End of Month View of the Garden: End of February 2017
The weather in February started off quite balanced, and reasonable, but ended with a blast by Storm Doris, who helped herself to several fence panels, and the felt off my shed roof, but did leave me with someone’s tent, 2 parts of a plastic Christmas Tree and an empty shoebox.
I was on the verge of relaying new slabs to support the new Greenhouse I purchased last Autumn, however the persistent heavy rain, high winds and a visit by storm Imogenhas put paid to me being able to do much garden work for a few weeks….
I had to snatch random gaps in the stormy weather to get slabs relaid and the new Greenhouse base fitted.
And this is how it stayed for at least another week, the mud became intolerable, and my fingers froze. Then last weekend a break in the weather meant I got the frame together, fixed up and all bolted.
I took a half day from work last friday as the forecast was favourable, I got the two roof vents fitted, the door made up and fitted and started glazing. Now it’s considered best practice to glaze in one day so as not to leave the structure with gaps overnight in case of high storms, however I had to finish my glazing at 5.15pm on Friday as it was just too dark to continue. And even worse… I was coming down with a streaming cold.
Yesterday morning I dragged myself from my sick-bed to finish glazing each end and the door, there was one worrying moment when the last pane of glass just wouldn’t fit. I made an ‘adjustment’ to a plastic fitting and the pane slotted in perfectly.
So.. here it is…
It’s a 6×8 foot extra high Greenhouse, I need to sort out the ground around it, fit the downpipes to the gutter, and sort some water butts. I’m aiming to use the Greenhouse primarily for tall crops in tubs, such as Tomatoes and Cucumbers…….
But that could all change yet.
It should complement my existing 6×8 very nicely.
But all in good time, it was back to my sick-bed for the rest of the weekend to try to shake off this bug.
Another new recent purchase for me is helping start of some seeds that I’ve sown, a zip up tunnel type propagator with heat mat.
It’s a bit of an extravagance, but I’ve always wanted one, and a recent sale meant I was able to get one for under £100. It should prove useful with the extra height when I start cuttings later in the year.
It currently contains my Chilli seeds, which are coming along nicely.
I’ve also just sown a wide variety of Tomato seeds, some from the USA, some from Northern Europe, and some ultra modern uk F1 hybrids. these should do well in my new taller greenhouse.
In other areas around the garden, there are signs of Spring Flowers which are a welcome sight….
I just need more time to get into the garden to do all the outstanding jobs, I also need the water table to reduce a bit.
I’m really looking forward to giving the lawn its first cut of the year, and at least there will be Tulips…
The Easter break has provided me with ample opportunity to get out into the garden and have a right good old go at my beds and borders. The greenhouse seed factory is in full swing, with every surface occupied with a seed tray of seedlings.
Everything is coming along well, every seedling is a different species of flower.
We are still having the occasional cold snap at night, but so far, with the Greenhouse wrapped up tight at night, nothing has suffered.
I’ve taken the opportunity with the Easter break to address the problem I have of increasing amounts of plants in pots waiting to be planted.
These consist of plants i’ve either bought from plant fairs and flower shows, or plants i’ve propagated myself from either cuttings or seed.
I have an annoying habit of seeing a nice plant, buying it, then afterwards wandering aimlessly around my garden wondering where I’m going to plant it…….. Then there are the impulse buys… I’ll return to those shortly.
Primulas I’ve raised from seed waiting to be planted, and pots of Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ needing a home, and 2 ferns I forgot I bought.
And trays of the hardy annual of Calendula Officinalis ‘Indian Prince‘
So far this Easter I’ve managed to plant out most of my pending plants in various locations throughout my garden, but there are some plants that I already have enough of or just don’t have the best aspect for them to thrive. I was able to pass on the Ophiopogon and a tray of seed raised Primulas to a nearby tweeting Gardener who has a most splendid garden.
But during my cogitations in wondering where I could fit all these plants in I began to notice that many existing plants in my garden have really spread out and become a bit of a nuisance. When I first got my hands on the garden about 10-11 years ago I planted a pack of 20 Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’, after each flowering about 100 seeds fell from each seed head and in time these became new plants, these flowered for the first time last year and were quite disappointing, small, insipid and watery colours emerged, I had intended to remove some of the plants after flowering this year, but decided to just bite the bullet this week and get it over and done with.
