Friday, December 14, 2007

Winter Dreams..

are of Spring and summer, and imagining all the new plants that will fill the frozen canvas that is the garden....
It remains cold today, and the brightest flowers show the icy weather on their petals. The top photo looks like little tear drops, or glass beads on the newly formed flower.
The Soil has frozen solid.I think I got my plants and bulbs into the ground in the nick of time. It is impossible to put anything in the ground at the moment.
Ice and frosts are good for breaking clods of soil down, so by the spring it should be much more workable.
I made a home made compass last night (sewing needle, some peat pot that was buoyant,a bowl of water, and my new frog fridge magnet to magnetise the sewing needle) to work out which was north. The needle spun around untill it pointed to magnetic north. The garden is facing North/North east. The winter sun does not reach over the tall houses.It is light however, with diffuse light.
The soil is Alkaline and very heavy clay. I used my soil testing kit the second week I was here. A plastic tube with a cap, chemical reagent, and adding soil sample and water. It changed colour to compare with the packaging with its multi colours.
I need to get a compost bin from the Council for £10. A 330 litre compost bin. I have two boxes full of garden refuse ready to be composted. Once its broken down it will go back on top of the two beds. It will enrich the soil, and hold onto moisture.
With the ground frozen and not much tidying needed I have gone back to planning for summer. I googled north facing garden. I will need plants that can survive on partial sunshine and not grow anything that needs full sun to flower.
A good backbone to the garden will come from the three H's.
Hostas, Heuchera's, and Hemerocallis. They are on my wishlist for the next time I go to Hampsons. Also I like Ajuga Reptans too as a first line plant in the creation of a garden.
I will be trying out African bag gardens in the late spring, maybe two of the bag gardens on the pavers by the outhouse, for vegetable growing. A lot of the garden will be movable, using containers to break down the hard lines.
My Mum sent me a xmas Card and some money.This will go towards the garden plants. A honeysuckle, and some trellis for it to grow up.
The two Festuca Glauca's are chilling in the cold frame with the Fuschia. I do not know where to put them at the moment. The garden needs some vertical plants too, maybe grasses for their form, movement, and noise as they blow in the wind.
I planted some Sweetpea seeds today, which will hopefully germinate before being moved into the cold frame. It will be a party in there soon with Iris, Hellebores, white onions,the three varieties of Herbs, and the sweet peas.


lisa said...

You made your own compass?! That's cool...where did you learn to do that? Here in the States, we have the Boy there something similar there? Sounds like you are formulating a good plan, especially testing your soil first. I've lived here 9 years and have yet to do that!

David (Snappy) said...

Hi Lisa,I read it once about the compass.We do have boy scouts here,but they would likely have a proper one.I could not see the sun setting or rising and I wanted to know the alignment of the garden!
I googled it to come up with the method.All i was missing was the buoyant cork to support the magnetised needle.
The soil testing is the first I have done ever.I will repeat it though to check.I read well conditioned soil is more important than the acidity.
I will be scientific, but mostly plant things and see if they grow well :)

Unknown said...

Sounds like it will be beautiful back there! :)

By the way, what are those little flowers? One of your "busy lizzies?"

David (Snappy) said...

Hi Kim,The flowers are winter primulas in the photos.I have a busy lizzie that was leggy so I trimmed it back to the base and it is growing nicely in second bedroom window.I wanted to see if I could over winter it then take cuttings in the spring to propogate more!