Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Garden projects and another plant ID

Yesterday was my first  day of doing anything resembling 'real' gardening since popping a disc in my back, I'm not fully recovered but I think I did pretty darned well to hold back for 3 weeks so I thought 'why not give it a go'.
I'll admit I could have started with something less taxing on the back than shifting slabs and heavy pots (I never learn) and yes my back is sore today but I don't care, I had a blast!

It took me pretty much all day to complete 2 small jobs but hey ho I got there in the end. The first job was to replace this scaffold board walkway at the pond with something a tad better looking, obviously this involved plentiful weeding too but it's certainly improved it.
This is the before  (look at all those weeds - eek!)

And after - excuse all the mud/stone/weed right at the back, that whole area is going to be decked ........ eventually!

Next job was to pot up a climbing Fuchsia 'Mrs Boothby' and provide some kind of trellis for her to cling to. Originally I came up with this first trellis simply because it was lightweight and meant less bending etc for me

but I thought it look blah and that the Fuchsia would soon outgrown the trellis so I changed it. Whatever I put there has to be moveable until Mr TG has finished the Harling to the external walls and all I could find big enough and moveable was this

At first I liked it but the more I looked at it the less I liked the colour, the creamy first one looked much better against the wall and suited the plant better so I'm either going to spray this one ream (it's a metal bed frame incidentally) or I'm going to build a brand new one and paint it the cream I use all over the garden - 'Cuprinol garden shades - Old stone (I think)'.
I've hankered after a climbing Fuchsia for a while and I love it, obviously it will need protecting in the winter so will go in the poly tunnel but I can't wait to see how it performs next year - I may even attempt cuttings.

I have this lovely yellow plant flowering in the garden this year. I remember planting it last year but assumed it had died over winter, for the life of me I cannot remember the name of it - any ideas? I think it began with an 'S' but I could be wrong.

I'm supposed to be taking it easy today, supposed to be making a start on Christmas cards and I was happy to do that when the weather man claimed we'd have rain all day today, but there's no sign of rain and I want to make an outdoor potting bench - what to do, what to do!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Blooming bliss!

I feel so bad not having regular posts to update my gardening blog but the end is now in sight, I've been a good patient and rested as much as boredom will allow and I think I'm on the mend.
I still can't get out and do the much needed weeding and I fear that some areas of the land have just gotten too much of a hold for me to be able to get a handle on again for months but I'm not panicking about it - just to be able to get out in the garden and build something again is going to be bliss. I think one of the main downsides of having so much rest time on my hands is that I've increased my garden project list which was drastically unrealistic in the first place.
Anyway I'm now managing to water the plants in the polytunnel and dead head anything that doesn't require bending and I've also started walking with the dogs again so I definitely think that once this rain has stopped I'll be able to get out and mow the lawns myself.

Today I was determined to get a little exercise in the garden so decided to ignore the rain and take some photos of what has been growing in my absence.

I'm amazed with the Lily's everytime I see them because I never thought they would flourish so well or even survive the winter here out doors, just as my polytunnel ones are finishing I have these ones coming into bloom.

This Hebe is at least 10 years old and is in quite an exposed area of the garden, it still produces masses of Purple flowers twice a year though and is currently about 13ft high by about 25 ft round - I love it! I've just managed to grab a cutting of a White variety of Hebe so I'm hoping the cutting will take.

This is a hardy Fuchsia that I grew from a cutting of a wild plant about 3 years ago, I haven't a clue what variety it is but it's smothered in flowers and is currently about 4ft tall - out of the hundreds of Fuchsia cuttings I took earlier this year this variety is one of the few that I've managed to get to root.

Honeysuckle of unknown variety.

Hosta 'Francee'.

This Rose is about 8 years old and I planted it back in a time when I never bothered to keep a record of names. I could kick myself now as I would love to know what this one is.
I'm no Rose specialist and can never tell a bush from a Floribunda but this is one big specimen and produces masses of these gorgeous scented white flowers. The only downside to this particular rose is that one heavy rain shower will damage the blooms and they rot - until then though it looks spectacular.

