Monthly Archives: January 2010

Cluck Cluck

Am very excited today.  I’ve just applied for some ex battery hens.  I shan’t get them till April because we have to get a new home ready for them, but I have to have approval first from the hen rehomers.   I think it’ll be a great addition to the garden and I’m looking forward to seeing how they get on in the real world having had such a miserable existence for their first year of life.   Everyone tells me they’re easy to look after and have quite funny little characters of their own – I just hope they get on with cats – but I gather they do.

Poor little things – but they don’t look like this for long, theyget back to normal and fully feathered pretty quickly.   Unbeleiveably I found a website where you can buy little knitted jackets for them.  Maybe I could crochet one?

I’ve also been planning what to order from the seed catalogues.  Seed potatoes of course and lots of veg seeds, and some flowers, but the other project and which I’ve ordered seed for, is the meadow cum wild flower patch.  Currently not the pretty sight I hope it will be.  There are lots of meadow mixes available and I’m going for a very average one to start with to see what happens.

February is going to be busy I think……

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How to move a shed – brute force and ignorance…

Yesterday was very exciting in my garden – so exciting I could hardly stand still.  Ever since I arrived here back in October I’ve been desparate to move the shed.  It was in totally the wrong place.   Right outside the kitchen window and blocking the view.  Too close to the house so you had to squeeze past it, and right in the middle of a useable space.  In fact everything about where it was was just wrong.

With the help of my son and neighbour the shed was levered up onto a couple of skids made from a sheet of old kitchen worktop and a tabletop and pushed and shoved across the garden back to the boundary where it should have been all along!  Finally it was heaved onto bricks to support it off the ground.

It’s a bit tatty at the moment but after a coat of paint to brighten it up it’ll be great – I might even give it a hanging basket – who knows?

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The Dreaded Bindweed

Oh how I loathe the monstrous stuff so imagine my horror when I was busy clearing the spot where I want to grow my veggies only to find I was digging up the roots of bindweed.    You might miss the root if you don’t have the plant to go by but it’s white and fleshy and it snaps easily.  It’s so important to dig every scrap of it out and to burn it or put it in the bin.  Don’t whatever you do put it on the compost heap.

Whenit’s in flower some people think it looks quite pretty – little do they know!   It’s such a thug,  it’ll overtake and strangle everything in its way so it has to go.

My greenhouse goes up this week I hope – fingers crossed for a few good days!

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I’m the Indoor Gardener!

Well now it’s raining so I’m still indoors.  But I’ve found things to do and it looks like I might at least get a bit of garden clearing done tomorrow if as promised the sun comes out.

I love lillies and last week the catalogue arrived.   Having drooled for quite a while deciding which to have I’m getting some for myself but also planning to pot some up for a friend who will love them for her birthday in April.  They’ll be just on their way up and I’m sure she’ll enjoy the anticipation of waiting for them to flower as much as I do.  I’m getting her my favourite lillium regale.  They are just gorgeous, the scent just sums up summer for me and if you plant them in a pot and move them close to your seating area you can enjoy them  whilst they’re at their best and then as they fade move them away until next year.

The other catalogues I’m pouring over at the moment are the seed catalogues.  Whatever else I do I will have a veg plot this spring and so what to plant, and when to get it going is the next thing on my mind.   Someone sent me a link to which helps you to plan your veg beds and allows you to draw it up on line.  It’s dead easy and you get 30 days free trial (which should really get you well on the way to sorting out this year’s planting) and it’s not one of those sites where you have to put in your bank details for your freebie.

As for the catalogues – send for them now, they don’t cost a penny and they’re full of inspiration.

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Now its the ice

So here I am still trapped indoors – today because of the ice and maybe later more snow.  So I’m pleased I’d brought a little bit of springtime inside – this snowy looking thing is a pot of 3 hyacinth bulbs, which I brought in last week.   If you had potted up hyacinths and got them ready for flowering in December you might have ‘held’ them outside in the cold until you wanted to bring them in to flower  – and fill the house with that lovely spring time smell.   One week on and they look altogether much more like it.

They’re replacing the ones I brought in at Christmas which have faded now.  As and when I ever get a fork into the ground again they’ll go in the garden and flower again next year – but at their natural flowering time later in the spring.

I’m delighted to say I’ve got another pot outside so I can have more in a week or two.

I’d love to get cracking in the garden but things don’t look like changing outside any time soon.  The Bloms bulbs catalogue arrived yesterday and got me quite excited at the prospect of actually gardening.  But I am thinking about what little veggie seeds I can start off indoors in the next few weeks.  Of course a greenhouse that’s in one piece rather than stacked up against the house wall would be good – but soon it’ll be up I hope.  In the meantime I’m saving all the loo roll cardboard tubes and kitchen roll tubes to sow beans and trying to fathom where would be the best place to put the veg bed.   Not having seen the sun for some time makes it a bit tricky though!

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When trapped inside…..

