Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Clematis Cirrhosa Freckles Purpurascens – Winter Flowering

Clematis Cirrhosa Freckles is an evergreen variety that flowers from November to February. Freckles can reach a height of 12′ . This variety introduces a bit of colour and scent into a Winter garden. It is happy in a large container with support and some protection from strong winds. It is a group one Clematis so needs no pruning just keeping tidy. It carries attractive silky seed heads and green foliage with a bronze tint.

Scented, bell-like, cream winter flowers heavily speckled inside with reddish-brown freckles and glossy, dark-green leaves. This evergreen clematis is ideal for training over a sunny pergola or arch. This is the best way to appreciate the distinctive freckle-like markings, which are less visible when the plant is grown against a wall.  No routine pruning is necessary. If the spread of the plant needs to be restricted prune immediately after flowering, cutting back overlong shoots to healthy buds. Apply a slow-release balanced fertiliser and a mulch of well-rotted garden compost around the base of the plant in early spring.

 

 

Wishing The Winter Away

I have always found something to love about all of the seasons but today I found myself wishing away the Winter. SInce Adam died I have been keeping myself sane by trying to bring the garden back after years of neglect. It’s had to be step by step and there have been a few steps forward and quite a few back but I have persevered. I have grown things from seed and bought bulbs and roses and new containers. This week we have had torrential rain yet again and the pots have become waterlogged. The possibility of lowering temperatures means that a lot of my precious plants are at risk.   Therefore my desire for the speedy arrival of Spring. To know that the bulbs are sitting in the wet and the roses,that have shown such good growth since planting, are at risk is very daunting.

After the garden flooded as a result of heavy rainfall in June when I lost a lot of seedlings and young plants we then had a burst water main under the garden. The garden then became an excavation site and we were surrounded by water outside but had no water supply inside. Last week we had a burst water tank in the airing cupboard and then more torrential rain outside.

Update Wednesday 23rd November …..plumber here putting in a new cold water tank…rain stopped….feeling more positive….maybe it’s not the winter I’m wishing away……just the excess water. On a positive note the old water tank will make a great carrot bin down the allotment…. After all it already has good drainage holes.

Christmas Rose – Helleborus Niger

On Thursday this week I shall be going to the local Lidl store to buy some of these beautiful plants. At six for £7.99 I shall be a happy lady. I have kept back some tête-à-tête so I shall pot them up together. This will be another reminder of Adam as this combination of plants grew along under his bedroom window at the house on the hill. When they were at their best I would take him a photo and the twins would often just pick them as toddlers do and take them in to him. I asked for White Hellebore to be included in Adams funeral flowers and they looked lovely.

Christmas roses have a deep growing root system so the roots should be planted downward rather than spread out below the soil surface and the crown of the plant should be an inch below the soil surface. Apply a layer of mulch around the plant. Every spring remove old, tattered foliage and feed the plants with a balanced water soluble fertiliser. Commonly known as hellebores the Eurasian genus Helleborus consists of approximately 20 species of herbaceous or evergreen perennial flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, within which it gave its name to the tribe of Helleboreae. The scientific name Helleborus derives from the Greek.

Update November 2017 – These plants, Helleborus Niger, have paid me back over and over since I bought them as they flowered from November to May. They retain their interest throughout the year. Now its November again and once again their snow white flowers are peeping through to brighten up the Winter days. They are tough little plants with delicate flowers. I have two large containers full of them and one plant in the side garden. I love them and may invest in some coloured varieties this year. As we are expecting some very cold weather I have mulched around them with some compost and sprinkled in a little growmore.

Black Eyed Susan – Rudbeckia

Another welcome gift from my daughter-in-law Deb. Three large healthy roots of this lovely hardy perennial. Deb is a gardener with her own successful company www.daisy-chain-gardens.co.uk. Thank you Deb.

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Charming, daisy-like flowers with prominent, cone-shaped, blackish-brown centres appear in abundance from August to October. This beautiful ‘black-eyed Susan’ is an excellent choice for the middle of a late summer border and it associates particularly well with ornamental grasses. It is a particularly free-flowering variety, that is best planted in bold drifts in a sunny or partially shady site that doesn’t dry out over summer. Information and picture from crocus.com.

Waking Up In Narnia

I took this photograph of the Silver Birch when the sun came up this morning. The temperature was hovering around minus six and all the trees were looking very Christmassy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

images by Steve Robinson

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding cake.

Robert Louis Stevenson.

Sn’oh No

Heavy snow followed by freezing temperatures meant that the weight was too much for our poor tunnels and this is the result. Looks like we will have some serious repairs to do soon. It was such hard work to build the tunnels in the first place that I almost feel like giving up all together or at least giving up one of the plots.

tunnelsnow013

The Fruit Cage

I spoke too soon when I said there would be no work involved as the fruit cage was up and running. Three of the uprights have snapped off at ground level. My brother Roy has bought some metal rods to strengthen the posts so that will be the first job on our next visit. We have also decided to dismantle the old sprout cage and clear up the bed ready for the rotovator. I am determined to keep all the brassicas in the tunnels next year. The framework on the bean trench has now been dismantled and all the old plants taken down. We will build the new one in the Spring ready for May planting.