Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,

Garden Update 12th August 2017

It would be nice to be able to say something other than how wet things have been. We’ve had another damp week in Devon (well the green rolling hills don’t get that way without some of the wet stuff).

We’ve been helping to clear out an elderly relative’s home this week so I’ve had a few new additions to the house and garden. It’s nice to re-home plants and items that have been well used and give them some new life. There’s nothing worse than landfill!

The house is now home to more African Violet Plants that need some TLC. A new Moth Orchid, a Maidenhair fern and a Fig plant. We have new (old) terracotta pots and a new (old) trowel and hand fork. I’ve rescued a white Pelargonium and taken some cuttings from it. I hope they all thrive in their new home.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 5th August

Garden Update 29th July

Allotment Update

Not much to report from the allotment this week. I haven’t had a great deal of time to get up there as we’ve had family visiting.

Greenhouse Update

Even though light levels haven’t been great and temperatures have cooled, we still have some progress in the greenhouse. The seeds of Geranium phaem ‘alba’ have germinated and I now have one little seedling. The plant was a bit tight with viable seed so it’s going to be a slow job to bulk up the numbers.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Geranium phaem ‘alba’
Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Pak Choi seedlings
Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Winter greens – Lettuce and Chard

My plug trays of winter greens have germinated well and been thinned to one plant per module. These are on a high shelf in the greenhouse for maximum light so they don’t get too leggy but it does mean it’s harder to keep track of the watering. I took these photos on tiptoes. These were well watered soon after taking.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Teucrium cuttings (label spelled incorrectly)

I’m pleased with how well the Teucrium cuttings have taken. I’m hoping for some mass planting of these in the Far Garden.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Stipa tenuissima seedlings

Also destined for the Far Garden are some Stipa tenuissima seedlings. They’re hard to photograph due to being quite spindly when they first come up.

Garden Update

Having tried, and then tried again, to get the garden furniture we brought back from Australia to fit in, I think I’ve got a layout I’m happy with. I think you should be able to access all seats without feeling that you’re squeezing past. The set might be a little too big for the space and may not have been purchased over here for that reason. Now it’s in place I like it. I just need to ignore the state of the borders.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Finally rearranged the furniture in the Far Garden

I’m getting little surprises coming up around the garden. I now have 4 small clumps of Japanese Anemones springing up to provide colour and interest later into the season. This garden has always seemed to hit its stride in May and June with nothing coming through for later on.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Pink Japanese Anemone

Also extending the season of interest are the Hydrangeas. I have three types in the garden; one came from a cutting from my in-law’s garden and the other two were bought to surround us where we got married. The garden where we got married had to remove all the Clary Sage that was planted around the ceremony site leaving bare earth. We bought Hazel trees and Hydrangeas for a simple backdrop and they looked amazing. Our family members all have a tree and some Hydrangea bushes in their gardens too!.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Hydrangea putting on a pink blush
Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ in the background

These Holly bushes have always struggled to thrive in their last pot. They put up spindly growth and fruited fine but the plants themselves were always looking dry and unhappy. When repotting them this year I discovered that they still had the plastic pots from the nursery attached! How embarrassing. Needless to say, now they can get their roots out they’re doing much better with healthy new growth. I think they’ll be much denser plants from now on but we’ll see if they still fruit as well.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Holly Bushes

Garden Update 5th August 2017

Garden Update 5th August 2017

Garden Update 5th August 2017

Another wet week here in Devon and more working days has meant I haven’t done as much as I would like in the garden and allotment. The end of the week was great as I was able to show my lovely gardening aunt my allotment for the first time. She was very excited and I think, if it was up to her, she’d have me presenting Gardeners World immediately. We’ve done the customary plant swap; I have a new Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and she went away with Nepeta, Peppermint and Astrantia.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 29th July

Garden Update 22nd July

Allotment Update

The main addition to the allotment has been a bed of autumn and winter greens. As you can see in the seed sowing spreadsheet, I have 3 varieties of lettuce, 3 chards and 2 pak chois.

I’ve treated myself to a new hoe – the last one disintegrating before my eyes into a bendy metal mess – and I’ve used it to take the tops off the dandelions growing through the de-turfed but uncultivated parts of the allotment. It’s money well spent.

