Rhubarb Appreciation Society

(996 Posts)

Going with Rhihaf's thread name suggestion, following on from the first rule of gardening club is thread.

Pull up your kneeling pads, crack open the elderberry wine and the blackberry gin and come and join us. No real experience or gardening know-how needed.

echt Sat 23-Mar-13 21:48:20

Hurrah!

Though I'm off to plant shop now.

I'm starting to think that DH may have been right about it not being the weather to build the arbour this weekend. Chances of a dry day without snow tomorrow anyone? Or do I make him go out there anyway? Baring in mind that I'll need to be helping...

LexyMa Sat 23-Mar-13 22:38:52

checking in!

I don't see tomorrow as being a gardening day, bpb... maybe a seed-box organising day.

I have visitors, anyway. And I keep adding things to my mental to-do list, but not actually doing them. I am going to move the herb bed this spring, plant a Costco fruit tree (see earlier wonderings about how to move rhubarb without disturbing too badly), possibly also a small magnolia, and do quick-results veg, nothing boring and long term. oh but maybe perennial veg.

Lidl had small magnolias in Lexi. Was tempted as our second attempt at the magnolia tree does not look healthy.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 23-Mar-13 22:57:29

Oh yes. Our Lidl had a lovely magnolia stellata for £8.99.

My current dilemma is whether to remove the fig tree from the border and put it in a massive pot which is conveniently empty. Argument for: the roots aren't constricted in the bed, it will soon get far too big and so moving it is a now (or next year) or never thing. Argument against: it'll be hard work and the space for the pot isn't very sunny so the tree may be less happy there, even though it will provide a focal point for my nice new patio.

So what does the MN gardening jury think?

My fig is in a pot but half buried in the bed. Could you pot it but keep it in the same position? Would restrict growth but keep it happy. Seemed easier than burying slabs in the bed to create an underground restriction.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 23-Mar-13 23:22:35

I could, but it's a very fancy pot and I'm trying to reduce the number of pots standing in the beds. There's also a pittosporum in a pot which I'm planning to plant out. Perhaps I need to get one of Lidl's vast plastic pots to do the half-submerged thing. Decisions, decisions.

echt Sun 24-Mar-13 05:37:24

Apparently a fig tree should be planted in a Gladstone bag. I hardly ever saw these in England, but they infest Victoria. DH insisted on buying one, and there it is, sitting on a shelf in the wardrobe.

I too feel torn about plants in pots, but am stuck with shade v. ferocious sun, so keep some things moving.

We laid a small crushed rock path from the garage yesterday, and the bougainvillea nearby is sulking, we think we may have cut out some of its roots. sad It has three days to cheer up, or out it comes while I can still buy and plant a replacement.

Bought and planted kang kong, though autumn is not the best time however, let's give it a go. It's in pot of ordinary potting mix with lots of chook pellets and water crystals, as well as sitting a big saucer of water.

Am now contemplating the dip tins. My research shows that Mr Titchmarsh tested various liners for baskets, and old jumpers came up tops, so it's off to the op shops at Easter to by old knitwear, and much planting of bulbs and succulents. The problem is I only have 5 dip tins, and to get any more would mean driving to Mildura, which is right at the tippy-top north western edge of the state. Which you wouldn't do unless you had to. Hmmm. The alternative is to pay an exorbitant price at local naice antique shops that sell distressed bunting.

funnyperson Sun 24-Mar-13 08:33:09

<peers round door and tiptoes in at first then smiles and relaxes>
Here you all are! smile

The thought of a fig tree growing out of a Gladstone bag is very amusing- like Paddington bear and Ernest all at once in a horticultural idiom.
The fig tree might not be small enough though, and it seems a shame to bury a gladstone bag.
Maud DC planted the Munstead Wood rose in a large plastic terracotta looking pot last mothers day and it (pot and rose)has lasted well through the year- I agree,if you have a nice pot, it seems a shame to bury it and as long as the plastic one has good drainage holes it might be a better substitute.

Last year I bought one of lidls cheap magnolia trees but it died within 2 weeks of planting and i couldn't help but notice this year that the trees in the shop near us had leaves but no buds, whereas the one I bought from crocus came with a 1 year guarantee and a year later is still alive with loads of buds. It could have been the way I planted the first one of course.

I am going to get even more primroses today. Species.

Magnolias are a bit sulky in my not very vast experience. They need to be in the right position and when they are young can be very susceptible to frost. They also don't flower for some years to start with I think, certainly the ones I saw in Lidl didn't look like they'd be flowering yet but did look quite healthy. I think ours may have two surviving branches this year. Baring in mind this was a £150 tree and we've already replaced it once under guarantee I think we will give up if this one fails.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 24-Mar-13 11:45:52

I have a magnolia stellata in a half barrel. It has done really well, unlike those we put in the cottage beds which got saturated last year. I am hoping they will survive but not counting on it.

We have two fig trees, both planted a couple of years ago and we constrained the roots. I well remember DD aged 2 carefully picking all the tiny figs off and laying them out in a nice straight line hmm

It is freezing here. No chance we will be going outside and we are about to run out of wood! This is a disaster, we run two woodburners as our main heat source. I think DH has arranged to swap some of our perry for some seasoned wood though.

We urgently need to replant the herb beds now we have removed all the non herb plants from them. Am planning lots of unfriendly to slug plants.

funnyperson Sun 24-Mar-13 13:00:45

The cold might kill off the slugs. I hope you get our wood, humph if the delivery doesn't come through, will your DH have to take a wheelbarrow and electric saw out and be heroic like in the country house in Dr Zhivago.
I might get the verandah incorporated into the house this year. It is hardly ever warm enough to sit out in it.
Or...as it is south facing, I might put loads of tropical plants in pots, including a fig tree.
Or, I might get it incorporated into the house and put loads of tropical plants in that section.
Assuming the country remains solvent and I get paid of course. The situation in Cyprus sounds dire.

funnyperson Sun 24-Mar-13 13:00:58

your wood

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 24-Mar-13 13:49:02

I've just had to buy winter tyres to be fitted this week before we go to Germany. My cousin rang and said at the moment they do have loads of snow so can't risk it. It's March for goodness sake . Hope you get some wood Humph.

Am liking the idea of a Magnolia in a half barrell now. I can see me accidentally ending in Lidl in the not too distant future...

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 24-Mar-13 14:36:29

Brrr. Do we have a logburner in this virtual potting shed? I have to say that the potting shed at Great Dixter was gorgeous, in no small part because it had a stove.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 24-Mar-13 14:55:00

Yes we've recycled a gas bottle' I'll chuck another log on. ====

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 24-Mar-13 15:08:01

What a fantastic example of upcycling.

::Warms hands by the fire::

I am obsessed with keeping warm and am buying hats and gloves on eBay as I'm not capable of knitting my own.

I ventured out briefly to plant up some of the dahlia bulbs in pots to bring on in the conservatory; the rest of them will go straight out when it's warmer maybe in August. It's not very warm out there. DH is out splitting logs for tonight, I'll get him to do extra for the potting shed burner and for Humph. smile

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 24-Mar-13 16:19:56

We might run out of logs by tonight. I dream of having a huge garden with outbuildings, including a wood store.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 24-Mar-13 18:40:14

thanks smile

Rhubarbgarden Sun 24-Mar-13 19:10:41

What an excellent new title! And it's a lot warmer in this virtual potting shed than in this draughty old house. I shall start a fire in a minute. I had to go out and buy logs the other day, even though we have a massive pile of logs at the bottom of the garden - we had a thirty foot high hedge of Leylandii cut down in the autumn, so next year we are laughing. But first it all has to be chopped up and transferred to the wood shed (sorry Maud) and then left to season.

Speaking of figs, we also have the carcass of a fig tree on our log pile, felled at the same time. It was massive and very old, and growing into the house. Clearly somebody planted it as a walled trained specimen many, many moons ago, and then successive new owners left it to grow out of control, and it became a monster (as figs are wont to do). I smiled at the story of the two year old lining up the fruit though - I too have a two year old who does that.

I think it is a long time since anyone who actually liked gardening lived here. Everything is overgrown and conifer-tastic. The orchard walls are being torn apart in slow motion by ivy and brambles. I had someone in to quote to clear them, as I just don't have the time, and he quoted £530! I think it would actually be cheaper to pay for childcare while I do it myself. He even got offended when I said that was a bit steep, and lectured me on how if I wanted highly skilled labour I would have to pay accordingly. hmm

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 24-Mar-13 19:20:30

Whereabouts in the country are you, Rhubarb? Do you have snow?

My recent experience about which I whinged on the old thread is that people who charge premium rates for their services do not necessarily do an excellent or even acceptable job. You could, as you say, hire a nanny for a few days and do it yourself!

Rhubarbgarden Sun 24-Mar-13 19:43:29

I'm in Sussex, Maud. No snow here but they do have it a few yards up the road. Our village is nestled at the foot of the Downs and I think they protect us a bit.

A belated thank you for all the welcomes - I just read the end of the last thread. blush

Right, now I've got a fire going I'm off to suss out iplayer - that picture of Monty's greenhouse has me dribbling.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 24-Mar-13 19:44:46

Oh and that should have been 'wall trained' in my other post, not 'walled trained'. Tut.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 24-Mar-13 19:53:30

Oh I love Sussex. Are you near Mecca Great Dixter?

Rhubarbgarden Sun 24-Mar-13 20:23:11

Sadly, no. But not far from Nymans and Wakehurst Place, so looking forward to getting to know those better.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 24-Mar-13 21:00:20

I've only been once to Wakehurst Place but we've been to Nymans several times with the grandparents. 'Tis lovely (and has a nice cafe).

Rhubarbgarden Sun 24-Mar-13 21:14:33

Yes the cafe is splendid. When dd isn't ruining it for everyone and we are having to leave in shame <scarred>.

Monty's greenhouse is indeed rather lovely isn't it? And iplayer is a revelation. I can't believe I have let it pass me by till now. Do we think the greenhouse is Gabriel Ash? I have been looking at too much greenhouse porn lately. This is still my favourite though. I keep sneaking a look at it and having a swoon. Must start saving the pennies.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 24-Mar-13 23:53:01

I'm not enough of a greenhouse connoisseur to know, but I reckon there's a reasonable chance that Monty's greenhouse is by Gabriel Ash. That example, Rhubarb, is gorgeous.

I think we've all at some point done the walk of shame from a cafe with a truculent two year old in tow, haven't we?

Handsfullandlovingit Mon 25-Mar-13 08:42:37

Hello new thread! A fire in a potting shed, mmmm. And a teapot of hot tea. Mmmm. I spent 2 hours freezing in my greenhouse sowing perennial seeds from Chilterns. They don't do instructions, so had to research it all first. If it works, I shall have flocks of assorted aquilegia, a lavender hedge, clouds of verbena bonariensis, cosmos, violas. It seems so implausible in this weather. Our guest room has a huge south facing windowsill, not so much a guest room as a greenhouse now.

All this talk of Lidl, I can't wait to go explore the classy poundshops near us!

I've not seen a slug yet. That is very good news after last year's massacre.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 25-Mar-13 09:48:13

Pound shops are great as a source of cheap twine, 'disposable' gloves and so on!

This house doesn't really have windowsills and most of the windows face the wrong direction, so now I mostly wait and do direct-sowing or put them in the coldframe. I was reading The Garden last night and drooling over the Gabriel Ash ad, but noticed that their greenhouses all seem to have a wooden base and Monty's was brick, but maybe his was bespoke, a one-off?

rhihaf Mon 25-Mar-13 11:58:27

Hurrah! Hello again everyone, glad to see the new thread smile

Just went out to check the plug plants from T&M I potted on, into biggish cell trays and so far they've all survived, despite the weather's best efforts!
I've got 72 perennials (pour moi) and 36 annuals for mam, in my Argos-reject-plastic-lean-to. They've survived for over a week so have high hopes.

Loving the gas-bottle-stove [warms hands, goes into lovely daydream about Monty's cathedral greenhouse]

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 25-Mar-13 12:51:01

I think Monty might have used these people for his Greenhouse. I also thought Gabriel Ash at first but then remembered finding the Woodpecker site once before.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 25-Mar-13 13:02:33

Hmm. I see they've made greenhouses for GW before. Great detective work, Wynken!

HumphreyCobbler Mon 25-Mar-13 13:04:47

DH is out today laying leylandii logs all around the irregular borders where we had the wildflower meadow, now starting to be planted up - one with birch, one with dogwood, one with a weeping pear that a friend wanted to be rid of, one with geraniums and possibly one with wildflowers again.

Someone at the garden centre told him that the leylandii would poison the ground, so he phoned up Kew and they kindly did some reseach and phoned back with the news that all should be fine. Brilliant service!

We had to get rid of loads of leylandii when we moved here Rhubarbgarden. Farmers love em grin We still have three enormous specimens at the front of our drive, along with a scots pine that I love, but given the prevailing wind around here I think they will stay. I dread to think what would happen to the wind direction without them.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 25-Mar-13 13:06:31

OMG those greenhouses.

I want a greenhouse envy

Rhubarbgarden Mon 25-Mar-13 13:48:20

Yum, those woodpecker greenhouses are lovely.

Trying to work out if it's worth getting wrapped up to go out and do some rose pruning, or if ds will just wake up from his nap the minute I pick up my secateurs. He's been asleep since 12.30 so I could potentially get another 40 mins out of him. Or he might wake up any second. It's a gamble.

Rhubarbgarden Mon 25-Mar-13 15:24:15

I got 50 mins. Bonus. Too cold for the roses though, but got some border tidying done.

Handsfullandlovingit Mon 25-Mar-13 16:19:20

Well done Rhubarb! Long live the afternoon nap! I've just found out Month Don is doing a talk at Hadlow College in June, which is not so far from us. Now wouldn't that be something? Worse news is that the village spring show may be cancelled cos nothing is growing. I was going to enter a random daffodil and a carrot cake! (may now just eat the cake and put daff in vase)

Handsfullandlovingit Mon 25-Mar-13 16:30:05

...or Monty Don. Pah.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 25-Mar-13 17:30:23

Perhaps we should all go and worship listen attentively to Monty?

I just snipped a few dead twigs off the rose by the front door, but am a bit worried that this may be inviting frost damage. It's our garden society spring show soon and I don't know what I'm going to exhibit - usually by now I'd have tulips close to flowering but they don't even have buds showing.

Handsfullandlovingit Mon 25-Mar-13 19:19:53

Crumbs, frost damage? I thought roses needed pruning when it was cold? Thankfully our show also has scary baking/jam/tasteless knitted item/kid arts classes, so ho pefully the show will go on...Glad to hear your tulips aren't in bud yet, mine aren't either.

Rhubarbgarden Mon 25-Mar-13 19:40:28

Hey, we should definitely all go and see Monty! MN trip out. Excellent plan.

I wouldn't worry too much about your roses. If they do get frost damaged, you'll just get a bit of die back. It won't kill them. Just cut out the dead bits once the weather is milder. If the weather ever gets milder, that is.

Maybe we should have named this thread the 'Monty Appreciation Thread'!

Does anyone want any Turk's Turban squash seeds? I finally opened up the one I'd been keeping yesterday and I have loads. No idea if they'll germinate though as they don't seem quite as 'fat' as the ones I was given last year. PM me if you fancy an experiment and I'll post some on. I loved growing them last year as the squashes are very nice to look at. Pretty veg! They climb nicely too, mine went up the veg plot netting quite happily.

That should've been the 'Monty Appreciation Society' obviously...

mollythewitch Mon 25-Mar-13 21:53:14

Hello everyone! good to see the new thread. My garden is under nearly a foot of snow, with no sign of a thaw so can't see me getting any gardening done, even over easter weekend.
Rhubarb (and others with wood burners) - is leylandii any good to burn? A friend has cut down their hedge and offered us the logs. It would mean an hours drive each way and althougth they are fairly chunky and I think i heard somewhere that they didn't burn very well, or it might have been that they burned too fast.
btw Rhubarb, your garden sounds amazing, you will have to describe it fully so we can imagine it properly, such an amazing project to restore it to glory. My garden is also overrun with conifers. We moved before christmas so I have yet to see what comes up, but the house is victorian and the garden is very seventies!

Rhubarbgarden Mon 25-Mar-13 22:11:50

We have an open fire rather than a wood burner, but I don't expect it makes any difference. Our tree surgeons said Leylandii burns very well, though it spits a bit, and it's important to let it season. If you've been offered it for free I'd take it!

Are you taking out your conifer-fest or leaving them? I think most of mine are on death row. Same as you though, I'm waiting to see what the garden does before fiddling too much, as we've only been here six months.

I described my garden Here when Maud asked, if you want to have a look. smile

Now I'm jealous of Rhubarb. You have a walled garden!

rhihaf Wed 27-Mar-13 16:45:11

I'll second that Bertha. Rhubarb, your garden (and house) sounds utterly delightful. envy

A walled garden really is the hitting the heights; I used to love watching the BBC series Victorian Kitchen Garden with the old guy, Harry (?), he had a lovely soothing, old-grandpa-type voice smile

It's been snowing here today. Come on Spring!

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 27-Mar-13 19:12:40

Agree Rhubarb's garden sounds fantastic, very jealous. I really enjoyed the Victorian Kitchen Garden, Harry was great.

Excellent bit of customer service from Suttons. Bought a Mirabelle Plum lady year that only grew two little bits at the bottom of the stem. Decided to tell them about this recently. I emailed one evening and early the next morning received an email apologising and saying they'd send another. It arrived yesterday so I have stuck it in a pot with some compost as we're off Friday and don't have time to properly plant it.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 27-Mar-13 19:13:25

That's last year , flipping autocorrect.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 27-Mar-13 19:39:38

Thanks! I know I'm very lucky. For many years I only had a small roof terrace so in many ways I do feel like I've won the lottery. I just wish I had more time to work in it, there's so much needs doing.

It was a balmy five degrees here today so I dashed outside while ds napped and got another metre and a half of trench dug for my new yew hedge. Massive rocks hoiked out, composted manure dug in. Glacial progress, but at least it's something. Oh and dd came home from nursery with a little pansy in a homemade newspaper plug, so we planted that. I need to get her some little tools and a watering can.

That's very decent re your Mirabelle plum, Wynken. <adds Mirabelle plum to tree shopping list for orchard>

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 27-Mar-13 19:48:26

You've done well getting out today, I only really made it as far as the greenhouse apart from quickly filling box with compost . Yes you absolutely need to get DD some tools, I love little garden tools but my baby is a hulking 9 year old who wants the big ones now .

I had never heard of a Mirabelle before a couple of summers ago. Not sure I'm spelling it correctly. My Aunt has a tree in her garden in Germany which produces loads and they are lovely. When I came back I mentioned it to my neighbour and turns out her tree with the gorgeous white blossom I admire every spring is one.

We're visiting my Aunt next Monday. She's moved back into the house I used to visit her in as a child which had a cherry tree with the most delicious cherries. Shame we're not going later in the year so I could enjoy some again .

HumphreyCobbler Wed 27-Mar-13 19:52:17

envy walled garden! We could do with some walls around here, the WIND today shock so, so cold. I am worried about the pig who is about to give birth, even though she is inside it is semi open to the elements.

Anyone know anything about pig midwifery? The people we know who know about pigs just say "She'll be fine". It is SO cold. I am imagining giving them hot water bottles....

mollythewitch Wed 27-Mar-13 20:06:11

oh humph, little piggies are just so cute. Bit scary when they turn into great hulking sows though, and not sure how your garden would cope with all those little rooting noses if they escaped. Try reading some james herriot books to get you primed for delivery!
I too am envy about the walled garden! You will have to post some pics to your profile so we can all drool, or do a blog or something.
Rhubarb - I think I am going to take some of the conifers out - one border has approx 7 different conifers, 2 viburnums and 3 unknown bushes in a space about 8 feet deep by twice the length of the car. They are horrid too, I thought they might grow on me but they only look nice drifted in snow! There was a nice box ball but unfortunately DD tripped over and sat on it, as only 2 year olds can, and it split it down the middle and now it is under snow, I don't think it will ever recover to its original shape!

Wynken - do you know what sort of cherries they are and if they would fruit in Yorkshire? I have a very sheltered corner by a stone wall and I wondered about a plum tree to go there but now I am excited about cherries. I never realised they grew to eat in the UK, i've only seen the little wild ones.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 27-Mar-13 20:08:23

Sorry Humph, have only delivered kittens. Very exciting to have piglets though. They have them on the allotment and they seem ok in one of those pig house things though I can't remember how cold it was.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 27-Mar-13 20:13:19

I don't know Molly, I can try asking. We usually have a bit of a language barrier but my cousin's DD speaks really good English so I might get to the bottom of it.

However, we have a cherry tree in our garden. This wil be it's 3rd year and we would have had cherries if we'd netted it. As it was the blackbirds had cherries. I think that one is called Stella, someone bought it for DH's birthday along with a Morello that has been in a pot for ages and only just gone in the ground. I'm trying to fan train it against a fence.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 27-Mar-13 20:28:37

My parents have a cherry tree but, again, I don't know what variety it is. One of the weekend papers (the Independent, I think) had an offer on miniature fruit trees which included a cherry.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 27-Mar-13 20:35:30

The birds get all of the cherries from our trees. We should net some of them, but it seem such an undertaking. We have three fan trained against the wall on the drive but they are teeny tiny as yet.

All the daffodils and tulips are in total stasis. The farmer next door says this weather will last for another month sad He has lost a lot of lambs.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 27-Mar-13 20:39:12

J Parkers have several cherry varieties.

funnyperson Wed 27-Mar-13 20:47:21

Here, I think
www.independentoffers.co.uk/i-pp-ind157-bae/mini-fruit-tree-collection/

One day I would like to go and see the cherry blossom in Japan.We are lucky enough to have rows of cherry trees lining one of the longer roads here. There never seem to be any fruit, but the trees are very pretty when in blossom.

Walled gardens are romantic. Its not just the enclosed space or the microclimate, its the feeling of being hidden away that they have. There used to be some beautiful plants- roses and passionflower and clematis and all sorts- trained up the walls at Sissinghurst. And there is a lovely walled vegetable and apple garden at Hughenden Manor. Hughenden cancelled its apple day last year because of the lack of apples. I do so hope this year is better.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 27-Mar-13 20:51:03

Mine came from Parkers. I really feel for Farmers. Rubbish year last year and now a freezing cold spring, really not good.

funnyperson Wed 27-Mar-13 20:52:37

I'm so glad I saw lots of gardens when I was younger. I'm not that fit or healthy and wouldn't fit into the accepted norm of a retiree travelling the worlds gardens because a) I'm not retired and b) I'm not well enough. So I'm really glad I took the DC and parents to gardens when younger. It would always be my birthday treat to choose where to go on a big family outing, and so we have been to lots of truly lovely gardens in England.

funnyperson Wed 27-Mar-13 21:05:35

Yes, farming in the north of England and in Wales does seem to be consistently tough. A friend of mine is thinking of getting a shepherd's hut to go in a field she has
www.englishshepherdshut.co.uk/
I'm fairly certain real shepherds wouldn't have huts like this, though I could be wrong.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 27-Mar-13 21:17:02

Yes, my gardening woes pale into significance when compared to farmers' problems with the weather.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 27-Mar-13 22:07:01

They work so incredibly hard. I went round to visit the farmer next door once and he was sitting down, I assumed it was his birthday as in four years I had never once seen him not at work. He goes past every day at the crack of dawn, is busy all day until really late and it never ever stops. Lambing is unbelievably hard work. And both he and his wife still find time to be tolerant and helpful to our hobby farming aspirations.

