Saturday, 30 November 2013

All quiet on the garden front.

Not only am I neglecting this blog but my garden is also getting the same lack of attention at the moment. It's that time of year when there is nothing worth blogging about going on out there I'm afraid, which seems silly seeing as I'm out there pottering away pretty much most days.
The garden is pretty much all wrapped up for the winter, pots are all in the tunnel and there's not really much else to do other than begin adding some manure to the borders and a bit of tidying up. On the upside all these quiet times in the garden means I'm getting to spend more time in my workshop (aka greenhouse) building more Adirondack chairs and producing multi coloured bird houses (seemed like a good idea at the time)

Think it will be staying in my shed as an ornament!

I've never really been one for checking out autumn colours on my plants and that's probably why my garden has very little winter interest. I have the odd Dogwood with its wonderful red stems that I admire but that's pretty much it, nothing else seems to catch the eye. So I found myself this week really noticing the autumn colour on two particular plants - one is this Geranium 'Johnsons Blue' - all my other Cranesbills seems to just wilt and do nothing remotely interesting but this one was just so pretty with all its colour

I've never really noticed the Wiegela getting all colourful as it dies off either. This one is in a pot as it's a cutting I took (really needs planting out mind) but while this one was looking all lovely its parent plant in the garden just looked blah

And my l'il friend is still following me around, he's so sweet

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Snowy days

So the new camera I bought from duty free in Jamaica (Nikon Coolpix) has decided to develop a fault with the lens protector and is now unusable - so not a happy bunny! Nikon are trying to welch on the guarantee as it was bought in Jamaica and so has a US warranty but I'm hoping they'll be kind enough to fix it anyway and have sent it off to them. But what to do about a camera? Well I have a Samsung point and shoot but it seems that that has developed a problem with the lens also and it won't pop out so won't stay turned on - great! I sold my DSLR months ago - a stupid mistake thinking I would never use it cos I couldn't get the hang of all the lenses. I so wish I had kept it now!
I have however dug out my old trusty Olympus C750UZ, it's about 10 years old and has never ever had a problem. It's so easy to use too and is so much more accurate with colours than the Coolpix and the Samsung - makes me wonder why I ever swapped it out to be honest.
Anyway, what does a girl do with a camera in her hands on a snowy day..............

OK so it's only a dusting of snow but everything looks so clean and pretty when it first hits doesn't it, plus it always seems to bring the sun out.

Here is the same view as above literally moments later - gotta love it!

The Verbena Bonariensis looked amazing all summer long and was actually still in flower when the snow hit, not sure if the snow has finally bought it to its knees as I've not looked but I wouldn't be surprised if it hasn't. If this plant can make it all through the winter in the ground here then it will have definitely earned its place in my garden and I'll plant more.

This Yucca? Cordyline? Some other palmy type plant? self seeded itself and I first noticed it about 3 years ago when it just seemed to appear one winter when the plants surrounding it had died down. I was going to move it but I figure I'll probably kill it if I do and it seems to be happily growing a foot a year in its current place.

This pier into the pond was erected yeeeeeears ago as an easy place to feed the Koi in the summer. It's seen better times though and while it looks lovely covered with snow I don't think I'd be brave enough to walk on it until it's been supported. Mind you the Koi got eaten by an Otter anyways so it's really not used much now.

I couldn't resist placing some food on the stone bench to see if it would attract any birds I could then take a photo of. I thought maybe the tits would be first down but they didn't even show their faces, this little guy was on it in seconds though - shame I was so far away that I had to super zoom in though as the quality isn't great!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Canine ballet & empty gardens

The garden is looking bare now! Mr TG helped me to move most of the pots into the polytunnel over the weekend, though I'm wondering now if I was a bit premature as some of the plants still had plenty of green growth on them and this Clematis is even still producing flowers

Never before have I seen the seed pods burst open on the Flag Iris so I was quite pleased to spy one. I have no idea how easily Iris are to grow from seed but I harvested the seeds anyway - just in case.

