Thursday, May 31, 2012

Roses In The Rain

    The rain continued to fall overnight and this morning battering our Ceanothus into a left sided lean with heavy droopy flowers.I had gone out last night to water all the Roses before the heavens opened.This is the tea scented Moliniuex today in the front garden.I need a fifth Rose bush to complete the hedgerow that we are trying to grow,as one has died totally.The Roses are spectacular in sunlight,and after rain.
Outside the door Darcey Bussell is blooming away.The colours of the petals vary according to how strong the light is.She has a lovely old rose scent and has lots of Rose buds ready to explode more crimson delights.
 The mystery Rose continues to delight me by opening its bud slowly by the fence.It has a dark and light pink swirling looking petals.I hope that it blooms for us tomorrow before the Jubilee weekend.This was rescued from a garden burning pile and re homed.I need a name for it.Roses are always named after historic places,famous women,or men,or special events.I have heard about two new ones recently..
 I got an email about this lovely shell pink rose called Mercy which has a lovely spice scent.It is sold by Harkness Roses,and proceeds from its sale will go to the Mercy Ship charity.
An old converted cruise ship has been turned into a floating hospital with doctors,surgeons,nurses,and dentists.Over the past 32 years over 520,000 people have been treated in medical and dental clinics.They give free health care in over 70 countries.It is a beautiful Rose for a worthwhile cause.
 John Wood Nurseries have sent me an email about the Rose of the year 2012 called A Moment In Time.It was bred and released to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee,and the London Olympics.It is compact,slight fragrant,and has these lovely blood red Roses that bloom all summer long.
 Once the garden has a new patio area I can plant two new borders.I'm sure I will have room for some more Roses.They fill the garden with bright colours,shapes,form,and scent.The names are poetic and dreamy.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Honeysuckle Book and Blooms

I spent about four hours at the plot on my knees trimming long grass and weeds with a kitchen knife.It was too thick to be cut by the strimmer,and my grass clippers are good for fine edging work but not brute clearance.I set up two more compost bins and filled them both to near overflowing.I have a few more areas to dig over and as I'm writing this its pouring down with rain.I got a complimentary paper blanks book, with the cover design of the arts and crafts designer William Morris "Honeysuckle".When I'm at flower shows or if i have inspiration i can write down my random thoughts.It can also be good for brain storming good blog post topics.There website is here:
Its nearly the Queens Diamond Jubilee weekend.I hope its as sunny as when i photographed the Black Bamboo,We are having a barbecue on Sunday with Cats family.I did order Petunias from Sutton's in red,white,and blue but none have arrived so far.I have bought bunting,balloons,table clothes,flags,paper plates and cups,and hats all painted in the union jack colours.The garden will be the centre of the celebration and regally decked out.The Queens flotilla will makes its way down the river Thames on Sunday afternoon.1000 ships all decked out in red,white,and blue.
Inside the conservatory the plants are flowering away.Two Easter Cactus are blooming on the shelf, and on the glass cabinet is the Pelagonium Attar Of Rose.Dainty little pink flowers blooming under my french impressionist ballet girls picture.The Streptocarpus Harlequin Blue has a few flower buds now.That was the plant of the year at Chelsea a few years ago.
The Sweet Williams we bought for the winter baskets are starting to flower now.They are very tall with flowers growing on the top of the plants.At least the rain has watered the baskets for me again.
This Sweet William is flowering in the green planter by the back door.It has the faint smell of cloves like its taller dark flowered cousin.
The Aliums continue to attract insects to their firework like flowers.They are very beautiful to look at.
 Tomorrow I want to buy some plant supports for the Sweet Pea's that are growing in the greenhouse. Sweet Spencer Mixed,David Bellamy,and William & Catherine Sweet peas.The Tulips have given their barrel planters away ready for the sweetly scented Sweet peas to bloom in.I hope to have masses of cut flowers for the house in little posy's.

