31 December 2017

Dorset Garden Diary - Happy New Year

Hope you all had a good Christmas.

It's been a mixed end to the year in the garden. We've had sunny days followed by frosty nights (the fish pond froze over a couple of times)

We've had gales that have blown open the door on the pottering shed, accompanied by torrential rain, thunderstorms and mild temperatures.

The plants in the greenhouse are happy and the poppy and sweet pea seedlings are coming on nicely

There are flowers in bloom

and the grass is very green for this time of the year although we will have to repair some of the patches next year. There are already buds on some of the trees and the bulbs are coming up.

The onions have come on

 and there is one fennel growing (they didn't grow in the summer!)
Looking back over the year, the runaway success has to be the potatoes, closely followed by the peas, carrots, tomatoes, garlic and chillies. The disasters were the cucumbers - lots of foliage but only about three decent cucumbers from four plants and, as usual, the courgettes...they just don't seem to like growing here. The pot grown runner and French beans were a disappointment so I'll go back to growing them in the garden next year.  And I dug up the last of the parsnips on Christmas morning for lunch - very tasty but weird shapes (nothing new there then)!

Over the past week him indoors has sorted out the top of the garden and is on his way to the recycling centre with the garden rubbish as we speak. He also emptied some of the compost out of the large bin and moved it so it's easier to get to then cleaned out the blue tits' nesting box ready for their return. I pruned the acer tree and we still have the climbing roses to prune. Over the month I've been digging in coffee grounds into the beds to nourish the soil and regularly topping up the bird feeders which have been visited regularly by the blue tits, sparrows and chaffinches. My intention was to clear out the pottering shed but it hasn't happened yet so that is a job for the new year together with cleaning the pots and digging in the homemade compost.

The fish have semi-hibernated although some of them are surfacing on the milder days. I've been feeding them now and again but they're not really interested. The level of the pond is high due to all the rain we've had and there's more forecast.

A couple of days after Christmas we had a visitor to the garden

I tried to get a closer shot but it flew away very gracefully. It was wandering around the garden for a few minutes. I know I've said it before but it's a stunning bird and now we have the netting over the pond it's nice to see it in the garden.
Well, that's it for this year and I'm already planning for next year. 
Happy New Year to you all and catch up soon.
Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga

27 November 2017

Dorset Garden Diary - It's Been a Quiet November

Hi everyone,

November's been a mixed month here in Dorset. We've had some frost but mainly it's been mild and wet and very windy at times but that looks set to change as a cold front is coming in this week.

We now have a daily visit from a young squirrel and the sparrows are feeding well and emptying the feeders. Over the last week the fish have been eating less but are still active. And...this morning I looked out of the back window and the heron was sitting on the back fence
The seagulls were none too happy and started to dive bomb it. A couple of hours later it was in next door's garden peering into their pond!

The onions and garlic I planted at the beginning of the month are growing well, the onions may be too well for this time of the year but I've been assured they will stop when the weather gets colder.

The plants in the greenhouse are doing well. The olive tree has more olives on it

And the poppies and sweet pea seeds have sprouted and in the black pot at the back are the lemon verbena cuttings which have taken
Three of the garlic bulbs I grew this year have started to sprout so I've planted them...we'll see what happens

And after not doing much in the summer the fennel has now decided to grow

Him indoors mowed the lawn yesterday, probably for the last time this year, and we still have some colour in the garden thanks to the milder days

This morning I put more pond clear solution into the pond, it's definitely looking clearer and I also sprinkled coffee grounds over the flower and veg beds to give them some nutrition and hopefully in the next week I can dig in some of our own compost.
Well that's it for now, catch up before Christmas.
Kind regards,
Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga


29 October 2017

Dorset Garden Diary - A Quiet Week And Some Pics From a Devon Break

Evening everyone,

It's been a bit of a nondescript week regarding the weather. Apart from one day that felt like summer it's been murky and foggy and damp and miserable. Today's been warm and sunny though, albeit a bit windy. And now it's getting darker an hour earlier. I was looking forward to my extra hour but today seems to have gone on forever.

I moved the olive tree, lantana huff, lemon tree and alstroemeria plants into the greenhouse this morning as it's forecast to get colder from tomorrow and we could have some frost
There was a tomato plant growing in with the alstroemeria
I've pulled it out but it was growing well and even had flowers on it.

Also in the greenhouse is the jasmine, bougainvillea and mimosa. I  potted on the poppy seedlings and sowed sweet pea tickled pink which are on the shelving in the greenhouse along with some cuttings and the three lemon plants grown from seed.

I replenished a couple of the bird feeders and hung out the fat balls. The seed feeders have suffered in the gales we had and are basically beyond cleaning so I will get new ones. There are a lot of red admiral butterflies in the garden this afternoon.

Earlier in the week I went out to pull up some carrots. The parsnip leaves have drooped and are starting to go brown and I started to move one out of the way...and stopped. Because it wasn't a leaf...
it was this little fella. Thankfully I stopped just in time and saved us both from unnecessary squealing!

