard came to £12.50. Would it have been better spent on plants? Well not the Edwin Smith book anyway.

PS Here is a link to some ES photos, so you can see what I'm on about.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What I'm up to

Just at the moment we have a visitor staying so we've been out enjoying ourselves. Not that gardening isn't enjoyable, but you know what I mean.

So yesterday we went out to this. Today we watched some cricket at the local ground up the street, then went to Brighton for a walk round North Laine, fish and chips on the beach, and then this in the evening. Tomorrow it's a curry buffet for lunch, then either Tilgate Park or Leonardslee.

We don't normally do so many things though, it's all quite busy!