Early Spring Borders…

It’s been a late start to the flowers but at last the tulips have arrived.  I didn’t protect the borders from rabbits this year and oddly they haven’t touched them.  I’m not sure why as we still have a rabbit problem in the garden despite all my efforts to keep them out but I certainly wont grumble.

One of the surprise has been the Chocolate Vine/Akebia quinata which has never really survived above ground before but this year is giving a lovely early display along the back of the fence.

I am also quite taken with the delicate and pretty flowers on the Weeping Pear/Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’, which I have never noticed before.

Other than that it’s the usual suspects taking center stage and proving some much needed colour.  There are still quite a few tulips in the cutting patch to flower but I’ll save that for another day as two posts in one day is miracle enough and I need to go and do my final water!

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Planting out Squash and Pumpkin…

Yes, it’s a little daring planting out the squash and pumpkin quite this early but I have been watching the forecast and it looks like we are due some warm nights and if we do get a last minute frost, I will cover them in cloches and hope for the best!  I know a few friends that have lost potatoes and beans to the recent cold snaps, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the weather.

I only have 6 well germinated plants, I say well germinated but I’m sure you’ve spotted the tiny pathetic ‘Butternut’ in the middle bottom, I have shoved an extra seed in the pot direct in the hope of germination in case it doesn’t make it!  So the list is:

  • Turk’s Turban
  • Butternut Harrier F1
  • Buttercup
  • Gem/Rolet
  • Mariana di Chioggia
  • Dill’s Atlantic Giant

Sadly the Sweet Dumpling and Crown Prince didn’t germinate.  I’m not sure if it was because I used my own seed or not?  Either way it’s probably a good thing as I only have 6 giant pots, the rest are a little small for planting Squash.

OK, so I removed the top layer of soil from last year and replaced with manure and then a bag per pot of John Innes 3 to give them a good start.  I hope that using the same pots as last year wont make me prone to early powdery mildew, I figure our slightly harsher Winter has killed of a lot of the garden diseases but I guess we”ll see.  The seedlings are now in and have been well watered, they are having a little sunbath but I will cover them in cloches later so it isn’t too much of a shock being outdoors for the night.  I am also unsure if the evil pigeons will try and eat them so might have to cover with netting, I discovered lots of feathers in the garden yesterday so one must have been munched, I have to admit I couldn’t resist a little ‘happy dance’ 😉

April Cut Flower Round-up…

Today I have planted the final seeds for the cut flower beds, there have been a few changes to the original plans but most seeds are in now, so here’s a quick round-up.

Bed 1

  • Euphorbia Oblongata/Spurge (HA) x 4
  • Cerinth Major Purpurascens/Honeywort (HA) 2 Rows x 5 each

Both of the above are growing from last year, the Euphorbia gets a haircut in Autumn and then re-grows and sadly most of the Cerinth Major seedlings growing from Autumn were badly frost damaged but I moved some remaining self sown seedlings into the cutting patch and they are slowly growing.

This bed also contains some Spring Bulbs but I’ll photograph them next week when the tulips have opened.

Bed 2

  • Salvia Viridis/Sage – Blue Clary (HA) x 5
  • Bupleurum (HA) x 5

The seeds for both of these have been sewn direct last week, I had hoped to have seedlings self seeded from last year already on the go, but again, the harsh Winter killed them off.

  • Zinnia Elegans – Sprite Mix (HHA) 2 Rows x 5 each
  • Nicotiana Alata/Tabacco Plant – Lime Green (HHA) 2 Rows x 5 each

These have been sown in-doors today and I’ll move the seedlings into place once they have germinated.

  • Salvia Paterns/Sage (HHA) x 5
  • Antirrhinum/Snapdragon – Crimson Classic (HHA) x 5

These were cut back to the ground last Autumn and covered with a long cloche over Winter, again it looks like they have died but I’ll continue to water them and see what happens.  I will re-place them with bought plants if needed as it’s too late to sow seed for Anthirrhinum now and I’ve had little success growing my own Salvia Paterns in the past.

Bed 3

  • Calendula Officialis/Marigold – Indian Prince (HA) x 4

Seeds are in direct outside, no seedlings survived the Winter.

  • Nigella Damascena/Love-in-a-mist – Deep Blue (HA) x 5
  • Nigella Hispanica/Love-in-a-mist (HA) x 5

These did survive and are growing nicely.

  • Zinnia – Deep Red (HHA) x 5
  • Bupleurum (HA) x 5
  • Zinnia – Giant Dahlia Mix (HHA) x 5
  • Amaranthus Caudatus/Love-lies-bleeding – Viridis (HHA) 2 Rows x 4 each

All the above have been planted as seeds in-doors today, except the Bupleurum which has been sown direct.

