The diary of two novice gardeners and allotmenteers

Chris and Steve's Weblog – City Chickens

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.

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.

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.