28 May 2017

Dorset Garden Diary - Weeding, Tidying and Pottering

Evening everyone,

It's been a sunny and, at times, a very warm week culminating in a thunder storm and heavy rain. The garden is growing quicker than I can keep up with it...it's a full time job!

Monday - a warm and sunny day and the garden was alive with butterflies, blackbirds and sparrows and the blue tits made a return visit but not for long. I fed the onions and garlic with liquid seaweed

and earthed up the King Edward spuds.

A plant I'd sown from a seed head a couple of years ago is now growing and in flower, I've no idea what it is though

Tuesday - cloudy and humid most of the day. I didn't have much chance to garden today but I did feed the fish five times as they were hungry, waiting just below the surface to pounce. The blue tits were around again, popping into the nesting box a couple of times.

Wednesday - another cloudy and warm day. I checked the greenhouse and another lemon seedling has appeared! I pricked out the side shoots on the tomatoes, planted out more parsnips, potted on a French bean that I'd forgotten about and fed the runner beans and peas with liquid seaweed.

Thursday - hot, sunny with a strong breeze which was most welcome. I fed the fish a few times...I think maybe the frogs have slipped away at night because there's still no sign of them. The first plums are forming

but only a few. I planted out more peas and sowed the next batch.

Friday - amazing sunrise at 5am and a cloudless, sunny day. A robin was hopping around the garden when I fed the fish early...they must have still been asleep as they took a while to surface. We have a new addition to the garden
I haven't got a name for him yet.

I weeded one of the top beds, moved a small shrub as it was being crowded and planted a rudbeckia and echinacea which will fight their corner. Him indoors mowed the lawn,

secured the portable greenhouse so it doesn't blow over again then went out to get some BBQ provisions which were very tasty with a glass of chardonnay. It was a lovely sitting in the garden this evening.

Saturday - misty and cloudy to start. We had a thunderstorm overnight and there's more forecast for the rest of the weekend, apparently. Today was spent weeding and tidying, it's looking good


This is where the Spanish bluebells were, hopefully they won't be growing again
I've put in lavender, rosemary, lemon verbena, ivy and echinacea.

Him indoors also tidied up the honeysuckle that was sprawling everywhere

I re-potted the aloe vera and samphire

and sorted out the pottering shed - it's never been this tidy during the growing season, even I'm impressed!

Sunday - the day started sunny but fresher then the rain came in the afternoon. We went to the garden centre this morning and bought some plants (no surprise there)
alstromeria (princess Diana), dwarf lily (matrix), leucothe (royal ruby) and erysium (bowles mauve)

papaver (allegro)

We also bought more compost, horticultural grit and some wood as him indoors is making me a new potting table. We were going to make a start on the front garden

but that will have to wait until next week now. Whilst we were having lunch in the conservatory the blue tits were in and out of the nesting box, blackbirds were rooting around in the flower beds and a goldfinch was fluttering about.

The 'for your eyes only' roses are flowering
and all the spuds are doing well

In fact, it's all looking good at the moment

In between the showers this afternoon I planted out the poppy in the cottage garden and put the lily and leucothe in pots in the patio garden.

Well that's it for this week, we've achieved quite a lot. Watched Countryfile this evening and it looks like the thunderstorms have disappeared, there may be a shower this evening but it's looking dry for the rest of the week. Enjoy your gardening week and catch up next weekend.



Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga

21 May 2017

Dorset Garden Diary - At last...Much Needed Rain

Hi everyone,

The rain at the beginning of the week has kick-started the plants and veg - just what they needed although it's been so windy everything has dried out again. I need to make a correction regarding the name of my blue poppy. The Meconopsis Group kindly tweeted me to say that it is actually Meconopsis Baileyi. Thank you for that.

Monday - well my rain dance did the trick, lashings of it and the garden is looking lush once again. Pulled back the conservatory blinds this morning and saw this
Not quite sure why it's toppled over as we've had far windier days. Maybe something landed on it. Anyway, it wasn't as bad as it looks, I only lost a few beetroot and parsnip seedlings. Yesterday I'd moved the bougainvillea and the mimosa out of the greenhouse to get a good soaking and it fell over them but, as luck would have it, they were inbetween the shelves so no damage. I righted it and put a couple of troughs on the bottom shelf. I then sowed more beetroot, parsnips plus cosmos tango. I've also sown more lemon seeds - I don't know what I'll do if they all take!

