Monthly Archives: January 2010

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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Why are we here?

Why indeed?  When I stand in the middle of my new garden that’s exactly what I wonder.   I moved here 2 months ago and the house itself has taken up so much time – and it’s  still not finished, but it’s the outside that’s going to be the subject of this blog.  My progress from derelict garden to Garden of Eden may be ambitious but who knows….. with a bit of luck and quite a bit of time and effort we might make a stab at it.

You can barely see anything in the miserable light but this was the view from the French windows the other day,  some of my greenhouse staging and the potting table waiting to be housed in the greenhouse which is still in bits against the house wall.

I’ve started clearing but you wouldn’t know it!  We had one huge bonfire on Bonfire Night (what else),  and I’ve built another one but it’s too cold and wet to set fire to it, and I’ve stacked up two heaps of wood at the bottom of the garden where I hope the wildlife will enjoy them.  And I’ve started to pull out all the other junk my predecessor seemed to think it was a good idea to chuck/bury around the garden, both inside and outside of it.

I have lots of plans as you would expect from a woman who spends her working life in other people’s gardens, either redesigning them or maintaining them, but will I have the time?  Well follow the progress.   More pictures in the morning providing I’m not snowed in.

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