27 November 2016

Dorset Garden Diary - The Heron Visits

Evening everyone,

The week has gradually been getting colder here in Dorset and windy at times. It's also been a week without much gardening as other commitments have got in the way. The bathroom is nearly done and my quest for long hot showers was successful.

Monday - torrential rain on and off all day and it wasn't pleasant being caught in one of the showers. But the bonus was a double rainbow late afternoon. I took some pictures but I can't find them on my phone which is a shame because it was vivid and bright. The fish are enjoying a full pond of water and over a dozen came up to feed. The lodger in the cottage garden had been busy overnight and left all these seed heads at the entrance to the burrow

Him indoors has re-fixed the pane of glass in the greenhouse and adjusted the door to the pottering shed as it was sticking. Whilst he was sat in the conservatory pondering life the heron paid a visit, sitting on the top shed roof and staring into next door's pond. He said it was there for quite a while

Tuesday - and still it rains. I looked up the lodger's burrow on the internet but still have no idea what it can be. The entrance is small and narrow and there are no footprints or droppings nearby. I checked to see if any of the plants in the greenhouse needed watering and noticed a puddle on the floor.
That's strange, I thought. When I looked up there was another pane of glass missing so one more job for him indoors. My viburnum x bodnantense dawn arrived today,
it has been potted up and put in the greenhouse. One of the lupin seeds has surfaced (bottom left)

Wednesday - it has been suggested that the lodger could be a mole (I hope not and unlikely, I think) or another suggestion was a rat (really hope not!). I missed a plant delivery today, apparently. The courier had put a note through the door saying 'missed delivery' will try again tomorrow. Maybe if he/she had rung the doorbell.....

Thursday - I came home from work today and there were two boxes of plants waiting for me...at last. We emptied the boxes and stood the plants in seed trays and watered them - 6 prunella, 6 monarda fragrant, 1 cornus midwinter fire, 6 mixed tradescantia, 3 tricyrtis dark beauty, 3 tricyrtis latofolia, 3 tricyrtis hirta, 3 ascepsias syriaca, 3 meconopsis betonicifolia (blue poppies for him indoors), 3 festuca grasses, pennisetum red head, 3 gaultheria procumbens and a gardenia crown jewel. That'll keep me out of mischief next week planting those out
And yes, that is a television in the background in him indoors' workshop...it's a work in progress.

Sunday - a raw, cold day with the wind picking up in the afternoon. Amazing sunset last night by the way. I fed the fish this morning but they were lethargic about eating, probably too cold (the weather not the fish, although they might be). I checked the lodger's burrow but no sign of activity and still no footprints in the soil. The cottage garden is looking jaded and untidy but I'll leave it as long as I can before cutting it back. The grasses are still looking good.

There is a little bit of colour in the garden

In the greenhouse the lupin has grown and opened up more

and the calendula seedlings and garlic are doing well

Outside, the onions in the trough are growing faster than the onions in the garden

I watched the Countryfile weather this evening and it's going to be a cold but dry week with tomorrow night forecast to be the coldest so far this year. So stay warm, have a good week and catch up next Sunday.



Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga

20 November 2016

Dorset Garden Diary - Unknown Lodger in the Cottage Garden

Good morning,

An early blog this week as I'm working today. Unfortunately, I've not been able to get out in the garden much this week except to keep raking leaves from the lawn and clearing them off the pond. There's not many left to fall now.

Monday - I topped up the bird feeders, fed the fish and checked all ok in the greenhouse. I pruned the newly growing sweet peas down to two sets of leaves. I was hoping to see the full supermoon this evening but it clouded over...typical.

Tuesday - but...the cloud cleared overnight and the supermoon was shining bright in the early morning sky
I know the pic doesn't do it justice, but it was amazing. I raked more leaves, cleared the pond again and fed the fish - some of them were already waiting.

Then I picked more chillies, I think that's probably the last of them now. The hydrangea is looking even better, I wish it was this colour in the summer.

The shrubs I put in by the top shed are well established now and...the winter jasmine is finally flowering (it didn't flower last year)
I'm going to train it across and through the trellis. I also took some cuttings. The little gem lettuce is soldiering on, the leaves have a stronger taste now than in the summer.