My no-dig experiment continues. You can see the two squashes doing pretty well and of course, there’s no weeding to be done where the landscape fabric is in place. I have had to go around the bed with my new hoe as the dandelions are getting carried away.

Garden Update 5th August 2017
My no-dig experiment with squashes growing well

I’m pleased with the fruit set on the smaller pumpkin. It’s growing into a compact plant (similar to a courgette) and I think it’s the Baby Blue Hubbard.

Garden Update 5th August 2017
pumpkin growing well

Greenhouse Update

I’m trying really hard to get the tomatoes in my greenhouse to ripen. They’ve been hampered by a dip in light levels as it’s been a wet week here in Devon. I put in a banana skin last week but I don’t think it’s achieved much other than attracting some flies.

As well as the direct sowing of chard, lettuce and pak choi at the allotment, I’ve also done some in modules in the greenhouse. This is partly to guard against the inevitable mollusc attacks but also to provide some kind of succession.

In addition to the Penstemon I took last week I now have Phygelius and Lavender cuttings. I’ve also tried my hand at my first root cutting of Eryngium.

Garden Update

I’m really pleased to see the containers at the front of the cottage filling out and doing exactly what I wanted them to do. I’ve taken seeds from the Stipa tenuissima as I want to introduce it to other parts of the garden and I have a few family members also needing some.

The Libertia grandiflora seeds are finally ready so they’ve been sown in a half seed tray. I’m going to collect some Stachys byzantina seeds today to try. The other job for the weekend is to clear the bindweed from the far garden’s left border.

Garden Update 29th July 2017

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/301178293811930806/

Garden Update 29th July 2017

A wet end to the week put paid to much change this week. I’ve had some good harvests from the allotment and the everything is looking lush in the garden.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 22nd July

Garden Update 1st July

Allotment Update

I’ve reached a milestone with the allotment this week as the final delivery on bark has been applied. As you might remember, I didn’t order enough the first time round so only the peripheries were covered.
The idea that the landscape fabric may have been able to stay in the main, central areas was false. It was too thin and too easily broken down by the elements to last any longer so had to be covered.
The plot is looking much tidier now and I can really focus on the planting borders. I’m hoping that is the end of the hard landscaping for a while.

I’m getting the sense of a building momentum in the harvesting from the allotment. It’s not been a hugely productive space so far. A dry summer and a late start has hampered things this year. Things are improving though; this week I have had another cucumber, a large box of mangetout and yellow courgettes.

An easy bonus crop is this Anemone de Cain. I am hoping to have more cut flowers to add to the edible harvest. These bulbs came from an impulse purchase from a well-known DIY store when buying paint for the house. They were cheap, having been reduced, and very cheerful.

Greenhouse Update

Most of the work in the greenhouse this week has been taking and managing cuttings. The newest addition has been a tray of Penstemon ‘Blackbird’ cuttings. I have had this variety for more than 6 years but it seems to have disappeared from this garden. I have taken cuttings from a plant that I gave to my aunt. I’m looking forward to reintroducing it soon.

My Teucrium cuttings seem to have taken which is very exciting. The basil, nepeta, peppermint, and oregano cuttings all look to be doing well in their own pots.

I have some large tomatoes developing but they’re not showing any sign of colour. I’ve thrown a ripe banana in with them to get them to ripen.

Garden Update

Not much has changed in the garden. After my tidy-up last week I’ve put some squash plants to cover the bare earth for the time being.

I need to make a decision about what to do with the overgrown Lleylandii hedge at the far end of the garden. My options are a light prune to square it off (not ideal as that will leave a huge area of encroachment in a small space) or get tough with it and cut it back to the boundary (leaving an unsightly mess).

I’ve had the idea of installing a pleached Beech hedge to hide the bare stems of the conifer. It should like the drier conditions of that far border.

