Safely stored away

A bit of a panic today when I saw that temperatures might go down to 3C tonight and tomorrow night. 

Whilst I had started to move some of my tender plants under cover a few weeks ago the job was far from complete.  I had been putting it off partly due to the hefting of heavy pots but also because the greenhouse with a few pots tastefully arranged was looking very smart. 

So with fingers quickly beginning to chill I scooted round the garden between showers collecting up the assorted pots.  The pelargoniums were cut back and in some cases transferred to small pots to over winter.  The succulents were gathered and in at least one case potted up into a larger pots.  This left the bergonias and the tender ferns which had got ridiculously big over the summer and obviously benefited from some months in the heat.

As you can see my greenhouse is tiny just 8ft x 8ft but it works very hard. I have rearranged the staging over the summer, trying a different layout to see if the space works better.  Previously the staging ran along both sides – we shall see how I get on over the winter; but I cant change it quickly due to the amount of gravel in the gravel trays.  The deeper gravel trays have drainage in the bottom of them so when I water the top layer the bottom layer also gets a soak.  I take this into account when I arrange the plants so for now I have placed the pelargoniums and bergonias underneath so they benefit from the residual water from the ferns and bulbs.  The other staging is shallower and with no drainage holes so I use the bottom shelf for either resting bulbs or succulents which do better kept almost dry over the winter.

I will rearrange as the months progress especially as the bulbs flower and pass on but I seem to have managed to get a better arrangement this year which allows me to stand in the greenhouse and see everything which is an improvement on last year.

There’s just the rest of the garden to sort out now, oh and a large box of bulbs to sort.

End of Month View – May 2014

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Due to the amount of rain and cool temperatures we have had in recent weeks the plants in the Cottage and Big Border have grown quite big and lush but the flowers are being slow to show their faces.  The Aquilegia are almost over but the Delphinium and Roses are getting ready to take over in the Cottage Border.  On both sides of the path the Geraniums are forming buds and hopefully it will just take a few days of sunshine and warmer temperatures for them to open.

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The path from the other end.  I have under planted the Cotinus with white Corncockle which may or may not work, we shall see.

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The staging is now home to some of the Pelargoniums, Sempervivums, some sun loving alpines and a few late flowering bulbs such as  Dichelostemma Ida-Maia.  The remaining gone over bulbs will shortly go into the greenhouse under the staging to dry out and I will move the tender succulents out to replace them.

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I am pleased with how the ‘Hardy Exotic Border’ is going.  There is some filling in to do with smaller plants.  I also have a trug full of tulip bulbs from the big pots and I think I am going to plant them out in this border.  If they flower, and I know many tulips don’t do well in their second year, then they will bring a colourful splash before the hardy plants get going again.

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The Damp Border is filling out with ferns and astible.  It isn’t the most photogenic border but one of those that you can appreciate more close up.

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The Trough in the front garden also isn’t that photogenic but it was only planted out a month ago and I need to add some pots of tender succulents around the Trough.

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For those long-suffering readers that endured last year’s End of Month Views on the front garden here it is now and finally I am enjoying it.  I think it just needed another year to bulk up.  There are gaps to be filled and some balancing to do but finally it makes me smile when I pull up on the driveway.

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Finally the middle path along the top of the Big Border.  I should be including a shot of the Patio Border but I am camera-less as the camera I have been borrowing from my son has gone with him to London for the weekend and mine is at the menders.  I am very pleased with how well the Big Border has filled out.  You wouldn’t believe that this time last year it was only a month old.

All are welcome to join in with this monthly meme and use it how they wish.  All I ask is that you link to this post in your post and leave a link to your post in the comment box below so we can all come for a nose around your garden.

The Greenhouse Year – April 2014

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2014_04190015Another month has passed and the greenhouse is full to bursting although the winter occupants are beginning to move out and the new spring tenants are starting to move in.  There has been a slight swop over with the succulents moving across the greenhouse to the slatted benching and the seedling trays moving to the gravel beds.  I think the seed trays do better with the humidity around them.  I really need to move the succulents out to make room for seedlings etc but I think it will be another few weeks before I can risk the weather.

