Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Slowly Drowning In A Sea Of Red Berrries

X IS FOR?


EXTRAORDINARY!

Yes I know that I am cheating again when it comes to x but try as I might I could not come up with the genuine article.

Last year I diligently planted some innocuous little strawberry runners kindly given to me by my allotment neighbours. This month we have been eating these delicious berries until they are coming out of our ears ~ what an extraordinary harvest it has been. They have been eaten at almost every meal it seems and passed along to neighbours and friends. Still they keep coming and coming, although I think that production and therefore consumption have now peaked. I have been scouring my cookery books and the internet for recipe suggestions other than the inevitable strawberry jam and strawberry ice cream. I am particularly tempted by Patient Gardener's post featuring a most delicious looking strawberry pavlova - oh get thee behind me temptation!

You will find more on the letter X over at ABC Wednesday kindly hosted each week by Denise Nesbitt.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

A Soft Spot



Are there any plants in your garden that you have a soft spot for? In my case this philadelphus is one of them. It was one of the first shrubs that we planted in the garden and has been a sad victim of my lack of discipline when it comes to pruning. It has now reached a substantial height but it is oh so gangly and leggy. Although its flowering period is so brief, when it is covered with a cloud of midummer scent it is definitely worth tolerating its rather drab foliage for the rest of the year. Note to self ~ think about planting either a late or early flowering clematis to climb up it which will perhaps hide some of the limbs ~ maybe even both? Any other suggestions would be welcome.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Another Senior Moment

W IS FOR?



WHY DID I THINK IT WAS X THIS WEEK?

I have been wracking my brain all week thinking that we are up to X and was just about to post when I wisely went over to ABC Wednesday! So here is a last minute post - a photo of my variegated weigela which was very floriferous this spring.

Why don't you wander over to ABC Wednesday for more on the letter W?

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Making Babies



Now there's no need to getting the knitting needles out - those of you who have met me know that I am well past childbearing years. The title of this post refers to a most interesting morning I spent towards the end of April at Lodge Lane Nursery, which is my local nursery. The nursery is run by Sue Beesley who won the BBC Gardener Of The Year Competition in 2006. Sue set up the nursery following her competition victory. Adjacent to the nursery is a one and half acre constantly developing cottage garden which opens to the public as a Royal Horticultural Society partner and also under the National Gardens Scheme.



This was the second propagation workshop that I have attended at the nursery. They run three times a year and emphasis varies according to the time of year. The morning started with a chat from Sue about propagation which touched upon not only seed sowing but other techniques including division, basal and stem cuttings and other weird and wonderful ways by which plants reproduce themselves. I liked Sue's advice that if you look carefully at the plants they will tell you what you need to do to propagate them. During this session I decided that my method of dividing plants needs some rethinking after all these years. Sue laid down plants on their side before dividing them which makes it a lot easier than my diving in from the top technique.




After a coffee break and cake we headed out for a quick tour of the nursery's propagating area including the greenhouse where we saw Sue's homemade sand bench. Then time for some hands on stuff in the potting shed where we were able to put the morning's techniques into practise on some plant material. I am unable to lay my hands on my notes at the moment but I am fairly sure that Sue's mix was peat free compost, horticultural sand and vermiculite or perlite. Once we had performed surgery on our victims we watered and labelled them. Those that needed it went into plastic bags with an elastic band secured round them before we took them home. Sue also demonstrated the RHS recommended method of filling a seed tray prior to sowing. Needless to say if I had not been following this method and will probably continue my bad habits. Before the morning finished we had a guided tour of the garden stopping to look at various plants and methods of propagating them.





You can see some of the fruits of my labour above - potentilla atrosanguinea, nepeta 'Six Hills Giant', anthemis 'E.C.Buxton' and a leucanthemum whose label had gone awol. I am pleased to say that nearly two months later they are still alive and now putting on new growth almost before my eyes. All in all a most inspiring, informative and enjoyable morning. I returned to the nursery last week for another workshop - more on that very soon.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Blow Your Vuvuzela

V IS FOR?




VEGETABLES!

This vibrant prize winning display by Medwyns of Anglesey was very much admired by me at the Malvern Autumn Show in 2009.