I’m thinking of something like this found on Pinterest;

Garden Update 22nd July 2017: Courgettes, cuttings and a Leaf-cutter Bee

Garden Update 22nd July 2017

The rain at the end of this week is very welcomed at the allotment. I’m hoping the second batch of carrots and beetroot that I sowed this week will get a better start than the last lot. The garden had a leaf-cutter bee visit which was very exciting.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 1st July

Garden Update 24th June 2017

Allotment Update

I’m pleased to have some harvests coming from the allotment, as modest as they are to date, and I’m hoping for more over the next few weeks. The black landscape fabric has started to disintegrate so I’ve bitten the bullet and ordered some more bark to finish the job.

I’ve been strolling up to the plot with my daughter and dog in the evening. The small bags of mange tout and courgettes add a little to our evening meals.

Greenhouse Update

This part of the year there’s room on the potting bench for some more sowing. The early part of the year a rush for the first batches of edibles but I find I hit a lull from now onwards. Traditionally I use the time and space to get some perennials started, be it by seed or cuttings, as well as some successional sowings of salad.

This week I’ve tried to start off some more Stipa tenuissima, a double poppy found on a wall, and some Nicotiana elata. I’ve taken cuttings of the Hydrangia paniculata and a pink rose at my mums. There’s also a half-seed-tray of mixed lettuce.

Garden Update

The worst thing about leaving the garden in the hands of someone else for 2 years is the accumulation of new perennial weeds. The main issue to come back after the last clear out has been the bind weed.

This border has been left due to the construction of a new shed along the boundary. This has been a good thing as I hadn’t fully appreciated the extent of the problem. I’m still planning the rejuvenation of this border but there’s no point putting anything in if there are weed roots lurking under the soil. I’ve dug up the plants in the worst of the bindweed area, rinsed their roots, and repotted in isolation to make sure they’re clean. All the bindweed roots have been dug up and I think I’ll put some squash and cucumber plants in so if there’s bindweed left behind at least it’s only an annual planting and can be dug up over winter.

Garden Update 22nd July 2017: Courgettes, cuttings and a Leaf-cutter Bee
The right border in the far garden

There’s been a lot of insect activity in the warm weather. I captured this leaf-cutter bee taking bites out of my Gertrude Jekyll rose.

Garden Update 1st July 2017: Mulch, Rain and Harvest

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 09

Garden Update 1st July 2017

Mulch, Rain and Harvest

Making the most of a wet week but mulching the paths at the allotment and starting some seeds and cuttings in the greenhouse.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 24th June 2017

Garden Update: 10th June

Allotment Update

The lightweight landscape fabric isn’t really doing its job, unfortunately. It’s too flimsy to be a long-term surface; there are rips and tears already showing. I don’t think it’s blocking light to the ground as much as it should because the weeds underneath are green and growing strongly (strong enough to lift the fabric 40cm).

So I’ve brought forward the timetable for mulching the paths with bark. I’m hoping the weight of the bark will keep the fabric in place and the extra depth might block some of the light. As usual, I didn’t order enough to cover the space (despite what the online calculator told me) so I’ll need to put my hand in my pocket again sometime to finish the job.

On a positive note I’ve had my first strawberry harvest!

Greenhouse Update

My water cuttings of Basil, Mint and Sweet Potato have been stewing for nearly a week now and there is some progress to be seen with the mint and potato. The basil doesn’t seem to want to play this game and is curling its stalks up and out of the water.

Garden Update 1st July 2017 Mulch, rain and harvest
Peppermint cuttings in water

I’ve been grabbing things from the garden to propagate whenever I’ve had a chance. I have some Cirsium revulare and Camassia leichtlinii seeds ripen so they’ve been thrown into pots and covered with grit to see what comes up.

Garden Update

The Far Garden is looking a little odd at the moment as the neighbour’s shed has been taken down. This provided the back wall for the right border and had a trellis covered with ivy and a climbing rose that was testing my patience. All have now gone and we have direct access to the neighbour’s garden. The extra light and space make the remaining border look like a deer in the headlights. I’m not sure when the replacement will be in place but after that, I can start replanting. The job, for the time being, is to keep on top of the bindweed regrowth.

I’ve had a surprise bloom of a passionflower at the end of the Immediate Garden border. I’d completely forgotten it was living there and it looks like there’s going to be a good show from the blooms.

