The diary of two novice gardeners and allotmenteers

Chris and Steve's Weblog – City Chickens

Eyjafjallajokull

Wednesday, April 14 – After weeks of reduced activity, Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland erupted beneath its glacier ice cap, which by midmorning was spewing out a substantial stream of steam and ash. By midday the surrounding rivers had risen by 10 ft and a plume of ash had risen through the air to four miles in the sky. Guardian.

Here in my small world I have seen some beautiful dry days and signs of Spring everywhere. However 20,000 feet up the UK is covered by the volcanic ash cloud that has drifted over from Iceland. Down at the allotment the only things flying in the sky are the pair of buzzards that often glide and screech overhead as we are working. There have been no planes in the sky at all for about a week as flying conditions are dangerous in the ash cloud.  The small birds are oblivious to the dangers and are busy nest building and hopping about to catch the worms that we disturb when we are digging.

 

 

Common Buzzard – image from charlies bird blog hope he doesn’t mind

Monday 19th April – Gordon Brown announces that a Royal Navy Task Force of three warships, including the flagship of the fleet, HMS Ark Royal, will be dispatched to fetch some of the 150,000 British travellers stranded overseas. Telegraph

“Farmers in South Iceland are experiencing significant difficulties as a result of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. There are great quantities of volcanic material in the atmosphere and ash deposits on the ground. There is also a risk of lowland flooding due to the volcanic activity being under the glacier.” – The Farmers Association of Iceland.

I feel so sorry for the Icelanders who are having to deal with this disaster while our governments seem to be more concerned by airport closures etc.

Abutilon Bella Mix – Scented Roses

abutilon bella mixToday I am sowing seeds of Abutilon, bought from Lidl. Abutilon Bella Mixed F1 Hybrid. A half hardy perennial that grows to about 16″. Bella Mix gives a selection of pastel colours blooming continuously. Sow February to April in pots of moist seed compost and cover with a fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Place in a propagator or warm place and keep at a constant temperature of between 20-25. Do not exclude light as this helps germination. Keep the surface of the compost moist. Germination will usually takes 21-30 days. When large enough to handle transplant seedlings into 3″ pots. Harden off before planting out after all risk of frost.

 

greenfinchThere was a beautiful greenfinch hanging in the top branches of the Silver Birch tree this afternoon. With the sun shining behind him he looked almost lime green with a darkish tail. He was singing away, the most lovely song, even though the wind was waving the uppermost branch about so much. We have been told to expect snow in the next few days so I hope he has a warm nest to go home to. http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/g/greenfinch/index.asp

 

Burgandy IceRosa Caring For YouThe bare root roses that I ordered from Harkness have been delivered today. The Roses are Rosa Burgundy Ice, a scented Floribunda. Rosa Caring for You, a pale pink Hybrid Tea. Rosa City of London, a deep pink scented Floribunda. Rosa Compassion, a climbing rose with a strong heady scent. Rosa Belmonte, a perfumed pearly blush bedding rose sold on behalf of the Prince’s Trust. Rosa Helen Robinson, a deep pink Hybrid Tea. Rosa Susan Daniel, a translucent apricot blush Floribunda. http://www.roses.co.uk/acatalog/section_hybridteas.html

 

Garden Birds Brighten up A Grey Day

It’s grey, foggy and cold outside this morning so, after making sure that all the pets are fed and comfortable, to cheer myself up I have ordered the seed potatoes for next year. I am using Alan Romans again as we have always received reliable quality goods from them. I have ordered one bag of Charlotte, three bags of International Kidney and three bags of Vivaldi. We have grown them all before so no surprises. They are first and second earlies so they should be up before any risk of Blight.

Blue Titlong tailed titrobinDespite the greyness of the day there was plenty of colour and entertainment in the garden this morning as the birds were busy feeding.

 

 

Clematis Miss Christine

Earlier this week I bought a plant for the garden at home. I am planning a few changes for next year and after browsing  the Crocus website bought a Clematis ‘Miss Christine’. It is a scented white flower and I intend to grow it on the outside of the chicken run trellis. I will be able to see it from my office window. Masses of single white flowers with a delicate pale pink edge appear from late spring to early summer. This lovely Montana clematis is named after the youngest daughter of the breeder, Sheila Chapman. It is a vigorous grower and the flowers have a rich, sweet fragrance.