Blow your vuvuzela to celebrate a veritable host of posts on the letter V over at ABC Wednesday.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day ~ June 2010

Well here we are already almost at the turning point of the year and with it a few of my favourite June blooms. Following the cold winter some of the late spring stalwarts such as aquilegias are still going strong. This one appeared by itself and I have no complaints ~



Another plant that I normally associate with May rather than June is this thalictrum which is still going strong - the exact identity of this one has long gone ~



I like the dangliness of nectaroscordum siculum ~



The rather elegant rosa glauca with its smokey grey leaves ~



I have plenty of astrantias - too many perhaps - these have self seeded when I wasn't looking looking but the first one 'Roma' - a Piet Oudolf introduction is sterile ~





Then last but not least there's the hardy geraniums ~ again the names are long lost memories apart from the penultimate which is the beautiful geranium clarkei 'Kashmir White' ~











Many more June blooms can be savoured over at May Dreams Gardens where Carol kindly hosts Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day each month.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

'Sumer Is Icumen In'



Although summer does not officially arrive for another few days, we have gone past the no turning back point with the arrival and picking of the first strawberries at the allotment. The first sweet peas are kindly making themselves available for little vases.

Would be courgettes are in evidence ~



the elderflower is dripping blossom and this year seems more floriferous than ever ~




and the first flowers of rosa rubiginosa are opening ~



Yet summer is not all the proverbial bed of roses - we have an eighty foot willow just outside the garden. For the last week or so it has been going through its annual moulting. As I child I was entranced by the 'fairies' that floated through the air but as an adult I curse the arrival of this phenonomen, as they smother the paths and garden with a carpet of white fluff which is an absolute nightmare to clear up ~



However I am consoling myself that willow may be preferable to poplar after reading about the seasonal miseries endured by the good citizens of Moscow. In fact I am counting myself lucky in comparison!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Under My Umbrella

U IS FOR?

UMBRELLA!

I have spent some time today peering out at the world from under my umbrella. As I don't drive an umbrella is a vital accesory when I put a foot outdoors unless a heatwave is predicted. I have gone through a few umbrellas over the years leaving them behind on buses and other forms of public transport. My all time favourite was patterned with raining cats and dogs. Every now and again I am tempted to treat myself to one like the beauty above. Other floral umbrellas have been calling out my name too - sunflower, dahlia and daisy shaped. However with my track record I don't think that I could justify the expense and am going to resist. Meanwhile if I could design a floral umbrella I think that I would base my design on any of these aquilegias in my garden. I think that they would fit the bill quite perfectly in an understated way ~







More unusual and ubiquitous Us over at ABC Wednesday.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

End Of Month View ~ May 2010



I came back from the Malvern Spring Gardening Show full of enthusiasm to get to grips with matters horticultural. I decided the very next day to make tracks with the 'End of The Month' border. My first task was to remove the pile of bricks that had been hampering my access for the last couple of years. The very next day feeling rather pleased with myself managed to spectacularly trip over something else which I had left propped near the wall. I took a spectacular stumble and landed on a patch of geranium macrorrhizum. As I am of voluptuous form the geranium came off worse than me but I sadly I was rather crestfallen after this incident. Bruised and cut knees and elbow ensued plus a cut forehead. After what seemed an age lying on the ground I gingerly picked myself up and got myself in myself in to be tended to by himself. Since then there have been other events getting in the way of gardening but I have been able to do some work in this border - more in the way of removal than planting.

I have been struggling with the removal of this thug which I introduced originally for some late summer colour- I am not sure what it is ~



I admired it in a friend's garden, came home with a clump of it and have watched its spread with dismay. Time to yank it out - a piece saved to plant at the allotment where it can do its stuff in the autumn. It has the most stubborn of roots to dislodge so is still a work in progress. Most satisfying though each time I pull another piece out. The geranium phaeum 'Lily Lovell' which you can see in the above photo will be in for some drastic thinning at the least when it has flowered. Both clumps are getting too big. Although I like the flower I have realised at long last that they do not really earn their living. The foliage is already looking quite forlorn after such a dry spring. It might even be a case of removing them completely - oh such decisions to be made. Now what will be going in to replace the bare patches - I'm not sure yet but watch this space.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Garden Bloggers' Muse Day - June 2010

T IS FOR?



'TIMELESS'

'There is no clock in the forest
but a dandelion to blow,
an owl that hunts when the light is gone.
a mouse that sleeps
till night has come,
lost in the moss below.

There is no clock in the forest,
only the cuckoo's song
and the thin white of the early dawn,
the pale damp - bright,
of a waking June,
the bluebell light
of a day half born
when the stars have gone.

There is no clock in the forest.'

~ 'Timeless' - Judith Nicholls

This week it's two for the price of one ~ enjoy June musing over at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago and take a trip to ABC Wednesday for more on the letter T.