I think pigs do just 'get on with it' in terms of birthing, but often problems afterwards if mum not happy or lies on them. <warning - very limited pig knowledge>.

We have a mirabelle plum in the old orchard, first two years we had bags of fruit, last two years nothing. Hoping it'll revive itself this year.

My farmer contacts are forecasting slightly warmer temperatures after the weekend, but that's south coast way. Potato planting way behind as ground been frozen. I spend a lot of time with farmers and they're not happy at the moment sad

funnyperson Thu 28-Mar-13 14:05:44

For various reasons I am likely to be an armchair gardener this weekend and as a treat, bought myself a 'Gardeners world' magazine.

The offer code to save 20% off 'Crocus' orders till June 1 is 9770

At their prices, of course, 20% off is still more expensive, than, say, Spalding bulbs, but I thought some of you might like to use the code.

funnyperson Thu 28-Mar-13 17:20:19

Here are some lovely gardens I have visited
Sissinghurst:
Winkworth Arboretum (esp spring)
Regents Park (rose gdn, japanese gdn, herbaceous border, various secret gardens)
Hidcote (lavender obv)
Wisley
Kew
Knole (deer park)
Nymans
Stowe (landscape, open air theatre)
Hughenden Manor (apples)
Scotney (rhodedenrons and azaleas)
Chenies (Tulips)
Giverney

et tu?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 28-Mar-13 18:45:09

I think I've been to all of those apart from Stowe and Chenies. Having been a member for yonks, I've been to most of the NT gardens in southern England.

::ancient::

Rhubarbgarden Thu 28-Mar-13 19:49:38

Ooh, I like this game! I love garden visiting. I'm currently working on a means of getting childcare on 1st May so I can go on the garden tour (and champagne lunch!) at Gravetye Manor that House and Garden magazine are touting in the current edition. I also need to go to Hidcote and Stowe this year as I've never been.

Some favourites of recent years:
Sissinghirst
Great Dixter
Middle and Inner Temple
Chelsea Physic Garden
Trebah
Scotney Castle
Wisley
Harlow Carr
Leonardslee
Kew
Wakehurst Place
Sandringham
Anglesey Abbey
Penshurst Place
Syon Park (got married in the glasshouse smile)
Jardin Albert Kahn
Renishaw Hall gardens 
Villa D'Este
Dyrham Park
Howick Hall gardens
Cragside
Bury Court Gardens

Rhubarbgarden Thu 28-Mar-13 19:52:53

Oh and the Generalife gardens at the Alhambra Palace. But I went in February, so I need to go back at a time of year when things are flowering.

Just cancelled our RHS membership today. Now we have the dog we don't get the opportunity to go anywhere (we used to practically live at Wisley) and it's not worth the £70 a year. hmm

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 28-Mar-13 22:35:48

Ooh, yes. Cragside and the Villa d'Este and the

Villa Lante
Parco dei Mostri
Parc du Bois des Moutiers
Parc et Jardin Potager de Miromesnil
Hyde Hall
Harlow Carr

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 28-Mar-13 22:54:50

Villa Farnese

::gardening trainspotter::

echt Fri 29-Mar-13 04:23:04

I'll have to riposte with the lovely Botanical Gardens at Cranbourne, all Australian, and ditto for the fabulous Maranoa Gardens.

I know I said autumn had arrived about umpteen pages ago, but it promptly turned back into summer with 30+ for quite a while. Anyway, it seems to be really autumn now. The tibouchina is in flower, a vivid, almost luminous purple, as are the various plectranthus, more purple and pale lilac.

The change of season announced itself with howling gales, though it was the gust which did the damage, and my 8 foot tree dahlia fell over. I promptly chopped up the stem, and each piece will grow a new plant next year. They are so weird, growing from nothing to 12 feet in a season, but very susceptible to wind damage, yet too big to be staked.

I've planted an Indian hawthorn (neither Indian nor a hawthorn) at the bottom of the garden; very hard to work with as it is shady in the winter and scaldingly hot in the summer. In a more reliably shady part I've planted three plectranthus eriksonii which grow to about 3 feet, flower in late summer/early autumn, and don't mind a ferocious hacking back if they get out of hand.

funnyperson Fri 29-Mar-13 05:43:13

Oh yes, the gardens of the Alhambra with the water flowing down the balustrade!
Also the gardens in the ancient townhouses in Pompei.

The botanical gardens in Oxford, and the Oxford college gardens

There are so many gardens I must visit on your list rhubarb. I have never been to Harlow Carr. Yet the rose named after it is so pretty.

echt what is a tree dahlia?

I am listening to the birdsong from the garden. It sounds like a little bit of heaven.

echt Fri 29-Mar-13 06:54:51

Hello, funnyperson, I see you're up early doors. I've just checked on the clock we keep set to UK time for Skype.

The tree dahlia is called dahlia imperialis and its stem is rather like bamboo in construction but not hardness. It's not easy to grow in our garden because we're on a hill (sand dune really) so get lots of wind. I should say it's very easy to grow, but so often gets felled by wind, so the flowers never arrive. If you google it - I'm terrible with links - you should get Burke's Backyard with info. I would imagine it would grow in the south of the Uk quite well. It blooms in mid-winter here. It;s a bit of fun really, because you might only be able to grow it where you can't see its flowers on top of 12-15 stems.

Your mentioning of birdsong made me nostalgic, though we have blackbirds here and, very rarely, the song thrush. Usually it's the melancholy gargling of the magpies. Two weeks ago I was thrilled to the marrow to hear a kookaburra, very unusual for a suburban area. It was soon seen off by agitated ravens, though. sad

GinAndSlimlinePlease Fri 29-Mar-13 09:44:26

Hi all, I'm new to this gardening lark but very excited. I have a Witch Hazel and an Acer to plant out today. Is it too cold to plant out my summer bulbs at the same time?

rhubarbgarden, I'm also in Sussex and have just had my garden cleared for a very reasonable price. Do you want me to pm you their details?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 29-Mar-13 09:55:23

Hello, Gin, and welcome.

I think the answer to your summer bulb question is "it depends". Is your soil very cold and waterlogged? If it is, I'd wait a week or two.

GinAndSlimlinePlease Fri 29-Mar-13 10:13:09

my soil is good actually. I dug manure into it last autumn, and the garden is sufficiently sheltered not to have got to wet. so I'll plant them up today.

I'm so excited! The garden was a total overgrown disaster when I moved in last summer and today is when I finally make real progress. After years of living in flats it's amazing to finally get a garden.

I'm sure I'll make lots of beginner's mistakesgrin

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 29-Mar-13 14:04:05

I still do. wink

I have just done my first bit of gardening for weeks, potting up my latest delivery of T&M plugs (I got bit carried away with the ordering). I have put the tougher ones in the unheated growhouse but will nurture the rest indoors for a while.

LexyMa Fri 29-Mar-13 17:28:55

Well hello all, what a lovely day it has been (even if cold cold cold).We threw open the french doors to the garden this morning and put washing on the line (which I now need to beseech DH to bring in before it gets dark and truly freezing out there).

I (and DS, not entirely usefully, but he is only 3) dug over 3-4m of veg bed, have no plans for it yet. I dug and installed a new row of stone edging between the lawn and the pond fence, where primroses and other bulbs grow and I will need to think of something to sow there for the summer - cosmos and stocks I think.

Came in at 11, had other chores today to do. Also, need to get my gardening mojo back slowly, not exhaust it all at once!

Rhubarbgarden Fri 29-Mar-13 18:10:05

Welcome Gin. Please do pm me your gardener's details, thanks v much! I love witch hazels. I made a lovely winter border at our old house, which had a couple of witch hazels in it. They always brought me so much joy in the depths of winter. Which one did you get?

Lexy I had similar 'help' from my two year old in the garden today. Her input mostly consisted of questions like "where is the worm's face?" and a fascination with the wheelbarrow full of composted manure when she realised it was a kind of poo. "Put more poo in the hole, Mummy!" etc.

I did get another stretch of yew hedge done though. Hard work - more and more lumps of concrete and old bricks the further along I get.

Any news of the piggy babies? I enjoyed listening to the lambs in the nearby field while I was digging. Rather pleasanter than the soundtrack of police and ambulance sirens we had back in London.

I enjoyed hearing about your kookaburra Echt. I found myself singing the kookaburra song while I dug, actually!

GinAndSlimlinePlease Fri 29-Mar-13 18:29:28

Have pm'd you rhubarb

I'm afraid I don't know what type of witch Hazel it is blush. I'm v new to this gardening lark and so can just about remember the type of plants!

I spent a really pleasant afternoon planting up my border. Having had the ivy cut back last weekend, the sun finally came over into that patch of our garden grin. I had to guess whether I put things in the right place, but I hope so!

I can't wait for everything to come out now!

LexyMa Fri 29-Mar-13 20:18:58

I surprised myself watching the start of GW on iplayer the other day when they showed (but didn't name, I think) three examples of some shrub that was in Carol's garden, and I thought 'viburnum', not really expecting to be right, and then when it came to the full item, it was!! I was quite chuffed with self.

Happier with Monty's scarf tonight. Do you think he took note of our disapproval?

The sun came out today, unfortunately no gardening opportunity as we had a house full of people and chocolate fuelled children. Tomorrow I am planting regardless of weather, DDs, DH, dog...I need to know things are growing. This stasis is getting to me.

Sorry, forgot to say welcome to Gin. smile

HumphreyCobbler Fri 29-Mar-13 21:55:55

hello everyone

no piggies yet - the suspense is running high in the Cobbler household.

I have come to the realisation that we really need a greenhouse. I literally have nowhere to grow anything on in this weather. It is a ridiculous state of affairs considering how much space we need to fill. Last year we used the outside part of the pigscot as this is sheltered but sunny but the pigs are inhabiting it this year. I have bought one of those plastic ones three years running and they have been blown away and broken each time - our garden is rather prone to occasional violent wind because we cut down everything that obstructed the view without considering the fact that those leylandii had been put there for a reason

Welcome to Gin. It is lovely to finally get a garden after wanting one for so many years. I was so happy to find out it was even better than I thought it would be smile

GinAndSlimlinePlease Fri 29-Mar-13 21:58:01

Thanks everyone, you're a very welcoming bunch grin

Rhubarbgarden Fri 29-Mar-13 22:13:54

Carol Klein's scarf was disturbingly thin though. And I normally won't hear a word against Carol.

Bosvigo is now added to the list of gardens to visit.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 29-Mar-13 22:37:03

I am about to start GW on iPlayer.

I might also go back onto the RIP Corner thread to invite them all to join in some more optimistic garden chat here!

echt Sat 30-Mar-13 06:18:13

Hello and welcome gin.smile

I've potted up all the weedy basil plants DH grew into one big pot. Big enough to put a head in now I think of the Keats poem. While I'm on the topic of burying the evidence, I had to dig a hole to pour in the noisome contents of our liquid fly trap. Bloody unbelievable stench, but well worth it; in the 24 hours that elapsed while I put the jar at the back of the house before digging the hole, a fly got in. The stuff is miraculous, only one fly in the house the whole summer. Believe me, prior to the pongy fly trap, it was fly Gallipoli here.grin

I'm off now to watch Monty on iPlayer.

echt Sat 30-Mar-13 07:28:46

Soo.. finished watching GW. The bit I loved was the close-ups of Carol Klein's earth-blackened fingernails. The Lady Macbeth of the the garden. I see by this programme that I'm impulsive and untidy, just stuffing the beds and seeing what takes.

Any way it's feet up tomorrow as I'm off to see The Boss perform at Hanging Rock. I'm not a particular fan, though I can see he is very good but DH is, and Mr Springsteen may not be back any time soon.

funnyperson Sat 30-Mar-13 07:48:14

Good morning echt ! I see I'm posting a bit late today! I had to attend to non gardening matters- one of the DC came back late last night with three big black bags of laundry. I think he may have done no washing at all this term and I am a bad bad mother for bringing him up like that. However he looked very tired. They both looked very tired, and are now fed and hugged and lauded and are in their beds, and lots of the laundry is already done. I put a hellebore on the top of a book case in the hallway and its nodding flowers also welcomed them!

Yesterday was a good gardening day. I potted on the delphiniums and cosmos, and the dahlias and alchemilla are starting up in pots too. And I mulched the borders! Technique a la Monty, who looked very comfortable in his woolly jumper and blue neck thing. That blue colour suits him. His greenhouse and cold frames are state of the art, utilitarian and not show-offy.

I was blown away by the Hertfordshire garden shown. I am sowing some echinea seeds as they went so nicely with the sedum in the 'naturalistic garden' and I have been looking for a companion plant for the sedum for a while.
Gardening is such a varied creation- so many ways of planting - as varied as the flora of the world and the people in it too, I suppose!

On a more sombre note I completed the RHS survey on climate change and gardens. Windbreaks, greenhouses, cold frames and mulching , with raised vegetable beds are the way to go to adapt apparently. It seems a bit expensive. I think I'm going to need ways of gardening which require less 'kit' if you see what I mean. Anyway, the olive tree and lavender and oregano will do well in the new climate, and I have a wonderful feeling the canna lilies will too! Happy Easter weekend to everyone smile

funnyperson Sat 30-Mar-13 07:48:56

sorry echinacea even.

funnyperson Sat 30-Mar-13 07:50:53

Springsteen at Hanging Rock !!!!!!!! envy envy envy

funnyperson Sat 30-Mar-13 08:01:45

Sorry- forgot- Hello Gin welcome! Do have some camomile tea. brew and home made gluten free brioche. Very nice with honey! Tell us more about your garden. It is wonderful having a garden of your own. Or even a patio or a terrace. Or even a verandah. Anywhere where plants can grow. But especially a garden.

GinAndSlimlinePlease Sat 30-Mar-13 08:30:34

Hi! Yes, it's lovely having a garden. Thanks for the brioche!

my garden is quite small. It's about 8x12m. North facing - the bottom end gets quite a lot of sun, but one wall and our side return never gets the sun.

It's all paved sad initially we thought about digging up enough to give us a lawn but we've decided not to just yet.

There used to be a summerhouse at the bottom of the garden, so that bit has a concrete base. I dug out borders around the edge of that, and have fixed a trellis to the back, and will have climbers. On the other side, where the sun hits, I'm going to put a herb garden. so the concrete will be our sitting out spot surrounded by climbers and herbs, and plants in herbs smile

then I've dug out a 1m wide border. I'm aiming for a bit if all round color and country garden planting. hopefully grin

next year, I'll probably dig up some paving stones on the shady side and build up some planters for shade loving plants like hostas. But I probably won't get around to that this year, as we still have lots to do on the house and front garden!

Can I ask a question? my borders look very sad and empty at the moment. In the autumn/winter I'll dig in spring bulbs and I would like hellebores. But in the meantime is the anything (not too expensive!) I can plant up?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 30-Mar-13 10:17:33

Do you have any shrubs, Gin? When I started (and my garden is about the same size as yours) I didn't really bother with shrubs, but I have gradually added them because they do give some structure all year round. There are sometimes bargains to be had in pound shops.

GinAndSlimlinePlease Sat 30-Mar-13 12:20:17

There were four overgrown shrubs, and I'm afraid I got rid of them blush I wanted to have a blank canvas and as they didn't add structure or colour they went!

I've replaced them (yesterday!) with a Witch Hazel, an Acer, a barberry. I've also planted two peonies (do they count as shrubs?). The witch Hazel and Acer will be more like small trees I guess, but they're tiny now!

I chose the witch Hazel as it's a lovely shape and looks bright in late winter, the Acer for the red branches and structure. And the barberry because my husband liked it!

I'm worried I might have a little too much, but it's so hard to judge being a newby to all this.

I also added a couple of ornamental grasses too. (I may have got a bit carried away! )

I love Acers. We have two in pots. Too scared to plant them in our horrid ground and they seem quite happy. The one on the front door step catches the evening sun and glows when you come down the drive. It's lovely.

I have been planting! Carrots, spring onions, leeks and broad beans outside but all under cloches. Purple climbing beans, runner beans, basil, bronze fennel, electric daisies, borage, one type of cucumber (more to follow when warmer), three squashes, one type of courgette (more again to follow of both of those), tomatillo, nigella something or other and possibly other stuff that I've forgotten. All that is either in the conservatory or upstairs in a spare bedroom on a camping table by a radiator for those that need more warmth to get going.

DH has started building the arbour and we finished prepping the area it's going on. Just need to finish the construction, get it in the right place, build the planters and cover the area with gravel. Mmmmm, quite a bit to go I think.

I'm off for a spa night with a friend to recover smile

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 30-Mar-13 18:57:36

Wow, Bertha. That is amazing. I thought about sowing some seeds today but the sun never came out, so I wimped out.

Hello, apparently there's gin around here?

I'm a gardener (weekends and evenings at present since I'm also temping in an office for a few months) and having spent the day relocating hydrangeas I'd just like to say...

....oooh, my back.

Hello Leucan. My spa night just got cancelled, so I'm going to join you....my back aches too!

At one point Maud I was actually gardening in snow flurries but then the sun would pop out again. The DDs were in the garden most of the day too and they've gone to bed with bright red cold burn faces!

Hello, Bertha - I'm sorry about the cancellation, or are you quite relieved?

It snowed on me a little today, too. But lovely and sunny most of the time. Think my red face is more to do with the bowl of stew, glass of red wine, and sitting about one foot away from the fire... blush

cantspel Sat 30-Mar-13 20:55:58

I took my gum tree prunings to the dump today and found they were selling lovely organic locally produced compost. I bought 3 large bags for a tenner which sound fill my pots ready for the dahlia to go in once they star shooting. I have 20 bulbs so quite a few pots will be needed and they will fill a shady wall on the patio.
I also managed to get a very healthy looking hebe from morrisons for £2.50, some seed compost from The range buy one and get one free and a reduced seed propagator.
Grass looks like it is ready for its first cut of the year so i must fil up the petrol can in readyness and if we get a few more dry days i should be able to crack up the lawn mower.

No, I was quite looking forward to an evening in a spa with wine Leucan. But we've only postponed until tomorrow so I imagine my back will still be aching then.

mollythewitch Sat 30-Mar-13 21:01:47

Any pig news, humph? And a genuine question, what is the difference between a pigscot and a sty? Is it a regional thing?
Thanks all for the cherry tips, I think what I meant was that I have seen them in the catalogues but always assumed that they never actually fruited, it was just a bit of optimism on the sellers part, unless you lived in cornwall with a heated greenhouse and vibrantly green fingers. Like those exotic seed packs that say you can grow bird of paradise pants, or similar, from seed but I bet noone ever has!
Not much gardening here, tried to do some general sorting out but it was so cold that the dcs were getting whingey. Heavenly to see the sun a couple of times though.

mollythewitch Sat 30-Mar-13 21:03:21

Aargh, plants, not pants. Bloomin autocorrect! Hmmm, bird of paradise pants, could be a moneyspinner......

funnyperson Sat 30-Mar-13 21:14:41

Hello Gin thats interesting that you have a north facing garden with the far end getting sun. I suppose its the east facing wall gets sun too. Thats quite a good place to put a fruit tree.
Well your spring bulbs are good to go in the far border, and summer flowering things such as clematis, roses in the east facing border. Roses and honeysuckle might do fine in the west facing border too, if the sun reaches the top of the boundary, as will ferns, grasses and hostas and hellebores, astrantia, alchemilia mollis, ceratostigma, crocosmia, winter jasmine etc.
Like Monty said there is loads of choice out there and soon will be the best time to plant up, and in a way I think it is useful to decide what kind of garden you want: contemporary or cottage or naturalistc or tropic, structured and symmetrical or rampant and informal, bright pinks and yellows or whites and creams or burgundy and green and orangey and so on cos then you can make better choices.
Plantsforshade is a good website for plants for shady areas. RHS website has lots of good advice.
I really like the sound of the acer in a pot Bertha How did you manage to plant all that veg out? Was it already sown indoors?
Welcome cantspel brew Brioche all got eaten: I will cook some more when I get round to it.

funnyperson Sat 30-Mar-13 21:16:11

Haha listen to me giving gardening advice! I am in fact a complete amateur!

HumphreyCobbler Sat 30-Mar-13 21:34:37

no piglets yet! We worked out it could be couple of weeks from now. The suspense is getting to me.

We call it a pigscot because that is what the farmer called it when we bought the house from him, no other reason that I know of. It is a low stone building with a large stone walled pen attached, divided in two. We had the pigs in the field before but it got too muddy for them to stay overwinter.

Examined the clematis on the rose walk today. We lost about 40% of all those we planted last year, and those that are alive didn't do much. Hopefully they will find their feet a little this year.

Sorry funny - 'planting' may have been the wrong word. I have been 'sowing'. No actual plants to speak of but lots of trays and pots of hopefulness!

Humphrey - should we stop asking about the piglets? Is it like when someone is 42 weeks pregnant and everyone phones up to ask, 'have you had the baby yet?' I remember scaring a lady on Sainsbury's checkout by shouting saying, '2 weeks ago' when she asked me when the baby was due. smile

HumphreyCobbler Sat 30-Mar-13 22:08:31

I am always happy to discuss the pigs! Although I know what you mean, I once sobbed to my DH at nine days overdue when I had told the sixth person to phone that day that I WASN'T in labour..

trays and pots of hopefulness - what a great way to describe it

Rhubarbgarden Sat 30-Mar-13 23:49:36

I found an effective way of jump-starting labour. At 38 weeks, 6am one morning suffering from insomnia I decided I absolutely had to go out to the greenhouse and climb up on a very high stool to tie in the tomato plants to the greenhouse roof. Predictably, fell off stool, bump side down. Dd arrived shortly afterwards.

I don't recommend this method. grin

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 31-Mar-13 00:22:43

Hello ladies. Good to see you here, Leucan.

A tiny bit of sun yesterday has made me more optimistic about the garden. After last night's internet horti-shop today I bought a lilac and another clematis in Lidl.

funnyperson - Just because you're an amateur - as most of us are ::genuflects to professional gardeners:: - doesn't mean you don't know whereof you speak. I often act on your advice.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 31-Mar-13 07:29:51

Morning all, Happy Easter. Here's a brew for Gin and Leucan- would offer wine but it's a bit early.

I'm in Holland, it's started to snow again and there isn't a tulip to be seen. To be fair we're practically in Germany and it's a bit confusing to know which language to try in the nearest town as it's split in the middle. In fact everything looks decidedly dead where we're staying and the reception staff sound even more depressed than we are about the absence of spring .

funnyperson Sun 31-Mar-13 09:02:27

Happy Easter! [busmile}
Maud shock that you take my advice!

It is a wonderful sunny morning here, frosty but bright. The robins, blackbirds and blue tits are flying about in pairs, digging for grubs (let them get every slug I say) and chirping their hearts out. Spring is late but it is on its way. I feel it in the air, like Mole in the Wind in the Willows. I think it will be a very warm May and I too have an urge to go out and get lots of seeds and sow them asap like Bertha. I like reading about how the arbour is coming along.

Wynken Sometimes I get serious angst about my garden but then at other times I remember going back to see a garden I once gardened, 15 years after I left it, and the change made me realise how much the garden had in fact depended on my input, and how much lovelier it had been as a result even though I didn't always think so.

Clematis here are very slow, and I have put extra mulch round them to protect the new shoots of the summer and autumn flowering ones. Hosta and rhodedendron died and the pesky squirrels chewed the tender tops of the tulips which were coming through. But the Japonica is finally blooming.

HumphA Pigscot sounds like Blandings. A pregnant pig must be exciting and nerve racking for non farming mortals. Are you choosing names or will that tempt fate? How do you look after piglets?

Welcome Leucan Please accept some brew and a choccy egg. Please tell us about your garden.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 31-Mar-13 10:04:48

Happy Easter smile!