The new shelves on the back wall are proving to be a wonderful investment.  They are freeing up some space and the agaves, aloes and pelargoniums on the top shelf seem to really like the heat.  Other

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occupants include Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos flavidus) which I have grown from seed and a bulbine frutescens also grown from seed.

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Seedlings are beginning to appear but I haven’t really started my sowing yet so you can see why I need more space.  The majority of seeds sown to date germinate well in the outside cold-frame but tomorrow I am planning to sow some tender annuals.  The grassy seedlings are white/cream camassias grown from seed collected from the garden last year.  I am quite pleased with them.

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The lower shelves are crammed full of pelargoniums, dahlia tubers and chrysanthemums.  They could all do with more light but with some regular moving around they will be fine until its warm enough for them to go outside.

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The small floor space is rather crowded with the plants that are too heavy or tall to go on the racking.  I think the Salvia involucrata boutin can be planted out on the slope soon. The Aeonium is in serious need of chopping so I might do that tomorrow.

So that’s my tiny greenhouse this month – I hope you enjoyed the tour.

My Garden This Weekend – 16/2/14

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Sunday was one of the nicest gardening days I can remember for months.  After weeks if not months of rain and rain the sun shone and you could see the positive effects on everyone.  Apparently this caused many people to have an overwhelming urge to visit the hills we are on the side of and the roads, so I am told, have been very busy. I was meant to go to an HPS snowdrop day over at Ragley Hall but due to various personal things that I won’t bore you with and also the prospect of negotiating more floods I decided not to go.  I am so glad I made this decision; spending a number of hours outside has been so good for my mental wellbeing and I am told the route I would have taken was almost stationary in places.

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Colour is beginning to appear in the garden especially on the patio staging where I was greeted with these three pots – I want to call them The Three Little Maids but they are all Iris histriodies ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’ so that seems a little disrespectful.

2014_02150005I was also thrilled to see Iris reticulata ‘Cantab’ which I had concluded weren’t going to flower but I was wrong.  I can also see now the difference between reticulata and histriodies – the recticulata have longer more grass like foliage before the flowers appear.  I understand that if you struggle with reticulata then it might be worth trying histriodies but I have not idea why!

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Spring has definitely arrived in the garden and I am rather chuffed at the snowdrops on the lower slope.  I worked on this area in Autumn planting bulbs, ferns and epimediums with the intention that this was a spring border with the ferns and epimediums giving some foliage interest in the summer and autumn.  There are small narcissus pushing their foliage up through the soil so hopefully they will follow on nicely from the snowdrops.

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As the ground is still very wet I decided that working in the garden was a little foolhardy and would do more damage than good.  Instead, I repotted all my pelargoniums.  My resolution this year is to be a better gardener and to focus on plant care rather than big projects so this was a good start to the year.  Some of the pelargoniums haven’t been properly repotted for a number of years.  I have also repotted them into plastic pots really to liberate my pot collection for other things and also because I haven’t decided how I will display the pelargoniums this summer – they are also a lot lighter to move.

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I had a moment of panic when I turned out the  Pelargonium worcesterea. I initially thought the roots were covered in some sort of larvae or eggs but these are the roots.  None of my other pelargoniums have roots like these but I understand from Fibrex Nurseries, via Twitter, that this is right and some pelargoniums have even weirder ones.  One of my ivy leaved trailing pelargoniums had ridiculously long roots given the size of the plant and I wonder if this is because they might grow in crevices in their native environment so  I think this plant needs a long root run so I might get a long tom pot for it.

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I spent the rest of the day tidying the hanging baskets and the border along the front driveway.  I pricked out some trays of seedlings which had been sown in the autumn and finally I raked the front ‘lawn’ to lift some of the moss that has got completely out of control.  I’m not someone who fusses about the quality of my lawn and I quite like moss but with all the rain it has gone mad and also seems to have gone somewhat yellow probably due to the low light levels and the state of the ground.  Having raked up some of the moss I then aerated the lawn with a fork to try to get some air into the soil and improve it.  You could hear it unsticking in some places!

All in all a wonderful day – fresh air, exercise, a sense of achievement and promise of more gardening days ahead.