The shade garden has suddenly come to life and is filling out


I forgot to mention, popped into one of the local coffee houses over the weekend and they were giving away big bags of used coffee grounds. They said I could have as many as I wanted but unfortunately I could only carry two, but I'll be going back for more for the garden

Tuesday - what a difference a day of rain makes. All the potatoes have grown at least 6 inches since the weekend so the first job today was to earth them up.
In fact, it was the only job that I did today - apart from feeding the fish - as it was drizzly.

Wednesday - I woke early this morning (just after 6) and it was eerily quiet. I looked out the window and there were no birds, there was no wind, no sound of cars. No noise, nothing moving. Just mist clinging to the hedgerows. I was busy all day so again all I did was feed the fish who are getting hungrier and hungrier each day. They sound like someone crunching biscuits when they eat the food!

Thursday - sunny today and windy. I fed the fish and checked the bird feeders. I'd left the seed trays out in the rain so they would get a good wash and I emptied the water from them into the watering cans. The garden is looking lush and the water butts are full. I'm happy again. The courgettes will be ready for eating soon

the patio pot garden is looking colourful
this is the silverbush I bought in the spring
the sweet peas have shot up

and so have the peas (pentland javelin spuds in the foreground)

I picked radishes, spring onions, baby spinach and lettuce for my lunch and kale, swiss chard and baby spinach for my dinner. I planted out parsnip seedlings, pruned back the forsythia, cut off the suckers on the plum tree, pruned the ingrowing branches on the lemon tree and top dressed the pot. And talking of lemons, another seedling has appeared from the seeds I planted at the beginning of the year. I potted up three more cucumbers, trimmed back the clematis by the blue tits nesting box and chopped the tops off the weeds around the pond. I want to leave them there so the frogs have shelter when they leave the pond, although there's still no sign of the little ones.

There is a spider on the windowsill in the pottering shed. Now, I'm not that keen on them but he sits there quite happily watching the world go by. I picked up the three clay feet, which are on the windowsill, to put under the lemon pot for drainage. The spider was behind them and it started running round in circles so I put them back. For whatever reason, known only to the spider, it's important they stay on the windowsill - so I put the lemon pot on the gravel instead.

Friday - sunny, warm and very windy. The sort of day you need a fleece, get too hot then when you take it off you feel chilled. I watched last week's Gardeners' World last night and one of the things mentioned was don't plant things too close, leave gaps so that the plants can grow into their shape. I dug out the white daisy in the cottage garden as it was stopping the grass from falling in its natural shape and one of the freebie plants I received. Now the grass has fallen into a lovely shape, just like a good haircut. I re-planted the freebie in another part of the cottage garden. I wanted to plant the white daisy in the back bed but I had to clear it first, the weeds are rampant. I cut back all the daffodil leaves as they are untidy. I know I shouldn't but the daffodils have been established long enough to grow well next year. I then weeded behind the quince tree. I found the clematis I planted last year that hadn't grown...it's now as high as the fence but no flowers yet. There is a bud on the orange rose and also a foxglove is growing. I planted the daisy behind the quince tree and still have the front of it to clear. There are flowers on the Duke of York spuds plus I earthed up the Charlotte's in the garden and in the bags.

Saturday - a humid day, mostly sunny with a short shower in the morning. I fed the fish and pottered for a while but didn't achieve much so decided to have a lazy day apart from sowing coriander, lemon basil, poppy 'black beauty' and ammi majus (bishop's flower) and fennel. And earthed up the King Edward spuds. Yesterday, when I re-planted the daisy, I noticed that some of the quince leaves had gone brown so I trimmed them off. I Watched Gardeners' World last night and Monty was talking about frost damage on leaves and I realised that's what it was. He also said don't cut them off. Oops! Another tip is to keep the blue poppy misted as they don't like drying out.

Sunday - sunny, warm and windy. My neighbours said the heron was about early this morning but the seagulls chased it away. Conflict of interest here as it's a lovely bird but I don't want it near our fish. I weeded between the carrots and spring onions, sprayed weedkiller on the weeds at the top of the garden near the quince tree, planted out the rest of the parsnip albion seedlings, verbena bonariensis and beetroot. It's all coming along nicely - both the 'for your eyes only' roses are in bud

the first flower on the sweet peas
delicate grass in one of the chimney pots
not sure if this is a daisy or dahlia but it's a lovely colour
the shrubs are giving the garden plenty of colour
as are the gladioli and the delphinium black knight (in the background)
a closer look - stunning
And finally these are the apple trees grown from seed last year. I thought they were the same variety but they are different so it will be interesting to see what varieties they are
Well that's it for another week. Watched Countryfile and the weather for the week ahead is warm and dry so back to the water butts. Have a good week's gardening and catch up next weekend.
Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga

14 May 2017

Dorset Garden Diary - A Blue Poppy and a Plethora of Tomato Seedlings

Hi everyone,

It's been another mostly dry week with no sign of the significant rain forecast. All we had was a few spots of drizzle, so I've had to water the garden and the butts are running low again.