Our day is fully booked, but if this lovely sunshine persists, I will make a start on my seed-sowing tomorrow.

::trills::

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 31-Mar-13 10:04:48

I take your advice FP, you always sound as if you know exactly what you're talking about smile

Bit jealous if you've all got sun and can hear bird song. It has stopped snowing now though thank goodness. I'm looking forward to tomorrow as that's the day we're off to see my Aunt and her garden with the Cherry Tree. Bet it looks smaller looking at it as an adult, will be interesting to see.

That is definitely quite a drastic way to start labour Rhubarb, take it you didn't fancy a curry !

HumphreyCobbler Sun 31-Mar-13 11:46:20

Happy Easter everyone.

The Temby daffodils I planted in the orchard look wonderful. They have spread really well in the last three years. That was practically my first gardening act in my new garden, it made me so happy to see them this morning. It is a beautiful day.

We won't be naming the piglets as they are eventually to be eaten. Naming is terrible, DS named the pigs we have Spot and Ginge, they should have been eaten last year....instead they are happily grunting around in their pigscot! The whole eating animals thing is strange when you have children. When he was younger DS just accepted it was what was going to happen, he is more resistant now. Butchering day can be a lovely family occasion though, lots of children running around whilst the adults work.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 31-Mar-13 12:29:19

Humph, you really need to open under the National Garden Scheme. We'd charter a charabanc.

Thank you, all, and Happy Easter.

Don't invite me to tell you about my garden... blush

Oh, ok. grin

It's about 30mx50, SE facing, bordered on two sides with hawthorn and blackthorn hedging with honeysuckle, with some random silver birches and rowans (I recently added a cherry, a quince and an apple), and a clump of silver birch near one corner. The third side is bounded by a river (yes, it floods), but with a mess of blackthorn, willow, beech and lilac between the lawn and the water.

There's an awful lot of lawn, so large scoops and curves of it are let to grow meadow'ish, with paths in between, and plenty of papavers, meconopsis and ox-eye daisies shoved in (keeping them unstrangled is more effort than it's worth, I sometimes think).

I have two smallish blobs of herbaceous borders next to the house, and one long one against one of the hedges, five large (2mx3m) veg patches, a greenhouse, and every herb you've ever thought of either lurking in the beds or in pots on the patio just outside the back door. Fruit is scattered around - gooseberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants lurking near the hedge trying to blend in, raspberries up against the house, strawberries (alpines too) sharing with the veg.

The front is a dead zone - cobbles, shade, piercing wind. But this year, the vinca in the trough has already surpassed itself.

Sorry. blush

LexyMa Sun 31-Mar-13 15:51:32

30x50!!! envy

Wow.

I have done some late bulbs along my 4m front path and mulched with compost. DS was pretty good at the compost distributing, less at the bulb dibbing...

Also planted a gooseberry I got off the bargain shelves in about Sept. mulched the gooseberry/raspberry row (4m across front of living room window) and observed with despair the disastrous level of weeds already getting established well ahead of the bulbs, phlox, etc in the rest of my total failure R/W/B patriotic 2012 front garden.

The shed has been damp over winter so I am expecting some stored stuff to fail. I bought 50 dahlias in a bag (dark stemmed/leaved type) for 7.99 at Costco which I don't think I will get planted today because my back hurts already. It is time for me to have a restorative snooze while DH/DS do more of the bank holiday DIY jobs round the house...

Well, I'm in a little hamlet in the middle of nowhere, Lexy so people have a LOT of space to spread out.

I'm only renting, unfortunately, so I can't do anything too dramatic, but given it was no more than a tussocky meadow with tangled brambles when we started, it's looking pretty good. grin

Are you sticking with the RWB patriotism this year? It's not my thing, but there's a tiny front garden nearby - you know, one of those immaculate 2x2 lawn, path, privet hedge affairs - where the owner dug borders round for a RWB flag, and it was so perfectly done I had to admire it. ALL his geraniums were exactly the same height, and I bet if I'd snuck in and counted, they'd all have had the same number of carefully rationed leaves too... I will never have the time for that fort of precision gardening [sigh].

LexyMa Sun 31-Mar-13 16:32:12

ooh I'm not a RWB-with-petunias sort of gardener... I have red and white gladioli, some pretty triangular flowers I've forgotten the name of but perennial from bulbs, red white and sort of indigo phlox, red white and purple three muddy purple buddleias, a path edge in lavender, possibly some Welsh poppies, borage, moroccan mint, a vinca major with blue flowers, um and I forget what else. It's not in a union flag pattern or anything, its just a 4x4 patch of chaos, dead nettle, creeping buttercup and horsetail.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 31-Mar-13 17:53:18

The cherry tree is starting to come out! Hooray!

Maud - I will if you will wink

waves to Leucan and offers chocolate all round

echt Sun 31-Mar-13 21:41:41

Happy Easter everyone, though it's Monday morning here. Lovely to hear about all the spring plans and first signs of growth. As soon as I've got myself together, having had only 5 hours of very broken sleep, I'll plant some lettuce seedlings and then go scouring the op shops for old blankets to line dip tins before potting up some succulents.

Mr Springsteen was outstanding, a 3-hour set with all the favourites, and what backdrop to the stage, the most dramatic view of Hanging Rock looming behind.

I'm having a morning cuppa now and doing some shuffling about prior to going back to bed to read the newspaper.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 31-Mar-13 22:38:18

Humph - I make no secret of the fact that I want to get into the Yellow Book. Several of my gardening chums are in it and they have encouraged me to have similarly lofty aspirations!

HumphreyCobbler Sun 31-Mar-13 22:40:13

Oh go for it!

I reckon we might try in about five years when our planting has caught up with our aspirations.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 31-Mar-13 22:41:34

Did you ever read 'Garden in the Clouds'? It is a really funny book about trying to get into the NGS scheme. Very near to where I am.

envy of Bruce echt

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 31-Mar-13 22:56:44

buenvy of Bruce here too. I'm not a huge fan, but I imagine the experience of seeing him in the open air in front of the rock would have been spectacular.

I rang the NGS up about 11 years ago, simply to ask what the process was, and the organiser was pretty much picking up her car keys and coming straight round for an assessment, which was not what I wanted! Then things went downhill a bit when dd was tiny, and now I've got new planting to do to fill last year's gaps. But I suppose the garden will never actually be finished and so I do, sooner or later, as you say, just need to go for it.

Oh and, Humph. I have just been reading a piece about how the horticultural place-to-be is your neck(ish) of the woods.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 31-Mar-13 23:02:28

Why didn't my envy work? angry

funnyperson Mon 01-Apr-13 06:22:36

Monday morning. Birds singing in a conversational way. Still a holiday, amazingly! The Hanging Rock thing sounds as if it lived up to expectations!

My garden aspirations are still taking shape, the doable detail seems to change and evolve a lot, impulse buying comes in the way of garden design and the structure and planting of the garden has a very long way to go. I might sound knowledgeable because I'm good at reading and sifting and assimilating, on paper and on the web, but in gardening terms I am an amateur. I think of you all as being so much better.

Do go for the NGS! I will visit in the charabanc (as long as its not a work day).

The snowdrop bulbs, which I planted late in Jan, because they didn't get planted in October, have flowered! The ones I planted in the green last March havent showed, but the little bulbs are all out. So are the crocuses, and little scilla in a pot. Spring is late, but it is here at last.

Leucan it was very satisfying reading about your garden. It sounds lovely.

Today is going to be about planning and ordering for gaps in the planting.
I'd really like to buy a very small acer tree- which one is best?

echt Mon 01-Apr-13 08:46:59

I've done a big tidy up and water as we're driving to Adelaide to see the Turner exhibition, and staying a few days: DD is not quite a gardener shall we say. I've already pencilled in the various botanic gardens and arboretums/arboreta on the way.

I'm a bit excited, and apparently not many people say that about Adelaide, but then I love road trips. grin

At home I've finally identified a plant I bought several weeks' ago, an erect elephant's ear plant alocasia that grows well in shade and I'm trying to find room for it in the semi-tropical bed. I have two pots so I'll try them in deep dry shade and sunnier, to see how we go. A massive and leaning jade plant was hacked back and all the bits are drying off prior to potting next week. They take very easily, it's the flowering that's the bugger. I've seen them grown as a hedge, of all things, in the city centre.

GinAndSlimlinePlease Mon 01-Apr-13 09:04:58

Morning grin

I'm very envy of 30x50m garden. It must be lovely to have so much space to play with. (Although I think I'd be a little intimidated by such a large garden.)

I've ordered the garden in the clouds book, I'm hoping it'll inspire me! Maybe not to such greatness just yet, but you know, dream big and all! grin

reading other posts about snow damage makes me realise how mild it has been on the South coast. I bravely/naively planted out a clematis and two honeysuckle at the end of the year (both presents). they've been fine, new leaves sprouting.

Although maybe I spoke too soon. we've had two dogs to stay for easter and straight away my allium got knocked over sad and one of the dogs seems intent on weeing on all my newly planted plants. including my lovely Acer. Please reassure they won't die!

I'm hoping to drag my mother out to a nursery today so spend more money blush. It's dry enough (although freezing to garden).

Rhubarbgarden Mon 01-Apr-13 09:26:36

Hello. Good to hear what everyone has been up to over the weekend. Frustratingly I've hardly got any gardening done due to a poorly child and visiting relatives. We did try to visit Borde Hill Gardens yesterday, but had barely got through the gates before a screaming in apparent agony dd had to taken to A&E where she immediately staged a miraculous recovery. Tried to rejoin the rest of the family at Borde Hill and she straight away wilted again. angry I briefly admired the mulching on the rose beds on the way out the gates again. Big fight with dh on the way home, so left him to deal with poorly child and whinging baby while I took it out on the new mower, giving the lawn it's first cut. It's a sod of a lawn to cut. Too many overhanging shrubs, level changes, slopes and steps, and it is in dire need of a good edging. I need to get a strimmer to do the faffy bits.

Getting into the Yellow Book is my greatest ambition too. I was well on the way with the last garden - strangers used to stop and compliment me on the front garden, which was just such a morale boost. But starting from scratch here and with two littlies it'll be years and years away. Maud you should definitely go for it. If you wait till you are ready you will never do it.

Rhubarbgarden Mon 01-Apr-13 11:26:10

Just done some chamomile lawn research. The 'correct' variety of chamomile cannot be grown from seed. The clones must be purchased. I have just costed my planned lawn and it would require over £1K of plants.

shock

That's that idea put to bed then.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 01-Apr-13 11:28:26

It's just occurred to me that Leucan's garden in metres is about the same size as mine in feet!

How worrying to have to take a child to A & E, but how frustrating if it turns out to be no more than an "allergy" to going somewhere they haven't chosen to go. Hope all is well now.

I am psyching myself up to get out of bed (lovely bank holiday lie-in) and get on with the seed-sowing.

Oh dear... this is what comes of being an early '70s baby and using metric and imperial interchangeably, and both badly <feebly tries to blame the State for own incompetence>

... the feet do not convert into 30/50, but 20/40, so all the envy faces can stand down blush

My sympathies with the lawn Rhubarb, I have random slopes and it's hard work. Also had to discard the chamomile idea, but still idly dreaming of a jewelled lawn instead.

<probably>

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 01-Apr-13 12:43:33

Eh?

Don't ask, Maud. Give me a number and I'm perfectly capable of of dropping it on the floor and smashing it sad.

I think I had the width in feet but also wrote it down as the length in meters confused. My Garden Is 20 Meters by 40 Meters. Apologies for confusions... blush

Rhubarbgarden Mon 01-Apr-13 13:08:35

Yes Maud, worrying and frustrating by turns! She was genuinely poorly (some kind of tummy upset and dramatic fever) but it was very on and off. Anyway she's much better today, though we've been up since 5.30 so I'm a bit wrecked.

What seeds are you sowing?

Rhubarbgarden Mon 01-Apr-13 13:17:17

Oh, crossed several posts there! What's a jewelled lawn?! < gets excited> I'm wondering about just sowing species chamomile and seeing what happens. Nobody ever walks on that bit of lawn and it gets full sun. If it's a disaster I could always just sow grass seed on it later and give up on a bad job.

There is an area of lawn at Kew where some chamomile appeared a few years ago. One of their historians then unearthed evidence that during the war there were experiments there to find low maintenance lawn for air strips (or something like that), and this was the remains of one of those experiments suddenly resurfacing. I was working there as an intern at the time, and when we heard this a whole load of us dashed outside from the canteen and went and stood staring down at a patch of lawn, trying to spot chamomile. It must have looked quite bizarre to onlooking visitors!

Good that the little Rhubarb is better.

<dodgy half remembered history alert> some people have jewelled lawns now, but they're basically grass with bulbs scattered around. jewelled lawns were fashionable [cough] centuries ago either before grass was seriously considered, or as a cross-over - and were short dense mats of flowering plants, to be strolled around on. Apparently you got extra points for fragrance as well.

I read this somewhere a few years ago <frets about book> but can't remember where - the lady said you could mow it just as you would grass, but I cannot for the life of me remember what plants she was talking about.

funnyperson Mon 01-Apr-13 13:26:50

Lol 20x30m instead of 30x40m is still in the same ball park of largeness in my view. You could have a partierre and an orchard and a pond and a potager and a herbaceous border as well as a rockery. Or go minimalist of course.

Mine is a rectangular town garden. The design possibilities are limited. Although every so often I think of replacing the lawn with a knot garden. However I do have topiary and cloud pruning and so forth. One has to make an effort.

Rhubarb I think you should give the chamomile a go. That reminds me I must go and try sowing some twinings stuff indoors as the birds ate the last lot.

Rhubarbgarden Mon 01-Apr-13 13:33:36

That sounds lovely. One of my (many) back up plans was to plant a load of crocuses and snowdrops in that bit of lawn instead.. There was a front lawn done like that where we used to live, and it always stopped passers-by in their tracks. I was seriously envy every year. I must look further into this idea - report back if you remember where you read it!

funnyperson Mon 01-Apr-13 13:37:36

Look I know this is a bit cheesy, but the talk of jewelled lawns and the cold weather reminds me of this
www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0Pgg1XQWRE

Rhubarbgarden Mon 01-Apr-13 13:38:35

X posts again. Funny I have cloud pruning envy. Your garden sounds beautiful. I turned our old boring front lawn into a rose parterre at the last house. Great fun.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 01-Apr-13 14:02:04

I had to stop seed-sowing because my hands went numb in the biting wind. The sun was out, though.

I have sown fennel and dill (never tried these from seed before, but I love the featheriness of dill), ammi majus and Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate (polygonum orientale), both of which I am desprate to do well because the seeds came from Great Dixter.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 01-Apr-13 14:03:03

I too have cloud pruning envy. What have you cloud-pruned, funnyperson?

Right, I just went to see if I could find out what I was talking about - I thought it was in Maggie Campbell-Culver, but she only talks about scythed lavender lawns in the 1700s.

BUT... I have seen mentioned violets, artemisia, plantain(!), chamomile and creeping thyme - I think I would add speedwell, buttercups, pinks, primroses and clover for a start. Just do small patches at a time. In my ideal world grin

I've already got bulbs/others mixed across the back of the lawn - winter aconites, snowdrops, scylla sibericas, bluebells, daffodils and some monster snowflakes (leucojums) which are far bigger than they should be hmm

Funny, cloud pruning is just stunning - I wish I had enough shrubs.

Ooh, you do like frothy, Maud! I'm rather taken with that polygonum though.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 01-Apr-13 14:49:34

Frothiness. Hmm.

I like frothy plants up to a point (I don't much care for nepeta, for example, and don't grow it) but, to the extent that I have a design philosphy beyond just bung it all in and hope for the best, I subscribe to William Morris's notion of abundance and informal planting within quite a formal design. So I have a box hedge, my borders and lawn are rectangular and I have little tolerance for things that spill randomly over the edge. When we went to the Red House, it was almost exactly what I am aiming for.

cantspel Mon 01-Apr-13 15:18:37

Large gardens are a lot of hard work as i have been out digging in mine since this morning and i still have masses left to do.
At the back i have about 50ft x 40ft and then another bit at the side of the house that is around 20ft . The front garden is about 50ft but mainly lawn and a maple hedge with a purnis tree, gum tree and a variegated wigelia at the front. The garage side has bastard palm tress which shed palms everywhere. One side of the garden is in complete shade due to 180 year old oak trees which grow down the bridle path to the side of us.
I dont grow veg only flowers in what i hope will be a cottage garden style.

funnyperson Mon 01-Apr-13 18:16:01

Cloud pruning, ah yes, the cloud pruning is in process as it only started last year and it takes a while for a tree to take shape. The Ceanothus is the one in process. The cotoneaster too. Some of the cotoneaster is good topiary (ie round spherical shapes on lollipops in various amusing directions) but there is a massive shrub up against half a wall and this is being cloud pruned, as it grow quickly, and this is very pleasant as it is much less severe.

Yes I have bought dill and fennel too, and am debating on grasses. I like your idea, Maud, the framework of a rectangular garden is probably best kept simple and the plants give it movement and depth and architecture. I need to put up some more trellis because I am replacing a fence, and this year it will all be rectangular. My paths are straight.

Colour? I am veering away from frothy pinks and towards the deeper maroons, deep purple, touches of royal blue, and lots of green and ivory plants in the shady spots.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 01-Apr-13 18:25:16

I have great concerns about box due to the fact that box blight is only about ten miles from us. DH has successfully grown on hundreds and hundreds of box cuttings to use in our garden but I worry about losing it all a few years down the line. We have also been buying large box balls whenever we see them for a reasonable price. <worries> In an ideal world we would make a knot garden in the patch of lawn at the front of the house as we could look down on it from above but I hesitate.

your oak trees sound wonderful cantspel, hope the digging goes quickly!

GinAndSlimlinePlease Mon 01-Apr-13 19:05:37

I'm learning so much reading this thread! Can I ask, what's cloud pruning?

I spent a very successful morning in the nursery, sadly for my wallet they had lots of things I was hoping for and quite a few I wasn't as well [bhblush]

I too was in the look out for fennel and Dill for my herb patch. They had a glorious bronze fennel, but no dill. I'll have to go back grin they also had about 6 different types of thyme, so I bought lots of those to soften the edges of my herb border and provide some ground cover. I also bought camomile, but I've no idea if it spreads...

I also got tempted into buying some sweet peas. I should really have grown them from seeds, but with everything else happening this spring, I've allowed myself to buy things from pots rather than seeds. anyway, it would appear I committed my first garden faux pas. I planted the sweet peas straight into soil, rather than separating them first. oops. In hindsight, a really silly mistake to make. But I'll learn! grin

it was gorgeous and sunny in my garden, and even warm! I think it's actually a little bit sheltered, which is perfect. However, spending all day out there had made me realise one side of the garden really does get no sun at all... one long side sad

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 01-Apr-13 19:10:18

Don't worry, Gin, there are lots of gorgeous plants for shade. Funnyperson and I can give you a list if you like.

I dread box blight too.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 01-Apr-13 19:36:44

Glad everyone has had a good day overall and that Mini Rhubarb is OK.

The sun came out here and I indulged in a bit of garden nostalgia in my Aunt's garden whilst the children hunted for eggs. The cherry tree is still there and is nearly 60 years old now, it's huge. There's a Magnolia about the same age, also huge, would have loved to have seen them both in flower . My Uncle had photos from a couple of weeks ago of a lawn full of crocuses, until the snow landed and killed the lot.You could see the leaves all in the grass, loads.

The Forsythia is about to burst into bloom and their tulips were more advanced than mine but still ages from flowering. They've got a passion flower by the front door that they thought died over the winter a couple of years ago so my Aunt planted beans. Except it wasn't dead so they had a tangled mess of runner beans and passion flower.

We also peered through th gate of my Grandparent's old house which had a little garden down the end from which my Oma managed to produce a lot of fruit and veg to feed them during the war . Couldn't see much but there was a nice rustic looking arch installed in the entrance and it looked well cared for, which was lovely to see.

I am going to have to buy seedlings when I get back. Please tell me it will get warmer...

Rhubarbgarden Mon 01-Apr-13 21:16:42

Maud, your style is my favourite one. Formal structure with relaxed planting. Lovely. My old front garden was exactly like that - a symmetrical box parterre filled with roses and cottage garden flowers, and a little fine lawn in the centre. But then it got box blight, which was a tragedy. Then the new owners sliced a metre off the side to widen the drive and destroyed the symmetry in one fell swoop. I went back to collect some post and was aghast. They had also turfed over my veg plot and asparagus bed. Sigh.

Lovely day here today. I got the orchard mowed so it is satisfyingly stripey now. I must get a strimmer though, going round the fruit trees is not fun. Also got some more yew hedge planted, and spent a happy hour when I couldn't really do anything because ds was crawling around exploring the garden, just cogitating on what to do with the overall layout etc. I think I've solved some issues that were troubling me re where to put paths and extend borders etc, and I have finally decided where to put a pergola. I feel excited all over again! Sometimes the sheer size of the garden intimidates me. Cantspell you are so right about large gardens.

And this talk of cloud pruning and knot gardens is making me want both of those. So maybe the patch of lawn which will now probably not be a chamomile lawn could host those! I do like the sound of the jewelled lawn plants though.

So much to consider!

Wynken are you Dutch then if you have an Oma? It sounds like you've had a nice time over there. My dh is Dutch. He took me to the Keukenhof a few years ago - bliss.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 01-Apr-13 21:25:34

Oooh, Keukenhof. That and Courson are on my to do/visit list.

The arbour has been built! Unfortunately it is on the patio and not where it should be. It's going to need more than DH and I to move it. However it looks good and is very comfy. We had a cup of tea sat in it ignoring the fact we were facing the patio door rather than the afternoon sun which was pleasant. I've just ordered the pebbles to go around it which was not so pleasant!

I'd like to have some scented summer flowering climbers to go with the clematis to grow over it. Definitely a jasmine but I'm not sure if I want just jasmine or to put a honeysuckle in the mix as well.

Did a little tidy up of the long border after throwing in some summer bulbs. Cleared some dead leaves off to let more light in to let the weeds grow have quite a few chionodoxa, anemone blanda and muscari flowering now. The alliums are being eaten by the pesky rabbits though.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 01-Apr-13 21:36:57

Well done, Bertha!

All my anemone blanda have disappeared. Apart from chionodoxa, small bulbs don't seem to like my soil. Boo.

I am trying to psych myself to get off the sofa, find a screwdriver and assemble my new coldframe.

funnyperson Mon 01-Apr-13 22:03:29

wine to the arbour!

Cloud pruning = Niwaki= Ancient Japanese way of shaping trees and bushes to look like clouds.

Pictures here
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=cloud+pruning&hl=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=svRZUbeID7KK4gS8woDIAQ&ved=0CDwQsAQ&biw=1161&bih=575

I think it was Carol Klein who had someone come in and cloud prune her hedge last Autumn. It would be interesting to see how that survived the winter.

Will talk about shade under oak trees another time. I am flopping and gathering energy for the week.

cantspel Mon 01-Apr-13 22:36:16

The oaks are beautiful but i find myself fighting a never ending battle with the leaves. The shade from them turns to lawn to moss on that side of the garden . I have fatsia japonia and camilia, Euphorbia, Alchemilla, and a couple of Rhododendron all planted in their shady and they all do very well so just shows there is always something that will grow no matter how shady it is.

