24 July 2016

Dorset Garden Diary - The List is Completed and the Garden is Flourishing

Good evening everyone,

I have to say it's been a very pleasant week with much achieved in the garden. Him indoors has had a week off and has been working on the list. The weather has been perfect (although very humid) and we've had a BBQ each evening bar one, accompanied with our own potatoes and salad veg.

Monday - started at 17C 62F with a cloudless sky warming up to 21C 71F although it felt much hotter. The garden was buzzing with bees all day, they especially like the yellow verbascum outside the greenhouse. I picked more gherkins and started on the second jar of pickling, and picked fresh salad veg for later. Him indoors brought the BBQ out of storage and cleaned it, then set out the patio table and chairs. Yep, it's definitely summer this week. We planted out the cottage garden plants bought last week and picked more raspberries which are ripening nicely in batches. The blackberries aren't quite ready yet.

Tuesday - a hot one which started at 19C 66F and rose to above 25C 77F, clear sky and no wind. This morning we visited Compton Acres near Poole, Dorset. The gardens are small but well maintained and definitely worth a visit, especially the rock garden
and the Japanese Garden

I'll put all the pics in a separate blog. In the afternoon I potted up the cucumber seedlings, sowed more peas - hopefully it's not too late as they are sweet and tasty and growing prolifically (hurst green shaft variety). We have more flowers on the runner beans

and the swiss chard is ready for harvesting

I pruned the plum tree then realised it should have been done in August...oh well, nothing I can do about it now. That's the problem with looking at the 'jobs to do this month' section of an August magazine received in July! Him indoors planted out and watered in the climbing roses we bought last week then we had a BBQ and sat out until nearly midnight.

Wednesday - misty start at 17C 62F rising to 27C 80F but at least there was a breeze. I was working most of the day but him indoors cleared the front drive and back garden paths of weeds - looking good until they start to grow again (ignore the weeds on the patio in the foreground, that's another project).
He made a new frame in the greenhouse for the growing cucumber plants, topped up the water level in the pond then gave the garden a good soaking.

Thursday - 17C 62F sunny and breezy. I tidied up the peas, secured them to the netting, dug up more shallots that were ready and put them in the greenhouse to dry with the mixed onions
Some aren't as big as I would have liked, I think it's because I've tried to utilise all the space we have and grew them under the pea frame, I don't think they received enough sun...although that hasn't bothered the weeds! I deadheaded the perennials and our new 'for your eyes only' shrub rose as the wind has blown all the petals off. Picked more beetroot and boiled it - so sweet and tender, staked up the pepper plants as the weight of the peppers can break the stems (didn't have that problem last year as they didn't grow!)
 and the first chilli has appeared

I sowed the next batch of little gem lettuce, pickled more gherkins then emptied a couple more potato bags as the foliage had wilted and died. The first was maris peer grown in a small bag in peat free and garden compost and grown outside. The yield was small, only 1.2lb
The second batch were also maris peer grown in a small bag in all-purpose compost and potato fertiliser - these were started off in the greenhouse then put outside. These yielded better at 5lb.
Both bags started off with two seed potatoes. There is still one more bag to empty but I'll leave it for a couple of weeks to hopefully improve the yield. Rain then stopped play for an hour or so which was fine as the garden needed it. Him indoors spent most of the day tidying and sorting his workshop. He's already made three trips to the recycling centre this week.

Friday - another 17C 62F start and sunny getting up to 25C 77F. Him indoors pottered with jobs on his list and I was working most of the day. I did watch Gardeners' World though and jobs to do were cut back the delphiniums to the base to encourage a second growth (done), remove lower leaves on tomatoes up to first unripe truss (done) and only let outside tomatoes grow to a maximum of four trusses (need to check). Prune the pears to one every 4" which seems a waste, but the remaining fruit will grow bigger (done). Monty also pruned back a sour cherry tree that he's training along a wall - not sure if it applies to all sour cherry trees or just the trained ones?? He also starting sowing turnip and swede seeds. I've never grown winter veg but I might give them a try as they are tasty in thick winter stews.

Saturday - foggy this morning and only 15C 59F. It stayed cloudy most of the morning then warmed up nicely in the afternoon. I decided today was my annual 'clearing out the pottering shed' day
As you can see, it needed it! It took me over an hour to empty everything out. Him indoors then cleared all the cobwebs for me then I scrubbed the shelves and floor with disinfectant before tackling the contents
I couldn't believe how much stuff was in there, I felt like a magician continually pulling items out of a hat!

It took me all day to sort through it all and threw away nearly three big bags of rubbish. I also disinfected all the pots before putting them back. I have to say I'm pleased with the result

Him indoors doesn't reckon it'll stay like that for long. Hmmm.....  During the afternoon I heard high-pitched squeaking/tweeting. When I looked up there were small birds zooming and zipping from right to left across the garden, frantically flapping their wings. It took me a few seconds to realise they were house sparrows fledging. It was a special, privileged sight to see. They all flew over the garden except one that did a U-turn...there's always one, isn't there. Now I know why the garden has been full of sparrows all week, they were feeding up the young.

Sunday - bright start 17C 62F the clouded over, much cooler only 19C today and we had drizzle this afternoon. When I fed the fish this morning something small scuttled into the undergrowth but, thankfully, it was too small for a rat, maybe just a mouse. After the fledging yesterday the garden was full of sparrows again feeding off the plants and shrubs. Plants loving the hot and sunny days are the pond lilies

the fuchsia
the cottage garden
and the tomatoes are ripening
I went for a walk into town at lunchtime and bought turnip and swede seeds which I'll plant out next week. Late afternoon I fed the fish, watered the garden and greenhouse and unpegged the pottering shed towel from the line to hang it up and discovered this lovely fella resting on it - look at those gorgeous eyes.
Well that's it for this week. Just watched the weather on Countryfile and thankfully we lose the humidity this week, it's going to be slightly cooler with a mixture of sunshine, cloud and maybe a few showers. I hope you all have a good week and catch up next Sunday.
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