This is the first Rosemary I've ever owned and I got it from my mum when she moved to a smaller place. It's full of flower but doesn't have much of a scent at the moment as it's not warm enough despite being against a south facing wall.

This is the first time I've ever grown African Marigolds and I'm glad I did as they've added a real boost of colour to what is otherwise a very green border. I'll save seed from these and grow even more next year - I love the waxy look they have.

Olearia 'Macrodonta' self seeds so easily and I have small seedlings popping up all over in the surrounding gravel. A nice alternative to slow growing Holly?

This unknown rose is currently one of my favourites. My daughter bought it for me back on Mothers day this year and after it had finished flowering I figured (for some unknown stupid reason) that once it had finished flowering it was 'done' and was destined for the compost heap - I know, I know!
It made it to the polytunnel ready for the heap but then I noticed new shoots growing and finally my sensible head spoke up and said "It's a rose, of course it will flower again" - Duh!!
I repotted it and put it on the decking ....ok scaffold boards.... and a few months later it's in full bloom again.

I'll be starting on the second half of the garden pretty soon. There's alot of hard landscaping to do but I can't wait to get really stuck in, I'll have to continue sharing it with the dogs for now because the digger is still out of action but I have so many projects in my head that I need areas completed so that I can build my creations.
Oh and total excitement - hubby bought a friends broken washing machine home to take to the landfill with some of our stuff, guess what I talked him into doing for me .... yup I'll have another firepit pretty soon.

Sharing this post with 'Tootsie Time: Fertilizer Friday'

Sunday, 21 July 2013

"Help" with the gardening.

You would think it would be really nice to be able to sit and relax in the garden that you have spent months creating wouldn't you? Problem is it's really hard to just sit there and ignore the ever growing weeds, normally I'd spend 10 minutes sitting and then be up dead heading flowers or pulling up weeds - but I can't and it's really hard to sit and not look at the weeds.
I'm trying to recover from this slipped disc the best way I can and I'm trying not to get down about all the stuff I can't do and in fact the Black Dog has not growled even once, but boredom is setting in now.
I can finally walk around out there and I've managed to dead head the taller roses and cut some of the cut flowers in the polytunnel but that's pretty much it. Oh I did go round the garden and draw the annual plant guide though - I do this every year at this time of year so that when winter comes I know what is growing where and what needs moving or replacing, so at least I managed something productive.

Mr TG nicely agreed to help me weed around the veggies as they were in danger of being smothered out. He was supposed to wait for me to supervise but he got up early today and headed out before I knew it. At first glance all seemed to be good, he'd got rid of the Broccoli that had bolted and most of the weeds in between the Leeks but then I noticed a huge bare patch - he'd pulled out every single Parsnip!

Here's the before picture

and after Mr TG pulled out every Parsnip!

He's forgiven though because his heart was in the right place and it's our 23rd wedding anniversary today lol.
The Swede will soon be ready for picking though

And I'm well chuffed with the size of Tomatoes growing - fingers crossed they ripen despite the lack of sun here

I'm not so chuffed with the Carrots this year, I don't usually have a problem growing Carrots but they just do not want to take this year. It's a new bed though and the soil is nowhere near as good as the old bed so I will have to work on it through the winter

I checked on that Comfrey tea I've been stewing for the past month or so. It's definitely ready for sieving and bucketing up but I can't ask Mr TG to do it because it smells so bad - hmmmmm, or can I! It could be penance for the Parsnip destruction that incidentally he is very blase about and amused by.
Yup, I'm gonna ask Mr TG to sieve this

I'm now going to catch up on what all you guys have been up to, it's been a while since I've been able to sit in a position comfortable enough to do that for any length of time.
Hope it's been a good season for you all.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Oh dear!