Bed 4

  • Helianthus Annuus/Sunflower – Chianti (HA) 2 Rows x 4 each

The evil little fat Pigeons have eaten my Sunflower seedlings which were started a while back and recently moved outdoors.  I have started new seed in the Greenhouse.

  • Ammi Majus/Cow Parsley (HA) x 4

Seed has been planted direct last week.

  • Centaurea Cyanus/Cornflower – Blue Boy (HA) x 4

Yeah!  These have survived Winter and are doing well.

  • Malope Trifida Vulcan (HA) x 3

I have no seed left so have planted Dill instead.

  • Cosmos – Purity (HHA) x 3

Seed planted in the Greenhouse last week.

  • Scabiosa – Black Cat (HA) x 3

No seed left…not sure what I will put in it’s place yet.

  • Cosmos – Dazzler (HHA) x 3

Seed planted in the Greenhouse last week.

So that’s it, a quick catch-up of the raised flower beds and hopefully the start of a nice supply of cut flowers for the house over the next few months.

April Round-up of the Vegetables…

Sorry, sorry, I know I’ve been a bit absent again and in one of the busiest months, I was unfortunately ill over Easter but since getting better I have been out in the garden most days so figured it was time for a catch-up.  I’ll split this into sections I think as it’ll make life easier.

Failed Germination/Seedlings

As it says in the title, these are the things that haven’t done as they should, largely through my laziness but it’s still annoying.

From last year…

Broad Bean ‘Super Aquadulce’ – They were looking rather splendid last Autumn (as above) and I moved them outside for the Winter to a nice sheltered spot but the continual low temperatures and snow rather killed them off so no early Broad Beans this year.  I may plant more, I haven’t decided yet.

From February Lists…

Cucumbers – All of them.  They had become very ‘leggy’ searching for light in the kitchen, I think I was a bit keen having started them too early and they have withered and pretty much died.  I started new seed yesterday, again in the dark and constant heat but this time as it’s warmer outside as soon as they germinate they will go into the greenhouse for better light.

Tomatoes – Again they are totally limp with long ‘leggy’ stems and are falling all over the place.  I have nipped of the seed leaves and planted them up in deeper pots with the stems planted nearly to the first ‘true’ leaves in the hope they will recover and grow roots along the stems, they are in the greenhouse so we’ll see.  The ‘100’s & 1000’s x 3‘  didn’t germinate at all.

Aubergines – For some reason they never germinated.  I have put in more seed and will give them more attention this time.  For constant heat they are again in the kitchen.

From March Lists…

Climbing French Bean – ‘Barlotto Lingua di Fuoco’ x 10

Climbing French Bean – ‘Blue Lake Climbing‘ x 5

Only a few of each germinated so I’ve planted new beans as on prodding I can see the original ones have rotted.

From the Squash

‘Sweet Dumpling’ & ‘Crown Prince’ haven’t germinated, both were the saved seed from last year so maybe that’s why.  I also didn’t realise that saved seed could have cross breed, I have thrown in extra seed as it’s there, may as well give them a second chance.

Doing well and moved into the Greenhouse from house

Are…

Sweet Pepper

Mini Red Skin x 3

Topep Rosso x 3

Chilli

Hot Stuff x 2 (well that’s what is says on the packet!)

Squash

Turk’s Turban

Butternut Harrier F1

Buttercup

Gem/Rolet

Mariana di Chioggia

Dill’s Atlantic Giant

Courgette – ‘Soleil’ x 1

Courgette – ‘Defender’ x 3 (there should be 2 of each but only 1 ‘Soliel’ germinated)

Doing well and moved into the garden from the greenhouse

Pak Choi – ‘Mei Qing Choi’ x 5

Pak Choi – ‘Joi Choi’ x 5

They are under a loose cloche but only to stop the bloomin’ birds pecking them out – more on that later grrrr…

Pea – ‘Sugar Snap’

I’ve just done a re-read of this years blog and I’m not sure I ever mentioned these but I planted a batch in a gutter in the greenhouse back in Feb (25th) they are in a long grid of three rows, 5cm apart, with another 5cm between peas.  Most  have germinated and I’ve planted out the gutter with a criss cross of bamboo canes above for support.

Finally I planted up the potatoes which have been ‘chitting’ in the house since February, 5 per potato barrel in the greenhouse, (‘Charlotte‘ seed potatoes, my favourite) using a mixture of JI 2 and multi compost (2:1).  You start the seed potatoes about 2 inches from the bottom (with 4 inches of soil on top) and then keep adding soil to cover the stems as they grow, you need to move them outside before they get too heavy.  I have 2 seed potatoes left over (I gave the rest away) which I am going to plant in buckets with holes drilled for turning out in one go when ready.  The ones in my potato barrels (see last link) can be taken a few at a time from the side holes when ready but it does let the slugs in!

So after a few days of gardening there are even more lists to come and some nice (I hope) photos of the Spring plants but for now it’s time for a Pimms and a tidy up 🙂