Castlelough Tue 02-Apr-13 08:57:32

Is there room for one more in the potting shed?
I am almost a complete beginner, having planted some failed potatoes and strawberries last year, and some successful onions....
I've been enjoying reading the thread and thought I would say hello. You all sound like you have lovely gardens! envy
My garden project is currently still a building site in an agricultural field! Dh and i are still not in agreement about how much garden i will be allowed to have, but i'm hoping for 2/3 acre. I have lots of ideas and plans (orchard, potager style veg garden, rose area, lilacs, wisteria, cottage style flowers, herb patch, patio, paths, greenhouse, potting shed, renovate old sheds for stables, hens, garden pavilion/summerhouse) and the thought of actually making them happen is overwhelming... but it is lovely hearing how you are all making progress in your gardens.
After my lack of success last year, I am thinking of digging up the surviving strawberry plants and potting them up instead. Do you think that would be feasible? What size pots should I use, and would I put each plant in a separate pot?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 09:54:47

Hello Castlelough. Of course you're welcome.

::proffers virtual brew as it's probably too early for gin::

Whereabouts are you? It makes me smile that you're haggling with your DH over having 2/3 of an acre. Are you on a farm?

I don't think strawberries would thrive in individual pots unless they were very big. The nicest thing I've seen - apart from terracotta strawberry planters - was something (?) Alan Titchmarsh did on the telly years ago. He made a stack of three terracotta pots of diminishing size, part filled with compost so that each one was about 3 inches proud of the one it was standing in, and then planted strawberries around the edge of the bottom two and filling the top pot. It looked lovely as the strawberries cascaded over the sides.

Castlelough Tue 02-Apr-13 10:15:32

Thanks for the welcome Maud smile.

Yes, I AM haggling with DH. We are building a house in a green agricultural field on the farm (DH is a small-time farmer, about 80 acres around the house of rock/stone/lake/bog and some good grazing. There are 19 cows, and calves. We rent nearby, and have 2 cats and a horse smile, no babies yet, but hopefully one day soon !

I thought we could have as much garden as we liked, but I think you have to apply for planning permission to change the use of land. I'm not sure what is on the actual land map for our site, but am sure it is minimal - nobody around here seems interested in gardening much sad apart from practical gardening - veg etc.

I'm in Ireland, south-west smile.

Castlelough Tue 02-Apr-13 10:20:22

Thanks for coffee smile. And strawberry advice! Love the idea of the Alan Titchmarsh pot idea, but I need to make do with the motley collection of plastic pots I have, for now. Would I put a few plants into each pot, so?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 10:23:23

How big are your biggest pots?

Castlelough Tue 02-Apr-13 11:31:03

Hmmm I'll have to check... not very blush!

Engelsemama Tue 02-Apr-13 11:37:14

Morning all, can I join in?

This is finally the year that our garden will be sorted. Lots of 'hardware' stuff to be done (put in gate so DS can't escape, rock garden, area for DS with swing) this year.

Garden is quite long and split into sections - large gravel area with a deck and stepping stones, hammock frame; 2 derelict areas for development (rock/Japanese style gravel garden and area for DS);small L shaped raised bed for herbs and veg; beds alongside garage which have been used for toms/strawbs/sunflowers; patio area that looks out over garden with forsythia at back to shield from neighbours; shady bed with lots of lily-of-valley and horrible prickly bush that has to go; junk area directly behind house (tiles, bricks, all those things that 'might be useful' according to DH hmm ); garage full of rubbish and small front garden bed.

First time I've managed to get out in the garden today, so collected up leaves and getting bench out of shed. Have been trying to prepare the area for rock garden so we can order gravel and have another section 'done'. Need to choose plants to put in as well.

I want to plant some lavender in the front garden this year and replace the climbing rose that DH's DGF had on the front of our house. Also want to put in some daff and tulips bulbs for next year.

I'd love to plant either a pear of cherry tree in the large gravel area we have at back and put up a trellis next to the deck for more privacy from over looking neighbours. Have another bench to put on deck at far end but needs some maintenance first.

I have so many ideas (pinterest is fuelling this) but am having to rein myself in and not get too ambitious!

Blue skies and sunshine here. I'm over in Holland (DH is Dutch) and will definitely be making a trip to Keukenhof this year (the theme for 2013 is the UK grin )

echt how do you get GW on iPlayer (I can't access the TV programmes as not in UK)? I have to watch when it's on or Sunday repeat.

<waves at Castle >

HumphreyCobbler Tue 02-Apr-13 11:38:46

ooh, your plans sound lovely Castlelough.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 02-Apr-13 11:48:03

Welcome to Vastle and Engel, lovely to hear your plans, I'll hand round the biscuits biscuit biscuit

I'm sure Echt will fill in on how to get iplayer but I think it's something to do with a Virtual Personal Network service, or something along those lines. I'm currently on holiday in Holland until the end of the week smile

Engelsemama Tue 02-Apr-13 12:48:19

Enjoy Holland Wynken . This is the best weather we've had this year. I wonder if you're near me (I'm 15 mins from Germany, but it is a long border!).

Castlelough Tue 02-Apr-13 14:49:24

<scoffs Wynk's biscuits>
Thanks for the welcomes, you are all very friendly! smile
<waves back at Engels smile>
Humph my garden might sound lovely, but all that currently exists are piles of unearthed topsoil from when the house foundations were dug out. These are wild with nettles/weeds etc. And then there is my poor attempt at a small veg bed, with the surviving strawberry plants. The 'garden' consists of the remaining bit of field between our house and the dilapidated sheds to one side of the house. Then about the same again stetting the width of the house at the back. On the other side of the house is where the patio
will be, and a fence right up against it running along that side of the site, with a field mostly used by our horse.
Everything will be a big job, especially as DH is not a keen gardener - his mother had a little rockery, two rose bushes and a tiny patch of lawn. He just cannot understand what I could need up be planting!! But I am working on him, slowly! He is resigned to me getting hens, at thus stage grin.

Oh dear, my pots are small - 4 inches wide...
Humph I loved reading about your pigs!

cantspel Tue 02-Apr-13 16:43:26

Waves to all the new garden fans.

I have spent a a lovely afternoon giving the lawn its first cut of the year.
At first my mover was playing dead but i cleaned up the spark plug and away we went. Garden looks 100% better now the lawn is tidy but cutting it did expose how much moss has taken over where they should be grass.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 02-Apr-13 18:02:40

Weather is certainly a lot more pleasant than when we arrived last week and kept being snowed on ! We're staying near Aachen in a Landal, have family outside Bonn. Last year we went to another Landal further up into Holland, near Apeldoorn. Lovely country with really friendly people who cope graciously with my non existent Dutch, though I do try.

Castle, I might be tempted to leave those strawberries where they are, chuck a bit of netting over and see if they do better the second year.

WhatKindofFool Tue 02-Apr-13 19:03:19

My strawberries died over the winter.

I planted some sea holly rhizomes today - I hope they grow!

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 02-Apr-13 19:39:34

Don't write them off yet Whatkindoffool. Strawberries are very hardy and do look dead over winter. They then usually spring back to life when the weather warms up - so not yet this year !

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 19:40:15

I love sea holly but it never thrive here - obviously my cold, wet clay is the opposite of what it likes.

I must check how many of my strawberry plants have made it through the winter - the ones I bought at the RHS but never got round to planting properly (leaving them in their little pots) are looking rather weather-beaten.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 02-Apr-13 20:00:50

Hello Castle and Engelse. Gosh, Dutchness all over the place! What's a Landal? I just asked dh (who is Dutch) and he looked at me blankly and just continued wittering about work, so I've zoned him out again. grin

I feel your pain re moss, cantspel. Mine's the same. As I need to buy a strimmer I'm considering chucking a scarifier in the trolley while I'm at it.

The tree surgeon came back to me today saying we need to get permission from the tree officer at the council to prune the bay trees. <sigh> You need permission to bloody well pull up a dandelion round here.

I finally finished planting my yew hedge today, hallelujah. smile Only taken me six months, with this awful winter. I can finally move on to some other priorities. So I celebrated by spending a happy couple of hours clipping conifers. Which is not a priority. I like clipping.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 20:14:44

I have been googling Landals. They look rather lovely.

I am resisting the temptation to go and poke my seeds, to see if they have germinated.

Hello to Castle and Engels smile. Love hearing about new garden plans.

I too love sea holly but don't think it would do so well in my bed.

I'm resigned to our moss, it's green and reduces the amount of lawn mowing required. I just wish it would stay on the lawn bit and out of my veg plot and flower bed!

My kale has started flowering. Wasn't paying attention as it is still quite stunted. We will mostly be eating kale this week. Tasty though.

Castlelough Tue 02-Apr-13 21:36:47

Thanks for all being so welcoming. smile I like it in this potting shed. smile And I like hearing what everyone else is doing in their gardens smile

I managed to unearth 7 strawberry plants and repot them into very small pots. It took me ages to find them amongst the grasses and weeds, I have a feeling there may be another one lurking there still. The bed is a right mess (it wasn't raised) and several cow rampages have left their mark! Wynken I had them potted up before I saw your comment but maybe the strawberries are better off out of there for now, at least until I have a safe place for them.
My onions and potatoes withstood the cow break-ins last year so hopefully tomorrow I will dig the rest of the bed over and plant my onions. It really isn't a big bed, 2.5m x 1.5m, but it took me ages to dig it out last year that was before I learned what the fork and rake could do blush. The whole place will have to be rotivated down the line whenever the bank will lend us more money but I couldn't wait to get started just a little bit!

I will have to invest jn some pots I think...
Also, I wonder if I bought some box plants could I propagate lots more to edge my future garden projects... Would I need cold frames or something for that?
And somebody mentioned lavendar, that would take two years. Hmmm maybe I should start on the two-year planting projects, as I'm so limited for the moment...hmm

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 21:40:31

Yes, in all its various incarnations this potting shed has been delightful. I love it.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 02-Apr-13 22:01:53

it is indeed a lovely potting shed

I would go for it on the box cuttings/lavendar front Castlelough, you have the space to do the cuttings! We made a basic frame and stapled bubblewrap to the top in order to made a coldframe to overwinter them. I have successfully done lavendar cuttings but they don't thrive in our soil so I have given up on those.

This potting shed had its second birthday a couple weeks ago, I just checked. original thread here

wine

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 22:17:52

Two years?

::Gets a little misty-eyed::

We should have a party.

::Proffers wine and biscuit, which might be bruschetta if you squint::

HumphreyCobbler Tue 02-Apr-13 22:22:30

Oh that thread takes me back. You have kept your name for a while then Maud!

I'll have a wine thanks

HumphreyCobbler Tue 02-Apr-13 22:25:02

I can't believe it is two years ago. Well checked Bertha.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 22:25:25

Yes, I used to name-change quite often, but I like this name so much - chiefly because it abbreviates to an actual name - that I've kept it all this time.

::sloshes wine into glasses and proposes a toast::

wine here too please. Forgot I had a different user name then. This one is thanks to Maud I think and Humphrey's first set of pigs!

I didn't have any borders then either, just the veggies, but this thread inspired me. And continues to do so. Along with Monty obviously.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 02-Apr-13 22:28:46

<raises glass>

I have had a few names but this one for about three years now. Someone shouted Humphrey at their dog the other day and I really thought they were addressing me.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 02-Apr-13 22:29:45

It was delicious black pudding too. We have never bothered making it since though...--the blood splattered walls were just too much--

I have a friend with a chicken named Bertha; I find that confusing too.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 02-Apr-13 22:30:40

everytime I look at the alchemilla mollis in the front garden I think of Maud as it was her suggestion

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 22:31:13

::Loads a tray with wine and circles the potting shed::

Yes, I do claim the credit for the Goodies reference! I always have a moment of uncertainty when new people join, as I wonder whether they are new or are regulars with a new name.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 22:33:27

Really, Humph? I do hope you're pleased with it. Conversely, I thought of you yesterday as I was looking in vain for the thalictrum. I guess it's too soon for it yet.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 02-Apr-13 22:36:59

yes, the disappearing thalictrum! That is definitely one of yours. You tempted me grin I had forgotten about that one. It is a particularly nice variety, I like it better than the other examples I have seen around.

The alchemilla looks lovely, although I need more of it.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 02-Apr-13 22:37:23

I didn't arrive till the end of May last year iirc

HumphreyCobbler Tue 02-Apr-13 22:38:44

IT

I am not doing too well with the typing, it must be all the wine

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 22:41:10

I thought we all egged each other on to spend a fortune moderate sum on the Parkers website.

I am always amazed when people say that alchemilla is a pest because of the self-seeding. I just luffs it.

Takes more wine quickly from Maud before Humphrey drinks it all and we're back on the blackberry gin.

My favourite suggestion was the Solanum Crispin Glasnevin. Fabulous plant ignoring the poisonous element

HumphreyCobbler Tue 02-Apr-13 22:43:47

the only plant I consider a pest in my garden is a particularly insipid pink geranium that gets EVERYWHERE. No idea what it is called as I took a couple of plants from a friend's garden and have regretted it ever since.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 22:46:15

::Necks more wine::

I am getting bolder about poisonous plants now. I have started reintroducing euphorbias - the E amygdaloides purpurea and E myrsinites are looking fabulous at the moment - and I have a tiny delphinium I'm waiting to plant. If the slugs don't get it first.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 02-Apr-13 22:47:14

are delphiniums poisonous?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 22:48:24

That pink geranium might be the one that my dear mama gave me when I started this garden and which I then spent years eradicating!

I'm still waiting for my euphorbias to arrive. Think plant orders are a bit on the slow side so far this year.

All this wine and reminiscing has gone to my head. Goodnight potting shed.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 02-Apr-13 22:52:48

goodnight

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 22:54:21
ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 22:56:17

I'm off for an early night too. Good night all.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 02-Apr-13 23:04:17

thanks for that

I can tick off a few from that list blush

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 03-Apr-13 07:47:45

I only introduced Delphiniums last year after chucking one away in a fit of paranoia when DD was small. Euphorbia was already here but in the front so left that. And I've only just found out lily pollen is poisonous for cats.

Landal Parks are just cheaper Center Parcs in Netherlands, Belgium and Holland. DS is 9 so loves being able to go off on his own to the playground etc and to buy the rolls for breakfast, plus there's load of places to visit which keeps 14 year old DD quiet.

Engelsemama Wed 03-Apr-13 08:22:14

Way down south then wynken - I know they’ve had much more snow than us the last few months. I’ve never stayed at a Landal or CP as we tend to spend our holidays visiting my family in the UK, but I know BIL and SIL love them with their 2 boys.

Another sunny but cold day here. DS is at nursery so am heading out for a few hours to do a bit more tidying up.
Thanks for the welcome everyone. I have missed being outside the last few months. smile

Castlelough Wed 03-Apr-13 08:37:50

Ooh I missed the belated birthday party!

<leaves out pot of steaming coffee and tray of bacon sandwiches to ward off any potential hangovers>

Am off to plant my onions today smile
<whistles happily emoticon>

rhihaf Wed 03-Apr-13 09:49:10

Wowzers! One weekend away from the potting shed and I've missed loads. It's like when you're ill off school and miss all the gossip grin

Just had a groupon offer for fruit trees if anyone's interested:
www.groupon.co.uk/deals/national-deal/GardeningExpresscouk/19609085?nlp=&CID=UK_CRM_1_0_0_93&a=1664

Can't vouch for it but might be useful to someone...

We have (very cold) sunshine here in Wales, hurrah! Happy pottering everyone smile

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 03-Apr-13 10:17:02

Ooh and Lidl has fruit trees at the moment for £7.95. They were mostly Golden Delicious and Victoria Plum in my local one.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 03-Apr-13 13:37:44

Damn, can't believe I missed the party. Happy birthday potting shed <finds a leftover sausage roll in a plant pot and eats it>.

I did some googling of jewelled lawns last night (while you lot were getting merry) and found Feeringbury Manor which has one. At its best in April it says. I'd like to visit but it's nearly two hours away.

We visited the Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle a couple of year's ago. Full of signs saying "Don't Touch!" and dire warnings. I picked up dd and kept tight hold of her to prevent wanderings, only to find that while we were standing listening to the guide, she was leaning over my shoulder merrily munching a tall plant whose leaves were wafting across the path. shock After I had a small heart attack the guide turned out to be very reassuring and blasé - she said you'd have to eat large quantities of anything for it to be a problem. At any rate, dd is still here.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 03-Apr-13 15:03:28

Aaargh! Chelsea Flower Show has sold out! Aaaaaargh! Why didn't I buy my ticket earlier? I'm so stupid! sad

LexyMa Wed 03-Apr-13 15:12:22

Never mind, Hampton Court's far better. smile

HumphreyCobbler Wed 03-Apr-13 15:27:44

riihaf - I am in wales. Are you north or south? I am quite near Monmouth and Abergavenny.

I always think I would be too short to see over all the people at Chelsea. Would love to go to Hampton Court.

LexyMa Wed 03-Apr-13 15:34:46

That's my problem with Chelsea, Humph - shortness and a disinclination to wear heels to an event supposedly about gardening!!

HC is much more spread out, friendly, has many many nursery stalls to relieve you of lots of money, and I think better food too.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 03-Apr-13 16:39:24

I totally agree HC is better. But I want to go to both! I always aim to get to Chelsea when the doors open and leave before noon before it gets hideous. It makes a big difference.

rhihaf Wed 03-Apr-13 19:08:23

Humphrey: I'm in the west, about 3 miles inland from the middle of Cardigan Bay. Do you go to the food festival too? [wondering if there are any other foodies on this thread]

Managed to finally finish digging the other half of my raised bed today and planted 2 gooseberry bushes from Lidl smile It was frrrrreezing, but sunny and it felt good to be outside again!

Advice pls wonderous gardeners: I potted on the tiny plugs(annuals and perennials) from T&M into module trays with multipurpose compost and they're in my cold greenhouse, but the soil's gone rock hard sad I'm reluctant to keep watering in case of damping off... what did I do wrong?
sad

Dawnywoo Wed 03-Apr-13 19:10:02

Hi all, well spring must now be officially on it's way eventually eh? Even if the weather isn't up to it, at least you lot all are.

I haven't been on here since last year due to ongoing breast abcess palaver which got out of hand but is now sorted thankfully.

I'm in my second year of gardening at this house, but because last year was so bad, it really does feel like I'm starting from scratch!

Feeling massively excited about it all, and loving reading all your stories. There's nothing better than a shared passion.

To further fuel my energy, I have today been to visit ex DH who has eventually put our old house on the market. I had to say goodbye to the garden that I built from nothing 15 years ago which is just coming into it's own now.

Looking forward this year to visiting some gardens now that DD is a bit older. I'm lucky enough to be on the doorstep of Alnwick gardens.

Oh, and I also have the pink geranium problem. And London Pride which I can't get rid of and some other pink stuff that self seeds that looks a bit like sedum...?

Thanks to Maud's hearty recommendation, I got two gorgeous clumps of verbena bonariensis last year which I have managed to get 13 new plants from that I took as cuttings in the autumn. Can't fit any more on the conservatory windowsills. Must buy a greenhouse ASAP.

Ramble, ramble, someone please stop me.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 03-Apr-13 22:14:11

rhihaf, I certainly do go to the food festival, it is one of the high spots of our year. I love it. We should meet for a coffee next year! sorry I don't know about the rock hard soil, someone will though.

Dawnywoo, so glad you are feeling better. It must be hard saying goodbye to your garden. Glad you have a new one to get cracking with.

The exciting news chez Cobbler is that we are going to get a greenhouse!!!! smile 8' by 12, and it is going on the hard standing by the stock sheds so we can use one of the open sheds as a potting area and just transfer to the greenhouse. I am so happy about it, the lack of anywhere to grow stuff on has been extremely frustrating, especially last year when I couldn't grow anything on outside either.

Moved everything that wasn't herbs out of the herb bed, leaving them very empty. But some purple orache seeds have germinated, to my utter delight, as I thought we wouldn't get any. The slugs ate them to death last year and I really missed their colour in the beds.

Castlelough Wed 03-Apr-13 22:17:12

Dawnywoo ramble away - this is good rambling smile! Sorry to hear about your being ill, and having to part from your garden of fifteen years sad. But great that you are in such a positive frame of mind smile.
Rhihaf I haven't a clue. We will have to wait for someone more knowledgeable to come along...do you have more than one greenhouse envy?

Enjoying all the chat of flower shows. The only thing comparable I can think of here is 'Bloom', which is a garden festival. Must find out where I can visit nice gardens...hmm I thought about taking my DM to Chelsea this year as it is the 125th anniversary, but just couldn't afford it. Maybe those of you who still want tickets will be able to get hold of them somehow...

Castlelough Wed 03-Apr-13 22:19:29

Oh Humphrey I have greenhouse envy...

cheesecheeseplease Wed 03-Apr-13 22:31:15

sticks head round the door and waves

HumphreyCobbler Wed 03-Apr-13 22:44:50

<waves back>

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 04-Apr-13 07:39:05

Hi Cheese <waves>

Good to see you Dawney, glad you're better. My friend had a breast abscess and was very ill, very nasty things. Can imagine it is hard to say goodbye to your garden. Will you be doing the new one totally different or taking elements that you used before ?

Rhihaf I have a greenhouse but don't really know what I'm doing. When you say rock solid do you mean in a dry kind of solid way rather than a cold solid way ? I use plastic fruit/meat punnets lined with capillary matting and always water from below which I think helps a bit with damping off. I wouldn't think they'd need very much water with these temperatures.

Rhubarb that's a pain about Chelsea. I looked the other day and there were still some via the RHS site for the day I'm going then some extortionately priced ones on EBay. My brother might be coming but no doubt by the time he's decided it will be impossible to get any without getting a second mortgage.

Humph, great news about your greenhouse. Mine is 12 x 10 so pretty similar, you can get a fair amount in. I didn't properly sort staging though so haven't made full use of the space. Don't forget a chair so you can sit and talk to the plants, very important for growth. You can get a fair amount of water off the roof with that size so worth sticking a couple of water butts up whilst you're about it.

I need to try and find some tulip bulbs today as we're coming home tomorrow. Am Hoping a bit more work towards gravelling around the greenhouse will have been done in my absence. I don't care what the temperature is when I get back, I want to sow some seeds. Also I need to see if I have successfully overwintered my chilli plants or have killed them.

Rhubarbgarden Thu 04-Apr-13 09:27:37

Very exciting about your greenhouse, Humph. I want one! I dread to think how long it will take to go through the planning permission process to stick one on the house. But I think it will be worth it to be able to pop in there first thing on a morning to water things without having to put coats and shoes on children and take them with me and all that performance.

Rhihaf, I'd second the suggestion to water from below. Capillary matting is great for that.

I got my Chelsea ticket! It went through to a different ticketing company this time. So I don't know quite what went on there. I went via the RHS website both times. I couldn't get member discount, but I'm just glad to have got my ticket. Hurrah.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 04-Apr-13 09:35:21

Wahey Rhubarb, result ! I agree it will be worth the wait to have it attached to the house with small DC's. I hide from teenage hormones in mine so love the fact I need to go out.

Dawnywoo Thu 04-Apr-13 11:14:04

Well what a lovely day. The birds are singing and the sun is shining. It's even warm enough to park up a sleeping DD in her pram in the garden.

Thanks for the warm welcome everyone. All this talk of greenhouses has had me running for my tape measure. I have a spot which will fit a little 6x4 very nicely and I think it needs sorting ASAP.

Off to the local nursery when DD wakes up. I have a bit of spare money and it's burning a hole in my pocket. Have my eye on some osteospermum voltage yellow after watching GW. Also need some grasses to fill gaps in the front borders.

Front garden is proving tricky to fill. At 55msq it's bigger than it looks. I hope it doesn't end up looking mish-mash as I desperately try to fill the beds. My plan this year is for jewel like colour. It started with purple and orange but...well you know how it is.

