Thursday, 26 July 2018

Bye bye July

The major addition for this month was the arrival of of our two 'bespoke' sheds.  We found a maker on our doorstep which meant we could get the 6 x 3 ship-lap with pent roof with two doors that we wanted.  Basically we wanted a (slim) bike shed design but full height and we hadn't managed to find a ready made one that ticked all the boxes and any of the comprises didn't suit us.  I don't think they were a bad price as they are nice quality and came in just over £300 each.  The guys delivered all the sections ready built and they were both erected in something like twenty minutes!

I lived with them a while but decided even though I like the honey colour and the finish they were a bit too bright squatting down there in the corners.  We intended to screen with a large 6 x 6 trellis at this point.  Even so I think they need to be painted into the corner, i.e. made darker.

Cuprinol Shades - Old English Green - seemed to be the nearest to a vegetation colour and even though I thought they looked a bit army Nissan hut I am coming round to them.  We are now forgoing the large screen and will just trellis the side and grow a jasmine on each.

 So here is a compare pair of photos at lunchtime with one shed done and the other waiting.  

 We went away for a few days this month, right in the middle of our brilliant long lasting heatwave which was obviously not going to be great for the pots.  My other half rigged up the timer from our previous incarnation and a hose and the watering pods.  Each of them has five lines and we have four pods - total of twenty lines - everyone was used.  Not bad for a lady who said no more pots when we move.

Our strawberries are starting to crop nicely.  I find a couple of pots like these do us enough not to have to buy them.  In the few days between picking they come up with the next batch in time for when we fancy them again.

Even our sad little pot of battered runner beans gave us five nice ones as a down-payment.  They worked just fine with a few peas added and they certainly have a load more taste than shop bought.  That is maybe the only vegetable I really miss not growing...... or rather eating ....... plus lovely new potatoes.

In this glorious weather our days start nicely with our cup of breakfast tea and coffee and sometimes even breakfast itself taken into the garden.  Then it is a case of a pootle round the homestead, deadheading for me and a bit of pulling up any weeds he can see for my trainee gardener, aka husband.  This is the first garden (out of the many I have done) that he has been interested in and its so nice to be doing it together,

When we were away I had a great time (back in Bury and its environs) buying up the various garden centres I know and love.  Sooooo much cheaper than here in Edinburgh.  I have succumbed to solar lights and have no idea why.......?????   I always thought they were a bit naff and utterly pointless for us.  There will never be a time when we are sitting out in a dark garden to appreciate them.  Right now we make a point of coming into the kitchen and stare out of the windows a couple of times in the evening and say how nice it looks..... as I said a utterly  pointless really but its pleasing me on some level.  I am living in hopes that they manage to charge up in the winter when they can be appreciated by us by four o'clock in the afternoon!

I will have two pairs at the bottom of the garden, this pair over the herb bed and one over a new rose bed in the patio; so basically marking out the boundaries of the garden.

The spinner also lights up

...... and we have some smaller lights on the coffee table in our outside 'sitting room'.  The dragonfly was also a visit-to-Bury purchase.  

..... as were the bird feeders

Needless to say I didn't make it back without plants either.  This is my new rose bed.  Three David Austin roses (at great expense), four salvias (£20) and twelve baby lavenders  (£7.99).  I had been looking for a a salvia up here for a while, it needed to tolerate shade and not cost an arm and a leg.  So these at a fiver a piece 'down South' were a find.  The lavender may very well be a hide into nothing - they really don't like shade and damp so I don't expect them to thrive but at £7.99 for twelve it was worth a shot.  I planted them and the salvias on gravel in hopes of giving them a fair chance of getting through a Scottish winter on solid clay.  If I just manage a grey lavender hedge running down each side of the bed with only sparse flowers it may well do me as I don't want the roses swamped.  The roses will gain a foot (30 cms) or more on the salvias so they should be layered.

Here are a few photos of bits and bobs looking nice right now.

As a less happy footnote our gardener discovered a wasp nest in the front lawn when strimming - bet that was a bit of a shock.  Luckily for him it is underground and we are so glad he found it, maybe on a dull day (less active wasps) it would have been missed.  

I am not a believer in killing stuff ad hoc but no choice with this I'm afraid; gardeners and a two year old grandchild may not find it conducive.  Off to B & Q for a spray and seems to have already done the trick.  Will do a follow up to be sure.

So moral the of that story is beware underground nests.  If you have a lot of wasps around you might have one.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Can't wait until the end of the month

I intended to record the garden at the end of each month but there are so many things starting to flower and look good I want to share them now.  When you think these were 5 cm plug plants just two months ago it is astonishing what mother nature can do in a few weeks.

My ten pound hanging baskets from Dunbar are doing really well

This is just a supermarket house rose.  It looks as tough as old boots now its outside.

