Thursday, 30 April 2015

End Of Month View ~ April 2015


'Stealth' is this month's word - all sorts of flowers have opened in the blink of an eyelid and the month has evaporated just as quickly. The first floral find of the month was away from home in Cumbria where I was delighted to come across this bone china cup and saucer for sale in a charity shop. It's one of a set of 'The Flower Of The Month' series manufactured by Royal Albert. I have a few mainly cups featuring other months of the year. Himself also came across a book of Lakeland walks which together with the china cost the grand total of £3! I'm still quite understand the connection between April and the sweet pea but there you go.


In the middle of the month we returned to Cumbria for a visit that I was really looking forward to. We went to the Lyth Valley Damson Day but sadly I have no photos of blossoms to share. Nobody had told the blossoms to flower that weekend. This was a shame as the event is held annually to celebrate the arrival of spring in Westmorland and the damson blossom. Apparently this was the first time that the blossoms had not obliged. Still there was plenty to see and wander at including a dog agility competition, various demonstrations of rural crafts, damson products for sale and fortunately a couple of stalls selling guess what - plants! Needless to say I resisted the bouncy castle.

April here like as in most of the country has seen more sunshine than usual. The down side has that is has been extremely dry and not good planting weather. It's ending more true to form with some decent deluges during the last couple of days, so I'm hoping to to do some work soon in the gabion border which you can see below.

Spot The Dandelion!
It looked quite good for the first couple of weeks in April but the colour is now beginning to fade. The weeds are also making their presence known especially self seeded cow parsley. As I mentioned I want to inject more colour and plants in this area especially for later in the year. The thinking cap is still on. Hopefully I can report some action by the end of May.

Wildlife has been interesting this month but not always appreciated. My varied selection of sweet peas were decimated before they even germinated. I made the mistake of forgetting to put a propagator lid on the root trainers, resulting in nearly all the seeds being eaten by some furry little creature. We were away when this happened so it was particularly galling to rush to my greenhouse on return to discover the remains of seed cases littering the compost. Another lot has gone in but germination has not been brilliant with 'Beaujolais' being a complete no show.

Elsewhere a wren has decided to nest amongst my collection of pots of special snowdrops. I would normally be quite happy to welcome such a home builder but with it being so dry I've been worried about the plants not getting water. Himself being more pragmatic assured me that nests do get wet, so he used the hose with a fine mist attachment to water and hopefully neither bulbs or bird suffered. In other bird news we've had a moorhen visiting most evenings. Sometimes there are a pair of them so maybe a nest is nearby. They perch in the branches of the willow but look most uncomfortable doing so.

At the allotment there has been the usual endless tedious weeding. The weeds have been thriving in the warm weather. There are encouraging signs in the shape of strawberry flowers and the fruiting berries such as gooseberries are already showing fruits in the making. Sadly a midweek visit gave cause for concern as it looks as if one of the apple trees have been frosted. Two lots of spuds have gone in along with shallots. We've also replaced two of the raised beds that himself built when I took the plot on as the wood had rotted in places. There are plans to replace one more later in the year as well as install two new beds. We have chosen ones that will be easy to pick up and transfer in the future should I give up the allotment.

My April Pride And Joy - Malus x robusta 'Red Sentinel'
The greenhouse is getting fuller although I have reduced seed sowing this year and sown later. I thought that I would miss all the frantic activity but straneglet enough it's been quite liberating to have fewer plants to attend to. I've not even had to start the greenhouse shuffle yet and for once I've not found myself wondering around searching for mislaid seedlings or committing the crime of forgetting to label trays. It does mean that I give more attention to what I'm growing which is a positive. I'm also not having a plant stall at our garden club annual plant sale next month which again has reduced the need to worry as much about caring for so many plants.

I have been however active on the plant buying scene I'm pleased to report. Two plant fairs have come along this month so I've made the most of it. I've bought so many that I can't remember what they are but no doubt they will be revealed in the fullness of time!

With many thanks to Helen over at 'The Patient Gardener's Weblog' ,who enables us to chronicle our monthly retrospective thoughts and views. It's much appreciated.

27 comments:

  1. I love Moorhen chicks, hope you get some. I always think that places that open for a specific event such as blossom or daffodils are brave as the spring plants can be so uncooperative. What about some geums for your border or rudbeckia




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    1. I'm hoping that should there be chicks Helen that we do not get any foxes on the prowl. It's a bit risky having an event centred round a particular blossoming but they have obviously been lucky so far. Thanks for the plant suggestions - geums might fit in well :)

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  2. What a shame the damson blossom was too late, never mind, a good excuse to go again another year! I am so glad to read that you too have plants that you now can't remember what they are as I thought it was just me!

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    1. That was what I said to himself Su! I'm glad that I've reassured you. Mind you I did go on a bit a plant spending spree last month so it's not surprising that the old grey matter can't keep up.

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  3. Sympathies re the sweet peas. They really are a pain in the proverbial, those furry creatures. I have a wren that's had two attempts at making a nest under the eves of the roof next to my study window. Unfortunately I think the woodpeckers found it, early on so hopefully before eggs, so she seems to have deserted it now. After all that hard work. Hope yours is more successful, if a bit soggy :)

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    1. Oh my heart goes out to that poor little wren Jessica. All that hard work for nothing :( Here's it's usually magpies who plunder the nests although we do get the odd woodpecker in the vicinity.

