23 April 2017

Dorset Garden Diary - And Still No Rain...The Water Butts Are Nearly Empty

Hi everyone,

Spring has taken a grip and it's all go in the garden. The perennials are re-surfacing after the winter and the newly sown veggies are shooting up, apart from the cucumbers for some reason. Only one of eight sown has surfaced. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the weeds, it's a battle at the moment. And still no rain.

Monday - a cloudy day to start then the sun came out. Him indoors made a new frame to cover growing seedlings to keep the pigeons off.
At the moment it's covering the Duke of York spuds, which are doing nicely thank you very much.

Next on his list was mowing the lawn then tidying up, of which there's always plenty to do. I potted on a couple cosmos tango, the two apple saplings that I grew from seed last year and the spinach which I'm keeping in a pot this year as it doesn't do well in the ground. Here it is (black pot) with the lettuce, kale, radishes, onions and swiss chard

The apple saplings look like twigs at the moment but there small leaves are appearing...I'm quite chuffed they've taken. I then sowed carrots Amsterdam (which can be grown in pots) and icberg frisee de beauregard. Final job of the day was to put netting on the trellis for the sweet peas to grow up. The cornflowers have started to grow

 and the freesias are in bud  - interesting colour
they always flower early.

Tuesday - another dry and sunny day. Him indoors did a recycling centre run with all the garden rubbish accumulated over the weekend. The dwarf runner beans (Hestia) are coming along nicely and I've potted them up

I covered the Duke of York spuds and the carrots late afternoon as we could get a frost tonight.

Wednesday - amazing sunrise leading into yet another dry and sunny day. As lovely as the weather is, we desperately need some rain - the water butts are nearly empty. I watered the greenhouse (the peppers, tomatoes and chillies need potting on)

then watered the veg pots and the spuds and carrots.

Thursday - aha...cold and cloudy today, maybe it'll rain. Nope. The birds were frisky, flitting about the garden - even the pigeons had a spring in their waddle! I topped up the pond water, the fish are still in hiding and the tadpoles are still rippling the water. I planted out a couple of verbena bonariensis seedlings and potted up the courgettes as they are growing like triffids
next to them are the peas that need to go out soon. I also potted up the peppers which I'm keeping in the greenhouse

I sowed more cucumbers, they are just not germinating this year, then watered the pots. Another azalea is coming into flower, they are so spectacular

and the grass pond is looking pretty good as well

Friday - another cloudy day but temperature up to 13C 55F. The blue tits were in and out of their box and a robin was hopping around the garden. On my walk round the 'estate' I saw that something has been in the cauldron pond. One of the small pots with ornamental grass in it had been knocked over and the grass had gone, there was an indentation in the soil near the pond and some of the plants were squashed. I'm hoping it's just a frog. I put more weedkiller on the Spanish bluebells, watered the greenhouse and the carrots. I think I can see some emerging and also one of the charlotte potatoes. Also starting to emerge are the flowers on the delphinium black knight

one of the rosebuds on the climbing rose
 the lilac buds
and the freesia is now blooming

Saturday - cloudy again but warm-ish. Too warm for a fleece but not quite warm enough without one. The pot I removed from the cauldron pond yesterday morning was knocked over this morning. I have been in two minds whether or not to plant out the peas as there could be a frost early next week, but they are becoming straggly in their pots so I made the executive decision to plant them out.
I've mulched them to protect the roots and hold moisture. I can always cover them if frost is imminent as well as the potatoes and carrots. I then planted the tomatoes in grow bags in the greenhouse

and made a start on tidying up the area next to the pottering shed - after a couple of hours got bored so I'll finish it tomorrow. Last job of the day was hose the garden. The bed near the shade garden is looking full and lush

Sunday - started cloudy then the sun came out but a chilly wind kept the temperature down. To be honest I've had a lazy day. I finished tidying up the side of the pottering shed. Before
and after
and...breathe! Much more calming...

Two plants that are doing well this year are the lemon - it obviously likes the new greenhouse
and the acer I bought a couple of years ago that hasn't been happy...until now
lovely isn't it.

It's clouded over now and there's a mist forming over the RSPB reserve. According to the weather forecast tomorrow is remaining warm then we have a cold front coming in with the possibility of wintry showers and night frosts so I'll be covering up new growth. Then it's getting warmer from Thursday with maybe...and it is only a maybe...some rain. The last time we had rain was 31st March!
Have a good week and catch up next Sunday.



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