Well I've definitely managed to pop a disc in my back, doc reckons recovery time is anywhere up to 6 weeks followed by Physiotherapy - gutted doesn't even begin to cover it.
Mr TG will be able to keep the lawns mowed and the polytunnel and pots well watered but I dread to think what state the weeds will be in by the time I am able to get out there again. I'm trying not to let  the Black dog rear his ugly head but it's going to be a fight - I'm hoping that once I'm able to stand or sit for any length of time I'll be able to at least make some garden signs to keep me occupied, plus I have plenty of crafting to be getting on with. Until then though I'm pretty much stuck laying on my side with secret bouts of walking around - ssshhh!
The hardest thing for me though is that I've been training for a 10k run on the 21st July with my daughter and doc has said I can't do it. I was hoping I would be able to give it a go but my daughter is very sensibly refusing to do it and deep down I know I won't even be able to crawl it - maybe shuffle along on my side lol.

So the garden is having to fend for itself right now.
The last of the Sunflowers was cut last week - I only grew 3 for some reason which is a shame as they look so summery (and we have actually had cold naff windy weather here as opposed to the rest of the uk)

The rest of the completed garden is looking pretty nice too and it was great to hear compliments on it when we had a BBQ last week.
Mr TG reckons the rose support looks like a horse jump so it'll be getting named and a sign made in the near future.

I finished the bit of beach next to Mr TGs pond. The buoy, shells and small bit of driftwood were what I collected during the recent treasure hunt to Dunnet head beach.

Gotta have an old boot filled with plants somewhere on the garden. I love the Blue orbs too.

A bouquet of garden flowers is always going to bring cheer, it's been a whole week since I've picked any though so I guess I may have to try to shuffle out there today.

I won't be able to post as often as I'd like because this typing position is a bit painful but hopefully these new painkillers will kick in soon enough and I'll be back to normal gardening duties.
Have a wonderfully warm and pain free week y'all.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

DIY Firepit

I've not posted all week but I do have a good excuse - when I lifted that heavy Fucshia planter during the week I think I popped a disc in my back. I've self medicated with Tramadol all week but the pain is still unbelievable and the only position that offers any relief is lying on my side - not very convenient as my sister is here till Monday and I need to be active. I'm finally admitting defeat though and going to the docs Monday as soon as I can get in.

Anyway remember months ago when I said I wanted a fire pit for the garden? Do you remember me also asking Mr TG to dismantle and old washing machine so that I could make said firepit from the drum? Well the project is finished and the fire pit made its debut at our BBQ last night - I'm so pleased with it.

So easy to make too. In fact the hardest part was having to take it apart from the machine but Mr TG persevered with that.
Then all I did was give it a couple of coats of fire paint that we already had for our log burner and then sat the drum on the concrete ring that also came out the machine.
The heat this thing gave off was brilliant and it's going to be a real boon in the colder months.

That's all I have for today folks because I'm in pain. I hope y'all are enjoying a warm weekend.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Tenacious but lazy!

I could kick myself!
Today I was sorting out the polytunnel and admiring my lovely Fucshia all ready to burst into flower. I've had these 2 fuchsia - 'Paula Jane' - for about 7 years and every year without fail they grow into healthy well shaped plants filled with flowers right up until winter. I love these Fuchsia because they flower so prolifically with only minimal upkeep from me (which happens to be nothing more than regular water, feeding when I remember, a winter prune and winter protection) so today I decided that rather than hide them away in my polytunnel I'd take them to the patio so everyone can enjoy them. Aren't I nice!
Anyway I may be a tenacious gardener but I can also be a lazy gardener and had decided at this particular point that there was no point making 2 trips with the barrow (I had loads to take to the patio) when I could cram it all into one trip. So I loaded that barrow to the gunnels putting my precious Fuchsia cargo at the front - you know what's coming don't you? Heck even I knew what was going to happen but still risked it.
Yup, I hit a stone and the Fucshia container went arse over tit (scuse the language), hit the deck and landed plants down.. Poop, poop, poop and pooping poopy!
My own stupid fault I know. I should never have risked it, the Fuchsia is still in softwood state and I must have stood there poop pooping for a good 20 seconds before I dared turn it over.
Even then I spent another good 20 seconds contemplating putting the thing back onto the barrow and risking it again! Seriously, do I never learn.
I didn't though I came back for the precious Fucshia which of course was well damaged, took it to the patio and lamely tried to convince the broken stems that they wanted to live, eventually I had to accept that the broken stems had to be cut back and the sooner I did it the sooner the plant would recover.

