Category Archives: jobs for april

Gordon Bennett, time to get the show on the road!

The new raised beds for veg were still looking pretty empty yesterday and panic set in.  Time to get a move on.  Not before finishing tying- in the climbing rose by the wall first though… it’s got buds already, but better late than never

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That done, pea sticks for peas, wigwam for runner beans, supports for broad beans are in, and French beans sown

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Just time to add a small frame for sweet peas and that bed is done

I can’t help get distracted by the views

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And must make time to enjoy the Spring garden, otherwise what is the point?

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Those yellow Fritillary Imperialis are just knock-out.

Leek seeds are sown direct in the raised bed with the onions and garlic and the last task is to place an order for root veg seeds that we should have done weeks ago.

Another satisfying morning in the garden.  I love my job!

Powerhouses – last years summer locked up in these Dahlia tubers

This week we have been digging up and dividing the Dahlias;

This is one plant!

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This is one plant!

This is one plant!

With some will power it will be divided.  It may feel feel like an amputation but will be worth it...

With some will power it will be divided. It may feel like an amputation but will be worth it…

Spreading the love

Spreading the love

Distant views

Distant views last summer

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Under-planting roses and other jobs In the gardens this week…

The Rose garden looked fabulously colourful and abundant last June  – if a little wild.  It has been underplanted with Nepeta ‘Six hills giant’, which is a very popular and attractive ground-cover perennial for rose beds. It has many great features including a  beautiful scent and the bees adore it.  At the end of the summer it can be cut back to the ground leaving access to prune the roses.  All in all a great choice.  However,

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It is a maintenance nightmare.

It grows tall and then collapses all over the roses. That shouldn’t be a problem because you can cut it back hard, to grow and flower again…and again. Fine, if that is all there is to do in the garden but it never is, so this year we made a choice to dig the Nepeta out of two of the quadrants and replant with Alchemilla mollis. This is another ground cover perennial with lime green flowers.

So one job this week was to divide Alchemilla from other parts of the garden and replace the Nepeta.

Quadrant with Nepeta

Quadrant with Nepeta

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and one without…Hooray hooray! I can’t wait to see how it looks in the summer.  Watch this space.

Another job this week was rose pruning around the tennis court (yes, we still haven’t finished all the roses yet)

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Remembering that the plant is more floriferous if the main stems are trained towards the horizontal, (which gives us the opportunity for creativity and fun :-)) and to cut out some of the older stems making way for new growth.

Highlights of the gardens included these deep blue hyacinths

Hyacinths

Hyacinths

and Anemone blanda ‘Blue shades’

Anemone blanda 'Blue shades'

And the geese have returned and are already laying eggs

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No golden ones yet though

The last frost?

The first week in May is usually the date in the gardening calendar which we, (in the south of England) really look forward to.  Our greenhouses are bursting with plants that we desperately want to get out into the garden to make room for our tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines to be planted in their final places inside the greenhouse.  Even my kitchen table at home has become a seed nursery and dinner is now on trays. The Dahlias that we have overwintered in the garden with a good covering of fern mulch to protect against the worst of the winter weather and frozen soil, are still covered up, but we can see the new foliage peeping through.

There have been rumours, given we had such a mild winter, that we have seen the last frost until October.  Whilst it has been very cold still at night, and I know we are only half way through April, I made the executive decision this week to remove the mulch and expose our treasures to the elements.  Half our Dahlia stock was dug up last October, divided, potted up and left in the shed.  These too are showing new growth, so we have had a week of popping them back in their final growing positions. Digging some up in the winter is a great opportunity to plant them somewhere else each year for a change.  A bit like moving the furniture!

Mother goose had already done some of the job for us as we caught her on her clutch of eggs in the corner of our garden.  A great surprise for all of us, as we haven’t had geese here before.IMG_0337

Positive rewards from an impromptu Spring Clean

As I was clearing out some old paperwork this weekend, I stumbled upon an old folder of planting ideas that took my fancy several years ago.  Usually I find articles and ideas like this in August or November when nothing can be done about it, but as it happens it must have been my lucky weekend

I have no shame, this is my  borrowed inspiration for a summer pot display..  I stumbled across Jasminum officinale Fiona Sunrise at my local nursery and ordered the seeds of Rhodochiton atrosanguineus on-line.  If I can create a pot that looks as good as this by the end of summer I will be delighted:

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