I have many plans for the garden and greenhouses this year with the aim of devoting more time on my plants – however we have had almost unrelenting rain so far in 2014 and I haven’t even had much of a chance to try out my new camera. Here are a couple of shots of Crassulas currently in flower.
I fear I will have to redesign the garden yet again as I want to fit in the new greenhouse – I have lost count how many times I have changed it. My real love is greenhouse plants and greenhouse management so the inevitable upheaval may be worth it. If and when I get the greenhouse erected I may not heat it initially but rather use it for tomatoes et al in the summer, chrysanthemums in the autumn followed by lettuce through the winter and bulbs in the spring – this was the regime I adopted in my first greenhouse over forty years ago.
By coincidence my wife has just found out some old photographs of the garden at the end of the Century when we had the first avatar of the lawn and there was only one, admittedly large, greenhouse and a tiny lean-to. All the shrubs had either not been planted or had not grown very big and there was actually flowers in the borders!!!!!
As usual I am desperately late with my gardening jobs (partly blamed on the very hot summer but mainly because my default state is sat in front of an easel, painting!). To illustrate here are two, I think rather surreal, photographs: one taken from the kitchen window and one taken from the dining room. Both show a complete mess which I should really be ashamed about but probably aren’t!
The tubs are for mature Dioscorea caudiciforms which ideally should be potted every three of four years but I am not sure if I have actually potted them this century! If I had they would have armchair sized caudexes by now, which admittedly would take up a lot of room. I am potting the ones that grow in the winter and will now have to, reluctantly, leave the summer growing ones to the spring (or will I – I may chance it). Interestingly whether they grow in winter or summer is almost dictated by chance, or more likely watering regimes when they are still seedlings. They come from South Africa so would normally grow during our winter months.
Someone has given me an eight by six foot greenhouse but I am not sure where to put it; hence the bits propped up against the outhouse! I already have four plus three ponds, not to mention a relatively newly planted lawn so flexibility is somewhat lacking. Logically the best option would be to remove the six by four plastic lean-to and put it there but I am reluctant to throw away an old friend. I will continue to muse!
Incidentally something I am ashamed about is not realising the lemon was not getting the rain during a wet spell last month. It subsequently dried out and lost its leaves -very embarrassing that!
My wife June looks after the tiny front garden of our rented property. It really is small with a large cherry laurel hedge at the front and our neighbour’s shrubs to the side. The soil is extremely poor but we are doing our best to improve it. The borders in front of the bay window and in front of the hedge tend to be a bit dry particularly in the summer months, however there is a nice show of spring flowers at the moment despite the bad weather – hopefully it will be even better next year.
Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera) is usually the first cherry to come into bloom in Southern England. It starts flowering at the beginning of March and in a normal year indicates the imminent arrival of nicer weather. Not this year however! It is still desperately cold at the beginning of April with light snow again today and a bitter wind which would feel almost too chilly in January. For two weeks running the UK met office has forecast milder weather for the approaching weekend and both times they have subsequently amended the information. They are now saying it may get slightly milder during next week – the phrase believe it when you see it comes to mind!
Anyway the cherries remain in bloom. this one is just down the road.
My wife and I went for the long walk to our local garden centre on Tuesday of last week. The weather was sunny and so mild I never needed my hat (a big thing considering my paucity of hair!), wore flip flops instead of shoes and my coat was more of a hindrance than a necessity.
This week it has been bitterly cold with an extremely strong flesh searing East wind and snow – thankfully, unlike many parts of Southern England, it didn’t settle here. It is supposed to get milder over the weekend and then cold again next week! Ouch!!
As a happy reminder of last week’s pleasant day here are a handful of photographs I took (with my mobile phone and the flowers are a bit out of focus – sorry about that!).
The aconites came and went in January and were the first plants in flower in the garden this year – excluding the obvious like winter flowering Viburnum and Christmas Roses. The aconites actually flowered so quickly I never managed to get a photograph even though I often have a mobile phone in my pocket. Going off at a tangent this isn’t so annoying as seeing a pair of young otters on a river bank in the middle of town last year and not getting my phone out of my pocket in time!
I planted a number of Iris reticulata hyrbrids in tubs in October last year (along with species tulips and dwarf narcissi – both lots coming up) and they have been in flower since the end of last month, one plant flowering very early and the rest more gradually later. Strangely one pot is flowering better than the other – hopefully there is nothing untoward going on in the other one.