Monday, 23 November 2015

Summer is nearly here!

OK so maybe the headline is a great big porky pie but it sure beats the truth - Winter has us in its grasp!
So keeping with the summer theme here's a few reminders to warm the old cockles - I have no clue what that means but I hear it all the time.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Autumn colouring and garden help

Wow, there's been a sudden change in the weather hasn't there! The layers of clothes needed to be out in the garden are greater by the day, though I admit I've become a bit of a wimp when it comes to the wind and I avoid it at all costs, I've been utilising those days to get the polytunnel cleared out ready for bringing plants in pots in for the winter. I hadn't quite realised the degree of mess in the PT though nor the amount of plants I actually have to bring in - despite me planting seemingly hundreds of plants every year I always seem to have an increase in young plants waiting to go out the following year.
I've been filling the new sleeper beds but this task is becoming more and more difficult due to the garden 'helpers'.
I put this cardboard down to smother the grass while I fill the bed with compost but I never seemed quick enough and every time my back was turned Huntly decided that the cardboard was obviously for him

This is a wooden crate I made years ago to grow something in that needed containing, I was supposed to be removing it but Kasa has decided it's more comfy than all the beds she has indoors - I felt awful kicking her out.

I manage to get Huntly out of the area I need to fill only to find that Atlas has moved in. These dogs are absolutely no help whatsoever but for some reason I feel awful moving them lol.

With my back to the sleepers this is the area I currently have to work on.

Despite the weather change I was pleased to see this plant flowering away outside - I forget the name of it but I have it in both red and pink. Always figured it would be too tender for being outside here but I guess not.

Choisya always looks good this time of year doesn't it! A plant I don't make enough use of and I'm determined to correct that in the new garden next year, I love this Autumn/winter colouring.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Garden sleepers and sand cuttings

I've been making the most of the mild weather we've been getting here. It's extremely unusual for the wind to be as absent as it has been for the past few weeks and I dare say we'll soon return to the usual windy conditions but until then I'm making the most of what we have.

I had promised myself that I wouldn't make a start on any more hard landscaping until I had caught up and cleared the rest of the garden which has been neglected all year but I couldn't help myself, I have hundreds of plants waiting to be put into the garden and want it all ready for them in spring. These poor plants have been housed in pots for too many years now and they're beginning to show signs of stress so it's important that I make them a home ready.
With this in mind I decided to build a retaining wall out of old old railway sleepers, these sleepers have seen better days to be honest but I have heaps of them and I needed a retaining bed to add some height for the shrubs I want to plant in there.
I've only managed a small section so far - these things weigh a ton and have to be reinforced at the back to prevent them falling - but once I have them all in place I will board the fences behind the sleepers and then fill them with top soil.

I haven't made the border too wide once it's filled because a) I had to consider the amount it would take to fill and b) I'm only putting shrubs in there.
The ground in front of the sleepers is going to be dug out and curved so that I can plant perennials and then I'll put a decking or patio to the front of that.

The fence to the right of the wall is an aviary so I''l grow some honeysuckle up that but that back fence will eventually be replaced by a solid wall so I have to make sure any soil retaining boards I put up can stand by themselves until the wall is built.
I also have to add approximately another 4 bays of sleepers to the top left as it's a large area.

A job even more tedious than digging in sleepers is the cleaning of this decking. All those small harling chips are well and truly wedged, I tried to convince myself that I didn't care but I couldn't live with the look. Besides the decking needs sanding and re-treating so I have to keep at it a bit every day - it's soooooooo boring.

There are two plants in particular that I have never managed to propagate with any success - Cornus and Philadelphus. I'm not sure what I do wrong, I've followed instructions to the letter and yet no matter what method I have used the years of trying have totalled 1 Cornus and 2 Philadelphus. Last year I tried a technique of shoving cuttings in sand but after I did them I damaged my back and completely forgot about them. When I emptied the bucket though all the now dead cuttings showed obvious root growth so a few months ago I gave it another go.
I basically filled a tub with very damp sand, shoved Cornus and Philadelphus cuttings in, tightly packed, then inserted the tub into a large white bin liner, tied it up and left it.
2 days ago I decided to turn it out and see what had happened, I knew they must have rooted because everything was still alive but I was amazed with the results - out of approx 20 cuttings of each I lost literally only 1 or 2.

Suffice to say I am really happy with the results and will most certainly be doing alot more next year with many other types of plants.
Now I just need to add them to the hundreds of other plants desperately needing to lay down roots in the garden.