Wednesday - a sunny morning. Next door's tree looked spectacular with the early sun on it
and the moon was bright again this morning.

I know this is not garden related, but here are pics of our bathroom at the moment

Luckily we have convenience facilities downstairs!

Friday - him indoors has replaced the door frame on the pottering shed as it was falling to bits. He says the door needs repairing/replacing as well. Ah well, there's always something. At least the roof no longer leaks. The fish haven't eaten for a couple of days, so him indoors scooped out the uneaten food so it doesn't rot and cleared more leaves.

Saturday - the day started sunny but clouded over. It's not as cold though. I fed the fish a small amount to see if they would eat but only a couple surfaced. I had a walk round the garden. The plants in the new bed by the greenhouse have taken. The cottage garden needs tidying and the perennials cutting back but the birds eat the seed heads so I'll leave that job for a while. Whilst I was looking at the cottage garden I noticed that the soil had been disturbed - and saw this
I wonder what's over-wintering in there - it's only a small hole. The wild flowers are coming through in the greenhouse

the onions in the trough are growing

 the blackcurrant sage is still in flower
and a freesia is surfacing in one of the indoor pots
You know I said it's not as cold, well, by mid-afternoon the temperature dropped and it rained heavily for a while, including sleet. Storm Angus is on it's way overnight bringing more heavy rain and winds up to 65mph.
Sunday -well that was a wild night. Storm Angus arrived around 11pm, the rain sounded like someone throwing gravel at the windows. Much calmer this morning although still windy. The only damage I can see at the moment is a pane of glass missing from the front of the greenhouse which is weird because the wind was blowing side on. I had a closer look it and it isn't broken, it's just slipped down. It's on his list! The small shed door had been blown open as well.
Well that's it for this week, I'm off in search of a long, hot shower! Have a good week, stay warm and catch up next Sunday.
Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga

13 November 2016

Dorset Garden Diary - Just Pottering

Hi everyone,

It's been more of a pottering week in the garden rather than a working one. There's still plenty to do, of course, but there's no planting or harvesting deadlines.

Monday - chilly and windy today. The little gem lettuce has had a revival so I picked a few leaves  for my salad at lunchtime. I fed the fish. The netting is covered in leaves again and more have fallen through into the pond

so that took me over half an hour to clear them. No doubt it will be the same again tomorrow morning unless the wind dies down. The forecast was to go below freezing overnight so I put the olive tree, blackcurrant sage and the viburnum Kilimanjaro in the greenhouse, just in case. Amazingly stunning sunset.

Tuesday - no frost overnight after all but a bitterly cold day. I moved the viburnum and the sage back outside as rain coming in later and will save me watering them. The calendula I sowed last week are already emerging
the blackcurrant sage and fuchsia cuttings are well established (basil in the foreground)
the garlic and sweet peas appear to have slowed their growth a little

I was working most of the day. When I got home it was raining heavily, so no gardening today. Thankfully, no fallen leaves to rake up.

Wednesday - it rained through the night accompanied by a strong north-westerly wind which meant the leaf collecting made up for yesterday.
Strangely enough, there weren't that many over the pond. I must have made a sight raking up the leaves in a gale. The leaves on the lawn were easy because they were wet and stuck to the grass but it was impossible to sweep the leaves on the paths (yes I did try...I just hope the neighbours weren't watching the mad woman next door!). Another bitterly cold day but at least the sun shone. The fish had two breakfasts and elevenses, all gone in seconds. Did I say at least it's sunny? Early afternoon the heavens opened, our first sleet of the year.

Thursday - still cold but dry. Off to London for a couple of days. Before I left I watered the greenhouse plants and gave the fish a mammoth breakfast.

Sunday - this weather is weird, today's it's warm and sunny. Back home lunchtime and the first job was feed the hungry fish. The netting was dipped in the middle of the pond again. It has to be a frog (I can't think of anything else that could get on there) and, if it is a frog, it obviously hasn't realised we've left a gap under the netting for it to get in and out of the pond.

The outside garlic has grown
there is a flower on one of the salvia cuttings which is a good sign
the calendula seedlings have grown since Tuesday
and more chillies have appeared

Whilst I was away I saw this lovely vibrant fruit and veg stall and thought, hmmm, my harvest doesn't look like that! 

