Dahlias and a Belgian Beer

A well past due mini update. Having a garden tour and admiring our newly flowering dahlias with beer in hand. We’ve had a lot of tomatoes (mainly Gardener’s Delight) from the greenhouse so far and the outside Mini Plum tomatoes are ripening. Hope all is well with you all…

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First Black Climbing Bean Crop

We’ve tried a different bean this year to replace our usual runner beans. This one is still a climber but looks more like French beans…but dark purple!

The plants have lovely purple/mauve flowers and dark stems too. For tea tonight I’ll steam them – they are supposed to turn green when cooked. The real test is in the eating…

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Spring Tidy Garden & New Shoots

I spent all day yesterday doing the jobs you have to be in the mood for – emptying lots and lots of pots of last year’s compost and dead plant stumps, bagging up the compost for reuse, banishing slugs, stacking pots, etc. The results are satisfying and the area near the greenhouse feels bigger now. Ah the pleasure of sweeping my clear greenhouse deck!

Six cucumbers are sprouting so far, I’ve potted on pumpkins, aubergines and moneymaker tomatoes, the dahlias are sprouting in a few places and the asparagus is sprouting again in its second year.

It was a lovely warm Easter weekend so hope we have lots more fine weather to come. The rhubarb and custard tulips are gorgeous and the raspberries in the netted bed bag are looking bushy. I hope we get a good crop this year. The elder is sprouting vigorously so I’ve been daydreaming about bumper elderflower champagne production this year… We’ll see!

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Shoots at Last

I’ve sown a few trays of Gardeners Delight today; it will be our main tomato crop because they have always been the most tasty and successful. The tray of (potential) jalapeño peppers is on the kitchen windowsill but there’s no sign of life yet. We still had some compost discs from a chilli gift set last year so I’ve used them up – very neat.

Finding another shelving unit in the garage, I’ve crammed that into the greenhouse for many more trays of seeds. I have previously taken some out when I want to house big tomatoes in pots but for now I need to get on with sowing.

The tomato seedlings are still doing well and sit next to the two dahlias I am encouraging to sprout before planting out. I’ve also taken some Christmas Cactus and geranium cuttings.

The aubergines ‘Ophelia’, pumpkins and Moneymakers are starting to sprout so we should have something from the garden to eat this year.

I’ve added a couple of pictures of the magnolia in the front garden looking at its best too.

Happy gardening.

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New Plant Bargains and Old Geraniums

We bought a few goodies today from the local garden centre courtesy of my husband’s Aunt and Uncle who gave Garden Vouchers for Christmas or birthday (sorry can’t remember which!)

The two dahlias are a treat and I hope I become as expert as my Dad. They are spreading their limbs in some compost now and one already has a thick shoot.

Plants can be so expensive but we found the ‘sale’ section and chose five Erysimum / Wallflowers for £1.50 each (one tall ‘Fire King’ and four ‘Bowles Mauve’) and a large Photinia ‘Pink Marble’ for £6.50. We will also be trying shallots for the first time; Red Sun variety, apparently slow to bolt and high yielding.

It has been up to 25 degrees C in the greenhouse today but it is chilly out there and the temperature is dropping quickly. We are supposed to have frost overnight but I hope not – the geraniums have all survived from last year so I don’t want them killed off now! I made some cuttings today so I won’t be upset if we lose them.

That’s all folks, have a happy Sunday.

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Seductive Seeds

It has been a rainy day, I’m under the weather (ha) and I didn’t mean to do any gardening today. I just went out to the greenhouse to move the tub of pearlite back from overwintering in the garage…

…and I saw the potting bench set up, compost at the ready, little pots stacked up, seed stash winking at me. It’s one of the things I love about the greenhouse: it gets me out of the house no matter what my mood and makes me feel like I’ve done something useful!

Today’s sowing: Pumpkin Jack O’Lantern x 16 and Aubergine Ophelia x 12.

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First Seed Sowing of 2014

I enjoyed sorting through the old seed box today and threw out a few that were many years out of date and added the new ones to my sophisticated system: a box with cardboard monthly dividers.

Thanks M for the gift of two tomato plants the last time I went to Wales. They are doing well in the greenhouse, I’ve potted them on and tied them to the stakes today. I’ve also sown 20 Moneymaker seeds in 10 small pots to fill a tray. It’s a start so I am looking forward to getting more going tomorrow.

Lastly, I started to repot a pretty azalea that my husband kindly gave me but found it was two separate plants crammed into one decorative pot and the root balls we’re quite dry. They are having a good soak and I will be able to plant them tomorrow. I’m not sure of the variety but assume it is evergreen. I’ve read that they like acidic soil (I’ll plant them with ericaceous compost), do well planted under trees, in shade or in a sunny spot if their shallow roots are kept moist. Any helpful information if I’ve got this wrong would be gratefully received!

I bought a bargain tray of violas from Aldi so need to plant them out too – they have been waiting for me for about two weeks already.

The hellebore flowers are looking good (one with added ladybird) and an old fuchsia is coming back to life among other things. I am pleasantly surprised every year when the growing restarts – is it just me?!

Happy gardening:-)20140319-203341.jpg20140319-203351.jpg20140319-203403.jpg20140319-203421.jpg20140319-203429.jpg20140319-203437.jpg

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Greenhouse Scrubber

Hi all, we have such beautiful weather today that there was no excuse not to scrub the greenhouse. I’ve thrown broken plastic pots away and some mouldy plant food, wiped down walls and roof inside and swept the floor. That is the rotten job done, although I will wash a few outside panels that have grown patches of algae.

The camellia behind the greenhouse is blooming nicely and the kale looks pretty with the daffodils. It didn’t grow into enormous plants as I expected but it was good giving it a go.

A bit more scrubbing tomorrow and then I will be placing everything where I want it and getting ready for fun stuff.

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The Dirty Jobs…

Today I had my first greenhouse clear up effort of 2014. There is so much to do but I have made a start – the garden is officially tempting me to get to work. We’ve had a pair of big wood pigeons loitering on the arch this week. They keep tapping their feet and tutting because I haven’t sorted out the garden yet.

We have so many pots that I just stared at them for a while wondering where to start; we certainly cram a lot into this small garden. I plan to gradually empty enough space in the greenhouse to start the clean up. I like the idea of disinfecting the greenhouse to get rid of any mould and disease (not that we’ve had any particular problem with this); it is a common recommendation from garden experts. At the very least, when last year’s dirt has been cleaned from the greenhouse panes, more sunlight can get through to the plants. When all is clean (-ish) and tidy, and the potting bench is set up, I can look forward to one of my favourite bits – sowing seeds.

I hope all you gardeners are feeling positive about your gardens for this year:-)

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First seed purchase of 2014…

…and it’s just good old trailing lobelia!

I’m hoping it will encourage me to get outside and do the rest of the cleaning of pots and scrubbing of greenhouse. Then I can put my potting bench up and the reward will be…seed planting! I should also give a mention to Aldi as the seeds were only 39p:)

I’ll let you know if this works. I hope all you gardening folks out there are enjoying yourselves and finding enthusiasm for the new year of greenery and flowers.

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