My precious Fuchsia - one side took more of the brunt than the other but it's certainly lost its shape, these 2 plants were uniformly shaped, very bushy and full of flower :(

I also happened to notice today that the Gunnera I planted near the pond a couple of years ago seems to really like its home

And lookie, my first Cauliflower of the year (and for several years come to think of it), I must watch it carefully. How do I know when these things are ready? I left my last ones too long and they bolted hence why I gave up!

Apples galore!

The Sweetcorn has already hit the roof of the polytunnel and is flowering, now I just have to make sure I shake the tassels a few times a day because the wind appears to have done a runner!

My sister is coming for a few days on Wednesday, she came up last year at the same time so I'm hoping she'll notice a huge difference in the garden. I wonder if non gardeners actually notice these things though?

Mind you if I put a bouquet of flowers like this in her room then maybe she'll take an interest? Either that or cause hayfever!

Hope the weather is as good for you as it has been here. I've actually been glad of the sea breeze the last couple of days - never thought I'd say that.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Summer growth in the garden

Having given up on making copper snails (for now) I decided to go back to what I know I can produce and made a sign for the garden. I wanted a quirky quote and there were plenty on the tinterweb to choose from.

So easy to make just using an old bit of boarding, garden paint, permanent marker and varnish.
Going to have to make more I think, there are some really funny quotes to be had.

The garden is looking very lush just now and I've had the first Roses of the year flower. This lovely pink one is 'Compassion', I got it back on Mothers day and it really does have the mosr gorgeous scent.

The Sea Holly is about to burst into colour

I am particularly chuffed with this Clematis. It's about 7 years old but I planted it in the most unsuitable place you could imagine so it never grew and last year showed no signs of life whatsoever. I dug it up this spring and planted it in a container figuring it either died or survived and it now has the first flower it has ever produced - Clematis 'Mrs N Thompson'.

This Weigela never fails to produce a mass of flowers, I've even managed to propagate this one (don't know it's variety name) and my propagation success is pretty abysmal at the best of times.

These Tree Lupins are so easy to grow, these ones are some I grew from seed last autumn, they may not be as spectacularly colourful as normal Lupin but they produce a mass of flowers.

These Dicentra are 2 more plants that were on a 'final chance' warning. I've had them about 4 years and they have never amounted to much more than tattered, small messes. I moved them into more fertile soil that is more protected from the winds and both plants are now huge and producing those gorgeous flowers.

Finally the first flag iris of the year has also made an appearance. The garden is full of flag iris so I'm expecting a riot of colour pretty soon.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Growing Asparagus

Until last night I had never eaten Asparagus! I guess it was one of those veggies I just assumed I wouldn't like so never bothered trying it. What have I missed out on - it's amazing, I loved it and I think I'm going to have to have a go at growing it. I know it's not one of the easiest veggies to grow but I really am hooked.

Anyway all is going well at the veggie plot so far, the only annoying thing is that my Broccoli has bolted - lovely flowers though!

The sweetcorn is going great guns

I already have plenty of Courgettes to pick

For the first time ever I have Cucumbers growing on the vine in June (last year all Cucumbers failed)

Even the Tomato plants are full of flower - that's never happened this time of year before, I may get ripe Tomatoes this year for the first time ever!

Strangely the Cabbages in the polytunnel are free from all slug damage but the cauli's appear to be a favourite of them. What's even stranger is that the outdoor Cauli's and Cabbages are also completely slug damage free. The only thing I can think of is it's because the outdoor ones are covered in fleece but I've never heard of that being a slug repellant before.

Indoor Cabbage.

Outdoor Cauli & Cabbage

Now I'm off to find out how to grow that amazing Asparagus.