Monday - while we were out walking at the weekend we came across these leaves with red bits sticking out of them. At first we thought it was insects but it looks like they're actually growing out of the leaf

We also solved the mystery of a shrub that starts growing each spring and dies off in the autumn - it's a wisteria
Apparently, so I've been told, there are some  older varieties that can take years to develop. Probably why it's never flowered and hasn't grown to more than a couple of feet so far, but the leaves are pretty. When I checked the garden and greenhouse this morning, one of the lemon seeds I planted a couple of months ago has sprouted

the white azalea buds have opened

also the weigela flowers
and we have the first flowers on the tomatoes

Tuesday - a sunny start then clouded over, then cleared again. I was having breakfast in the conservatory and noticed the absence of the blue tits, they must have fledged. Always sad when they leave. Later in the day a robin came into the pottering shed for a look round. All the spuds needed earthing up especially the Duke of Yorks and the Charlottes. It reached over 70F 21C in the greenhouse this afternoon. I sowed more carrots (chantenay red and large) and parsnips white gem as the original sowing hasn't taken, although the albion parsnips are doing well

I re-potted the radish and rudbeckia seedlings. The fish were hungry today, not all of them have surfaced yet. I did some weeding and found four tomato plants growing in the new gravel bed by the pond and a couple in flower pots. It must've been windy the day I sowed them!

Wednesday - it was a chilly night. Sunny today but a chill wind. I covered the patio blackcurrant and bush raspberry with netting to stop the birds eating the fruit when it develops

I brought some of the plants out of the greenhouse to harden off and planted out half of the cornflower seedlings plus echinacea, geum, lavender and all of the ladybird poppies, then watered them in. Also potted up the remaining two courgettes. Topped up the bird table - no magpies since our last adjustment (brilliant) - and fed the fish a few times. They are pouncing on it as soon as it hits the water. Him indoors moved the robin nest box to a lower position as we haven't had any success with it so far. He then tinkered with the netted frame we use for when the greenhouse door is open to stop birds flying in. He moved the sundial from beside the pond (as he keeps knocking the top off and has to stick it back on), put the pond pump back in and carefully pulled out half of the aerating weed as it was taking over. It looks much better

The hazelnut tree looked stunning with the sun shining on the leaves (the pic doesn't do it justice, unfortunately).
Thursday - warm and sunny then became cloudy and humid. Rain was forecast overnight but it didn't happen so him indoors mowed the lawn this morning. One of the blue tits came back to the nesting box a couple of times this morning. It didn't go in, just peered into it. We have the first flowers on the courgettes

Him indoors went to the garden centre for more compost then he put green netting over the top of the greenhouse to stop the sun burning the plants

The fish were hungry again today, I fed them five times and it was gone in seconds. Still no sign of any baby frogs. I planted out the first of the beetroot seedlings, planted one of the Hestia runner bean plants in the garden and the others in containers

then I earthed up all the spuds as they've grown a good 4-5 inches since Monday. It's surprising how long it all takes...unless I'm getting slower!

Friday - more rain forecast but all we had was a few spots here and there. Cloudy today. I was busy most of the day but did give the garden a good soaking just in case the promised rain overnight didn't materialise. One of the meconopsis (Himalayan blue poppy) is in flower
my first success!

Saturday - the ground was slightly damp this morning, but I'm still glad I watered yesterday. I tackled the cottage garden today as it's become overgrown with the ground cover I planted late last year - it's run riot and suffocating everything. It took me a couple of hours.

And after

I then cut back all the daffodil leaves and generally tidied up, cleaned out the cauldron pond and planted out more of the geums, Echinacea and lavender. And I found this miniature antirrhinum growing on the patio, it's about two inches high
I also found another three tomato plants growing in the gravel bed!

Sunday - a sunny start but unfortunately, it's a no gardening day for me, but I did pinch out the tomatoes, water the greenhouse and feed the fish. And...I have figured out the mystery of the tomato seedlings. The gravel for the new bed and top of the pots came from the greenhouse, and I grow the tomatoes in the greenhouse. Even though it had been cleaned and sieved, seeds or roots from last year still sprouted. Isn't nature amazing!

I'll have to leave it there. The weather for the week ahead looks changeable and we could be having rain...but don't hold your breath! Have a good week and catch up next Sunday.



Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga