15 May 2016

Dorset Garden Diary - That wasn't Forecast and the Next Generation

Evening everyone,

It's getting busy in the garden, better than a workout in the gym! It hasn't been as warm this week but still pleasant although did get humid at times.

Monday - the day started cloudy and drizzly (50F 10C) and only reached a maximum of 61F 16C. I tied strips of ribbon on the netting structure I erected yesterday (to keep the pigeons and magpies off my seedlings) so the smaller birds don't fly into it. I pruned the hazelnut tree and then dug up the wild garlic as once it takes a hold it is very difficult to control, pretty though it is. There has been some new growth in the garden, For Your Eyes Only is coming along nicely
The raspberry bush has settled in well
The second batch of peas have surfaced
the white azalea I rescued from a garden centre a couple of years ago is in bud
and we have some irises that are flowering for the first time.

Tuesday - 50F 10C again this morning and cloudy, became humid later in the day then cooled to 50F again in the evening. I fed the tomatoes, courgettes, gherkins, cucumbers and the olive tree (this has to be fed twice a year). I topped up the seed feeders and the pigeons are now trampling down another part of the garden unfortunately. The slugs are targeting the pak choi and swiss chard at the moment so I put down more pellets. Saw this bee walking across the veg patch:

Wednesday - 51F 10C this morning and misty:
It soon cleared but stayed humid again. The blue tits are now constantly in and out of their nesting box so I'm presuming the young have hatched and they're feeding them. I planted out more pak choi and celeriac seedlings and the first batch of runner beans, mulched them and put down slug pellets. Is this the Year of the Ant by any chance? There appears to be a lot of them in the garden, probably due to the warm winter we had. And guess what...a fish surfaced after what must be four weeks or so. Only the one though. I watered the garden as, according to the weather forecast, there was no rain coming our way over the next few days. When I'd done I checked the pond again to see if the fish was still visible but it wasn't. What was on the pond though was a bumble bee clinging to a lily pad. I went and got my newly bought children's fishing net and scooped it out. As soon as I put the net down it stretched it's legs (which actually are quite long) and then flew off. I went out this evening (yes, I do get out now and again), I was driving along the seafront and a sea mist was closing in, it was quite surreal rolling across the bay. Unfortunately I was unable to get a pic but it reminded me of the film The Fog, minus the demons.

Thursday - raining this morning, 51F 10C. Hmmm...weather forecast said no rain. On my to-do list today (by the way, him indoors should be fit for his to-do list next week...I've had to buy an A4 pad!!) was: thin the carrots, sow more fennel, radish and spring onions, weed top veg bed, weed top flower bed and put grass in compost bins. What I actually did was re-pot the watercress, lower the string on the bird table and add some ribbon, let's see if this works:

and put the grass cuttings in the compost bin. I was busy indoors in the afternoon, the humidity was rising and the temperature in the greenhouse at 5.30pm was 82F 27C. I had gone into the garden to pick some pak choi for my stir fry and was waylaid by the pond as I saw a big splash out the corner of my eye. I was staring into the water when I heard a noise, it sounded like the earth was splitting then I realised that a) it was thunder and b) what I thought was sea mist rolling in again, wasn't. It was storm clouds. Well, all I'll say is that I went back indoors a lot quicker than I strolled out! I checked the weather and computer said light rain

yeah, right! We had over an inch in two hours. I'd only tweeted on Tuesday that we really needed some rain here. Moral of this story - be careful what you wish for. At least I now know how to make it rain...water the garden.

Friday - a hazy, sunny start (55F 13C) and the promise of the hottest day so far, sunny spells in the morning with brighter sunshine in the afternoon. I had to go out this morning; at 10.30am the heavens opened, torrential rain and then more thunder and lightning...now this definitely wasn't forecast. It did clear up for the afternoon and at 5pm it was 75F 24C in the greenhouse. I potted up some of the second sowing runner beans and a couple of gherkins that had pushed through.

Saturday - started cold 41F 5C. I was at work so was hoping that there was no plant damage. When I came home early evening I checked the garden and all appears to be fine except there have been some nibblings at the pak choi leaves.

Sunday - and another cold start at 41F 5C but soon warmed up although windy. I finally did Thursday's to-do list (thin the carrots, sow more fennel, radish and spring onions, weed top veg bed - didn't manage top flower bed), planted more tomato plants in the greenhouse, re-potted the second sowing of gherkins (it may sound like I am growing a lot of gherkins but for some reason they tend to die on me). I planted out the peas (apparently you water them on planting then don't water again until the flowers appear - didn't know that), sowed another batch then potted on cornflowers, white daisy and red campion. There was a fish near the surface again late morning
by early afternoon it had been joined by the hyperactive one, it's skittish and darts around the pond at full pelt. I put a small handful of food in the pond but they weren't interested. But...the surface started to ripple and the next generation of fishlings were bobbing for the food, they're only about and inch and a half to two inches long. I'm so pleased. No sign of any tadpoles or baby frogs though, I'm wondering if the fish have eaten them.

The first sweet peas (mixed highly scented) flowered this morning

this gladioli, no idea what type, but stunning
and the dahlia dark leaf (Happy Single Party) has survived the winter under tree bark
yet the dahlias I overwintered in the greenhouse haven't appeared yet. The Chinese leaves are coming on - no idea how big they have to grow before I eat them

and the honeysuckle arch is filling out nicely
Oh...nearly forgot...the Maris Peer potatoes have grown a lot over the past week (carrots in the troughs)
and are coming into bud
All day the blackbirds have been singing, it's like they were holding their own version of the Eurovision Song Contest...I'm voting for the one in the lilac tree!

Watched Countryfile this evening, a special Spring edition, very interesting, cute animals. Anyway, the weather for the week ahead is sunny, occasional rain and windy. After last week I think I'll just take it a day at a time.

Have a good week and happy gardening,



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