There’s plenty of light, white planting coming through with the astrantias in full flow, a lone Lilium regale album and the hydrangea starting to join in.

 

 

Garden Update 24th June 2017: Sun, Sun and more Sun

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Garden Update 24th June 2017: Sun, Sun and more Sun

Last week’s update was replaced by a post on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. It was nice to join in the larger meme for the week and I felt the topic is similar to these updates so didn’t want to bore you with repeating myself.

Previous Updates

Garden Update: 10th June

Garden Update: 3rd June 

Allotment Update

The lack of rain and extremely hot sunny days has taken its toll on some of the sweetcorn plants. The beans and peas have coped really well and the roots are still just sitting there as small seedlings. I’m hoping they’re biding their time before taking off when the rain comes.

I harvested some blackcurrants – although they’re not very sweet so I may have been too quick to pull them off the plant.

I’ve turned some unfinished bed space into a ‘No-dig’ experiment (I’ll do a post on the construction another time). I thought I’d use the space to see how a couple of squash plants do under the landscape fabric. Since watering is an issue I’ve installed submerged bottles next to the squashes (and the fruit bushes) to reduce evaporation and deliver water straight to the root zone.

Greenhouse Update

My basil plants have provided a great meal to the resident slug population (well they needed something to wash down the kale, romanesco and PSB devoured last week). My mum kindly donated a replacement to be kept up high on a shelf. I was inspired by the Still Growing Podcast during the recent Basilmania episode where she recommended taking cuttings of basil. I am hopeless at getting basil to germinate so I’m hoping this technique will be more successful.

My replacement Kale, Romanesco and Purple Sprouting Brocolli germinated in record quick time of just 2 days!

After my initial disappointment in the size of the germinated New Zealand Spinach seeds, I have completed changed my mind. It turns out that they’re cluster seeds (a little like beetroot but not knobbly) so each seed produces a small handful of seedlings. They’re now potted on into modules to get a little more established before braving the allotment.

 

Garden Update 24th June 2017: Sun, Sun and more Sun
New Zealand Spinach Seedlings

Garden Update

The rejuvenation of the far garden continues. I’ve purchased a Eucalyptus gunnii to bring a feel of Australia to Devon. The bindweed keeps making little bids to re-establish so I’m being vigilant in pulling it out.

I’ve planted out some Stocks for some colour later in summer and there’s a perennial Gerbera to brighten things up.

House Update

Time for a new section to these weekly updates. This weekI became the proud owner of a new houseplant to add to the growing collection happening in our back room, grandly titled the Garden Room, which looks out over the garden.

Having never grown an African Violet before I asked the internet and had some great advice from instagram on how to look after this one.

My poor Peace Lily also became famous this week after being featured on Jane Perrone’s excellent houseplant podcast : On The Ledge.  It’s become very yellowed after being split a couple of months ago and doesn’t look grateful and happy at all. Hearing the options I decided it’s like transplant shock so I’m hoping time and TLC will do the job.

Garden Update 10th June 2017: Rain and Wind

Garden Update 10th June 2017: Rain and Wind

Garden Update 10th June 2017: Rain and Wind

Previous Updates

Garden Update: 3rd June 

Garden Update: 27th May

Allotment Update

The wind has been the biggest thing to contend with. The unfilled water butt was knocked over and the cardboard laid on the paths to keep the weeds down broke free of the staking and went visiting other plots. This has now been tidied without damage. I’ve finished lifting turf on the boundaries and created a long bed that I’m going to play a little ‘no-dig’ experiment with. Jobs for next week will be more landscape fabric and bark chippings on the paths.

Greenhouse Update

Garden Update 10th June 2017: Rain and Wind
Aspirin Spray

I’ve decided to give the aspirin spray idea a go on my plants. Take a read of James Wong’s books for the recipe. The evidence is that it will produce more resilient plants and tastier crops. Watch this space.

Garden Update 10th June 2017: Rain and Wind
Asparagus Pea Seedlings

The New Zealand Spinach seedlings have come up and are mightily disappointing considering the side of the seeds. Instead, I’ll make do with watching the healthy Asparagus Peas develop.