But then I thought actually, I like my misshapen rustic look.

Well that's it for this week. According to my weather app the forecast for the week ahead is mild and dry until Wednesday then rain until forever. Ah well, it's good for the garden. Catch up next week,



Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga

6 November 2016

Dorset Garden Diary - The Bulbs Are In and the Leaves Are Falling

Evening everyone,

It's been a pleasant week in the garden with still plenty to do. The weather has been sunny, warm, foggy, frosty and raining (although not all at once).

Monday - I forgot to mention last week that we - namely him indoors but I did hold the packet - put the grease bands around the fruit trees to stop insects crawling up the trunks and over-wintering in them. The bands are very sticky and they stuck to him as he attached them, so they should deter the insects.

I lightly pruned the buddleias to stop them flowering, I'll prune them hard in the spring. I took hardwood cuttings of the lemon verbena, lavender and rosemary and a root cutting from the lovage. Once these have (hopefully) grown I'll plant them in the small strip of garden at the back of the greenhouse by the pond. The remainder of the daffodil bulbs are now in plus the iris reticulata and I've replanted some of the ground cover aubretia. I was watched for a while by a grey squirrel before it became bored and bounded off into next door's garden in search of better entertainment.

Tuesday - a red sky this morning and a layer of mist hanging over the RSPB reserve. I rescued a bee from indoors...they have the whole of the outside to fly around in, how come they manage to fly in through the small gap of an open window? I realised that I'd forgotten to plant the freesia bulbs. I've put most of them in a big pot in the greenhouse and there was enough let for two smaller pots indoors. I staked and tied up the sweet peas that are still growing ridiculously fast

My sorting out of the string last week proved useful after all! I raked more leaves off the lawn, put dried mealworms on the bird table and picked these sweet peas that are still growing from the summer.

Wednesday - It's going to get colder again so I've put the lemon tree, lantana miss huff and the acer in the greenhouse. I've left the olive tree outside for the time being - it's doing well considering it was just a spindly stick 3 years ago

I sowed the wildflower seeds received from Kew Gardens for the grow wild project. The mealworms are still on the bird table which is strange as they are normally the first thing to go. Last job of the day was pick the leaves off the pond netting.

Thursday - frosty this morning out the back but not out the front. As I sat in the conservatory having breakfast one of our resident blue tits arrived and had a peek in it's nesting box. I noticed a blackbird fluttering around the bird table and realised that in my attempts to keep the magpies and pigeons off the, the blackbirds couldn't get on it either so I've taken down all my adjustments and it's back to the drawing board.

Friday - rain stopped play for most of the day but the fish enjoyed the refreshing of their pond. They are still eating well - three square meals a day. The seed I put on the bird table yesterday was still there, it appears the magpies and pigeons don't like it which is good to know.

Saturday - I had intended raking more leaves today but it was too windy (and cold in the north wind). I cleaned the small bird feeders, filled them with sunflower seeds and put more seed on the bird table.

I lightly pruned the roses so they don't get blown around too much and damaged over the next couple of months and put in the winter aconites and anemone nemerosa robin bulbs. November 5th today and the fireworks started early, it was barely dark. Two squadrons of geese flew over on their flight path home, the fireworks seemed a bit too close.

Sunday - patchy frost this morning and we still have the cold north wind. I moved the sweet pea seedlings from him indoors' workshop to the greenhouse now it's colder, hopefully they'll go into semi-hibernation. I raked the lawn of leaves,
I've filled one bag, perforated and sealed it and put it by the top shed (him indoors take note!). I also spent ages getting the leaves off the pond netting and scooping them out of the pond

Despite the cold weather, there is still some colour in the garden, this gorgeous azalea
an antirrhinum growing amongst the pots
blackcurrant sage
a fuchsia
a lovely red flower the name of which I'm having a senior moment with
hypericum ground cover recently planted and settling in well
and the grasses are still looking spectacular
Well that's it for this week, the weather for the week ahead is cold and frosty overnight (going into minus temperatures), cold and windy by day...and rain. Those lazy, balmy days of summer are just a distant memory. Have a good week, stay warm and catch up next weekend.
Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga