Friday, September 28, 2012

Summers End And Winter Plans

I have just looked at the blogs main page and realised it has been 15 days since I posted.2012 will not be a vintage blog year I think because of the extreme weather,and working full time.The Summer is officially over (the date was 21st September).The garden looks ragged around the edges and needs tidying up when the weather drys out.We have had the wettest spring, the wettest summer since 1912,and from the last few days probably onto the wettest Autumn.There were widespread floods across the north of England.
The Sweet Peas are still flowering beautifully.A few odd flowers remain around the garden.The Baskets need cleaning up,but hopefully the Pansy's and Viola's will flower over the winter.I liked the Petunias in red,white,and blue.It complimented my patriotic streak in celebrating the Queens Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
 I have started to receive seed and plant Catalogues to peruse over.I also bought the James Wong Book Homegrown Revolution.I need to see what exotic varieties I could grow at the allotment alongside the traditional British Vegetables.
  Looking out of the window the Roses need trimming back to encourage new growth next year.The pond needs the duckweed removing again and the plants trimmed.The wildflower area needs cutting down and excess growth removed, so the bare soil can germinate the wildflower seeds that have dropped.I will also use the plant supports next year before the flush of new flowers to keep them upright.
  The Ceanothus will need cutting back.In its third year it is now about eight feet high and five feet wide.I will try to shape it into a giant figure.
 The Butterfly Bush needs hard pruning but the birds love landing in it.From the dining room table you can see the plumage,feathers,and behaviour of the garden birds at close range.
 I want to buy a new greenhouse too as the old one has ripped cover and leaks water.The Grape Vine needs detaching from the frame to stand outside over the winter.There are five good bunches of eating Grapes ripening nicely now.From green to mauve to purple to black.I could do with some more sunshine to illuminate the leaves to make more sugar for the fruit.
 I need to read the seed catalogues and start to make my wish list.Work out what I want to grow next year.The pictures and descriptions are perfect to read in the cool dark nights now it is getting darker earlier.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Birds And Seeds

   The weather has turned greyer and colder with more rain.I am back to work for the next four nights so the gardening and allotment work stops.I saw this Nuthatch today in our garden eating seed mix from the tall bird feeder.I topped them all up today as the birds are hungrily feeding.
 The Japanese Painted Fern is growing magnificently in a pot.I have used lichen and moss in other pots and dropped off our roof by the House Sparrows to cover the soil underneath it.This will provide an organic mulch layer to stop it drying out.The growth of the leaves has been lush,so i think its working.
The Lady Bird Poppies were decimated by the heavy summer rains but they must have been pollinated because there are about six pepper pot seed heads in the sunken border.I'm hoping these drop seeds in the sunken border.I have some Patty Plum type Poppy seed heads at the allotment to bring back home too to scatter across the border.
  Collecting seeds is a great way of propagating more plants of the varieties that you like.You can also swap seeds,or give relatives and friends bonus seeds.Gardeners have been doing that for centuries I think.
 The other surprise yesterday was seeing a Sparrowhawk sitting on the solar light in the Strawberry patch.I have seen him three times now,and each time he sits looking at me through the conservatory window.I hope to get a photo one day,but every time I pick the Camera up he flies off to the shed then away.He was beautiful with a speckled back,white breast feathers,and bright yellow beak and eyes.
 He is terrorising the garden birds but he is amazingly agile in the air.I have a soft spot for Raptors..

