1 November 2015

Dorset Garden Diary - Guess the Season!

Greetings from a warm, balmy (and often barmy) autumnal Dorset. It's been a mixed week of weather - sun, heavy rain and gales. But warm, t-shirt warm

Monday - I started the week by checking everything after being away. The amaryllis has produced a side shoot,

the flowers on the pineapple sage are not now hanging down but are horizontal, and in the background in the chrysanthemum that I rescued which is repaying me by flowering well.

The sweet peas have grown well and I have re-potted them into tall, biodegradable pots and put them in the greenhouse (7 out of 9 have sprouted).

I watched the previous Friday's Gardeners' World (last one, unfortunately). Carol Klein had a good tip for releasing stubborn pollen from flowers to help pollenate other flowers...use an electric toothbrush! Apparently, when held against the flower the vibration dislodges the pollen. I will give this a try next year with the cucumber and gherkin flowers because, as you know, there were plenty of flowers but not much vegetable growth. Monty said it's a good time to feed rhubarb and mulch them, but don't put it over the crowns. I'm not sure what's happened to my rhubarb. I planted three crowns last autumn and, apart from a couple of leaves on one of them earlier in the year, nothing. To be honest, I'm not even sure exactly where they are apart from being on the left hand side of the back bed. He also said that his squash didn't do well which is good news for me because neither did mine; at least I know it wasn't something I was or wasn't doing. Also, I was pleased to see that he has left his dahlias to carry on flowering (like me) and not dug them up yet.

Jobs for the winter were:- to either collect fallen leaves, put them in a bag with holes and leave over the winter to rot down as leaf mould is brilliant for the garden, or they can be put straight onto the soil which is what I'll do; go through all the seeds collected during the summer, check their condition, sieve out all the dead leaves and stalks and store in paper bags, envelopes or glass jars until time to sow; and clean and oil all gardening tools...who you gonna call? Yep, that's right - him indoors!

Tuesday - today was a washout.

Heavy rain and high winds all day, we even had local flood warnings. So, it was indoor activities today. I checked the stored carrots and parsnips and they were starting to go soft so I made batch of vegetable soup in the slo-cooker then froze it for cold winter days. The way the weather is at the moment it will still be there next Spring.

Wednesday -gorgeous sunny day. Went out early to feed the fish and it felt like summer. When I put the fish food back in the pottering shed I noticed (well, I have noticed before but chose not to) the state of the inside. You know I tidied it up? Well...

So that will be a job in the winter. Visited a friend at lunchtime armed with both my laptops (he's good at technical) and some garden produce:- leeks, fennel, chillies, jam and chutney. And cake (not from the garden). Two hours later the laptops were sorted, we'd had a stroll round, or rather a hike up his garden (it's on a steep hill) and I came away with some fragrant sage cuttings and a bag of cooking apples. A fair exchange.

Thursday - heavy rain and high winds again all morning. I picked all the chillies and made chilli jam. All I will say is phew...fiery, but very, very tasty. Managed to get out in the garden in the afternoon,  the heavy rain had broken some of the flower stems which is a shame. I went round the garden repairing and deadheading. A couple of weeks ago when I cleaned the inside of the greenhouse I taped some polythene over a gap in the glass (just in case it gets frosty - hah!), it has been so windy this week the plastic has blown off.

Sunday - today started misty, cloudy and damp. I fed the fish (the pond is looking exceptionally good, the water crystal clear)

and then had a stroll round the estate. The garden smells of wet soil and leaves...lovely. And there's no wind, nothing is moving. The green manure is doing well,

the rose has another bud on it, the dahlia from last year has, at last, produced it's one and only flower so far this year,

and look at the sweet peas - I'm sure they're not supposed to be this big this time of year, they don't get planted out until the Spring.

The raspberries canes are fruiting again and so is the clematis,

and a buddleia cutting I'd planted

One of the lionheart lilies in the cottage garden has come into bloom, isn't it lovely, although the lilies
in the pots are still just in bud.
Look how tall the amaryllis has grown, it's now 14 inches and going strong, with sideshoot.
I will be watching Countryfile this evening to see what the weather will be next week - perfect for gardening, I hope.  I was just thinking, I should have mentioned Halloween but nothing spooky has happened...then my computer suddenly shut itself down! Please remember to check your bonfires for sheltering hedgehogs and other creatures before you light them on Thursday. Have a good week and catch up next weekend.