Congrats to those with Chelsea tickets. Very envy I've only ever been to Harrogate and local shows. Hope the weather is good for you all this coming weekend. Hoping for plenty of Happy trowelling.

Dawnywoo Thu 04-Apr-13 11:21:34

Oh Wynken in answer to your question, it's funny but I find myself drawn to the same old favourites plant and tree wise (ceanothus, spirea, clematis, fruit trees) but at least I'm forced to look at a different style as it's more cottagey here. The last house was very modern. Garden was terraced - patio, raised beds, bamboos, eucalyptus. Thankfully the gardens here are flat!

rhihaf Thu 04-Apr-13 19:14:52

Castle, Wynken and Rhubarb: thank you for your advice! Yes, it is hard in a dry sort of way, so maybe underneath-watering is the way to go. Erm, what is capillary matting? blush

Humph: yey to the food festival! It's a bit far for us to go, so I have NEVER been shock despite intending to for the last 5 yrs. Great news re greenhouse, most exciting grin. This calls for a celebratory wine! [Hands round tray of mismatched glasses of vino to all in potting shed)

Dawnywoo: hello and welcome back! I to love hearing about everyone's gardens, it's fab isn't it? [settles down into beanbag] biscuit anyone?

rhihaf Thu 04-Apr-13 19:16:02

That should have been 'too', not 'to' [hates bad spelling/grammar] blush

Greenhouse envy <takes wine off Rhihaf though and joins the greenhouse celebration>

Humphrey, do we get to help you choose as an excuse for us all to ponder greenhouses and dream?

Though I do quite well in the conservatory as a substitute. <wonders whether I could sneak some staging in there without DH noticing>

Snowing today. Again. It will end won't it?

On a happier note my pebbles arrived today to go around the arbour. Still need an additional strong man to move it off the patio though.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 04-Apr-13 20:29:11

Dawney, Maybe that's a good thing, using your favourite plants but in a different way , a kind of moving on fresh start ?

Rhihaf, this is capillary matting. It just absorbs a fair bit of water and the plants can take it up from below.

Bertha I don't think he'll notice staging, it's shelving or storage, useful stuff, you can never have too much storage can you ?!

This snow malarkey is worrying me, it's not settling is it ? I'm coming home tomorrow and am not into the idea of snowy roads...

Castlelough Thu 04-Apr-13 21:42:28

Ooh another party! I love this potting shed (did I already mention that?! grin)
<sloshes some of Rhihaf's wine happily. Waits hopefully for Humph to come along with greenhouse brochures grin>

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 04-Apr-13 21:44:44

Another party?

::waggles glass, hopefully::

<sloshes wine in Maud's direction>

greenhouses anyone?

Saw a sign advertising a village flower show today; may go along just to see what on earth no one has managed to grow!

anyone not 'no one'. Wine's good tonight smile

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 04-Apr-13 22:03:59

Thank you for the wine!

::weeps at the sheer beauty of the Gabriel Ash website::

Rhubarbgarden Thu 04-Apr-13 22:06:56

Ooh wine. Ooh greenhouses. Can I post my object of lust again? I want this one

I saw a sign for a village flower show today too. I wonder if it was the same one?!

Oho ooh, that site does a section on greenhouses in walled gardens. Not sure I can cope!

Oho ooh? Strange auto correct there. <takes more wine>

My flower show was in Surrey Rhubarb.

Rhubarbgarden Thu 04-Apr-13 22:14:42

I know Bertha - greenhouse porn at its very best! <dirty chortle>

Mine was Sussex. We should both go and compare notes.

cantspel Thu 04-Apr-13 23:58:34

ohh i would love a green house as my baby plants are taking over my utility room but i will have to make do with my blow away.
My sons school has the most amazing poly tunnel green houses. They are huge and at the moment full of baby plants ready for the plant sale in may. Anyone is west sussex who want bedding plants that is the place to get them.
The money raised goes to a good cause and the plants are heathy and gave me a lovely display last year.

Morien Fri 05-Apr-13 10:01:25

Hello everyone - room for another in the potting shed? I've been having a read over the last few days and you seem like a lovely friendly bunch, full of energy and enthusiasm - just what I need. Sorry I missed the party last night grin

I'm in Belgium (DP is Belgian), and we bought this house last June. There's been so much to do house-wise that so far we've not done much on the garden, but there's huge potential and I want to get stuck in. I feel quite overwhelmed at times, given the size of the garden and my lack of experience (my parents are keen gardeners and I'd always wanted a garden of my own, but until a few years ago I'd lived in a series of flats in various different countries so got very good at container gardening!) but I keep reminding myself that the only way is to do little bits at a time. The previous owners weren't gardeners; they put in a lovely terrace with a little pond (fabulous water lilies and irises last summer)...and other than that, it's all moss lawn. There's the odd shrub stuck in haphazardly in front of the hedge, and nothing else, not a single flowering plant other than a few abandoned rose bushes (we kept an eye on the garden last spring before the sale completed to see what we were getting). There are lots of trees, though, and in the autumn I planted lots of bulbs beneath them so we'd have a bit of colour in the spring - the crocuses have suffered in the snow, but the daffodils are about to come out, and later on there should be tulips.

I've decided that my first tiny step is to create a herb patch, taking over the only real bed that exists already (DP has just about cleared it; it was full of a random hodge-podge of things - roses, box, marjoram, lots of weeds). It's about 2.5x2.5m, not far from the kitchen door. I've got lots of seedlings in propagators at the moment (I keep showing DP how they're growing, to hurry him into laying the promised path!)

That's quite enough of an introduction from me - I'm off to peer at my seedlings again. I look forward to getting to know you all.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 05-Apr-13 10:50:56

hello Morien, nice to meet you. Your garden sounds very promising, it will be interesting to hear about a Belgian garden. How big is it? There is nothing like a good peer at some seedlings, is there? There was nothing much growing in our garden except bindweed and ground elder when we moved in.

This is the greenhouse we are thinking about www.gardenoasis.co.uk/palram-balance-greenhouse-p-3714.html I am going to the garden centre today to stand in one that size to get a feel for it. We don't want glass as that is where the dc ride their bikes and I am paranoid.

My other news is that I spent all day yesterday having scans and am pleased to announce that I too am germinating a small beansprout smile. You may have noticed that all my posts have been about what Dh was doing in the garden rather that what I was doing, that is because I have spent the entire last two months being sick hmm but it all seems to be calming down now and I hope to get some gardening in!

Dawnywoo Fri 05-Apr-13 11:31:37

Congratulations on your lovely little beansprout Humph Great news.

Hello Morien very pleased to meet you and hear about your Belgian garden. Water lilies always conjure such a wonderful romantic image.

I'm poised and ready for action this weekend. Got to move some plants around. Steal an unidentified sapling from my mothers garden and mulch the front borders. I want to start it now but I just know DD will wake up as soon as I start anything.

All geared up for GW tonight. I have a feeling there may be another Potting shed party in the offing. Glasses at the ready... Something alcohol free and full of goodness for Humph smile

Dawnywoo Fri 05-Apr-13 12:30:03

Ooh Humph that website has the same greenhouse I'm after but cheaper than where I was about to get it from. I've also decided I can fit in a slightly bigger one than I first thought. I'm going to tell discuss with DP and put my order in tonight. Thanks! grin

Sorry to hear of your 2 months being sick by the way and hope all is well from here on in.

Castlelough Fri 05-Apr-13 14:03:56

Fantastic news Humph !!!smile
Congratulations! smile
Nice to meet you Morien and hear all about your garden. It sounds like you have tons of potential there. A good idea to break the job into smaller tasks and phases! And herb garden will be very useful for culinary projects smile.
Am visiting my parents, home Sunday. May try and pop out to a garden centre later on. smile
Waves to everyone else...

cantspel Fri 05-Apr-13 14:08:07

Waves across the water to Marien. Sounds a real project you have on your hands there but it must be lovely to plan a garden pretty much from nothing.
Congrats to Humphrey and family on your little beansprount.

My friends daughter gave birth to her first child yesterday, a little boy. Make me feel old to think of children i knew being all grown up and starting families of their own.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 05-Apr-13 14:08:52

Great news, Humph! And a warm welcome to Morien.

Am loving the vicarious greenhouse porn.

LexyMa Fri 05-Apr-13 14:40:01

Humph, wonderful news! Hope all the sickness is finished with, and you sail through the rest with glow, bounce, serenity and just the right amount of verve! We can be horizontally expanding deckchair gardeners together this year!

No real garden news here. No space so can't join in the greenhouse porn with any seriousness. Haven't been able to get out and put up the cloches to warm the soil before I plant out the seedlings that I haven't started off yet. Have been given an anthurium by a visitor - am dreadful with houseplants, anyone got some foolproof tips? I've put it in the (cool, north facing) bathroom next to the phalaenopsis for now.

rhihaf Fri 05-Apr-13 15:32:59

Ooooh a little beansprout! Congratulations Humphrey! smile

My God, all this greenhouse porn has brought me out in a hot flush blush - amazing stuff. Rhubarb, I love your dream choice - very reminiscent of Victorian Kitchen Garden ;)
Just imagine Monty strolling around instead of the lovely old Harry guy, advising us on cucumber-straightening-devices and raised hot-beds [sigh]

shock I have just realised, having recorded last week's GW, I still haven't watched it. Told you this greenhouse porn was going to my head grin

Braved the icy winds today and did some seed sowing: radichio, bright lights chard, sugarsnap peas, bulb fennel, climbing courgette, summer purple sprouting.
Any my peonies from last year (spindly, rather folorn looking things) have come back much stronger smile

[waves at Marien]

HumphreyCobbler Fri 05-Apr-13 16:48:19

thanks everyone

DH and I are now discussing the merits of putting a polytunnel in instead of a greenhouse. Watch this space!

Rhubarbgarden Fri 05-Apr-13 18:33:57

Whoop whoop for Humph! Congratulations! I had awful sickness with both of mine so my heart goes out to you.

Cantspel where is the plant sale? I'd like to go.

Welcome wine to Morien. Well, someone had to crack open another bottle.

LexyMa, anthuriums are really easy. Yank out dead spathes when they've gone brown and snip out any brown leaves to keep it looking smart. They like to be kept moist but aren't fussy - they'll also tolerate a bit of neglect better than many house plants. I was a professional office plant waterer for a while and we got through stacks of anthuriums; they are happy anywhere.

Rhihaf I never saw the Victorian Kitchen Garden. I don't know how I missed that. I must find out if I can get it on DVD or something.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 05-Apr-13 18:49:48

Dh just caught me perving over that Alitex greenhouse when I should have been reading bedtime stories to ds. blush He said "would you rather have a bespoke greenhouse or private education for your children for a year?" Bastard. angry

HumphreyCobbler Fri 05-Apr-13 18:51:34

well, a greenhouse, naturally....

the only answer grin

Rhubarbgarden Fri 05-Apr-13 18:59:21

Precisely my answer grin

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 05-Apr-13 18:59:22

On the grounds that the state will provide an education but you have to procure your own greenhouse, Humph?

HumphreyCobbler Fri 05-Apr-13 19:06:45

grin

Rhubarbgarden Fri 05-Apr-13 19:16:23

They should be available on the NHS.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 05-Apr-13 19:21:24

They should. In fact, I think the NHS should provide me with a big garden with greenhouse on the grounds it's cheaper than psychotherapy.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 05-Apr-13 19:45:29

Congratulations Humph, lovely news smile

Hi Morien. I love hearing fom all of you with gardens abroad. Drove through your neck of the woods today. We noticed that loads of trees all along the motorway have been pollarded, quite a contrast to how they are here and were wondering why ?

Those photos of walled gardens and greenhouses are gorgeous, imagine pottering off to one of those in the morning. I think Humph you want a greenhouse and a polytunnel don't you ?!

Nothing in my garden looks any bigger than it did a week ago apart from the black currant is flowering ad it's lovely to see daffodils again.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 05-Apr-13 20:00:03

I have just succumbed to the blandishments of T&M and ordered three tree peonies. One for me, one for my dad's birthday present and goodness knows where I'll find space for the third!

I had a very quick potter around the garden earlier and was pleased to see new growth on the pound shop gooseberry, which I had thought was dead. Otherwise, everything is so far behind where it was last year. I have got almost nothing to exhibit in our spring show.

cantspel Fri 05-Apr-13 20:19:17

Rhubarbgarden It is at Oakgrove college just outside of worthing.
It is a special needs secondary school and all the plants are grown by the pupils. I will put all the details up when they publish the dates when the kids go back to school. The sale usually lasts for at least a week as they have 2 giant poly tunnels worth to sell. The left overs get given to the local hospice for them to plant in their gardens.
It is a great project and the kids are lovely.

Maud i have 2 tree peonies i bought with me when we moved last feb. They suffered a bit in the move but i am expecting great things from them this year.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 05-Apr-13 20:22:16

That's good to hear, cantspel. I have the yellow one (lutea) but I succumbed to the charms of a white one and have just decided I can squeeze the dark red one into my Venetian (I wish) border.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 05-Apr-13 20:23:56

Aaah! Now Hayloft Plants are tempting me with a half-price viola offer. I guess plant sales are low this month, hence the bombardment of alluring deals!

LexyMa Fri 05-Apr-13 20:37:02

are we all convened for the Friday night potting shed party in front of GW? I have my half glass of wine, clink clink!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 05-Apr-13 20:39:48

::clinks glasses with Lexy::

Now I am coveting hepaticas, although I can't provide the conditions they need. As with pulsatilla.

WhatKindofFool Fri 05-Apr-13 20:55:26

Watching corrie with my kids. I hope GW comes onto iplayer quickly.

I bought a hanging basket kit from aldi today for £5. Nice basket too!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 05-Apr-13 21:02:19

That sounds like a good deal! One of the gaping voids in my life is that I have never been to Aldi. I am a devotee of Lidl's gardening stuff, though.

WhatKindofFool Fri 05-Apr-13 21:06:43

No Lidl near me but Aldi has had loads of plants lately. I've always found them to be good. I've got a mushroom kit waiting to start off too.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 05-Apr-13 21:15:28

Ooh those Hepaticas... and what a beautiful alpine house he had to grow them in. I took the opportunity to point out to dh that he should be grateful I'm only after a modest lean-to <pouts>.

It reminded me of the wonderful, awe inspiring alpine house at Kew. My favourite of the glasshouses at Kew even though it's quite teeny compared to the others.

Thanks for that, Cantspel. Worthing isn't far at all so I'll be sure to pop along.

teta Fri 05-Apr-13 21:16:11

As a fair weather gardener can i rejoin?blushHow have you all been gardening in this weather?We have had a blanket of snow over the hills for the past 2 weeks.The local farmers have lost loads of lambs due to the snow and really cold nights.However it was sunny today and the daffs,crocuses,scilla,primroses,anemone blanda were open and looking pretty ravishing.The multi coloured primulas are only just starting to flower and hellebores are glowing in the shade.Congratulations Humph on your news and hello to everyone new.It took me a while to find the thread with the new cool heading.

cantspel Fri 05-Apr-13 21:16:24

Mine are both the dark red. They were in pots when i moved but since then one has gone in a corner of the front garden and the other along the fence in the back.

I am another lidl fan and i had to tie my hands behind my back to stop myself buying one of the £29.99 cold frames but i did weaken to the lure of their bulbs and bought yet more lilies for the raised beds.

Welcome Marien and welcome back teta.

Big congratulations to Humphrey. Waves wine glass around again grin

Popped into Sainsbury's today and they had more if the baby solanum glasnevin plants that turned into my gigantic one. So bought two more! One is a white one. Have no idea where they're going to go though.

Also went into Lidl and was very tempted by a garden shredder. Would love to shred before putting stuff in the compost (just like Monty). Missed GW tonight but will catch up on I player.

funnyperson Fri 05-Apr-13 21:35:30

Happy Friday! winebrewwinebrewwinebrew <leaves potting shed to go to the loo then passes out happily in front of Gardeners World rerun>
What a week.
I have now caught up on that fabulous walled garden greenhouse porn and tree peony frenzy and germination of littleHumph news smile and join in a welcome to newcomers. Its lovely to be back.
Monty and his team are divine. I came back from my sunless neon lit NHS week looking eagerly forward to seeing flowers etc to find only a couple of late snowdrops, and could have hugged Monty endlessly when he opened his programme with those shots of a garden looking as flowerless as mine. Sheer genius.
Those alpines and their owner were just adorable and brilliant inspiration for woodland under deciduous trees.
So. I am going to repot the bamboo on the verandah in a suitable container in suitable compost this weekend. Always something to do, said she, wandering off happily...goes to inspect bamboo nodes..... hahaha that bit was hilarious.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 05-Apr-13 21:44:02

::distributes wine to all in need::

I have a horrible feeling that I ought to repot my bamboo but it will be a hideous task, because of the shape of the pot. Rather uncharitably, I didn't like the tank into which Monty put his bamboo but I suppose it will improve with weathering.

cantspel Fri 05-Apr-13 21:47:38

Blackpuddingbertha get the shredder. i love mine and there is something very satisfying about feeding in bits of branch and watching them come out again the size of 5p pieces. But then i am a sucker for garden power tools blush

Hi all. Can I join? Thought 'sod it' t'other day and have bought some veggies hoping that it'll inspire the Warner weather fat chance
Been growing my own for years now and usually grow from scratch. Had a baby though 5 months ago which forced me to sit on my bum and eat cake change priorities so this year am plugging it! Getting so frustrated with crappy weather tho!
Dug over the veggie patch so it's all ready and waiting.
Now where's this blackberry gin...?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 05-Apr-13 21:49:52

Welcome, Elvis. Here .... wine

Rhubarbgarden Fri 05-Apr-13 22:01:48

Lidl have shredders?! I could really do with one. Must sort out a strimmer first though.

I went into Wilkinson's today and was very impressed by their gardening section.

Welcome Elvis!

Problem is I'd need a new shed to keep the shredder in as the others are full already!

Hi Elvis.

Maud for some reason I read your post as needing to 'report' your bamboo. I panicked slightly while I pondered what a bamboo could do that would be reportable!

funnyperson Fri 05-Apr-13 22:03:21

Thanks .. I don't usually drink, being a lifelong teetotaller, but as its virtual and as its you Maud oh, here's Elvis, perhaps I'll offer some on.....Welcome Elvis!
Agree about the nature of the bamboo container, Maud, a possible design faux pas there.
Is any one of the age to remember 'Silent Spring'? Somehow I'm reminded of that filmlet this year. I'm going to try and plant plant bee and butterfly loving plants even more than usual: cornflower and yarrow seeds are going to crowd the windowsill. Did your buddleias survive?

funnyperson Fri 05-Apr-13 22:07:29

Oh I think I'll have some wine after all <goes off to report the bamboo>.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 05-Apr-13 22:12:28

All the wine here, funnyperson, is virtual so you don't need to renounce your teetotalism.

I got three buddleias last year as plugs and annoyingly the one I liked best simply perished - vanished without a trace - when I planted it out. I thought buddleias were indestructible! Anyway, I'll be planting the others this year and as they'll be that bit bigger I'm hoping they'll survive. I have also just acquired three more as part of a T&M variety pack which, frankly, I don't want. I'll probably donate them to the garden society bring and buy sale.

funnyperson Fri 05-Apr-13 22:36:36

My buddleia is indestructible. It would be, as its an unfashionable light mauve. Had it been white or deep purple, I daresay it would have died.

At present it is in the front garden with the Dogwood (fashionable) and Generous Gardener rose (classic piece). Cotoneaster horizontalis and weeping aubretia trail over the front garden walls. This spring I will also plant the green and orange Olympic roses in the front, which I have been nurturing in pots, (Maud I will take cuttings for you) with Alchemilla Mollis, various clematis, purple sage, lavender and thyme. Valerian, tulips, forgetmenots and aquilegia already thrive there. So far so good, and a matter of planting out with compost, since everything is already in patio pots overwintering.
Now, how to ensure that it appears a happy whole......

Rhubarbgarden Fri 05-Apr-13 22:38:19

I read Silent Spring when I was a student. Very inspiring.

funnyperson Fri 05-Apr-13 22:39:06

Cutting edge Maud geddit?

funnyperson Fri 05-Apr-13 22:41:40

I and my class at school were just totally influenced by 'Silent Spring'
To this day I won't use weedkiller, and my neighbours think I am weird (Iam, of course) but my school mates are the same, and use Ecover washing up liquid.

My wine's not virtual grin

Sometimes think my garden might be though...

funnyperson Fri 05-Apr-13 22:44:47

This spring has been a virtual gardening spring more than any other.

Funnyperson your front garden sounds lovely grin. Never grown buddleia as it seems such a beast! Am currently trying to figure out what to do with an ancient fig bush I have. It needs a prune but not sure how.... <hunt hint>

funnyperson Sat 06-Apr-13 00:34:57

Pruning figs

apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=106#section2

Gladstone bag references upthread.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 06-Apr-13 01:13:03

I pruned my gig tree last year for the first time and it's a much better shape for it. One of my gardening pals who opens for the NGS has. Fig tree which grows up the side of the house.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 06-Apr-13 01:13:45

Argh. Fig tree, obviously, although a gig tree might be entertaining.

Thanks for that. Though I like the idea of a gig tree better. Wouldn't need much upkeep then would it?!

HumphreyCobbler Sat 06-Apr-13 09:42:06

DH has gone off to dig up another weeping pear from a friends garden. She doesn't want them but we do smile

funnyperson Sat 06-Apr-13 11:58:19

I'm really impressed with your DH, he is a real doer. weeping pears are one of my favourite trees, though I'm never clear whether they provide edible fruit. The structure and silvery leaves and blossom are very pleasing to the eye.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 06-Apr-13 12:16:36

DH does love his garden. It is nice we both like it so much.

These weeping pears have been very heavily pruned into a mushroom shape. Not sure if we will keep that going yet, it looks brilliant in winter but I love the way they look unpruned too <undecided>

echt Sat 06-Apr-13 13:07:48

The weather here has been most autumnal, at least at the start: mornings misty and chilly, but 25-7 by mid-day so a bit weird.

I took 17 cuttings from verbena bonariensis, the first time I've ever been able to do this as they tend die of heat before they can produce the side stems to cut. We shall see how they get on, though there have been quite a few seedlings, too.

I gave up on advanced trees for my flowering gum as all the outlets are either wholesale only, or didn't return my call. Anyway, I now have a 70 cm corymbia ficifolia Wild Sunset from the Oz equivalent of B&Q. Much preparation of the soil needed as it must be simultaneously prepped yet starved as so many Oz plants loathe fertiliser so a suitably thin soil is required.

WhatKindofFool Sat 06-Apr-13 13:21:47

The blossoms are beginning to show on the trees in Manchester. I can feel some colour coming on smile

cantspel Sat 06-Apr-13 13:24:47

I have a fig tree, mine is about 8ft tall but i cant take the credit for growing it as it was already in the garden when we bought the house. We get loads of figs but before they rippen the seagulls get them all.

We also have a pair of magpies nesting in a tree at the back of the garden. I have hung a bird feeder nearby for them and hopefully we should see a few babies leave the safety of the nest this spring.

LexyMa Sat 06-Apr-13 16:02:52

I've no idea what a weeping pear is... must look it up! I had a nice morning today with DH doing the digging for me, it's just a bit more enjoyable gardening when you're doing it as a team! Even DS was making a good job of helping today. We moved a rhubarb to make space for a fruit tree (not yet chosen, needs to be a slim upright form). Planted three more strawberry plants in the same patch as about six I think have survived in the ground over winter. I made the frame for the plastic/net protection over my veggies with canes and 'figo' connectors. Couldn't find my sheeting so will have to buy some tomorrow, as well as compost.