…..set up a shop!  Have just spent the afternoon creating a shop on Folksy for my ready planted containers, only two planter designs available at the moment but they’ll cheer up a gloomy winter balcony or window.   Also to offer the crafty things I make for fairs in the winter….

For those people lucky enough to have a Valentine I think I’ll make a few heart shaped things like this little cushion.  I’m going to try out some different colour schemes tomorrow.

I can’t believe how easy it was to get it set up, now I just need some customers.  That may be a bit trickier

There’s only a little bit on the shelves just now but here it is:

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Still indoors

There’s not a lot I can do out there, apart from keep feeding the birds.  There’s all kinds of things out there and my neighbour even saw a woodpecker having a go at an old dead elder at the bottom of the garden.  Here’s the evidence, now I just need to invest in some binoculars.  Obviously that’s now going to be a feature of the garden – I would have chopped it down but not now.

If you need some tips on bird feeding go to the RSPB website -they’ve got lots of ideas.

Mine have got fresh fatballs today!

Just look at the state of this!  Its a carex evergold ornamental grass which was sitting in a bucket under the dripping gutter and has become totally encrusted in ice.   Shouldn’t have left it there really but with luck it’ll recover.

So now another afternoon in front of the fire I think.

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It’s not too late

Believe it or not there is life stirring under all that snow.   Spring bulbs amaze me, they fight their way through whatever the weather throws at them and make it into flower surprising us all.

Of course if you were organised (or planting in other people’s gardens as I was) the bulbs will have gone in over the autumn, but here in the new garden I have hardly planted a thing.   I shoved a pot of grape hyacinths in because I saw they were sprouting, and I have some alliums in pots which I transplanted whilst they were still green last summer, but the lovely species tulips I’ve been collecting every year from Chelsea didn’t get very good treatment.   As I should I dug them up after flowering and kept them in the garage.  Then they came here and just sat in the shed until the week before Christmas, when I put two big pots together.  But there are loads left.  I must put them into compost as soon as it thaws otherwise we’ll have tulips in September,  but that’s not looking likely any time now.

And if you’ve got some bulbs hanging around somewhere that you didn’t plant on time, never mind, just get them in.  They might flower at slightly odd times, but they’ll sort themselves out next year.  Very clever things bulbs.

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Oh Christmas Tree

Christmas has gone and so the tree has been dismantled and put outside, poor thing.

I bought a rooted one purposely because there’s nothing in the garden so it’s a perfect opportunity to plant a Christmas tree in the garden for years to come.  So now its gone from its former glory, although it was leaning slightly by the end of its stay indoors, and now is huddled against the side of the house.   Really it would have been better with a bit more protection but there’s no room in the shed and the greenhouse has’t been erected yet.

Well it’s so cold there’s no chance of me planting it yet, but I need to choose a spot where it won’t get too much shade from one side.  That way it won’t lean towards the sun.  Nor do I want it in a prevailing wind.  I want a straight gorgeous tree.

This  one looks very much like the traditional Norway Spruce (picea abies) but I’m sure it said it was Siberian on the label (before I threw it away!) so I’m not 100% how big it grows.  Apparently the Norway Spruce can get to between 130 and 215 feet, according the the National Christmas Tree Association but only up to 130 ft according to the RHS – humm.  There are several varieties of picea abies though and I’ve no idea which one I have.  Any ideas?

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Winter Wonderland

It looks just lovely out there, the white stuff has completely hidden the disaster that is my garden.  So the only work that’s happened outside today is to clear the path to the door for the postman and to feed the birds again.  They’ve been swooping down even though they did have an audience of cats peering at them from the window at one point.   However, I discovered they don’t like olives.   Please tell me they won’t do them any harm.  I had some left from Christmas and they’ve been on the table for 3 days now and the birds were starving this morning and ate everything else – clearly not to British birds’ tastes!  To make up for it whilst I was out I bought some proper bird seed to add to the crumbs and cheese they have been getting which got a much better response.

One thing I did do was to the little conifers I have though and the bay trees.  The weight of snow on things like confiers, cordylines and palms can do quite a bit of harm, breaking branches and getting things out of shape, so give them a shake.   And I have a lovely yucca still in its pot which flowered wonderfully last summer, I can’t wait to put it into the garden in the spring and so I want to save it.   I’ve put the pot on its side so that when the snow thaws it’ll just run off instead of seeping into the middle of the plant and rotting it.

This is Lilly pictured this morning about 2 cm away from a hot radiator pipe.   How she didn’t burn her nose I don’t know.  She is positively disgusted with what’s happening outside and has shot in and out once only to my knowledge asking to be put out of the door where I cleared the snow rather than hopping through the catflap into the thick stuff.   Her friend Mistle is upstairs and has taken over the bed – he too has not been seen to leave the house.  Good news for the birds at least.

Looks like the weather is staying like this for a few days so it’s unlikely much will get done, but at least I can think about it!  If the sun comes out I might at least take some measurements and draw up a rough plan rather than working with the one in my head.

Keep warm…..

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