Flowers And An Organic Row

   The sun was illuminating the Rose Darcey Bussell yesterday.I love the slight tea fragrance that comes from the red cup.The only other Rose flowering is the Moliniuex in the front garden.They smell lovely too.
 The heat seems to bend the Lupins flower spikes banana style.I hope that the two white ones catch up and flower later in the year.I want more primary colours for the Lupins,as the lupin mixed colour are all purple!
 The Birds Foot Trefoil is flowering now at the back of the pond in my wildflower area.It has these lovely vibrant yellow flowers that sing out above the sea of green.I bought clippers yesterday and cleaned the grass edges up around the garden and the pond.The bamboo fencing can now be seen from the conservatory.
 I got this Rose last year from Ann's garden when we were cleaning it up.She was going to throw away the long stemmed rose.I took it back in the car and re potted it.This year it has a lovely pink Rose bud.Only one flower so far,but I do not know what it will look like,or whether it will be scented.I need to come up with a name for it as it is an unknown variety.I need to plant it into the sunken border,or into a big pot.
   The concrete path has over 100 pots of plants already.The plan is to get a stone patio area for our table and chairs.That area will have borders around two sides and maybe room for a few plants.We bought some Butterfly solar lights which we switched on last night after three days charging.They flashed on and off bright blue lights.It reminded me of a police raid!Cat may have to switch them to constant on instead of on and off.
 The Wildflower area has been left to self seed and hopefully change the way it looks every year as different flowers take over depending on the conditions.These Snapdragons have self seeded at the back of the pond.There are these pink ones,and there are pale yellow/white ones that have not flowered yet.These smell amazingly sweet.Like Candy sticks that you used to buy that looked like cigarettes.In the sweet innocent days of years gone by.The scent of the Snapdragons always send me back in time.
 The warm weather has caused the Ceanothus to burst into bloom.The bush is five feet high now and a few feet across.It is covered in small blue flowers who's scent whacks you,every time you walk into the garden.A warm buttery honey smell.The bees seem more interested in the Lupins though than the California Lilac.
 I love the flowers and the contrasting variegated leaves.It will need trimming back later in the year to keep it small enough for our small garden.
This is the Daily Telegraphs picture of the red coated Lily Beetle.I have been trying to hand pick these off my pots of Asiatic Lily's,and even found their unpalatable larvae covered in black poo under the leaves.They are not attractive youngsters!
 Monty Don was drawn into a row with the producers of Gardeners World for not mentioning you can use chemical sprays to kill these pests off.He is president of the Soil association and has gardened organically for 17 years.I cheer his stand on the matter.
 The spray will kill all insects on the plants like Lady Birds,Bees,and Hoverflys.Picking the scarlet beetles off is much more satisfying.Cleaning the larvae off is the most gross thing i have done in the garden!
  I have masses of Lily's thanks to the Dutch flower bulb council.Only one pot has had severe damage at the moment.A few Lily Beetles have laid eggs and the larvae have decimated the leaves off dozens of plants.Stripped down to the stem and covered in black larvae poo.
    I try to garden organically using only rainwater,sunshine,and love.If things get eaten they get eaten.I have tried torchlight safaris to catch snails eating my grape vine,used up turned bottles to try to stop a mole digging up the grass,and copper tape to stop snails getting at Hostas.Not all my organic ventures have been successful.
  I Tried to grow French Marigolds in the plots beds to stop a White Fly explosion.It did not do anything to dissuade them.I live and learn every year.Nature will make a balance between predators and prey.At the moment I am the predator picking off and squashing Lily Beetles daily.
  In the news recently Friends Of the Earth published some research from the University of Reading showing that pesticide usage had gone up 6.5%.The use of Herbicides has also gone up.The two pronged chemical assault will harm our Bee's health,and then our crops productivity if they are dependent on Bee pollination.
  There is a difference between home gardening,and commercial growing.I want to visit Yeo Valley Farm in North Somerset.It is one of only six commercial organic farms in the UK.I wander if it can be done all across the UK.
 I will go to the plot today to do more weeding,grass cutting,watering,and sowing more seeds..

Monday, May 28, 2012

 It was a very hot sunny day.I went to the allotment to try and use the cordless electric strimmer on the long grass around the plot.A month of rain,followed by high temperatures has seen the weeds and grass regrow with vigour.The strimmer was not strong enough.It can strim low nice grass but not tough wild weeds and grasses with thick stems.I started to cut the long areas by hand with a knife.Once it has been hand cut I will use the strimmer to try to maintain it.The photo shows the battle between the gardener and mother nature.She will regain control (and has over the past week or two) if she is left to her own devices.
 I love this Mayweed,which reminds me of a Chamomile plant.This was growing just in front the old Leeks and Parsnip bed.Some of the wild flowers are quite pretty.
 I found three clumps of Poppies growing around the raised beds.I was weeding the bone dry soil with the hoe and weeded around them.I love the hairy flower bud in the centre of the photo.The weeding by hand is hard work,but I cannot spray any chemicals.all the vegetables I grow are organic grown with love,rain,and sunshine.Other plot holders are liberally spraying their paths with weedkiller.Not all plants are weeds though if they grow in the right places.
One of the few things growing well despite the heat is the Pea's.I cannot see any difference in the vigour between the two varieties at the moment;Cavalier,and Kelvedon Wander.Once I have caught up with the weeding and path management I will plant another two rows.
  I got two Aubergine plants today (off Richard),and eight Tomato plants from Hils.The Butternut Squash has totally failed to germinate so one of my raised beds needs an alternate crop or crops.
  The Carrot and Parsnips may need resowing as they have not germinated at all.The extremes between April and May have made growing more difficult.
 I have just watched Spring Watch with Chris Packham,Martin Hughes Games,and Michaela Strachan.There were Moles,Fox families,Wrens,Ospreys,and Nut Hatches.I love the show!
  The weather should see the temperatures cool down and maybe even a few thundery showers.I hope to spend a good deal of my week off at the plot.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Summer Holiday