We did a more major move as well, swopped my square metre and a half of culinary herbs over to a Marshalls 'gro-bed' temporarily until I build a herb rockery or a pile of pots or something. In place of the herbs (they were close to the house, which would be good if we weren't north facing) we put my cornus 'midwinter fire' and three hellebores. Now, from my dining table I get to look at a scented 2.5m bed (along the side of the decking) of mature-ish sarcococca and lavender, thornless blackberry and honeysuckle on the fence, with loads of really sunshine-yellow crocuses underneath, then the dogwood, the hellebores on the front edge of the deck (white, one without flowers yet which will probably be white, and a smaller deep purple one), er, and the washing line. I need to do something about my naff whirlygig.

Now I am paying for my nice morning by sitting in a screamarama style soft play centre in Essex... We are visiting PILs for tonight but it means we get to visit Hyde Hall tomorrow so I am happy.

Rhubarbgarden Sat 06-Apr-13 17:09:51

I love weeping pears. I put one in my brother's garden when I designed a border for him and it looks great. I shall definitely get one for here when I get to planting stage. There is a beautiful weeping pear tunnel at Bury Court in Hampshire. Tightly clipped and stunning contrast to the Piet Oudolf prairie planting.

I haven't done any gardening today. Very frustrating in the beautiful sunshine; but I did at least sit outside in the orchard this afternoon while the kids ran and crawled around, and I finally got a washing line up. That's been on my to do list since we moved in, but as this has been about the first day when there would be any point hanging out, there hasn't been much urgency. We got a retractable one Lexy - much less of an eyesore than a whirligig.

We finally got the estimate from the architect today for the house renovations. It's about twice our budget. Yikes. The Alitex greenhouse becomes an even more distant dream... sad

Beautiful day today. Reached the giddy heights of 10C! All I did though was pot on the solanums and clematis from yesterday's shop and put the roof back on the veg plot.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 06-Apr-13 18:36:48

It's been nice here too. I have potted up my baby penstemons but haven't had much gardening time as we spent most of the day at our spring show - the official start of the gardening year!

Rhubarbgarden Sat 06-Apr-13 18:38:25

How was the show, Maud? Lovely day for it.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 06-Apr-13 18:56:28

It was lovely, but a bit sparse. There were no tulips on show, for example, because nobody has got tulips in flower yet - last year there were lots. But the sight of jugs of hellebores and narcissus always cheers my heart!

funnyperson Sat 06-Apr-13 20:18:56

It is nice that the show went ahead.

I did gardening jobs today rather than planting: gently painted preservative on the wood fences and swept the patio; that sort of thing.

Then I sat with a cup of coffee, looking at the ...erm....structure of the garden (flowers not being in abundance). Roses are shooting, but the tulips really have a way to go. I also inspected the bamboo nodes and they aren't quite as green and full of promise as the ones in Wadebridge so I'm wondering whether I've been watering the bamboo enough.

I discovered I have a West facing wall, (yes, I know, it took me long enough!) and tomorrow I will plant up some clematis alpina, and my Munstead Wood rose near that section, and put a fig in the pot vacated by the rose.

My irises have something wrong with them- this week the leaves have gone yellow at the tips and a bit curly. I'm not sure whether its because they are too cold or if they have a disease.

What was the show maud?
Sounds like everyone has had a good day. I managed to weed three borders am amazed as I was watched, patiently,by my DD who is 5 months- start them young, I say!
Glorious day and I am at my happiest knee deep in a muddy border grin
Now kicking back with a glass of wine

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 06-Apr-13 20:33:08

The show was our garden society's spring show. The triumph of optimism over adversity! And I won a prize!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 06-Apr-13 20:35:16

Should have said that I don't grow irises because the garden isn't sunny enough, so can't diagnose iris disease (if that's what it is). But it sounds as if funnyperson has had a productive day. I still covet the Munstead Wood rose, every time I see it in the David Austin ad.

Rhubarbgarden Sat 06-Apr-13 20:39:01

Sounds like bliss, Elvis. Make the most of the immobile stage - ds (10 months) ate a daffodil, a worm and had to have gravel repeatedly removed from his mouth this afternoon. He was thrilled to be outside.

Rhubarbgarden Sat 06-Apr-13 20:41:04

Well done on your prize, Maud. What was it for?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 06-Apr-13 20:53:01

Err, miniature narcissus in a pot.

funnyperson Sat 06-Apr-13 21:17:46

I have a picture of DS age 4 months or so in the garden looking at a carpet of Tomasiniana crocuses which had naturalised in the old garden, and were all out, on a sunny day. He is smiling at them.

Well done on your prize Maud: smile well deserved as to have anything much in flower (hellebores and snowdrops apart) seems a triumph atm.

Munstead Wood had about 3 blooms on it last year in spite of the warmer weather in spring, perhaps because that was its first year, so thats why I plan on planting it near the West facing wall, perhaps then the blooms and scent will be as advertised. Those catalogues can be a bit misleading really.

I'm going to have to buy in some extra compost, as the leaf mould isn't rotted enough, and wondered what you all have found best online?

HumphreyCobbler Sat 06-Apr-13 21:25:51

Congratulations Maud smile

It was a beautiful day - the wind dropped completely and the sun shone all day. All the alliums seem to be coming up, I had despaired as I thought they may have rotted in the ground due to all the rain. DH and I pondered over something that seemed to be sprouting in one corner, we couldn't tell if it was a weed or a plant. Eventually I looked at last year's photos and we concluded it was a weed <scientific gardening>

I wonder if I will ever remember latin names of things? I suspect not, as I can barely remember the generic name.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 06-Apr-13 21:33:45

I buy all my compost from the society, so can't advise. I need to go and buy the manure for the mulching.

I will try this year to get back into the habit of photographing the garden once I've sorted the blardy path out.

But I quite like horticultural Latin. wink

echt Sun 07-Apr-13 04:33:40

I've got a bit better at the Latin since coming to Oz as for whatever reason, native plants are pretty often known as well by the Latin as the local.

Today's bargains were three huge pots of clivia to fill in under the yet-to-be-planted flowering gum corymbia ficilolia^ grin, and three westringia, a native bush that can be cut like box, have greyish leaves and blue flowers. They will replace the aspidistras which have not found full sun the slightest bit amusing. Also bought four native banksia blechnifolia for more underplanting, but in a dry sunny position.

A nice aspect of Australian gardening is that a number of native plants are cheap as chips, but sadly harder to find as they aren't as popular as Mediterranean/South African/South American plants. This means driving out miles to native nurseries in rural areas or, as we did, dropping in while driving between cities, in this case Adelaide to Melbourne.

I'm putting off planting the bulbs as it's way too warm, so they'll go in the salad crisper of the beer fridge until the Queen's birthday; the time-honoured marker for planting bulbs such as tulips.

For the rest it's planting time while the soil is still warm.

funnyperson Sun 07-Apr-13 05:48:57

Good morning echt !
So what will you do with the aspidistras?

I looked up banksia and corymbia ( evocative names) and the plants look vertical, edgy, quite contained leaves, I suppose adapted for sun. The flowers look stunning and dramatic, is that right?

Here the birdsong is expanding this morning: the birds are happy as it is finally warmer (10 C) I hear blackbirds, robins, blue tits, bull finches and sky larks. It is the original classical music as they set each other off, and answer and harmonise and then sing different tunes only to come back and harmonise with each other again. Early in the year they always sound as though they are exchanging winter news from other climes, but about now, they seem to sing for the sheer pleasure of it.

Engelsemama Sun 07-Apr-13 08:43:04

Morning all.

Congratulations humph - great news!

maud well done on your prize.

Actually managed to get out in the garden yesterday and <almost faints> DH was out there all day. He was making the promised gate. The basic frame is there but needs sanding, fitting and hanging. I have been begging for this for years! Still a few things that need doing to childproof the garden for DS but it's a start!

I planted some seeds to start of indoors (chilli's and red peppers). We don't have a greenhouse and think the garage is still quite cold (we have window sills there so have some space for pots).

Have just finished watching the first half of GW (missed the beginning on Friday night - and the party by the sounds of it!).

Have been thinking about buying a book of plants (names in English and Latin, photos). Think the Latin will come in useful here too echt but only because otherwise I'm having to decipher Dutch names and work out their equivalent. Anyone recommend a good one?

LexyMa Sun 07-Apr-13 08:51:44

funny I totally agree about the misleading nature of the magazines, the catalogues, he Joe Swift design interludes...

I want to know for a planting scheme how long it takes to reach maturity and that lovely 'fullness' that show gardens have. All the bare patches at this time of year get me down, although I don't claim to have designed it for winter interest. For my front garden full of cottage annuals/died-back-to-nothing perennials the sight of dandelions and plantain well established already is sad. It's difficult to get in there now to move things and weed out the broadleaved/taprooted monsters without disturbing the summer bulbs and other dormant things. I was happy to see my 'bleeding heart' starting to sprout amongst the scented bed though.

Another gorgeous day out here in the Land Of Essex... (here be dragons)... Bright sunshine but a bit of frost everywhere.

LexyMa Sun 07-Apr-13 08:53:31

engelsemama you want RHS 'Latin for Gardeners'... I love it.

Morning, all, and congratulations to babyHumph, new gardeners and prize winners!

This week has been vair busy indeed, but I have the day off today so (after my umpteenth coffee) will finally get to spend some quality love time in the garden grin

As always, the necessary work can wait a little longer while I fanny about with the shiny new acquisitions blush. I have a spirea (may bride) and some dog roses I want to settle in, as well as some bulbs to pot - for anyone near a Morrisons, they're selling packets of gladiolus callianthus for £1. I bought 3 blush.

Then I have some serious greenhouse clearing to do - it's a disgrace at the minute...

Dawnywoo Sun 07-Apr-13 09:31:35

Morning all. Hope you are all having a lovely Sunday morning.

funny I loved your description of the birdsong being the original classical music.

Lexy I absolutely agree regarding forlorn looking bare patches and weeding without disturbing bulbs etc. I also struggle with planting new things without constantly having to replace bulbs I've sliced through. I am very envy of your bleeding heart emerging although being in the North East I will be a good couple of weeks behind (assuming I am remembering correctly where I moved it to last year of course!)

At this rate, I reckon we will be into May before my tulips get round to flowering - very weird - although I am hanging on to Monty's words that when spring does arrive it will be an explosion. Here's hoping.

No frost here this morning so that's a good start.

Oh God, the spiders... <shudder>

funnyperson Sun 07-Apr-13 10:58:44

I have now ordered some nelumbo nucifera seeds.
Though I will not be swimming in a lotus pool every morning as my father did, nor be rowed across a Himalyan lake though a sea of lotus flowers in a shikara as I was 30 years ago, and though I may not grow enough to eat the dish of lotus roots which we enjoyed as children, neverthe less I am to have at least some plants in the patio.
It is my contribution to world heritage because the lotus lakes are sadly almost all gone.
I need advice as to how to grow in a temperate clime on the patio though.

Morien Sun 07-Apr-13 13:16:54

Thanks for the welcome, everyone - and congratulations on your little beansprout, humphrey!

Wynken it's true that they like their pollarding here, but I've always assumed it's just habit, what a lot of people here think has to be done to trees (I can see my neighbours' pollarded trees from where I sit).

Beautiful day here. I've been out digging over my soon-to-be herb bed - so nice to do it with the sun on my back for a change. Went for a mooch around my local garden centre on Friday afternoon - it had a lovely just-waking-up-from-winter feel - and have been sowing the tomato and salad leaf seeds I bought.

Tea break finished...back to my digging!

So much for my constructive day - the veg beds are undug, the pots are not sorted, and the plant shelves not investigated.

However grin...

... I have been sowing pumpkins, sweet peas, nasturtiums, larkspur, yellow tree peonies, hollyhocks, stocks, love in a mist, campanula hofmannii, albuca shawii, dill, stewartia pseudocamellia and clematis vernayi. And accidentally acquired another pulsatilla to replace my poor dead one. blush

RunDougalRunQuiteFast Sun 07-Apr-13 18:31:35

Funny, your description of your father swimming in a lotus pool, and you eating lotus roots as a child, is beautiful! Are you from that part of the world? (long time lurker and follower here)

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 07-Apr-13 19:09:23

Morien it has inspired me to have a further hack of my chestnut tree that my neighbour moans at and to be a bit more brutal with my cornus.

Well done Maud on winning a prize.

Sounds like we have all had a productive weekend. I have been plant buying at the Blueberry farm. One decent size blueberry plant that will stay in a pot and two very decent sized Camellia's. Think one is Camellia Yuletide which would be great if it is as really wanted one and this is very decent sized for a tenner. They both had unknown on them so hard to tell at the moment.

Also bought a clematis and a couple of those perennial wallflowers. Replanted my perennial sweet pea, sowed some Cosmos and potted up some Oca plus Penstemon cuttings.

Dawnywoo Sun 07-Apr-13 19:35:38

funny your lotus flower anecdotes do indeed sound enchanting.

I've had a most marvellous day. Was given bags full of plants from my next door neighbour who was digging up and dividing everything in his whole front garden when I went out this morning - lots of iris and crocosmia among others. Also gave the lawn it's first cut, weeded, and planted up pots and loads of other stuff in the borders.

I am amazed at how much is starting to germinate after just a small rise in temperature over the past 3 days and I am beyond excited as to the different things that should will be popping up in the next few weeks.

Need to go and lie down or perhaps have a wine and smile again at my seedlings.

Dawnywoo Sun 07-Apr-13 19:37:31

Oh, and Maud please do tell us what the prize was for!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 07-Apr-13 19:42:12

That sounds incredibly romantic, funnyperson. Hope you were being rowed by a Shahrukh Khan lookalike.

I just lost a very long post, but the gist was ... got lots done in the garden ... lots of signs of burgeoning life although also some evidence of winter fatalities (plants, pots and lanterns) ... feeling really encouraged and uplifted.

Albuca thingummybob looks lovely. Are all these for home use, Leucan, or for clients?

HumphreyCobbler Sun 07-Apr-13 20:36:16

Gosh funnyperson, what lovely memories to have.

I had a fabulous time in the garden today as I was well enough to actually DO stuff. I realised why people say it is hard to get rid of oriental poppies as I had to dig up LOADS of teeny plants that had sprouted from some root left behind when I moved a plant last year. I also salvaged 47 foxglove seedlings that had emerged in the children's little garden in front of their playhouse. I spent a long time separating snowdrop bulbs from lumps of grass so DH could plant them in between the birches.

This week I need to sort out the herb beds. They look very empty. I am a little gutted that all my sages seem to have given up the ghost after this last spell of cold winds, as they will leave a gap and I failed to take any cuttings last year. I will not make that mistake again.

Still vacillating wildly between greenhouse/polytunnel. DH worried that a polytunnel will not wear as well as a greenhouse. What do you all think? If we get a polytunnel we can then get a digger in to get up the hardstanding so that we can have some raised beds...so the plan grows like Topsy..

HumphreyCobbler Sun 07-Apr-13 20:38:57

I have just also realised how easy it would be to propagate the fabulous cerise pink poppy and thus replace all the salmon pink ones I don't like as much.

Dawny, it's wonderful when that happens grin. Last Summer was so dank and dark up here that my irises didn't bother flowering at all!

And yes/yes to the burgeoning life - the hawthorn suddenly put out about 3 billion leafy buds between Saturday morning and Saturday night.

Thingummybob is indeed lovely, Maud. And sort of half and half is your answer - every year I grow a set amount of frothy/spikey/ground covery annuals/perennials, plus set some shrub cuttings and tree pods/equivalent off (hence the stewartia). Most of my clients will need some of their frothy/spikey etc etc plants replacing or adding during the year and I only charge £1-£2 regardless of size because I sell enough to recoup the cost of seed/compost/time etc as well as make a small profit, so we're all happy because it means the spare plants are mine for free <cackle>. That will also explain why the list is a bit eye-brow raising if they were all intended for the one area...

However, if anyone's coveting any lupins or sage plants, I still have far more of those than I will ever shift...

oooh, x-post! Want some sage, humph, nudge nudge wink

And yes, foxgloves. Up there with alchemilla for annexing my garden angry

rhihaf Sun 07-Apr-13 20:46:35

Lovely to hear about everyone's progress in their gardens... it feels a bit like Moley in the Wind in the Willows having a good old spring clean smile

Went and rescued a ton of wallflowers from behind a new retaining wall my dad's just built, they were all growing in shale but were now in shade following said wall's construction. They have gone into my newly rennovated front border. I also found a pot of what I think is sedum... that too has gone into the border.

My T&M perennial plugs (intended for same border) have now been watered from underneath and are no longer rock hard and wilting. Thank you for the advice!

We lopped off about 8ft of conifer hedge that goes along the bottom of our front lawn yesterday, so much more light comes in now!

The red kites have been gliding around again today, watching all the activity and having a good old nose ;) Thank you Monty for your wise words about spring springing - I am looking forward to huge explosions of colour imminently!

...ooops, just realised how that came across - if anyone wants any FREE lupins or sage... blush they're long past the paid-for stage grin

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 07-Apr-13 21:07:13

Ooh, I would love some sage, Leucan. Any variety.

Humph - That is not my experience with poppies at all. I was noting earlier that only the misnomer Patty's beige Plum had got through the winter and all the others seem to have disappeared.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 07-Apr-13 21:29:49

Funny I am drifting along in a lovely daydream after reading about your lotus memories. Thank you for that.

I enjoyed reading about everyone's gardens bursting into life and am filled with the desire to turn up on the doorstep of my old house to demand to inspect my plants and see all the things I planted there bursting forth. Not much is bursting forth here at all. The conifers still loom moodily out of every corner and all the other overgrown evergreens are also doing exactly what they've been doing all winter. There are a lot of roses though, and they are all starting to come into leaf so that is something. Oh and nettles. There are nettles coming up everywhere. Not so good.

I spent a few hours digging out compost. We have inherited three overflowing compost bays which I intend to empty onto the scorched earth along the fence line where we had the 30 ft high Leylandii hedge removed from. I dug out half a bay, it was heavy going as at some stage someone has chucked in some bits of bramble, which have rooted and started to colonise. Lots of prunings too, which had to be fished out, along with with a number of squashed plastic pots (why? Why?). I think the compost bays have been used as a general dumping ground rather than for actual composting. It is improving with depth though, as it clearly hasn't been dug out for a very, very long time, if at all. Lots of lovely worms too. It will all help to improve that strip of soil anyway, ready for planting a new border in the autumn.

Castlelough Sun 07-Apr-13 23:58:27

Lovely reading about everybody's gardening escapades over the weekend. I was visiting my parents, but managed a garden centre browse (very disciplined, no purchases --may be first time ever--) and discovered a walled garden envy today near my parents that I am going to HAVE to visit the next time I go home! smile

Back to school tomorrow, hopefully will plant potatoes and onions with the children and hopefully the sunflower seeds we planted two weeks ago and then left outside by accident over the Easter hols have survived. Will bring in for the classroom windowsill til the weather warms up. Apart from school gardening projects I plan to plant up a seed tray at home, repot an orchid and sow my onions this week smile

Have been looking at all the greenhouse links. Love the Alitex ones and also Griffin Glasshouses seem to do very similar ones to Alitex. They are so beautiful but expensive though sad. Even if I saved up that kind of money I think I'd feel guilty spending it on one of those greenhouses.

Then the cedar Gabriel Ash/Woodpecker ones are also lovely for around half the price which is still a lot more that anybody else I know would ever dream of spending on an outhouse/shed/ greenhouse but then ... you have to maintain them, and I wonder just how long they would last for/would they rot or need a lot of repainting?
What does anybody else think about the different types of greenhouses? I want beauty and size and function...
I don't think won't be investing for a few years, but I'd like to have a reasonable budget in mind....
Sorry bout the waffle...blush

echt Mon 08-Apr-13 07:10:34

Just finished digging over the new bed where the shed used to be, about 10 by 4, putting in lots of soil conditioner, sheep manure and wetting granules. It wasn't a difficult task as the soil is sand, and I mean sand, not sand-y.grin

funnyperson, you asked what I'll do with the dug- up aspidistras. They're a bit crispy so I'll pamper them in a big pot for a year before planting them in a shadier place.

My trip to buy sheep poo yielded an excellent bargain; two specimens of Bengal clock vine from the sad plants unit, so very cheap. They're tropical but I'll give them a go as I've yards of fence to cover and this thug is a good bet.

Enjoying reading all your exploits in the garden. I didn't get out there yesterday but spent the whole of the day wishing I was!
I managed to grow freesias from seed over winter in the green house and they are desperate to get out now but I don't think they'll stand the frost. It's so annoying! Hoping it won't be long until I can put them in my beds grin

Engelsemama Mon 08-Apr-13 08:17:01

Morning all.

<waves at Morien from across the border>

Managed an hour and a half yesterday in the garden tidying up the area we’re going to make into a Japanese–ish garden. It was beautiful weather – so much so that I managed to catch the sun on my face! (went out for a run in the morning too but the sun wasn’t very strong then).

My forsythia bushes are just about to burst into bud, and the bluebells in the front garden (that I have just discovered are actually grape hyacinths) are out. That’s about it over here. Everything else is slumbering (though to be fair, there isn’t much else!).

DH brother called last night to say he’s bringing over the tower and slide that he has for DS (their 2 have outgrown it now) so it’ll have to be stored in the garage until the plot is ready (we need to clear it of rubbish and then pave it) which means we have to clear space in the garage which is…you guessed it…full of rubbish! Still I am determined that we will have a garden we can enjoy and be proud of this year. We have a long weekend in 3 weeks (the Tues is a bank holiday – Queen’s day but this year for the first time in my or DH’s lifetime it’ll be King’s day as Beatrix abdicates and Wilem-Alexander takes over as King – DH has a compulsory holiday on the Monday and I’m on May holiday) and have decided not to come back to the UK because we want to get stuff done. Hoping for good weather smile

Gave my sage plant a major prune – it’s gotten a bit out of control – and have dried the useable leaves.

Thanks for the book recommendation Lexy . Love the look of it. Also loved the RHS enclyclopedia of plants and flowers, and am going to get a garden birds book. My mum always had one on the shelves in the kitchen and we used to run and get it everytime we saw a bird that wasn’t a bluetit, robin, blackbird or thrush smile

Rhubarbgarden Mon 08-Apr-13 08:44:50

Will you be going to a Kings Day party, Engelse? This is the first year we won't be going to one since I met dh. We used to go to adult booze ups then post kids we've been to kids ones with a Dutch toddler group. But now we've moved from London I think we'd be hard pressed to find anything. Maybe I'll just dress the kids in orange and plant some marigolds that day!

Rhubarbgarden Mon 08-Apr-13 08:50:39

Castle I've preferred painted wooden greenhouses in the past because I generally prefer natural materials. However, the maintenance is a real pain and I always ended up paying someone to do the repainting due to lack of time. So now I've decided that the Alitex ones are the way forward. I haven't come across Griffin though - must check those out.

Dawnywoo Mon 08-Apr-13 09:27:08

Ooh Leucan I'd love some sage and/or lupins. My Thyme and Marjoram from last year both look very dead. I'm also on a mission to find some Pineapple sage to replace my mothers plant which has mysteriously disappeared.

Engels you have evoked lovely childhood memories of me and my garden birds book. I found it recently in my mums loft and hope DD will take an interest.

Engelsemama Mon 08-Apr-13 09:53:42

Don't think we'll be heading to a party rhubarb as DH is not really one for crowds and he seems to really hate being with lots of Dutchies at the same time (so no carnival celebrations for us!). I usually do things like watching carnival parades/visiting Amsterdam/museums without him as he's such an anti-social bugger.