The only other job I've done this week (apart from feed the fish who are still loving the full pond) is rake the leaves off the lawn and put them at the back of the beds as shelter for wildlife and also for the worms. Did you see Autumnwatch during the week? There was a piece about how worms drag the fallen leaves into the earth and, of course, the leaves are good for the soil. Nature is amazing.

On a walk round the garden I discovered the miniature buddleia in flower (it didn't do anything in the summer!)

and the winter jasmine.
It's taken a couple of years to get established but looking good now.
A couple of weeks ago I went on a short break to Devon with work. We went to Paignton Zoo and this tree caught my eye, contrasting with the surrounding green and reflected in the water

And when we visited the reptile house I had to take a pic of this...
 which is...
We stayed in a hotel on the banks of the River Teign and the view was amazing (this doesn't do it justice)

And then on another trip we went to Babbacombe Model Village which I definitely recommend. This gorgeous acer caught my eye as soon as we went in
and these trees
It's an incredible place and must have taken a lot of hard work and patience to create.

The fish weren't small though
Well that's it for this week. According to Countryfile, October has been a dull, dry and warm month but over the next couple of days the temperature is falling close to freezing overnight then mainly dry and warming up slightly.

I'm not going to tidy up the garden too much now until the spring so that the birds and other wildlife can make use of the seed heads and shelter so I'll be blogging once a month for a while. Have a good month and catch up at the end of November.



Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga

22 October 2017

Dorset Garden Diary - An Autumn of Wacky Weather

Evening everyone,

Hope your gardens have survived Storm Brian. Here a couple of plant pots were blown over, the insect shield across the greenhouse door came down and, thankfully, that was it. The fish are enjoying the high water level in the pond which is the closest it's been to the overhang

Unfortunately, I've not had much chance for gardening over the past couple of weeks and it's interesting to see what's been happening. The Webb's lettuce and spring onion seeds that I scattered  have grown

and the onions sets I planted three weeks ago are growing rapidly
am wondering if they're supposed to be growing this quick.

I cut back the dead wood on the pear tree (not sure I've done it right but I'll find out next year!) and I've been out a few times to rake the leaves off the grass (not the best job to do on a windy day) and put them in piles at the back of the flower beds for insects to over winter in.

The day before the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia were due to land I tidied up the pots etc at the side of the pottering shed - before
and after

a job that has been long overdue. It was a perfect autumn day and reminded me why I like this season...the light is mellow and the air is still balmy from the summer.

Last Monday the weather was weird. Early morning, the sky was a green-ish yellowy colour and the sun, when it could get through the flat blanket of cloud, was red. Then the wind dropped and it felt eerie and came over dark. Spooky. We found out later that Ophelia had brought us sand from the Sahara and smoke from fires in Spain and Portugal.

The rest of this week has been damp and misty and foggy and raining and windy. Thursday it rained so hard for a short time that water was running down the roads in rivers. Since Friday night it's been incredibly windy. It's hard to take a pic of the wind but I hope these convey how windy it's been.

I've put in more pond clear - the water is definitely clearer, and I cleared leaves out of the small cauldron pond.

Something has been burrowing through the gravel and under the back gate.
The photo doesn't show it clearly but it must be something quite big as the furrow is a good foot across and 6-8 inches deep Just goes to show, if something wants to get in you can't stop it. Wonder what it is??

Next door's bay tree is growing through the fence - that's useful!
the poppy seedlings will need re-potting this week
and the birds left me some raspberries - so kind!
I managed to get the garlic (French germidour) planted today, a job I've been meaning to do for over a week.
Well that's it...the weather for the coming week is changeable, getting warmer then getting colder. Have a good week and catch up next Sunday.
Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga

8 October 2017

Dorset Garden Diary - It's Feels Like Summer

Hi everyone,

Didn't think I'd be blogging after a week away but it's been a mild week, the flowers are enjoying the clement weather and today has been like summer. From early morning the garden was full of birds (the sparrows were in full chirrup until lunchtime) and the blue tits, collared doves, magpies and pigeons were pottering.

Him indoors did a good job of looking after the garden whilst I was away although he did spoil the fish! I haven't done any gardening but I thought I'd share the flowers that are enjoying the early autumn mild weather - this alstroemeria is back in flower for a third time
The primulas are starting to emerge
 The  'fried egg' rose is flowering again
 as is Ena Harkness

I think this is coreopsis (almost certain) so pretty hiding amongst foliage
 I love the faces on these violas - they look so grumpy!
 and the pond garden is still colourful with verbena, black cornflowers and lodging snapdragons
On my walk around the 'estate' I see that something has been burrowing into the soil around the new apple tree we planted last week
not sure if it's bumble bees or could be toads or frogs...maybe??

The squirrel has been active and is now burying walnuts in my pots - this one is the gardenia
but hey...this is a wildlife garden!

Due to the warmth there have been two surprises in the garden...
one of the onions I planted last week to overwinter has started to grow

and the purple poppies have started to emerge...really pleased.

Although I love being in the garden every day, it's also nice to come back to it after a week or so to see how it's grown and changed.

So that's it for this impromptu blog. The weather for next week is staying mild and maybe windy at times with the chance of shower. Have a good week and catch up next weekend.



Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga