8 November 2015

Dorset Garden Diary - A Bit of a Soggy Week

Hi everyone,

I hope you had a safe November 5th and it wasn't a total washout.

Monday - thick fog this morning as with most of the country. It finally cleared mid afternoon after a dull day. I weeded the cottage garden as it's not only the perennials and shrubs that are having a new lease of life...the weeds are joining in as well. I then planted the sage I was given last week, I've put it next to the lemon balm in the top bed.  Next on the list was to make a couple of mini hibernaculums. And what are they, I hear you ask. Frog pots, I reply. Basically, they are small flower pots packed with fallen leaves then half buried in the garden in a north facing position, providing a safe haven for frogs, and I presume toads, during the winter.

I decided to use the fallen leaves on the lawn (surprising how many leaves it takes to fill a small-ish flower pot). Anyway, as I was collecting them all up I came across something hard. When I looked it was a walnut shell. Strange. We don't have a walnut tree in the garden and neither do our neighbours. All I can think of is perhaps a squirrel dropped it whilst passing through. If he'd like to bring a few more, it will save me buying some for Christmas!

Watered the plants in the greenhouse today. In hindsight (yet again) I would have left them in the garden for a few more weeks if I'd known it was going to stay so mild.

Once again the weather has not been good for gardening - raining and windy. But despite this, on Wednesday morning I was greeted with this lovely sight:

Unfortunately, after a couple of days of very windy weather it was looking a bit worse for wear, a case of nature giveth then taketh away. But this weekend nature giveth again as the lily in the cottage garden is still going strong:

Saturday was a washout for most of the day. I think him indoors either needs to build an ark or put the house on stilts!

Sunday - and the first day this week that's started dry, albeit damp and with low, grey cloud. But very warm. Gardening in just a t-shirt (well, not just a t-shirt) for part of the day in November!! After crumpets and honey for breakfast, him indoors went upstairs to finish painting the spare room and I had a stroll round the estate. The pond water is high, almost to the top of the pump and the aerating weed needs to be thinned out.

A few of the greenhouse plants are doing rather too well, like the sweet (triffid) peas:

The azalea and pineapple salvia cuttings are coming on nicely:

Now to the olive tree. In the last few days the tiny green pods that have been on the tree for a few weeks are now starting to turn purple - exciting as this is the first year this has happened:

The hot lips salvia and lantana huff appear happy and productive:

But the gingko definitely is not. I can't remember if it shed it's leaves last year or whether it's just not happy in its current position.

Outside, and to the freesia bulbs. I planted these in the spring, tended them all summer and nothing, not a sign of growth. So for the past few weeks I've ignored them, thinking that hopefully they will start to grow next spring. Well, guess what? Now they are starting to grow:

Also, coming into flower for the first time this year is the pot buddleia:

And, just flowering in the last couple days, this clematis:
And a primula bud waiting to burst open:

I planted the first batch of garlic bulbs in a large trough. Last year's crop was a disappointment as I lost it to garlic rust and had to pull them all up in case it spread to the onions and leeks. Incidentally, the latter are doing great although the fennel is starting to run to seed. I need to eat more of it.

I'm hoping that my order for shade-loving plants and the shrub to replace the hydrangea we dug up from the front garden will be arriving soon. More plants? I hear you cry. They are for one of my new projects, to be revealed at a later date.

I took a box of grass cuttings, leaves and garden waste out to the large composter. Him indoors has put in a solid walkway to it now, so I don't have to hack my way through the undergrowth Bear Grylls style. It appears to be composting down well, as do the other compost bins. I'll leave it all over winter and empty them out in the spring.

The amaryllis appears to be all leaves and no stalk which is disappointing:

And I'll leave you with this unplanned picture of my left boot!

According to the weather forecast we are in for some gale force winds over the next couple of days (there's a surprise!) so I've checked the garden and secured and fastened down where necessary.

I hope you have a good week and manage to find some quality gardening time.