I expect we will do something with his family. If it's nice, we tend to go down to ILs caravan in Limburg for a day of lazing in sunshine, wandering, swimming, playground. Or (if garden is habitable) we will be lazing in our bunting strewn back garden wearing orange grin

I have two thyme plants that are pretty old and tough now. Should I give them a vigorous prune to encourage some new, younger branches? (or will it just kill it?!).

I'm off out to the garden centre!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 08-Apr-13 10:07:18

We are going to see family today and now you have put the idea in my mind that we might call in at the garden centre and check out the bargain corner.

I had forgotten until yesterday that I planted some muscari latifolium last year. They're nearly in flower now - they're a lovely dark blue/purple.

cantspel Mon 08-Apr-13 11:20:03

Didn't get into the garden yesterday as my hand was too sore due to tidying the euphorbia without a decent pair of gloves on.

Did buy a couple of cheap plants in morrisons a Weigela that i have potted up in a larger pot that i am going to give my brother as he keeps trying to take cuttings from mine but doesn't seem to be able to keep alive and a appleblossom that is to go down by the fence on the shady side of the garden.

LexyMa Mon 08-Apr-13 18:47:07

I've just planted my Hyde Hall purchases...! And so begins my resolution to do bursts in the garden when I get home from work rather than binge gardening only at weekends. I've now filled the ex-herb bed.

I spent just over £30... at £1.99 each I got three Chionodoxa Forbesii which are a lovely vivid blue that sets off the custard-sunshine yellow of my crocuses in the scented/shaded bed, and I managed to separate the bulbs a bit so I have about 10-12 tiny clumps. For £9.99 -50% I got a Carex Comans 'Frosted Curls' and for £8.99 an Uncinia Rubra. I split the Carex into four and the Uncinia into three, and put them behind my hellebores, as you look out from the house. Last of all, I split an oriental poppy 'Beauty of Livermore' (£6.99) into a group of three which will float above/ in front of the grasses. I felt very Carol Klein doing all the dividing, and in choosing specimens that would divide too!

Next to go in the ground will be a scabious (blue, looks a bit like an eryngium) and another herbaceous perennial (red pincushion flower head, can't see the label from inside where I am now!!) but I need to move the euphorbia which is in the way. Not sure where I'm putting the euphorbia yet... It is pretty in winter, as the stems go pink when it's very cold.

Engelsemama Mon 08-Apr-13 19:14:41

That's a good plan Lexy. I was thinking the same now that it's so much lighter in the evenings. Reckon I could get out 3 or 4 evenings a week once DS is in bed (or after dinner) on the nights that I don't go running.

Not tonight though as have just got in from parents evening.

Picked up a dinosaur watering can for DS and some sweet pea seeds. Also ordered the RHS book, a bird book and a Monty book.

This week I want to: sow some sweet peas and sunflowers, dig over the veg patch and cut back the reeds.

I also really need to get cracking with my front garden plans. We have a bed to fill nd I must decide what we want. And very blush but I hate working in my front garden, mainly because my FIL is a busybody very 'present' in our street lives next door and never stops giving me annoying advice helpful tips. ILs are going on their annual holiday this Friday which means I get 10days of comment free gardening grin

I dug out most of the bed last year and then never got round to sorting it out. There was a rose bush at one end but it died a death many years ago so it's almost removed (though DH won't let me remove the last of the stump as he's convinced there's life in it yet ]hmm] ). At the other end there is a small shrub with variagated (sp?) leaves (not sure of name but will look up in my new book grin ) and a small pink rhodedendrom (sp?). We have a low wall on the pavement side and the bed is edged with brick on the other side. Have been thinking about lavender but not sure if that will give enough coverage/if we want something higher/shrubbier (inventing new words this evening!). Hmmm. Looking for inspiration...off to pinterest.

LexyMa Mon 08-Apr-13 19:23:30

I've had an idea... shall we ask MNHQ if they can activate pictures in gardening threads? Some of you are really good at describing your gardens (and evocative, funnyperson!) but it would be great to be able to put a photo of the 'problem patch' or mystery plant, or possible diseased leaves etc...

and I am nosy

HumphreyCobbler Tue 09-Apr-13 11:24:01

that is a great idea Lexy.

It is SO cold today. I fear for the clematis.

rhihaf Tue 09-Apr-13 15:49:23

I'll second third that Lexy! Fab idea!

Have just planted my first early potatoes in bags on the patio - Arran Pilot and Foremost as I've never grown those varieties before.

I also planted three difff coloured Astilbes, one white, one pink and one crimson on the bank/hedge that runs between our top lawn and the field, so it's pretty damp and clay-ey (following Engelsmamma's lead :D) They were another Lidl bargain! ;)

It's much warmer here today in Wales, and was almost sunny shock earlier! Have had a lovely afternoon pottering. [hums happy tune]

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 09-Apr-13 16:49:46

Good idea with the pictures. I spent the afternoon in the greenhouse sowing seeds.

Have done sweetcorn, leek, dwarf beans, basils, cape gooseberry , tomatillo, San Maraenzo, Ildi and Suncherry tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers, melon, nigella, white poppies, angel wings or something like that, sweet peas, spinach, mange tout, pak choi.

It dawned on me that next week we'll be half way through April shock

Rhubarbgarden Tue 09-Apr-13 16:51:53

Yes good idea. I for one have a mystery shrub I'd love to get identified and I'm sure someone on here would know it.

I just went to the garden centre to pick up a couple of packets of hardy annuals to plant with dd, and managed to spend fifty odd quid. hmm Bugger.

Engelsemama Tue 09-Apr-13 17:47:07

Raining here today sad

Though apparently it's going to be beautiful this weekend smile

Fab idea Lexy

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 09-Apr-13 17:55:05

It's been drizzling here all day and the sun has vanished again. Good to think that things will be brighter at the weekend.

Dawnywoo Tue 09-Apr-13 18:13:14

Fantastic idea Lexy. That would be great.

Horribly cold here too but weekend forecast looking good. I've gone and bought loads of plants from the 'sickly corner' at our local garden centre. 3 Clematis, Salvia and some Grasses for 50p and £1 each. From what I can see they are fine, just dormant but showing signs of bursting into life. Fingers crossed as I have an awful track record with Clematis!

Can anyone recommend anywhere online to buy a Lutyens bench? I've just had a cheque for some work I did a couple of months ago and I have been promising myself one for years.

Another week or two and I reckon we won't be able to cope with all the growth / watering tasks!

Rhubarbgarden Tue 09-Apr-13 18:15:26

Oh I do hope so. I've promised dd we will dig over her little bed and plant her seeds at the weekend.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 09-Apr-13 18:18:11

X posts - I hope so as in I hope the weather's better at the weekend!

Good idea Lexy grin
Cold and wet here today so no pottering for me. Weather supposed to get better at the weekend but I'm at a wedding. Bugger hmm

LexyMa Tue 09-Apr-13 19:37:51

glad we seem to have enough votes for the picture idea... I've now reported to HQ my post suggesting it, and obviously it would be for the whole Gardening topic, not just the quiche...

What did we call the sickly/bargain plants trolley/corner last year... boulevard of broken dreams or something similar I think?

Like the picture idea smile

Wet and cold here today. Was planning to grab half an hour to pot up my oca for starting off in the conservatory but couldn't face it.

Got lots germinating nicely indoors though. Conservatory filling up nicely and my little table in the 'hot room' at the top of the house is working well as a germination spot. Considering moving the beans up there as they're showing no signs of life yet. Even my conservatory is too cold for beans!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 10-Apr-13 09:58:23

Oh yes to the photo idea.

Nothing germinating here, apart from chickweed in the borders. Pah.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 10-Apr-13 12:32:37

Nothing germinating here either, Maud, except nettles.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 10-Apr-13 12:45:10

nice weather here so far. Have been fiddling about tidying pots etc whilst DH divided chives in the herb beds. There are lots of orach seedlings, I am terribly pleased about this. Planted out two tansy plants I rescued from the slugs last year, they were stripped to the bone twice but still recovered. I also uprooted all the thyme as I am giving up trying to grow it in the herb beds, I will just stick to pots in future. The is ONE sage that has survived the winter!

rhihaf Wed 10-Apr-13 13:40:46

Hurrah for the one surviving sage Humph!

I have all my seeds in my greenhouse... it gets VERY warm on sunny days but pretty chilly at night - will things still germinate, or do they need constant temperatures?

Ironically, the tray of hastily shoved in sown peas (Leo's finest@49p a pack) have sprouted magnificently and I have pea shoots on their way! The lovely T&M ones have yet to emerge... confused

MooncupGoddess Wed 10-Apr-13 13:56:42

My beans and tomatoes are germinating nicely, but no sign of any flower seedlings yet. I think variable temperatures should be fine, rhihaf - my conservatory is like that too.

cantspel Wed 10-Apr-13 14:40:40

I have a few tree lilies that are just poking their heads above ground and plenty of very short tulips that look like they are ready to flower at the first sign of sun. The magnolia tree is full of buds and the same with the rhododendron and camellia The red camellia at the front of the house is in flower. The tree peony have fresh growth but no sign of buds yet.
The only colour and brightness in the garden so far is the Skimmia japonica's mass of lovely red berries and the purple of the heathers but slowly and surely the garden seems to be coming to life again.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 10-Apr-13 14:46:34

I had to do some watering this morning. The euphorbias are all looking lovely. There is a very pleasing mixture of euphorbia Chameleon, Bowles golden grass and polyanthus Black Kace at the front of my Venetian (ahem) border.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 10-Apr-13 14:48:45

Err, Lace.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 10-Apr-13 18:24:26

I spent the day actually working today. First time in ages. To be fair, it's a planting plan for a garden I designed for friends so it's for a dinner out rather than for cold hard cash, but still it was nice to dust off the old drawing board. It's been too long. They want jungle style planting with a red/orange/yellow pallette so I've had Christopher Lloyd out grin

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 10-Apr-13 19:50:38

Oh, are you a garden designer, rhubarb? And ::grin:: at channelling Christo!

Rhubarbgarden Wed 10-Apr-13 20:05:11

Well, sort of. But my business kind of crashed and burned when I started having babies. I kidded myself it's a family friendly job and that I could work evenings and weekends, but in reality... I've done a grand total of two gardens in the past three years, and they were both for friends for the cost of childcare and a dinner. One day I'll be back, one day... hmm

Castlelough Wed 10-Apr-13 20:51:04

No gardening to report here. Still have to get out and plant my onions. DH seems to have absconded with my very nice garden fork hmm.
Dawnywoo I googled lutyen benches just there. Oh they are very lovely smile.

Castlelough Wed 10-Apr-13 21:35:58

Dawny Neptune do a lovely Lutyens bench - they are a kitchen and furniture company. Available across the UK and parts of Europe. You can now order online from their website too. I'd say they would not be cheap though.....!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 10-Apr-13 23:10:54

Castlelough - My DH does that too. Boogers off to the allotment with the lightweight fork, leaving me with one I can barely lift. Huh.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 10-Apr-13 23:55:38

Got our Lutyens bench from the neighbours for nothing. They were moving house to a place without a garden weirdos. Have you tried eBay?

LittleEdie Thu 11-Apr-13 00:13:15

This is the latest spring I can remember.

Dawnywoo Thu 11-Apr-13 08:20:47

I think it's the latest Spring anyone can remember Edie Monty said last week he couldn't remember one as bad since 1962.

Had a look at Neptune Castle Yowsers! you are right, they aren't cheap. I found 3 seater Lutyens bench made with FSC Eucalyptus for £120 on ebay. The one Neptune sell (albeit Teak) is £775. I'm taking a chance, but at leaves it leaves me some spare money to fritter spend on other garden goodies necessities.

Another favour - just planted 2 clematis to grow around a newly erected arch over our front path. It's going to look a bit bare for a while (DP thinks it looks naff anyway) Is there anything else I could plant with it to give some quick cover / year round interest? I thought about a Chocolate Vine. Really wanted a climbing rose New Dawn but that's just more summer colour.. Any ideas?

rhihaf Thu 11-Apr-13 10:58:13

MooncupGoddess: glad to hear about your conservatory-related variable temps, I had visions of them somehow being a lot kinder to seedlings, but I suppose they'll harden off quicker in an outdoor lean-to [kidding-self emoticon]...

Castle: I saw Monty planting some onions into modules for the greenhouse - he does make you feel better about forgetting important jobs doing things later, doesn't he? wink

Rhubarb: good for you for doing a job you love! I sort of did the same with catering ie kidding myself working out that I could earn an equivalent wage doing 4 or 5 weddings a year instead of working full time.
But am now preparing my CV to go back to full time teaching in September.... hmm

I suppose there's a lot to be said for a guaranteed monthly income, especially when there are garden indulgences necessities to be purchased... grin

HumphreyCobbler Thu 11-Apr-13 10:58:53

I am very fond of my New Dawns, but they don't do that well in our garden for some reason. A shame as they are on the four corners of the centre circle bit of the rose walk.

Sad to report that it doesn't look like there will be any piglets in the cobbler household. Spot has five days to go before the timings don't work at all and she has shown no signs of the final 'uddering up' (!) you would expect from a soon-to-be-lactating pig. We must have been fooled by her HUGE stomach grin. It is strange though as we have both seen in undulating in a peculiar manner. We will get a male weaner and let him in with the pigs and try again in the autumn.

THERhubarb Thu 11-Apr-13 11:04:44

So RhubarbGarden - we meet at last!

Rhubarbgarden Thu 11-Apr-13 11:25:27

Ah ha, I've heard about you. I believe you were here first. <doffs cap>

Rhubarbgarden Thu 11-Apr-13 11:29:15

Rhihaf these things are always a good idea in prInciple, aren't they? I must admit, in light of the greenhouse row discussion I am thinking it would be good to have a reliable income.

THERhubarb Thu 11-Apr-13 11:42:51

I've been here longer than I care to remember, originally just Rhubarb. It has been kinda confusing as that's what people call both of us in their replies and so I've seen posters congratulating me on a birth and thanking me for DIY tips!

It's funny though so don't change, there's more than enough room for the vegetable-come-fruit.

I used to have a rhubarb patch in our rented house, the kids would harvest it and sell the stalks at the side of the road. (useless info no.1)

Rhubarbgarden Thu 11-Apr-13 12:47:06

Well if there's one thread where there should be space for multiple rhubarbs, it's one by this name!

Useless anecdotes about rhubarb always good grin

rhihaf Thu 11-Apr-13 17:31:17

Oh no Humph, that's rotten luck about the piggies, have a brew

I LOVE the idea of selling rhubarb at the side of the road Rhubarb and THERhubarb, we already have an egg stall so maybe I could add to it?

I have raddichio (can't spell it) seedlings!! Of all the veg I planted, I held out least hope for this one, and it's beating everything else! Nature continues to flabbergast and enthrall me.

Castlelough Thu 11-Apr-13 18:36:04

Ooh Dawney that IS expensive!!! I like plan B though! smile
I managed to get out with the children at school this afternoon and the soil was just perfect for digging after the rain last night. Got the whole bed weeded and dug over. Planting our potatoes and some onions tomorrow.
Anyone have a suggestion for some flowers that grow fairly quickly from seed and can be sown directly into the ground?
We are already planting sunflowers...

Castlelough Thu 11-Apr-13 18:38:55

Well done on the raddichio Rhihaf.

Humph is there any chance that the late Spring has affected your pig's due date? (If you call it that...) That is disappointing. How long does a pig pregnancy last?

Dawnywoo Thu 11-Apr-13 18:55:48

Rhihaf I know what you mean, I have had great success with pound shop borlotti beans yet my coriander is doing a no show on me. I don't think there's any hope for my chillies till the weather warms up (my conservatory is freezing and I can only bring so many plants into the kitchen each evening)

Castle when I was a child, I loved to grow candytuft. It's a great fail safe chuck-it-in-and-watch-it-grow flower. I still throw a packet or two in each year for nostalgia. I've been amazed this year with cosmos which has germinated within 4 days in a pot in the kitchen. (but is also easy to grow outside)

Waiting with bated breath regarding hopeful piglet news...

Rhubarbgarden Thu 11-Apr-13 19:28:30

Nigella is easy peasy direct sown. When I was a kid, my favourites were scarlet flax and fried eggs. Chucked them in the ground with no faffing around and they always put on a good show.

LexyMa Thu 11-Apr-13 19:45:54

California poppies? Nasturtiums and marigolds?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 11-Apr-13 19:55:32

Clarkia and godetia are also easy peasy.

LexyMa Thu 11-Apr-13 20:52:15

It's about this point in the week that I start thinking about what I want to do at the weekend... And yesterday £40 of RHS vouchers landed on the mat! (From my mum who had meant to continue paying my RHS membership, as I was for her, but the direct debits relapsed to ourselves so she thought she owed me a present..!!)

I have a location in mind for a Berberis thunbergii 'Helmond pillar' which I got from the sad plants corner in Rosemoor at New Year. I think I will put it at the back corner of my rockery to obscure a messy gap at the side of a shed. In front of the rockery I have a corner shaped gap which a selection of heucheras should be filling, but they're not growing as vigorously as I expected. I'm going to move my pinkish winter-interest euphorbia there.

I have had a dug-up clump of Monarda 'Squaw' sitting patiently in a recycling box since the autumn, I think I promised a division of it to someone here (Maud?) and I will put the rest of it in the front garden in my red white and blue scheme.

I haven't started any edibles from seed yet. I have a bag of 50 pink and red dahlias waiting to be planted somewhere. I didn't get all my spring bulbs in the ground by a long margin. Don't know whether to whack them all in now and hope for the best, or keep them in their paper bags until autumn.

I think I might spend my vouchers on a quality fruit tree rather than the unpredictable ones from Costco. I also want an evergreen clematis (Montana?) to quickly cover the nasty wire fence along my front path, but I may need to sacrifice a Solanum which is becoming more tree than shrub like and I worry the roots are too close to the house. I am toying with the idea of moving my climbing/rambling rose 'Open Arms' to the furthest front end of the fence, and then one day taking it over a gate arch frame and along the front wall, as well as down the fence towards the house to interweave prettily with the Montana. That bit is inspired by a lovely (huge, venerable!) rose at Hyde Hall planted at the corner of a building, which has been trained along staked wires to make a sort of screen extending about three metres each way from the plant, and once the main stems reach the end stake, they are gently turned back on themselves and eventually there is a sort of plaited or knotwork effect.

We also have a couple of hardware jobs to do ASAP - one is getting the secondary water-butt installed against Shed 2! We never actually finished the external panels on the shed when we put it up last spring - just narrow planks to cover joins, nothing structural. I have a length of guttering and lots of brackets and downpipe attachment things, and the diverter whatsit for the butt. After the winter we've had, I doubt there will be a hosepipe ban (the cheek of it, if there was!!) but it's better to use rainwater anyway on a lot of things. The other hardware job is putting the tension wire between the stakes in front of the house which will support the raspberry/tayberry/loganberry bushes. I may also need to Heath Robinson some sort of cage frame arrangement to be able to net them in the summer when the fruit start developing.

Roll on the weekend!!

HumphreyCobbler Thu 11-Apr-13 21:05:03

You will be busy Lexy. It is great when you have a plan. I think the weather is not going to be so good here, sadly.

Back to greenhouse rather than polytunnel, probably this one

I am very excited.

It smells like spring outside.

LexyMa Thu 11-Apr-13 21:39:17

Nice greenhouse, looks like good value too! Are you making a solid sort of foundation base for the walls to sit squarely on, or putting it straight on the ground? Will it be all staging or some planting in the ground?

HumphreyCobbler Thu 11-Apr-13 22:06:56

It is going on the hardstanding by the open stock sheds. DH won't entertain the idea of one spoiling the look of his garden until we have won the lottery and can afford one like Monty's So it will be all staging. Although we are now worried about the wind. While it is not windy all the time, when it does get windy it really goes for it here. We will give it a go though. There is a tap there, and we are planning to use the stock shed as a potting area to maximise growing space in the greenhouse.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 12-Apr-13 08:03:06

Interesting the Candytuft is easy from seed. I've got a white one on the raised bank under the conifers that tumbles over the wall and hasc been flowering for a few weeks. I'd like a pink one , might try some seeds. I've got some white poppy seeds I'm going to chuck outside soon along with Nigella to fill in gaps round the two new David Austin roses.

Looks like a decent greenhouse Humph. This is my greenhouse essential - one day I am actually going to use it.

In the back garden we've a lovely old grey stone wall that supports the neighbours garden which is on a higher level. Eventually I want a patio next to it with a pergola over for climbers. I can't decide which type of stone I want, something that blends in with the weathered wall and looks like it's been there for ages - any suggestions?

rhihaf Fri 12-Apr-13 08:53:25

Ooooh Humph envy, your greenhouse looks fab! Didn't realise you could get crystal clear polycarbonate, I've got the cloudy stuff, but things do seem to be growing. Fingers crossed on the pig front

Lexy: I love the idea of a woven/plaited rose on wires, sounds gorgeous.

We had a massive lime tree in the garden with a honeysuckle growing up it, but it cast shade over EVERYTHING and blocked a beautiful view of the hills. We cut it down so now have a huge sort of mound of honeysuckle next to the compost corner, about 10ft x 6ft, just sitting there confused

Rhubarbgarden Fri 12-Apr-13 09:21:28

Nice greenhouse. We had another greenhouse row discussion last night after the neighbours came round and excitedly told us about the greenhouse that they've just ordered. envy We did some horse trading over the priority list and I have now managed to haggle in a greenhouse below new kitchen but above attic conversion. smile

No gardening for me this weekend. Dh has gone off on a stag weekend so I'm flying solo with the kids, one of whom is ill and has been up all night the past two nights. Joy.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 12-Apr-13 09:22:22

Oh and I am also quite struck by the idea of the woven rose. Must see if I can google any pics of that.

LexyMa Fri 12-Apr-13 11:20:48

I've tried to Google images, can't find it. I might tweet or Facebook the RHS and ask for a pic. It's on the corner of the 'reading room' building above the upper pond, if anyone's visiting this weekend.

In other news... Garden Centre Industry Mistakes Monty Don For Zeus, God Of Weather

echt Fri 12-Apr-13 12:10:16

Summer had its last hurrah here with a 25 degree day that had me out and planting two euphorbia as underplanting for the ti-tree to break up the aspidistras, clivia and bromeliads on the back bed. They should be taller, bushier: I want more height as this bed is on falling ground.

Also put in three westringia in a row on another part of the bed. I intend to have them clipped as balls in the box style, something I've seen they respond to well: a greyish-green leaf with white flowers in autumn.

Engelsemama Fri 12-Apr-13 12:14:03

Rain, rain, raining here!

DH is taking the children swimming. I'm heading out into the garden. Not sure who's going to get wetter. smile

LexyMa Fri 12-Apr-13 15:50:57
WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 12-Apr-13 16:06:13

Send us some of your sunshine please Echt.

The woven rose does sound lovely. I'm glad the greenhouse is in a sensible part of the to do list Rhubarb!

Just been out and scattered Nigella and White poppy seeds, won't hold my breath. I have been embracing my inner Monty and did some mulching. DH said he's happy for me to embrace my full Monty so got a clip round the ear.

Bit much to blame Monty lack of sales. It's just been so horrible out there with everyone demoralised after last year's non arrival of summer that a lot of people decided not to bother. Very tough for businesses. DD's friend's Grandparents have a small nursery business apparently and decided to quit this year before making a loss.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 12-Apr-13 16:39:51

::snort:: at Wynken's DH.

Poor Monty getting the blame for everything.

