Monthly Archives: June 2011

So much to do….

Work kind of blends from home and my own garden to my customers’ gardens at the moment.  At this time of year there’s so much to do everywhere.  And the weather always surprises me, even when its wet it still seems warm,  and of course that makes things grow, and that means work. Thank goodness I’m at my happiest when I’m out in the garden.

I’m writing lists or else I’ll forget what to do next, still things to sow in the vegetable garden, lots to cut back as the early perennials are going over and as for the weeds, well they’re loving it, then the greenhouse needs water every day, not to mention that its wedding season.  I’m quite impressed with the veggie patch though.  My second growing season but twice the size.  There’s still lots of rubbish in the ground though so I’ve got lots of potatoes again to keep clearing the ground.

This weekend I sowed some more spring onions, mixed leaves and radishes.   Love the lettuces I’m getting at the moment, they’re delicious and  we could have more broad beans than is entirely necessary.  Son isn’t exactly wild about them worst luck.

Then there are the 19 half  barrels I have littering the place.   They are an order for July and I’ve potted them all up with summer plants so they can fill out and I”m thankful for the rain we’ve had overnight lately.  Its saving me about half an hour of watering every evening.  They’re looking good but there’s a lot of ’em.

The first cucumber is almost ready to cut.   I’ve scaled down the number of plants I’ve grown this year, I think I grew 3 plants last year and I ended up pickling cucumbers and giving them away left right and centre.   However, they had such a great flavour, so much better than shop bought ones.

It sounds as though its all about veggies, but not quite.   This morning I made a corsage for myself.  A rare treat – I usually hand them over for someone else.   I was at a meeting and decided to advertise what I do by wearing it.      I think I might have to do it more often……..

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All Fenced Out

Last year I cut down some sycamores and I made  a little pile of branches at the bottom of the garden promising myself that I’d turn them into rustic poles for fences, arches, who knew….lots of things.  But they sat there and sat there as things do.   However I just had to do something about the hens who could break into the flower beds no matter what I tried to keep them out.  They’d make fantastic escape artists those birds.  The final straw was the whole crew of them in the veggie plot – there were peas flying, lettuces disappearing and a big dust bath appearing in the middle of the onions.  Enough ladies, time to build a fence.

I was amazed to find that it wasn’t too difficult – and it was almost free, but very rustic.   Apart from a few screws here and there and the netting of course to fasten onto it, what a bargain.  We had to bash in the uprights which was the hardest part and it may not be here in 10 years, but it works perfectly for now.   It looks cottagey which was the plan, the hens are well and truly shut out although a bit miffed, and they still have acres to play in  and I’m happy.

I’ve planted one of my favourite roses to sramble all over it.  Veilchenblau is a ramber with prolific flowers.  Starting off quite purple it fades almost to pale grey.   It can be a bit of a monster if you let it get out of control and I suspect it may decide to take my fence with it but I’m happy to give it a go.  Its only a baby at the moment but watch this space.  And because I want mygarden to be informal I’ve planted into the side of the lawn where I’ve also put some iris to establish and some lavender.  Later I’ll put in some honeysuckle to climb over the fence from the other end and meet the rose in the middle to give a beautiful scented mix.

Here’s the first little rose that’s just come out as I’ve planted it.

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Why June is Wonderful

Suddenly at this time of year the English garden is transformed.  The beds are full, flowers are everywhere, and there’s a scent of roses on the breeze.   Even this year when the weather is completely unpredictable the magic is still happening out in the garden.   I love roses, just love them, and especially heavily scented ones.   Old fashioned roses are some of the most beautiful, but their beauty is short lived, they flower once and then they’re over.   Here in my new garden I’m mostly planting new varieties that will repeat flower until the autumn, are disease resistant, but still have the scent and the flower shape of an old rose.  One day they’ll fathom a way of publishing the scent, if only.

To keep your roses looking good in summer, unless its the kind that has attractive rose hips in the autumn, dead head (take off all the dead flowers) as soon as you they start to go over and that will keep new flowers coming.  Just cut back to a leaf bud with a sloping cut.  And if you see any black spot on the leaves pull the leaf off and get it into the bin, not the compost heap.   You need to get rid of the disease and out of your garden altogether.

Other than that just weed around the base and get a good rose feed to give them a boost and keep them flowering throughout the summer.

Of course there are lots of other amazing things going on – and allium christophii has to be one of the most amazing.   Up it comes like any other allium on a tall stalk and then it opens and every year it makes me stop and stare.   With a flower head around 8 inches in diameter and its shiny purple petals it glows when the sun shines on it.   Order some for the autumn and sit back and wait.   All alliums are easy to grow, like many bulbs you can almost put them in and forget about them.

This weekend I’ve got lots of weeding and tying in to do, I’m going to try to keep away from the serious digging.   The recent winds have knocked my roses about a bit so they need some support and the rain has brought on the weeds so they have to come out.  Finally I have to get my broccoli planted out (again), the netting came off and the pigeons got the young  plants so I’ll  have to do it a bit better this time.   May be then I can take a seat out there and enjoy!

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All Decked Out

Yes – all these years after the demise of the instant garden makeover show we’ve installed decking.  And I love it and what a difference it makes. It gives a sort of verandah out from the French windows. Since the window went in you had to risk life and limb leaping out of them onto the ground about 2 ft below and then do the same thing in reverse if you wa

nted to get back in.

My son, fortunatley he’s a joiner, had been being pestered, and he gave in in the end. However we can’t finish it off till I get cracking on the next bit which will be a low seat/wall made of gabions (more of that later).

Meanwhile the new ex battery hens have arrived.   Its clear that exbatts may or may not live for very long, so of the 3 I adopted last May I only have one left.   Gertie died after a few months here but Daisy made it to nearly a year of freedom.  So that left us with Elsie – chief hen, not from a battery and so seems quite strong, and Ivy, commonly called Scabby Ivy, because of all of them she was the one with the least feathers.   However she stumps round the garden like a good ‘un and still lays….if somewhat erratically.

Anyhow 3 weeks ago Sylvia, Betty and Flo joined us.   They are getting the hang of things and 2 of them are laying already is  brillliant.  Try as I may I cannot make them pose this morning – so I’ll have a bash later.  Unfortunately hens don’t sit when you want them to.

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