I have finished my long days and have nine days off now.The joy of gardening and going to the allotment.It has been absolutely boiling hot for the past two days.The garden has been basking in glorious sunshine as i have been sweating at work!Flowers and buds have come on in leaps and bounds.The wildflowers and perennials around the pond have grown really well.The water lily is putting out lots of leaves around the pond.I have ordered two Japanese Bull rushes,and a oxygenating plant.
 The baskets are looking really healthy with masses of Pansy's and Violas in a multitude of colours.I like how striking an orange Pansy is.
 The Lupin flower spikes have rapidly grown over this week and the first one is flowering under the bloom laden Ceanothus.It is a sea of blue and green.
 Here is a camera shy Newt swimming under the pond surface.There are about five adult newts and one baby one that i have seen.They look like dragons swimming around the pond chasing each other and gulping air at the pond surface.
The warm sunshine brings the frogs out to sunbathe just on the edge of the pond.I have seen three separate frogs and they take it in turns to chill out on the surface.
The Rose bench was painted with wood preservative on my last day off.If it stays warm I will apply another two coats.The iron metalwork of the roses has rusted beautifully and so blends in.This is a good place to sit and observe the garden and all the birds that fly into the feeders.
I hope to have a lovely week off gardening,watching films,and going out and about to enjoy the sunshine.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My RHS Chelsea 2012 Highlights

 The RHS Chelsea flower show began on Monday with the press day,celebrity's,and of course a visit from H.M the Queen.There are lots of different gardens is four main categories.These photos show some of my favourites.Starting with the M & G garden designed by Andy Sturgeon.I love the copper ring sculpture and soft planting around the hard structures of the garden.
 It has stone steps, a wide pond, and some artfully drilled walls dividing the garden into spaces,
He was inspired by the natural craftsman of the arts and crafts period.He says it is asymmetric.He has used a variety of green plants interspersed with odd pins of colour.He got a gold medal for this garden.
The allotment gardener Cleve West won a gold medal and Best in show for this Brewer Dolphin garden.The sponsors celebrated their 250th birthday.It is a celebration of 250 years of gardening with beautiful Topiary,like giant chess pieces.
Two stone pillars topped with flaming finials draw the eyes into the garden.
 The under planting is mostly herbaceous perennials with zings of colour.I love how the Ladybird Poppies stand out in the purple and green.
 Two little fountains pour water into stone rills at the base of the entrance pillars.
The main feature at the end is a 250 year old well head that was reclaimed from a stone yard in Gloucester.It has been mounted onto a wall and painted blue behind.It supplied peoples water 250 years ago.
 The heavy rains meant that one Sunday morning a small army of people descended to save the stone work and well head from the flooding river Severn.This was a garden that was almost not.
Cleve West won best in show last year for his Daily Telegraph Libyan inspired garden.He has a natural flair for combining stone,plants,water.It looks like it has been there for years.He says he will not be back next year to Chelsea.
 I love the Chris Beardshaw Furzey garden.This is a garden to celebrate the work of Furzey Gardens in Hampshire.The students who have learning difficulties helped build the garden for the first time at Chelsea.It has acid loving plants like Rhododendrons,Azaleas,and Primulas.The planting is luscious with lots of blousy colours.He said that this style of garden was old fashioned and would never win a medal...He won a gold medal for it.
 This was Sarah Prices first Chelsea show garden and was an evocation of the Dartmoor and North Wales from her childhood.A mixture of grasses,rushes,perennials,and meadow flowers have been planted around the stone paths and rills of water.
 There is a copper lined pool in the centre of the garden.Chilmark limestone forms the paths and is overlooked by a multi stemmed Birch tree.
It is a naturalistic style of planting and looks lovely.Boulders are sat at the end for sitting on and contemplating the scene.

 She has used this beautiful Lady Slippers Orchid..
I love the colour of this Pseudocorus Berlin Tiger.She won a gold medal for her very first Chelsea garden.

 The Welcome to Yorkshire garden was one of my favourites.Inspired by the wild moorland frequented by the Bronte Sisters.
It was designed by Tracy Foster and is based around the landscape of the Pennine moors.It has included little Hearts Ease Violas painted by one of the sisters in a watercolour.It is the 165th anniversary of the publishing of Jane Eyre,Wuthering Heights,and Agnes Grey.
 There are some Victorian reading glasses and two books from the time to suggest the authors may have just wandered off to look closer at a wild Viola.It won a gold medal.
 Another Artisan garden I loved is the Japanese Satakora garden.It represents the area between the mountains and lowland.People used to live simply there in harmony with nature.
 It was designed by Kazuyuki Isihara and looks amazing.The attention to detail means it looks like it has been there for years.
 He won a gold medal and the best artisan garden award.

The show also has the Great Pavilion packed full of the worlds best nurseries and plant growers.Each year they all try to have new plants bred to be unveiled for the world.The winner of the 2012 RHS Plant Of the year is this lovely Pink Foxglove called Digitalis Illuminations Pink.
 It has been bred by Thompson and Morgan from Canary Island plants to give it the most magnificent colour.It is self sterile so it will not set seeds so will flower all summer long.
The show is like the Olympics of horticulture and sets trends for the next few years with planting styles and types of plants,trees,and flowers.It is also a show business occasion with celebreties visiting the showground.I think it marks the start of the early Summer.The garden here is in full growth and i find the gardens inspiring.It will take time to digest what has gone on.