28 May 2018

Dorset Garden Diary - The Flowers are Blooming and the Veg is Sprouting

Hi everyone,

Hope you're all enjoying the Bank Holiday. During the week severe thunderstorms were forecast for most of the weekend with flash flooding and high winds causing damage. Go to the other end of the scale and that's what we've had in Dorset...hot sunshine, high humidity and no storms. Actually, correction...we had a few flashes of lightning on Saturday night and about four rumbles of thunder. As for rain, well not enough to fill a teacup so it's no guessing what I'll be doing this evening.

The garden has pretty much looked after itself this week. I did the last earthing up of the potatoes in the bags
planted out the ornamental bronze fennel and angelica in the top beds (they grow to almost two metres), tied back the climbing rose Ena Harkness
and one of the For Your Eyes Only rose bushes came into flower
as have the delpiniums in the cottage garden

and the lupin
Elsewhere in the garden the gladioli are looking splendid

and the irises

Six o'clock Friday morning the seagulls were making one helluva racket and I thought 'heron'! And there it was, sat on top of next door's summer house
And that lunchtime we had a rare visit from the starlings - they swooped in and feasted on the lawn for about ten minutes then flew off.

I removed as much of the duckweed as I could from the cauldron pond and then went round the garden spraying the stubborn weeds and brambles with more industrial strength weedkiller.

I've sown fennel, more spring onions and carrots and moved some of the lettuce and beetroot seedlings from pots into the garden. I planted out one of the sunflowers in the top bed by the climbing roses and earthed up the potatoes in the veg bed.

Today I planted two of the outdoor cucumbers (jogger) in a grow bag and two in the veg bed and we'll see which grows best

I'm having a problem with the French and runner beans this year. Out of all the seeds I've sown I only have two plants as the rest have either been eaten by pesky slugs/snails or rotted in their pots. I'm trying one last time then that's it, I'm giving up. I planted out the next batch of peas - fingers crossed so far they are doing well. And in the greenhouse, the first flowers have appeared on the tomatoes

We have three new frogs by the pond

And talking of frogs, there was a small beige-coloured frog on top of the pond netting this morning, it hopped across then jumped onto the concrete lip and dived into the water with a plop.

The pond area is coming on
in fact, even though I say it myself, the garden is looking pretty good at the moment
One of the new buddleias is in flower in the top r/h side garden
and there is finally some growth on what I think is one of the apple trees I grew from seed a couple of years ago - another one of my 'wait and see what happens...'

So that's it for this week. The forecast for the week ahead is storms and heavy rain and sun - hedging their bets a bit there then. We'll see. Oh, almost forgot, the temperature in the greenhouse late morning was 37C 98F and the tickled pink sweet peas are in flower



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21 May 2018

Dorset Garden Diary - Sunshine All The Way

Hi everyone,

We were away for the weekend so there was plenty to do beforehand. The week has been warm and sunny with no rain so I had to make sure the garden had a good soaking.

During the week I topped up the pond as the level had dipped, although the tadpoles didn't seem to mind

I potted up the padron peppers and the razzmatazz chillies, earthed up the charlotte potatoes in the bags and the pentland and maris pipers in the garden
The garlic and onions are doing well, I've planted the carrots next to them to hopefully keep the carrot fly away and the kale is inbetween the rows to stop the pigeons eating them - so far it's working.

On Wednesday one of the blue tits went into the nesting box so hopefully there are chicks in there and earlier in the day the heron did a majestic glide past. And of course, the sparrows and blackbirds are everywhere.

On Thursday morning when I went to feed the fish one of the terracotta pots had been knocked over by something - maybe the squirrel searching for walnuts it buried last autumn! I topped up the cauldron pond and removed the duck weed, mowed the lawn, earthed up the spuds again, potted on the courgettes and dwarf runner bean into growing bags

put netting around the cane wigwams in one of the veg beds and planted the runner and french beans seedlings that had grown, the rest didn't take so I've sown more seeds.

I planted the sunflower in front of the climbing roses in the top bed...and talking of climbing roses, we have buds
and we have buds on one of the pot roses

New in flower this week are:
the ladybird poppy
unknown (actually I do know but the name escapes me at the moment!) in the pond alpine garden

lily of the valley I planted a couple of years ago
the plant that I grew from a cutting that came off in my hand when I stopped by it!
miniature viola growing on the path, it's about two inches high and gorgeous
in the bed by the patio the yellow poppies are mingling with the red and white azaleas
and taken this morning, a close up of the white and yellow, I think it's stunning

And, as you are all aware, I have a thing about trees and had to take a pic of this one - love the shape and colour.

So that's it for this week. The weather forecast is for more of the same with maybe a shower today or tomorrow so it looks like I'll be out watering this week. Enjoy the sun and catch up next week.



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13 May 2018

Dorset Garden Diary - The Veg is Growing and a Visit from the Heron

Hi everyone,

The temperature has nearly halved this week, some nights it's only been 5C 41F and the daytime temperature hasn't got past 15C 59F compared to 25C 77F last weekend - Bank holiday Monday was a scorcher.

I put in the second sowing of the peas, French and runner beans although the first sowings haven't been that successful...I sowed six of each and I have one of each growing
(the French bean was shy and moved out of the way when I took the pic!)
I put the tomatoes (gardeners' delight and red cherry) in the grow bags. There is one bag in the greenhouse and another in one of the cold frames outdoors (the outdoor cucumbers will go in there as well) and I'll see which grows best)

I spent about three hours weeding the front and back gardens, I can't believe how the weeds have grown after all that rain and a couple of hot days.

Wednesday - and we had an early morning visitor
I know...another heron pic, but it is magnificent!

It was very chilly today and I was wishing I hadn't put my winter clothes away. I received a reply back from the RSPB regarding the head banging blue tit. Apparently, it thinks it's reflection is a rival and so it keeps trying to attack it. The solution, if it keeps going to the same place, is to put something behind the glass to stop the reflection. But I can't because it works it's way around the outside of the greenhouse. This is the first year I've seen this behaviour so I am thinking that it must be one of last year's brood. Isn't it amazing that it recognises what it looks like even though it doesn't have the capacity to realise it's looking at itself.

Sunday - I haven't had an opportunity to get out in the garden since Wednesday apart from feeding the fish and the birds and to open and shut the greenhouse and cold frames. Today it was warmer but windy so there was still a chill in the air. There hasn't been any activity in and out of the blue tit nesting box this week so I'm wondering if they've fledged.

I tied up the sweet peas and re-potted marigolds and poppies from the greenhouse - not sure we need more poppies but they were one of my unknowns. In the greenhouse the chillies, cucumbers and courgettes and carrots are coming along nicely

In the garden the sunflower needs planting out
In the pots the alstroemeria has come into flower
one of the azaleas
the geum

and the yellow poppies are in abundance

the arch is looking amazing with the clematis on top and the wisteria winding it's way up the sides

And in the garden the spuds are coming along

I'm pleased the dahlia in the cottage garden survived the icy winter
there is some colour in the cottage garden
the aquilegias are re-seeding everywhere
the border by the greenhouse has suddenly sprung to life
the plums are starting to grow
and...after three years we have our first gooseberry forming...yay!!! Although sadly, one gooseberry does not a crumble make.
I discovered this in my 'wait until it grows to see what it is' section...pretty
And finally, something has been sleeping on the daffodil leaves

That's it for this week. Looks like we're in for another chilly night tonight, Tuesday's looking like a warm day then it cools again until the weekend. No rain in sight so looks like it's going to be a busy week watering. Have a good gardening week...



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