I'm back in. A little damp but my fetching outfit of pink waterproof coat and DH's waterproof trousers (not pink) did the job of keeping most of the water out. I now have some beetroot, perpetual spinach and salsify sown outside, oca in pots in the conservatory, and more cucumber, courgettes, & weird gourd things for the DDs upstairs in the 'hot' germination zone.

Will be tuning in to Monty, the weather God, tonight - still have't caught up on last week's GW so am determined not to miss tonight's.

Engelsemama Fri 12-Apr-13 20:25:59

wine is open. I'm ready Monty grin

<Enters potting shed with a crate bottle of wine. Eyes up Wynken's rocking chair and settles for the pile of greenhouse catalogues.> Hello Monty smile

LexyMa Fri 12-Apr-13 20:33:17

Got my once a week Friday night wine well that's what I tell my midwife

Ooh Wisley!

WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 12-Apr-13 20:39:26

I can't get that BBC 2 live thing to work, it just showed a shot of Monty at the start then crashed. DH is ignoring my hints to go and get wine out of the car.

Why is your wine in your car?

LexyMa Fri 12-Apr-13 20:42:34

Potting shed too full of gin?

LexyMa Fri 12-Apr-13 20:46:20

Can the public get those RHS gilets (a la wildflower chappie)? I would love one...

WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 12-Apr-13 20:48:52

I wish, gin would go down so well right now ! We forgot to take the wine out when we got back from holiday last week. Should be nicely chilled!

I'd settle for the wildflower chappie, with or without gillet smile

LexyMa Fri 12-Apr-13 20:56:12

Bertha!!! Quite agree though.

Yes well...more wineanyone?

Discovered a little carpet of naturalised chionodoxa the other side of the fence this afternoon. Very pretty. Would anyone like to explain why the rabbits squeeze under the fence to eat mine but leave all the easy pickings alone?

WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 12-Apr-13 21:08:06

I have real wine, it fell down the back of the seat but got it in the end. Just need GW to go onto iplayer now. Was it good ?

Rabbits are evil and eat veg at the allotment. They go for the things you value, they aren't as cute as everyone supposes - it says so on the Buffy musical episode so must be true.

They (the rabbits) can't get in my veg plot. They also now don't really come into the back garden because of the puppy. I think they are having parties in my long bed in the front garden though. Possibly as revenge...

Why was your wine down the back of the seat? <confused>

funnyperson Fri 12-Apr-13 21:42:49

Hello everyone have you had a good week?
Humphrey does this mean that the pig wasn't expecting piglets after all?
Yes to photos

Well I have my RHS wildflower seeds.They came in the post. The neighbours have agreed to them being sown in an area of common land where the hawthorn grows. This is real progress as last year I was asked not to do anything that would make the land 'too attractive' [sceptical]. Having watched young men in green on Gardeners World I now know how to sow them, and how to generate a fine tilth, but am still slightly mystified as to whether it is still too early. Oh well, they're going in tomorrow whatever as I won't have time during the week.

I've given in to Sarah Raven and bought the Venetian dahlia collection, even though squirrels ate most of the bulbs last year and slugs ate any plants which grew. I also bought more astrantia 'shaggy' online even though slugs got them last year.

The lotus seeds also came in the post. I am reading up everything I can find about how best to germinate them.

Compost has gone into the veg trough and courgette, salad, spinach, chives, dill, fennel, seeds have been sown and the squash seedlings have gone in and they'll just have to do outdoors because the DC aren't into watering seedlings inside. They've got exams the poor things. So glad I'm not a student.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 12-Apr-13 21:45:28

It fell down there I think, it started off in the boot. There's rabbit fencing 3 sides of our allotments. They seemed to think rabbits would ignore the holes in the hedge of the remaining side, walk it the other three sides, see the wire and give up graciously.

funnyperson Fri 12-Apr-13 21:46:56

I laugh whenever people talk about the mid life crisis. Teenage angst lasted well into the thirties for me and it is wonderful being ancient. Relatively speaking that is. Not a crisis at all. Tangent. Sorry.

funnyperson Fri 12-Apr-13 21:47:18

What fell down where?

Virtual piglet for Humph (& anyone else partial to piglets).

Have you sown everything outside funny?

Wynken's car wine fell down

funnyperson Fri 12-Apr-13 21:51:58

Well yes I have now sown all the veg (well bearing in mind this is my first year of sowing anything but tomatoes) in the veg trough outside. This is because for practical reasons there is no way anything is going to get watered indoors this next week as I am working under NHS neon lighting again for a while.
The cosmos and delphiniums havent gone into the ground yet but have been potted on and put outside as it is lovely gentle April rain.

funnyperson Fri 12-Apr-13 21:54:57

Have also given in and bought Pauls Himalayan Musk rose.

funnyperson Fri 12-Apr-13 21:55:50

I might be very techy and get a cloche for the trough

I would cloche if possible

funnyperson Fri 12-Apr-13 22:11:52

Would you cloche bertha? I think you are right its still a bit early for these little seeds to be outside without shelter.

All of my outdoor sown seeds are currently cloched. Weather just not predictable right now. Even with cloching, or plastic greenhousing, I have nothing germinating outside yet sad

LexyMa Fri 12-Apr-13 23:07:38

Fine tilth... I was going to use that as a name change last year I think, but didn't get round to it. Or maybe Tyne Filth (I was born in Newcastle). There's just something a little bit naughty sounding about fine tilth, I think.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 12-Apr-13 23:13:01

Ooh Wisley alpine house was looking lovely. I have a hankering for some saxifragas. I have a low wall that currently hosts roses and some sad looking lavenders. I may have to sacrifice the lavenders and replace them with alpines.

Nice to Echium pininana getting a mention too - one of my favourite plants. Grew some splendid ones in London, I shall have to see if they can survive here too.

I also snorted at the full Monty grin

Rhubarbgarden Fri 12-Apr-13 23:14:50

Nice to see Echium pininana I mean. Typing with one eye closed and it doesn't really work.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 13-Apr-13 11:53:33

::snort:: at wildflower chappie with it without gilet and TyneFilth. It's certainly getting very earthy round here, in every sense of the word.

We've just been to a plant auction and have filled the car with bargains. Ooh err.

Rhubarbgarden Sat 13-Apr-13 12:57:23

A plant auction? Sounds great! We just went to a craft fair and I bought a lovely bird bath. Which dd then broke within 10 minutes of getting home. It hadn't even made it out to the garden.

angry

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sat 13-Apr-13 13:09:46

I'd need a boat to get to a plant auction or craft fair. Can you stick the bird bath back together Rhubarb? It's spring Maud (allegedly) and the sap is rising !

I really want to go to Wisley after watching GW and definitely want some saxifrage . How do I find a local plant auction ?

Checked on my Aquaponic system yesterday. No fish casualties yet, aphids reduced since predators arrived and I nearly have enough for one whole lettuce sarnie. Hopefully as temperature improves and light levells the fish will eat more so more nitrates are produced and the plants will grow faster. The plan is to turn the greenhouse pretty much over to Aquaponics.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 13-Apr-13 13:11:26

It was, Rhubarb. We are only limited by the size of the car, otherwise I would really have let rip.

How sad about the bird bath. Is there any hope of mending it and placing a plant strategically to hide the join?

LexyMa Sat 13-Apr-13 13:47:45

I am becalmed by a hungover unwilling DH, hopefully only temporarily. We and the boy have so far relocated the euphorbia minus some of its more mature stems which I have jabbed around the edge of a couple of pots a la Carol in my head and I planted my berberis (Red Pillar not Helmond as it turns out) and dug up Rosa 'Open Arms' and taken some sections of stem also for growing new ones. Planted the two remaining RHS purchases from last week (Eryngium and Knautia) and realised that three pink Astilbe plants should be coming up in the same area. I think I could do without two of them really. When I first planted up these beds I put things in in threes (slightly expensive but instantly effective!). Now I am better at buying perennials that look like they are ready to be divided anyway.

Rhubarbgarden Sat 13-Apr-13 14:16:58

Wynken, tell us more about your aquaponic system - it sounds fascinating. I didn't realise they involved fish, I thought it was just growing in water with nutrients added.

The bird bath is now superglued. As are my thumb and ring finger. hmm

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sat 13-Apr-13 15:50:54

Glad the bird bath is back together - not so good about your fingers Rhubarb. Lexy, have you got decen weather ? It is just bucketing here still.

The Aquaponic system is basically a mini ecosystem which combines hydroponics and aquaculture. In hydroponics the water needs dumping regularly to deal with the build up of nutrients. With Aquaculture the water builds up high levels of nitrates that need dealing with.

An Aquaponic system consists of a fish tank with a growbed /growbeds on top or by the side depending on design. The water from the fish tank containing the fish waste is pumped through the grow bed which acts as a filter. Bacteria in the grow bed breaks down the fish waste to nitrites which then get converted to nitrates. The plants in the growbed are able to take up the nitrates and use them for growth. The water is then effectively filtered and returned back down to the fish tank. there are also worms which live in the water in the grow bed and breakdown some of the fish solids and plant roots.

Once the system has cycled as you would when starting up a normal fish tank, maintenance is low. Every so often the water level needs topping up and you need to keep an eye on the pH as it needs to be a certain level for the bacteria to keep working and for the plants to be able to take up the nitrates. I chuck shells into the grow bed to keep the pH steady. There aren't any weeds to worry about and the plants can be planted much closer than in the ground so higher yield from small space. The fish do need a handful of food chucked in daily but that's pretty much all I have done since the New Year when the cycling completed.

There are 6 little Koi in the tank, they will get too big eventually so I'll get a bigger tank or sell them. In the grow bed I've a couple of climbing beans, garlic, leeks, lettuce, red cabbage and oriental greens at the moment. My colleague started with a couple similar to mine but has a big polytunnel. After major success with chilli plants in it last summer which has led to a small but expanding chilli sauce business, he's expanded. He's dug out a pond and is going to have 12 or 14 grow beds which hopefully will give him all the chillis he needs. It's quite big out in Oz I think and that's where the main forum is, with people from all over the world. Quite addictive, it's usually a matter of when you expand the system rather than if !

Sorry, that is very very long.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sat 13-Apr-13 16:03:58

Amazingly after the amount I typed I forgot an important bit. We're using ornamental fish but most people use fish they eat, so Tilapia, Silver Perch, Trout etc. That way there's a source of fresh fish and vegetables. I'm settling for the veg for now as I don't like fish, DH is veggie and the DC's would never forgive me.

LexyMa Sat 13-Apr-13 17:21:26

That's fascinating Wynken - if I had the space I would love to do all these sorts of things. I think with the small size of my garden there is often a sense of not being able to 'do it properly', which has been the reason I've sometimes lost my mojo towards the end of the summer, or lost entire trays of seedlings by first forgetting to go and water them, then thinking "well I never had space for them all anyway..."

It is now pouring rain here. I have left the rose in the toy-size wheelbarrow collecting rain with a couple of potfuls of compost covering the roots. We'll plant that tomorrow. I managed to keep the boy interested for about 20 minutes in the shed putting seed compost into modular trays. I've done lettuce, quite a few James Wong exotic veg, the remaining Cosmos Rubenza from a pack I got at last year's Hampton Court (sown direct in the ground in July, did ok but stunted a bit by the cool wet summer), and lots of random seeds I have collected off my own and other people's plants. Morning glory, iris sibirica, honesty, hellebore, etc... who knows what will come up!!

Engelsemama Sat 13-Apr-13 18:25:51

Managed to spend 3 hours in the garden this afternoon while DS was sleeping. DH finished the gate and hung it. Still needs to be sanded and painted (and have a catch put on) but it looks awesome!

I cut back the dead reeds and hacked away at the shrub/bush that I hate in the back garden (it has really nasty thorns and even the leaves are prickly). Still needs digging out but I’ll be glad to get rid of it and put something else there. It’s a relatively shady spot and that shrub always gave me the creeps blush Now I want to look for something pretty <pulls out new gardening books>

Also started clearing up old strawberry bed (not sure if the plants have given up the ghost yet – quite a few of them haven’t made it through the winter) and have sowed my sweet peas, some tomatoes. DH started joining in as well and he raked up lots of old leaves and got out the trimmer for some of our bushes/hedges. DBIL also delivered tower/slide so we need to hurry up and sort out that area as well!

Hoping to get out tomorrow afternoon as well for a few hours.

Rhubarbgarden Sat 13-Apr-13 18:45:22

Wow, Wynken, that sounds absolutely fantastic! I LOVE the idea of having fresh fish on tap in addition to veggies. I think even dh could get enthusiastic about that. I took the kids to the aquarium this afternoon and dd spent the whole time pointing at fish and saying "Can you eat that one?" blush We are a fish and seafood loving family.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 13-Apr-13 20:31:09

Wynken that sounds amazing.

rhihaf Sat 13-Apr-13 21:47:19

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah - thank you Monty. We don't get GW here in Wales until Saturday night due to regional rugby on a Friday.

Didn't realise some of the plants I put in my new front border were sedum - they look like succulents and are bright green/yellow, does that sound right?

Wynken - amazing-sounding set up, did you see the hydroponic-tomatoes that Raymond Blanc went to see on his last series? Surprisingly interesting....

Spring is DEFINITELY coming [excited jiggling up and down]; as well as my aforementioned radicchio seedlings, I now have purple sprouting starting to peep through! grin and my TM perennial collection are starting to get a spurt on

Lexy - [bows down in reverence] you are blessed to be able to chuck stuff in and have it actually grow envy

This is long. Sorry. I have had wine and Monty. Lethal combination.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 14-Apr-13 09:10:34

Spring is finally starting to spring here too rhihaf! The tulips in the front garden are budding up. The weeping pears that we have moved are coming into leaf (this is a relief). The agapanthus are sprouting. A few stray blossoms are showing themselves. All the alliums are still there, they were just holding back, unlike last year. Alchemilla mollis is greening up everywhere.

I wish it wasn't pouring with rain though.

funnyperson Sun 14-Apr-13 12:53:53

It is bright sunshine, though windy here!
There are butterflies in the garder! 2 red fritillaries are gambolling in the air, then settling on the choisya (no blossom yet) then dancing again up into the oak tree. Quite lovely.

funnyperson Sun 14-Apr-13 13:06:24

The anemone blanda got planted out last night and this morning has put out another mass of flowers, and looks stunning next to the deep burgundy hellebores. It must be the organic peat free compost I got on special offer- a 'Which' best buy it is called New Horizon. I am going to spread the rest of the 10 bags out this afternoon if I have the energy.

This has been a good year for hellebores. The ivory 'double Ellen' has also been stunning and will go into the beds with species primroses. So nice to hear of everyone else's spring. There are mostly narcissi in the front gardens round here, which are cheery. The blossom on cherry trees is out!

Wynken your very upmarket fish pool is wonderful! I saw a picture of those the other day and thought I might have one if I won the lottery. Can you grow water lilies in them?.

Lexi I too have had a seed tray disaster, mine is with the courgettes. sad I'm not sure whether to sow more into egg boxes trays or straight out into the trough.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 14-Apr-13 16:13:43

Spring is happening here but sunshine definitely isn't . No cherry or apple blossom yet. I've just had a final splitting of geraniums and sedum plus threaded some of the Naga Chillis to dry properly - wasn't careful enough washing my fingers, ouch !

Engel, I would give the strawberries a bit longer before giving up on them, they are usually very hardy and it has been so cold.

Very jealous of those of you with Hellebores. I had an accident with the ones here originally then the one planted last year didn't survive. I just found earlier a little seedling from the original one.

Nasty moment earlier when I shut the cat in the greenhouse. She's found the fish but didn't manage it get the lid off.

LexyMa Sun 14-Apr-13 16:22:17

We've planted the rose out the front, attached plastic sheet over canes along my veg bed and completed the shed guttering. I think that those jobs plus yesterday is reasonable compared to my to do list. I haven't found the tension bolts and wire I need for my raspberry canes. I've definitely got them somewhere, but don't know where. The sheeting is catching the wind so I hope it survives... I probably should tie in the stems of the rose to the fence though - I nearly bought a 6ft obelisk for it in tesco this morning but thought it would probably be cheap and nasty. Oh well, off to the gardening suppliers' websites I go... grin

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 14-Apr-13 16:33:00

Well done with what you've done Lexy, happy shopping.

Beechgrove Garden on BBC 2 tonight, Chris Beardshaw makes pleasant Sunday evening viewing.

Love the sound of the aquaponic system.

DH has made one planter to go by the arbour, hopefully he'll manage to get the second one done tomorrow. I'm itching to get the jasmine & clematis in and getting it starting to look less bare.

Trimmed out the old stems of the sedum today. Been reluctant to do it as the old flower heads add some nice structure to an otherwise pretty much bare bed! Still, things are finally starting to sprout so hopefully it will fill up soon.

The snake's head fritillary I planted last year are up. Not quite flowering yet and they are a bit on the short and feeble side but I'm focusing on the positive! No signs yet of the bluebells that DH mowed last year sad.

Went to the first BBQ of the year yesterday. It was rather wet!

HumphreyCobbler Sun 14-Apr-13 21:26:09

The star magnolia will be out by tomorrow.

I am planning a trip to Hidcote to see the tulips. I have not been for about ten years, when I had a magical trip with DH where we were the last in and basically had the entire garden to ourselves for an hour. It was heavenly.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 14-Apr-13 21:37:08

I am impressed at the barbeque bertha, that IS early!

Engelsemama Mon 15-Apr-13 08:39:37

Haven't taken any of the dead looking strawberry plants out yet wynken (but was going to so thanks for the advice!). Have just tidied the weeds and dead shoots out. Some new plants coming through already. Have a few in pots or that have wandered from their bed all over the patio so am going to move them today back into the strawberry bed.

I am struggling with Dutch-English translations of things like mulch/compost as I can never find what I want at the garden centre - I'm going to have to ask aren't I?

I think that potgrond is compost, or it might me tuinaarde - I don't know. Maybe someone with some Dutch/flemish knowledge will come along <eyes up echt's nn hopefully>

And how do you actually make mulch? Or should you buy it? Am I finally going to have to work out how to make my own compost properly? (we have room for it).

Is there anything that SHOULDN'T go in the compost? What size compost heaps/containers does everyone else have?

Read the first few months of "Gardening at Longmeadow" in the sunshine in my back garden yesterday and have decided I am leaving DH for Monty Don grin

Engelsemama Mon 15-Apr-13 08:42:00

Humph you ahve reminded me that I must get myself to Keukenhof to see the tluips in the next 6 weeks before it closes (though i wonder how many flowers are out yet - think they have a live webcam you can look at before you visit!).

It's probably a 90 minute + drive and a friend has said she'd like to come with me so I need to get in touch with her again and make plans.

I could smell a barbeque in our neighbourhood last night as well bertha (though stayed very dry here).

LexyMa Mon 15-Apr-13 08:45:29

can't help with the translations but I think 'mulch' is more of a verb than a noun. You can mulch with compost, or leaf mould, or bark chips, or gravel, etc etc...

So the time of year and style if border or pot is the deciding factor in what mulch actually is. I think for standard ornamental beds in Autumn/winter you might use leaf mould, and at this time of year I would go for compost and/or bark, providing some fresh nutrients and doing the job of weed suppressing.

Engelsemama Mon 15-Apr-13 09:20:21

Thanks Lexy. I am showing off how green I am (I am a gardening numptie - never paid attention when my DM was pottering away in the garden).

echt Mon 15-Apr-13 09:34:31

Strooisellaag is the Dutch word for mulch. I just googled it! Whether it's a verb or noun, or both, as in English, I don't know.

Good suggestions here for making leaf mold, though it can take two years. Wormeries are good, and you don't even have to buy the worms, in the UK, we just set up a open-bottomed compost bin, and the worms turned up on their own. Just remember they don't like citrus, onions, garlic or chillies.

Here in Melbourne autumn is well under way, almost as if it was waiting for the clocks to go back. Lots of frantic planting while the soil is warm And a treat for me: I bought two black kangaroo paw plants. They're not always easy to find, but look so strange. They'll spend the winter in a big pot on the deck so I can look at them from the sofa in spring, lovely when the wattle birds hang off the stems to get at the nectar. This is the first really chilly evening of the year; heating on and curtains drawn. Already planning the making of a third veggie bed in the spring. smile

cantspel Mon 15-Apr-13 09:40:37

Engelsemama the only things not to put into compost are meat products, cooked or raw, weeds with seed heads, animal poo or any plant matter you think might be diseased.
Things like old pasta, rice and bread will compost but will attract rats and other vermin so unless you want to be the local vermin feeding station dont compost them.

cantspel Mon 15-Apr-13 09:44:32

echt until recently i thought you couldn't compost citrus as it is not good for the worms but after a chat with a fella in the garden centre i have found that to be untrue and infact some citrus is good for your compost.

funnyperson Mon 15-Apr-13 09:59:11

There seem to be 2 types of compost maker: one like an upturned plastic bin called a 'dalek' and the other a cage of wooden slats.
Either seem to be fine, though I dont know if one type makes compost faster than the other.
I have the leaves-in-black-bags type of compost. After 6 months (they went in the black bags in November) they are really still just leaves in black bags, so all the garden journal talk of 'leaf mould' in 3 months really hasn't worked, but I am persisting nevertheless. I wet the leaves and turn them occasionally. I have been keenly reading labels on various 'compost maker' products in the garden centres as possibly adding some compost maker might speed up the process of generating compost. I am quite keen to make my own compost because at least I know what goes in it, and because we have lots of leaves.

funnyperson Mon 15-Apr-13 10:01:51

For example there is this sort of stuff
www.amazon.co.uk/BiOWiSH-Compost-highest-shortest-possible/dp/B004Q7CHBI/ref=sr_1_1?s=outdoors&ie=UTF8&qid=1366016367&sr=1-1&keywords=compost+accelerator

but I hesitate to use it as I dont know how eco friendly it is and what harm it might do to plants or the soil.

funnyperson Mon 15-Apr-13 10:03:50

You can also buy 'worms for composting' from Amazon, and again I'm not sure if they are genetically engineered worms or just common garden worms so I havent bought any. It transpires there are worms in the garden anyway.

cantspel Mon 15-Apr-13 10:57:55

funnyperson dont waste your money buying compost maker. Just get your oh to pee on the compost heap as wee is full of nitrogen which is what you are buying with compost makers. Male pee has more nitrogen then female pee so works better and of course it is a bit easier for your oh to pee in the compost than you.

echt Mon 15-Apr-13 11:22:36

Glad to hear that about citrus and the worms.

Second the chap peeing in the compost: I think it's a rule of Australian-ness to piss on the lemon tree. Compulsory, it's in the citizenship quiz.grin

Don't buy worms, just set up the compost bin, it's like "Field of Dreams": if you build it, they will come.

funnyperson Mon 15-Apr-13 18:37:17

Hmmm. The neighbours might have something to say about the pee. Besides I dont want to give the DC any wrong ideas. Anyway we're far too uptight as a family that way. Next door's dog of course pisses in their garden all the time but nothing grows there.
I have googled pissing on lemon trees- seems to be very popular dununder. But echt I don't recall you having a lemon tree?

Maud regarding Venetian borders: how is yours coming along? What is in it so far?

The forgetmenots are flowering!

funnyperson Mon 15-Apr-13 18:42:39

I laughed to myself thinking of our last neighbour's meeting (the one where they agreed to the wildflower seeds) at which I mentioned that it would be nice to have a communal compost heap in the wild area. The look of horror on the face of the very decent retired neurosurgeon had to be seen to be believed! I think if we started peeing in the garden, we would be a)found out and b)politely ignored on Sundays. grin

echt Mon 15-Apr-13 18:58:02

I have a lemon