About 50% of the Allium aflatunense with the broad grey leaves in this picture have been dug out, and the 2 clumps of Allium sphaerocephalon which looks like 2 clumps of grass in the foreground were also removed leaving me lots of potential planting spaces.
I’ve also got my eye on thinning out some of these Allium and Helleborus in the below picture.
And finally, I did mention earlier in my blog about impulse buys, well sometimes there are occasions when wandering around other people’s gardens that you see a plant that you just must have, and one such occasion recently that happened to me….
I was gazing over the borders of a fellow local gardeners garden when I spotted a most glorious Magnolia in full flower, now I’ve quite fancied a Magnolia for my garden for ages, but have never really found ‘the right one’.
Well I was informed that the glorious Magnolia I had spotted was a Magnolia × loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’.
After a quick search round on the internet I located a specimen and it just happened to be half price, bargain!!……. duly ordered, the plant arrived a few days later…
A lovely nice big plant, which I planted in record time, although a Pulmonaria saccharatawas sacrificed in order to make room.
In-fact I’ve made quite a few impulse buys from online Nurseries in recent months, and as a result I’ve planted some very nice plants around the garden, I’ll cover those another time.
I’ve been a little behind with my blogging lately, working some weekends, then having an impressive cold that laid me out for over a week mean I’ve got a bit behind.
So onward, the weather has improved greatly since my last update, Spring has arrived bringing with it warmer weather and sunny days. we changed the clocks forward an hour last weekend and we gained an extra hour gardening in the evening.
New Greenhouse Staging being built.
I recently bought some new, more robust greenhouse staging and set about arranging my greenhouse to make maximum use of space.
Lots of seed sowing space all ready for use.
I’ve decided not to entertain hanging baskets or too many tubs this year, I’ve decided to plant more annuals in the ground.
I’ve only sown about half of my seed supplies, and I’ve made sure I’ve still got some left in packets in case the worst happens and we get a really hard cold snap.
Recently the night temperatures are averaging between 6 to 8 degrees, so hopefully it will stay at that.
For a little while now, about a year in fact, I’ve wanted to widen my long border against the fence, and dig an additional new bed on the sunny side of the garden, recently when the ground had dried up enough I was able to achieve both.
The ground along this side of the garden has a bit of clay in it, I’ve already spent quite a bit of time chopping at the lumps of soil in order to break it down a bit, and I’ve added two barrow loads of homemade compost, but it still needs a bit more.
From the above picture you can see how little sun hits the border, so I really wanted a bed in full sun to grow some more ‘exotic’ looking stuff.
The bed is about 2.5 metres long by 1.5 metre wide, I have had to leave a metre behind the bed so I can cut the hedge and clear up the clippings without too much difficulty.
My plans for this bed are, for this year, only to plant mostly annuals such as Zinnias, Sunflowers, Tithonias, some interesting Amaranths, some Ricin, Melianthus, Cosmos, some hardy Gingers and perhaps if there’s room, some Cannas.
So I’m trying hard not to put any shrubs or perennials in for now, although I have purchased two that would do very well here, but must resist and plant them elsewhere for now.
If the bed is a success this year, I may extend it larger next year.
I’ve got lots of colour coming up all over the garden at the moment, some of it I even remember planting…. unlike these Tulips.
I wish I could remember what sort they are, or even where I got them from, I suspect they were in a sale somewhere. Nice though.
Lots of colour at the moment, with lots of colour to come, it’s going to be a bumper drop of Allium Purple Sensation this year I think.
Finally back to the greenhouse….I did some more seed sowing today, i’ve sown far too many sunflowers, but last year I felt I had underdone them and wanted more in the garden.
6 pots sown of 6 varieties, and that’s so far. I’m determined to have a good show of them this year.
Whilst I was merrily sowing away, a nice surprise was delivered to me consisting of a cup of coffee and a slice of Raspberry Cheese Cake.
Now if only I could fit an intercom to the house, I could request the same service on demand.!
In-between Showers Gardening, Seed Sowing, Fungi, and Greenhouses.
Since changing the clocks back last weekend I’ve not really seen much of the garden, I go to work in the dark and get home in the near dark. I’ve been trying to grab opportunities to do some tidying up but the weather and limited time is against me at the moment.