Garden Update 10th June 2017: Rain and Wind
Tomato Marmande plants.

The Tomato ‘Marmande’ seedlings are now little plants.

Garden Update

Garden Update 10th June 2017: Rain and Wind
Eryngium borgatii and Lavender

The rain has helped the garden get a good drink. Having taken off the huge quantities of weed coverage, the soil was looking a little bare but at least the moisture can get right down to the roots now. The Moody Blue rose looks like it’s going to sprout again.

The two variants of my Eryngium borgatii are looking really healthy and should flower well and the Lavender is starting to brighten up the green.

Garden Update 3rd June 2017: Paths, Protection and Poo

Garden Update 3rd June 2017: Paths, Protection and Poo

Garden Update 3rd June 2017: Paths, Protection and Poo

Previous Updates

Garden Update: 27th May

Garden Update: 20th May

Allotment Update

The biggest change has been putting down material to suppress some weed growth that’s coming through where we removed the turf. I’d hate the grass to re-establish and undo all our hard work taking the turf off. One light rain and they dutifully curved up but that’s not a huge deal.

Garden Update 3rd June 2017: Paths, Protection and Poo
Mollie dog resting on the wrong side of the edging.

I now have a water storage at the plot. We don’t yet have a mains water line to the allotment so water butts are essential. I’m still sourcing an IBC tank so in the meantime, these water butts from the house have been called up.

Garden Update 3rd June 2017: Paths, Protection and Poo
I have since sorted the leaning Waterbutt

Black Gold! #manure #wellrottedmanure #allotmentblog #allotment #mulch #growyourown #growyourownfruit

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My lovely horse-owning cousin has provided a donation of ‘Black Gold’ to the plot. She drove the trailer whilst I was on chief shovelling duty. I now have a bulk bag of well-rotted manure on site ready for soil conditioning and mulching the plot. I’m really chuffed.

The sheep are now living in the field well the horse manure is rotting down – he had to come to inspect.

I lost a couple of pea seedlings to the pigeons this week so I grabbed some leftover chicken wire sheets and constructed a protection cage which will also serve as an initial climbing support for the young plants. Higher up I’ll pull some netting to support the mangetout and tall peas.

We spent an hour the other evening planting out Sweetcorn, Cucumbers (an experiment), Squash, and Climbing French Beans. There was plenty of muck in the planting holes so I’m hoping they’ll do really well this year.

Greenhouse Update

Moving out the Squash, Cucumber and Climbing Bean plants has created some gaps so I’ve started off some more seeds (Keep track of these by taking a look at my seed sowing spreadsheet). I’ve put the spares outside the cottage for sale.

Garden Update 3rd June 2017: Paths, Protection and Poo
Tomatoes growing away (seeds saved from plants I grew in 2014)

The tomatoes have finally started to look like they’ve decided to stay and put on some growth this week. I’ve been a little better watering them which may have something to do with it. It was also time to plant the Tomato ‘Marmande’ in the beds.

I took part in the Chili Challenge in 2014 and had a terrible year for Chillies. This year,  just when the pressure is off, they’ve done really well!

Garden Update 3rd June 2017: Paths, Protection and Poo
Chillies growing away in their own little pots

Garden Update

After tackling the overgrowth and weeds in the far garden, I am pleased to see some old features of the garden making a come-back and drawing some attention.

Garden Update 3rd June 2017: Paths, Protection and Poo
Climbing Rose ‘Gertrude Jekyll’

The smell of this rose is incredible. Despite the colour being a little too Barbie for my tastes we’d never remove it. Everyone who visits gets a couple of flowers in a posy to take home.

Garden Update 3rd June 2017: Paths, Protection and Poo
Pink Astrantia major

This white geranium is lovely, delicate and light, I want it to spread around the garden so I’ll watch the seedpods closely.

There were lots of alliums in the garden when we came but I’ve noticed they’ve diminished. I’ve saved some seed from the Gladiator types and started them in the greenhouse.

Circium rivale going to seed – not letting these fly-away beauties out of my sight ! #circium #growfromseed

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Also going in a pot are these Cirsium seeds – I’m hoping to get a small bunch to put up in the Far Garden.