26 June 2019

Dorset Garden Diary - The Garden is Looking Great After All The Rain

I can't believe my last post was the 18th May - where does the time go!

Well, as you can imagine there has been a lot going on. The tadpoles have morphed into frogs and left the pond and we have a new generation of goldfish although they were late to appear. Both the blue tit parents survived this year (thankfully) and the chicks fledged the first week in June. They fluttered round the garden getting their bearings and chirping to each other and the parents. We've also had visits from starlings and goldfinches as well as the usual blackbirds and house sparrows. Haven't seen the heron about much though.

Unlike last year, we've had some rain. In fact, we've had a lot of rain which has been great for the garden, but it's also been cold at times, a couple of weeks ago the night-time temperature went down to 6C 43F which wasn't so great for the garden. This week we are on the brink of a heatwave. It's also been windy at times (it's blowing a gale at the moment - a warm one) and blew the petals off the tall purple (almost black) poppies, but not before I managed to get a pic - stunning aren't they and they grew to over five foot.
One of the plants was blown down and I cut off a bud and put it in the conservatory and two days later

As for other flowers - the  dwarf hydrangea (one of him indoors' favourites) is in flower

The snapdragons (antirrhinums) are popping up all over the place

The 'for your eyes only' rose (another of him indoors' favourites) is doing well
A lone foxglove made a welcome appearance
 The irises put on a splendid display this year
 And this lily has been delighting us for over a week
The pond garden has filled out
I'm letting the cottage garden do it's own thing this year and it's not disappointing

Poppies have decided to grow amongst the peas

And as for the veg - the peas, kale, courgettes, French beans and beetroot are doing well - I've never had peas grow this tall before
The potatoes are doing well but they haven't flowered although we still have spuds - strange
 The courgette plants are keeping up a steady supply
The other veg bed has leeks, little gem lettuce, edamame beans, dill, spinach, fennel an carrots
 Fingers crossed the plums will do well - last year the first crop failed because there was no rain
 In the greenhouse the tomatoes are coming on

 We have cucumbers
 And the onions, shallots and garlic are lifted and drying

 This is an avocado plant grown from seed/stone
 And this is an apricot tree grown from seed
I love this. I know it's a weed but it's large and perfect

Well that's it. Hope you've enjoyed seeing how the garden is progressing. It goes without saying (although obviously I will say it) that him indoors works steadily behind the scenes.

Tomorrow the temperature is due to hit 27C 81C - that should ripen up the tomatoes and fill the pea pods.

18 May 2019

Dorset Garden Diary - The Pain is Worth It...Almost!

The start of this blog is similar to the start of the previous one - I've hurt my back gardening! This time it was watering the plants. I know I should've used the hose and taken it easy, but I decided to use the water butts and the watering cans. Result??? I've put my back out again. The problem is my head doesn't realise my body is twenty years older than it thinks it is!!

I've been out there for a couple of hours today putting in the French beans, weeding, watching the sparrows bathe in the bird bath and being serenaded by blackbirds. I have taken it easy...honestly.

The veg beds are coming on - garlic, assorted onions, lettuce, edamame beans, radishes, kale, carrots and dill
Peas, kale, beetroot, radishes, courgettes and dwarf French beans plus marigolds to keep the black fly away (hopefully)
The courgette I'm growing in a pot is already producing, it's way ahead of the two in the veg bed - I thought it would be the other way round.

And the spuds (early charlottes and pentland javelin) have put on a spurt - it's amazing how much they've grown since my previous blog.

All of the above are doing well because I've been watering them as we've not had any significant rain for over a week so, in a way, I've suffered for my art!

The sweet potatoes (beaureguard) arrived
these are now potted up and hardening off. It's the first time I've grown them.

And the rest is colour in the garden, starting with the red and white azaleas which need to be re-potted this year as they're looking a bit sorry for themselves

The For Your Eyes Only rose has flowered (him indoors' favourite)

In the cottage garden we have poppies in the making

and a delphinium that I know I haven't planted, but I'm glad it's here
the gladioli are looking a treat, as always

another of him indoors' favourites is the Ena Harkness rambling rose

The irises took me by surprise as they were hiding behind the lilac tree
and the dwarf lilac is looking good this year, this will also need re-potting for next year - pretty

The geums are doing better this year (they didn't like last year's drought conditions)

The antirrhiniums are, quite frankly, stunning

And finally, the pond. I've trimmed back the grass as it was dragging in the water.
It looks like the new fencing is working regarding the heron and it does look better than the netting. I've noticed the tadpoles have changed shape, they still have their tails but their bodies have developed and they look bigger than last year.

Well that's it for this week, the weather for the week ahead looks dry and warmish. Hopefully next time I blog I will be ailment free. Enjoy your gardening.

6 May 2019

Dorset Garden Diary - A Lot Can Happen in Two Weeks

Since all that gardening over the Easter weekend, my back is telling me I am at the age where I can't do that anymore. Over the past couple of weeks (whilst we were on holiday) I've been able to sit, I've been able to walk, but going from sitting to standing up straight, well, that's been a bit of a problem. It's easing now, so today I've been careful.

When we came back from holiday, the cucumbers and the tomatoes had nearly tripled in size

and the orchid that had a flower open now has four

We've had cooler days this last week and cold nights so I've been covering the peas and the courgettes overnight to protect them from potential frost

I'm hardening off the outdoor tomatoes before I plant them out

The lettuce are doing well

The potatoes I planted at Easter (I suspect these are the culprits regarding my back - all that bending down) are coming through

and talking of potatoes, I opened the composter this afternoon and there are potatoes growing inside it!

The clematis over the arch is now in full flower

and growing amongst it is wisteria. We've been here six years, it was planted by the previous owners and it's hardly grown let alone flower, until now, and the flowers are a gorgeous purple and white

The fruit trees have now shed all their blossom. It looks like it's going to be a bumper crop for the birds on the sour cherry tree

I thought I'd over-pruned the pear tree but there are some fruit starting to appear

and there's plenty on the plum tree again this year, fingers crossed we don't have another early drought and lose most of them again

I also gave the apple tree a good pruning and a good talking to as it hasn't produced any apples since we've been here. Well...it appears to have worked because there are actually fruits starting to show!!

Elsewhere, the geums are flowering well, they didn't like last year's dry weather
We have two white tulips that I haven't put in but most welcome

The antirrhinums are growing in abundance and wherever they feel like it

Yellow irises, they're a mystery as well, but also welcome

And today whilst I was weeding (carefully) I came across quite a few plants growing that I don't remember seeing last year, so I'll have to wait for them to flower to see what they are.

I planted more carrots, spring onions and radishes and thinned and re-planted the beetroot. I've re-potted the apricot seedling which has grown over six inches since Easter

and I also re-potted three avocados that have sprouted, an almond and another walnut...isn't nature wonderful!

Well, that's it for this week. Looks like it's going to warm up slightly during the week before getting cold again but we are expecting rain midweek which saves on the watering. Have a good gardening week and catch up soon.