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Flowers And Philosophy

 I was at the plot again today trying to continue the late summer clear up.I was surprised by the flowers I found growing in my Onion bed.When I came back I photographed this Geranium.It has re bloomed again for the third time this year.the colour is electric blue.I love the sun casting a shadow with its stamen.
 The Sweet Peas William and Catherine continue to bloom.I think they will until the first frosts cut them down.In a wet summer of many failures these have been a heart lifting success.
 I do not know what these bright yellow wildflowers are called.These were growing up at the allotment in the Onion bed surrounded by volunteer Snapdragons.
 I have left these so I can collect the seed heads.These can be used for the wildflower mix around the garden pond.I love the deep crimson colour with a hint of yellow.These just started growing in the raised bed at the allotment.
 The other snapdragons are a bit lighter red,with a hint of orange.they both smell divine,like my old sweet Candy sticks.
The Bounty from today was these Onions,and some King Edward Potatoes.My experiment growing the Onion Sets in the greenhouse worked.There was good leaf and root growth.The red onions I got from Hils have not grown at all.I think the soil is contaminated with white rot that stops the plate growth of Onion Sets.
  I have cleared four of the raised beds.Two have crops still growing in them (Broccoli Waltham, and Cabbage Primo 2).The Snapdragons and Yellow flowers are growing in one bed.Two need clearing ready for the winter green manure.The area between the beds needs digging over and covering with black tarpaulin.
 Once I have written this blog post I will be doing Internet shopping for more those items.I am enjoying the few successes of the allotment in 2012.
 The failures include no Carrots,Parsnips,French beans, or Japanese Onions germinated in the soil, so there were no crops.
 The weeds and grasses have outgrown all the vegetable crops in my absence.Now is a time to regroup and plan for next year.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Lost Plot and Old Roses

  The Paralympics finished yesterday and I watched the closing ceremony with pride and a little sadness that our super summer of sport is over.
 I went to the allotment today and discovered a jungle growing all over my raised beds!
 I spent four hours trying to start the Autumn clear up of the lost plot.I brought home a Cabbage which we had for tea,and some Turnip Snowball.They tasted okay,but the crop was very hit and miss.Most of the plants had grown skinny taproots and not the nice round snowball pictured on the seed packet!
The slugs and snails have wreaked havov on the Cabbages.The rain has destroyed all the Potatoe and Onion foliage.They need lifting tomorrow and drying in the shed.
 I looked back at the photos to find this gorgeous photo of the Getrude Jekyll Rose when she was in flower.
  I need to go back to the drawing board for the allotment.I need to keep the areas between the raised bed clear of weeds.Black Tarp and bark chippings may do the trick.Bare soil just gets colonised by weeds and grasses.The wet summer has seen them explode.Eating the Cabbage and Turnip tonight with Pork steaks was amazing.I could taste the sunshine and rain,and chemical free plot..
  I will also sit down over the winter and work out what I want to grow.I think I will move away from Potatoes and into exotic crops.James Wong will have a new series out soon exploring growing exotic vegetables.I will watch that with interest..

Thursday, September 06, 2012

End Of Summer Highlights

 The Climbing Fuchsia that Cats Mum brought back from Cromer last year,has revived in the pot and is now flowering beautifully.The Scarlet and Crimson flowers contrast to the bronzed leaves.I tied up the stems today to the bamboo cane.
 It will need protecting over the winter.It will eventually become winter hardy but it needs cossetting for another season or two.
 The Common Garden Mint has flowered with these pretty lilac blooms.The scent of the leaves is delicious.The lilac seems to stand out above the leaves.
 The Late Summer has seen the Gladiolus flower.They have a nasty habit of falling over if they are not tied to something!The sun was shining today giving these nice colours.
 Late Sunshine should help the Apples ripen and get them larger on the tree.
 I spotted this Butterfly the other day alighting on the Butterfly Bush.Its flowers have an earthy scent to them.
 The Peacock Butterfly is very brightly coloured and I have seen several of these this Summer.
 The Strawberry plants are putting on a small burst of flowers and fruit.I ate a lovely juicy Strawberry today off the plant.It was so sweet and delicious.
 The Honeysuckle has made these Berry's which the birds have been feeding off.They are like mini Blueberries.I read that Blackbirds love to eat these.
 The Grapes are growing away nicely in the Greenhouse.I am waiting for them to change colour,so I can begin to taste them.There are a half dozen bunches growing which is not too bad for the first years growing season.
 There have been lots of Baby Birds coming into the garden to feed.These cheeky chappy is a baby Goldfinch.He has the black and yellow Wing bars but no facial colours.He looks quite spotty on the chest.
The Butterfly bush is a favourite place for Blue Tits to eat their sunflower hearts.I love how they hold it between their feet and peck away at it.
  The wettest summer ever has impacted on how much gardening and plot work I have done.I am already planning for next years growing season.I need some Spring Bulbs,and some seeds to revamp the garden.The Greenhouse needs replacing soon too.
  Luckily there is always something on show in the garden.