I lifted the last of the Lilys at the weekend too and made a start on the Gladioli. I'm a newbie to Glads as I gave up on them a few years back when 'Spic n Span' didn't survive the winter outside. I planted some corms in the polytunnel this year, I wasn't sure what they were either so I was quite chuffed to see Glads pop up that look suspiciously like 'Spic n Span'. I don't remember digging them up last year but I did plant them nest to Montbretia and may have thought that's what these bulbs were - I really should keep a better diary of my actions and stop relying on my ever fading memory.
Anyways i have some bulbs lifted and they're covered in little bulbils, what's the chances of these making decent plants in the future? How do I pull em off the parent bulb - do they need a root attached? and then what do I do - store em for winter or plant them into pots?

The entertainment outside over the last day or so has been quite amusing, we could choose between Huntly and his rope escape trick

or Huntly practicing his ballet and facial poses

Friday, 8 November 2013

Lily bulbs

It doesn't seem to matter how much I promise myself that I'm going to post here everyday something always happens to get in the way and so here I am a whole week after my last post!
The weather here in Caithness has been really cold this past week but the wind has been non existent and even the rain has held off - in fact we've had some very sunny days.

One job this week was one I've been putting off because I wasn't sure how my back would cope with the bending but those Lily bulbs needed uplifting for winter storage. I would have left them in the bed over winter because it's in the polytunnel but I need to sort that bed out this winter ready to include a Grape vine next year - so those bulbs had to come up.

I've done this many times before (before I realised that Lily bulbs will survive winter outside here) and though I'm not sure of the correct way to store them, here's what I do.
First I lift them, then I trim the roots, brush off the majority dirt on them and then leave them in a tray for a few days turned upside down so that any water can drain away from inside the stems.
After a few days I clean them even further with a toothbrush and leave them in the tray covered with newspaper - I used to store them in sawdust but I found newspaper works just as well.

Some of these bulbs really grew huge over this year, look at the size of this smacker

I can't believe that I actually used to dispose of the tiny bulbils that I'd find attached to the main bulbs. I used to figure they'd take too long to produce anything but I was pleasantly surprised with the results when I gave them a try so now I keep all the little uns and grow them on in separate pots for a wee while.

I've been wondering why every time I go to the polytunnel a couple of Blackbirds seem to come flying out and while I was lifting the Lily bulbs the birds returned and showed me what was luring them

I wondered where all the apples in the polytunnel had gone, there was no sign of any on the floor - mystery solved.

Talking about trees, I'm not really one for appreciating the wonders of tree bark - to me it's just tree bark but we have this tree right next to my greenhouse and today I was actually drawn to the bark. I haven't a clue what the tree is but the bark was a lovely red colour

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Summer Damson

A whole week since my last post - that's baaaaad! Problem is I feel that I have nothing of any use to say because the gardening is so slow right now and lets face it, who wants to hear me ramble on about stacking wood? Which seems to be what I've spent the last week doing - all my precious pallet wood.
It will soon be time to start taking the garden pots into the PT though and storing those bulbs, planting others and getting the garden ready to cope with winter so at least I'll have something interesting to say. Then there'll be all the building projects I have accumulated while I've been recovering from a slipped disc - including an extension to my greenhouse/workshop using pallets and windows we sourced for free, can't wait to get started on that one.
I've become quite addicted to Pinterest of late and spend a few minutes on it most days adding to my board. I found this sculpture which I would love for the garden (but could never afford). I'm not sure what it is about this particular sculpture but it seriously mesmerizes me, it reminds me of that film where a guy keeps going through time and can't control when it happens - it kind of looks like him when he's either just going or is just coming back.

I love this sculpture I found on Pinterest.  

I managed to get round to giving that Adirondack chair and leg rest a coat of paint - I chose Cuprinol Garden Shades colour 'Summer Damson'.
Loving how it turned out and it's sooooo comfortable.