My garden this weekend – 9th March 2014

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Yellow describes this weekend – the sun has shone, the daffodils have bloomed and I have had two happy days gardening. Last weekend having only one day’s good weather I charged around the garden and the same was true yesterday but today, being greeted by a second sunny day the sense of panic gardening eased and I almost managed to potter!

2014_03090013As ever I had a ridiculous list of jobs I wanted to achieve this weekend.  The priorities were pruning the roses and emptying the second compost bin.  The drive for pruning the roses came from a talk last Monday at the local horticultural society  on roses.  The speaker advocated hard pruning at this time of year.  It turns out that despite my smallish garden I have acquired 9 roses, with most of them purchased in the last two years but it still didn’t take long to prune them.  As for the compost bin, as I said in my last post, my compost making is really slap dash.  I bought an extra bin this time last year but it ended up being filled with the turf we lifted to make the Big Border so my plan for being organised failed.  Anyway,  the first bin was emptied about a month ago but the bins were still overflowing and out of hand.  With my eldest son’s help we soon emptied the second bin – it was good to see that only a small layer on top was not composted down.  The contents were put on the Big Border as a thick mulch as you can see above (I must round off that angular corner on the path).

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After this arduous job was completed I spent the rest of the day weeding and tidying the 2014_03090020cottage garden border along the top of the wall.  It was pleasing to see the Delphinium shoots just beginning to nose through the soil.  As I have in past years, I took the opportunity to scatter some pre-emptive slug pellets.  I have found that doing this gives the plants a chance to get good strong shoots above ground and they seem to do well.  At my local HPS group they call this approach The Valentines Day Massacre because shoots often start to appear around Valentines Day!

I know that I planted out some peonies in the Big Border but as yet there are no signs of any emerging shoots.  However, the tree peony which has had a rough ride in recent years since I bought it, is rewarding me for planting it out last spring and feeding it by producing some lovely new shoots. Who knows this year it may flower again like it was when I bought it, I seem to remember it had a beautiful soft yellow flower.

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Today, I started off with a little planting.  First up a Grevillea victoriae in the front garden border to add a little evergreen colour and also hopefully some more of the wonderful exotic grevillea flowers which I love.  Then the last big plant move for a while – moving a large persicaria from near the workshop to the woodland border.  It was a bit of a beast but it is moved and well watered in which means I can start to sort out the area around the workshop soon.

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Next up I brought all the hardy succulents out of the garage where they have over wintered.  I stored them under cover, despite their hardiness, due to the plants being in small pots and I was worried they would freeze if left outside.  The majority of these plants are destined for the border in the front garden under the window along with the aloes etc.  They need a lot of tidying up but I think I will do that when I have decided what is going where.  In the meantime they have had a good water so they should perk up.

2014_03090042I had planned to sow more seeds but instead I decided that I needed to follow my resolution this year to be a better gardener and sort through the cold frames.  They are both full of pots of seeds, some sown a year ago, and seedlings from last year.  Some of the seedlings have died over winter.  I suspect that the compost I potted them up in was too damp which is why all my compost is now under cover.  I have decided I’m not allowed to sow any more seeds until I have sorted both cold frames out – not sure if I will stick to that.  The auriculas grown from seed two years ago were all repotted with fresh compost and last year’s auricula seedlings were also potted up.

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One cold frame has been sorted now and a start on the second.  I am thrilled to see I have peony seedlings from seed sown last year.  Peonies start by putting a root down first so it can be a good year before there is any sign of life above soil – patience is essential.

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The work was rounded off by sweeping up the patio and removing the last of the winter debris and mulching the roses with manure.

A completely satisfying and rewarding weekend – here’s hoping that next weekend will be as good.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. It sounds like you’ve had a really fantastic weekend. I’ve been potting up my begonias and dahlias, pruning a climbing rose and sowing more sweet peas. There’s a surprising amount to do once you get going!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi FG
      Absolutely, once you get going there is no end

  2. Cathy says:

    Oh Helen – you will be worn out after all this! I hope you have now treated yourself to lolling about in a hot bath with a good book or magazine….

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Cathy
      Oh yes I did have a long hot bath

  3. Yvonne Ryan says:

    I hope you are better at keeping your resolutions then me! Our garden club visited an amazing brommilliard and tropical overlooking the upper Waitamata Harbour last week and despite saying to the ladies “I am a plantaholic’ and I must not buy any plants as I don’t have my own garden – I sucummed and bought one smallish one with purple blobby flowers on it. It did have two babies tho’! summer back – sea still 22 degrees and lovely also pool at my appartment tho’ not back there yet!

  4. jclaughter says:

    Marathon gardening. Love your energy. I am inspired to take on more gardening projects.

  5. Pauline says:

    Wasn’t the weather wonderful over the weekend! As always you leave me exhausted with all the jobs you manage to do. We made good inroads into cutting back all the dead stems from last year and that has made such a difference to the look of the garden, just don’t look at all the weeds though, that will come when the ground has dried out a bit more!

  6. Ricki Grady says:

    I do so identify with the idea of panicky gardening…trying to rush around and do a bit of everything pretty much ensures that I will accomplish not much of anything. Nicer days ahead here too though, so perhaps a more methodical approach will emerge. You set a fine example.

  7. Rick says:

    Interesting to see that your speaker advocated hard pruning at this time of the year for your roses. I always prune twice, once in the late autumn to reduce the amount of growth which can contribute to loosening the plant through wind-rock and again in the spring when the strongest buds can be identified and any frost damaged wood can be eliminated. In your first picture is that Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’, if not what is it? On your interest in greenhouses please visit my last post showing the change of use through the last 10 or so years mainly due to the escalating price of heating.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Rick
      You are right the plant is Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’, its a we aquisition.

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