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  4. How annoying about the sweet peas, hopefully the new sowings will soon catch up.Do you have a cutting garden on the allotment?

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    1. I've always had a couple of beds devoted to flowers Brian even though I've never specifically thought about them in terms of providing a cutting garden. Bunches of sweet peas and dahlias make their way home with me but most of the flowers are there to attract pollinators :) I growing a few extras though this year so there may be more pickings to bring home.

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  5. So many things happening this time of the month to be happy with, never mind the sweet peas. Good finds too and well done on the plant shopping front, have yet to attend any plant fairs ourselves so far :)

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    1. You're right and I've already almost forgotten about this mishap :) Hope that you get the chance to do some plant fair shopping soon guys.

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  6. I too am finding it rather liberating not to have the usual frantic sowing, potting on and tray shuffling going on, but such a shame to loose your sweet peas like that. The purple leaved honesty looks rather good! My park border is over run with the normal kind, which makes for vivid colour. I am purposely avoiding the plant fair tomorrow as I already have too many unplanted new lovelies. Enjoy your planting time! And great find with the cup...

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    1. I'm reassured that you are experiencing the same feelings Janet :) I've only myself to blame regarding the sweet peas. I should have remembered that protective lid! Honesty in all its forms is a great plant. I'm also avoiding nurseries and plant fairs for a while too until I get more in the ground. I've made a deal with myself.

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  7. I' m looking forward to seeing what you have been buying. What a wonderful month April has been and how sad that it is over so quickly. Still we have lovely May to look forward to. I love your crab apple, such pretty blossom.

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    1. April was rather special wasn't it but May is my favourite month of the year Chloris :) I'm sure that I will be revealing some of my purchases soon.

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  8. I gave up growing sweet peas a few years ago as the mice just adore them, so I can sympathise and hope the next lot make it through. The gabion garden is looking great (and I could not find the dandelion!) It sounds as if your weather has been like ours.... I just hope May isn't too wet now to make up for it!

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    1. Oh those meece have a lot to answer for Cathy. The next lot have mainly come through but have got slightly leggy in the hot spell we had in April. May seems to have started by chucking all of April's missed showers on us in good style.

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  9. We used to have a plant stall every year at my school carnival and growing plants for that dominated our greenhouse until early July. When I said I was giving it up it was greeted with the attitude that I was letting people down - they didn't realise the effort and space required.

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    1. Oh Sue at least our garden club plant sale is done and dusted by the end of May. I simply could not imagine looking after the plants for any longer. As you say it takes effort and space as well as precious time. I'm sure that you had done more than your fair whack so it must have been hurtful to greeted with such a reaction. Each year I say never again and although I'm only having a gap year I'm enjoying the rest :)

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  10. Such a pretty cup and saucer and what a bargain too. Birds will nest in the most inconvenient places, I remember seeing a robin nesting amongst the bedding plant display in B&Q one year and another one nesting in the plant pots which were on sale in a garden centre. What a shame about your sweet peas but at least it's not too late to either sow more or buy some seedlings. The slugs got just about all my sunflowers last year so I'm hoping there isn't a repeat this year.

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    1. I suppose birds nest where it feels right for them Jo never mind whether it inconveniences humans :) I'm already thinking of how to thwart the molluscs whilst my sunflowers are still at a tender age. Had mixed success last year and I do so like them - the flowers that is :)

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  11. Sounds like an immensely busy month! Lovely cup and saucer. We're having some needed rain here - it's been very hot and dry. I'd put all my winter hats and gloves away and had to get them out again as it's really cold now!!

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    1. Winter seems to have returned here too Ingrid. Cool and very windy here tonight. Spring has retreated hopefully only briefly.

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  12. Your plan re seeds seems to have worked out for you Anna. You even sound more at ease with things in the greenhouse.
    How lovely to have the moorhen visiting, I do hope there is a mate, it would be nice to have the chicks visit.
    If you see anything growing in my garden that you fancy for that spot there, let me know - I will gladly get somethings down to you. Enjoy the holiday weekend :)

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    1. I've just spent a few minutes watching the moorhen swaying on one of the willow branches. It's very windy out there tonight. I imagine that being on a perch like that must be like bobbing up and down on a stormy sea. I'm hoping that moorhens are not seasick. Thanks for your kind offer Angie. Hope that you had a good weekend and were off work.

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  13. Like you I haven't sown as many flower seeds this year so life in the greenhouse isn't quite as stressful as it usually is. I sowed two trays of sweetpeas - one is doing fine, the other is very sparce, not sure if it is down to snails or bad germination. I couldn't spot the dandelion but did spot a nettle - does that count.

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  14. Oh no Elaine I never noticed the nettle otherwise I could have photoshopped it out :)

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  15. Great blog, April is always lovely with everything coming into flower, but there is so much to do too. it's a bit slower here now as the weather has been quite cold, fortunately no more frosts in the past week.

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.