Shropshire Lad


Some sweet peas from my daughter

Wollerton Old Hall


Dianthus deltoides

The sweet peas came out all white on this side of the garden

Coreopsis - looks lovely against the linum

Love this and new to me - Linum perenne - fabulous blue in real life

Have two of these climbers as it is one of my all time favourites - Passion Flower

Lots of rogue plants turned up with the plugs - just retrieved a nasturtium in hopes I might get something from it.  Got some tiny creamy violas scattered around the borders as escapees from other plugs.

I moved the beans from the silly veg bed - doing better in the sun.  We might actually get a meal from them.

Sadly these outgrew their space in the house, so maybe we'll get a couple of months out of them outside and then probably bin them when they die.  I hate binning healthy plants but I really have no where indoors for them.

Looks so much better in the flesh.  I have no idea what the camera sees that I don't.

Shropshire Lad

Again, the left border is looking really nice for a two month old baby; better than this photo suggests

Sunday, 1 July 2018

End of June

Just a reminder of what part of the garden looked like at the end of May

... and how it looked at the end of June

I am really pleased with how the 5cm plugs have grown especially as they aren't in the most luscious soil.  I have high hopes for a good show of flowers in late summer and a properly knitted together border next year if they survive a Scottish winter.

The herbs are slow to take off but to be fair they don't get a lot of sun at the top end of the garden (north facing)  For the amount I use they are doing just fine.  I tended to replace most if not all of them each year even when I was growing them in ideal conditions.  The woody ones like rosemary and thyme go woody (surprise!!) and the softer ones are never as lush as they are in year one.

The 'play' veggie area has produced enough radishes to keep the neighbours fed never mind us.  I didn't bother successional sowing as I grew them really just to show my grandson, so I chucked in the whole packet.  Of course when you don't care and don't bother what happens.... you get thousands of large perfect radishes.

The two patches of mixed leaves have been cut and used and they are now starting to run to seed so I will hack the leaves off, use some and chuck the rest away and give the plants a chance to grow some more new small leaves for next time round.  The watercress isn't exactly cracking on.  I said when i bought it I had my doubts.  I really wanted the American land cress.

We added a small bench in the gravelled area and it has proved to be a lovely place to while away a few minutes between chores.  The fabulous mini rose in the pot on the table was one of those supermarket last five minute jobbies but I deadheaded it and moved it outside and it is incredibly healthy and putting on more flowers.  Always worth a punt.

With faithful watering and feeding during this heatwave - yes literally a couple of months of almost unbroken record breaking heat - the pots in the south part of the garden have done really well

Ken added a couple more planting holes along the back fence for my passion flowers that were desperate to be free of their tiny pots.  They were being saved to disguise the sheds in some way but I thought they wouldn't last another month as they were.

The strawberries are late (late planting) but they are coming along at last and producing quite a lot of very pretty pink flowers.

As for the two baskets we bought from Dunbar Garden centre for ten pounds each I am very pleased with those.

This is a view of the back fence and its four climbers - two perennial sweet peas and two passion flowers.  The strawberry pots are back there because putting them in the better place for them they get filled with lawn clippings when the gardener cuts the grass.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Second border and perennial sweet peas

20th and 21st May 2018

 Before I started on the big border I planted the lettuce, radish and water cress.  I decided against successional sowing as it is isn't a 'serious' veggie growing session and the beans will have romped up and swamped the salads pretty soon - ever the optimist; not doing any romping yet.

the seed mat for the lettuce - does save on thinning out later
 I weighted the two mats down on a scrabbled up surface and then covered them lightly with potting compost and watered well.  The radish and water cress are planted round the edges of the border in a similar way.  The third mat is nestled in a pot for my grandson to take home when it starts to grow.

discs ready to be buried
 The second border got planted up like the first one did, using canes and sticks for markers

one aching body later
 On a trip into Dobbies for some agricultural 'gravel' because we had a 20% voucher, we bought two perrenial sweet peas.  They had them in pale pink and white - both of which I have owned at some time and then this one, described as red, so I thought I would go for a change.

The discount wasn't valid for the gravel but it did mean that the £20 worth of sweet peas were discounted by £4, so a bit of a win that day.

love a discount

It was a challenge grubbing down under the gravel and membrane to get the plants planted.  More worryingly they have their feet in a swamp.  The water, sitting on the clay pad, is actually visible as soon as you dig down six inches or so.  We over dug the hole and filled it with compost to give them a decent start but I have no idea how they will survive the wet - now and, even worse, over the winter.  This is going to be a garden of challenges.

After planting them and struggling to get the gravel back in place neatly I decided the gravel needed edging up away from them.  I got Ken to build me a frame to shove round them to keep the gravel back.  As always the old decking came into play - incidentally we have never had a deck!!

just needs a lick of paint

So our gravel area now looks like this

one step at a time

At the top end of the garden the seating is being used during this lovely hot spell

the place for a cuppa