This strong healthy little Veronica Repens (Creeping Speedwell) plant was bought as an impulse buy when out shopping for gravel. I had never come across it before but after a bit of research I was pleased with my purchase. Apparently some gardeners grow this between their slabs as an alternative to lawn. I have started it off in a mixed pot with Lobelia and nasturtium but think maybe I will try it amongst the gravel later.
Veronica repens or Creeping Speedwell is an evergreen carpeting plant. This pretty groundcover plant is studded with tiny white flowers during late spring. Ideal for growing between paving stones or as an underplanting idea over a small area. Doesn’t do well in extreme drought but otherwise tough and versatile. A good cover for early spring-blooming bulbs. Easily divided by ripping apart into small pieces in spring or early fall. Tolerates moderate foot traffic. perennials.com
Early on in the Spring Laura arrived with a beautiful Clematis with no label. We potted it on and popped it at the front of the house, which gets the early sun. It is now covered in beautiful white flowers and we have realised that it is Early Sensation. The Clematis variety Early Sensation is an evergreen clematis and can grow up to 9ft tall. It has finely divided leaves which emerge bronze when young and mature to a dark green. In spring this cultivar bears a profusion of scented, white, cup-shaped flowers each with a greenish-yellow centre. It belongs to the family Ranunculaceae. We are both excited and nervous. We love it but are afraid to lose it so lots of research needs to be done. No routine pruning is necessary apparently.
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.
Early Sensation and its cultivars originate from species native to New Zealand. It flowers prolifically and has attractive evergreen foliage which is non-clinging. This group of clematis is dioecious producing either male or female flowers. It is an early season clematis from pruning Group 1 so flowers early in the year on shoots produced in the previous summer.
This group of clematis is semi hardy and requires a warm sheltered position with a very free-draining soil in sun or partial shade. It is well suited to growing in pots using a well-drained gritty compost which can be brought into the protection of a cold glasshouse or conservatory in winter; it also makes a lovely subject for the alpine house. Plant your new clematis with the crown 2–3″ deep to encourage new shoots to grow from below ground level and keep it well watered during its first Spring and Summer. Clematis are greedy feeders and benefit from regular feeding.
I bought a few fruiting bushes for Laura as although she had a go at flowers and a few peas, beans and tomatoes last year she has never grown fruit. I searched online and found a company called James McIntyre and Sons operating in Perthshire in Scotland. Delivery was prompt, plants were well packed and in good condition. They have been over wintered in the garden and we are just now potting on and planning where they will live in the garden. I would definitely use this grower again. Their product is excellent.
Rubus Idaeus Raspberry – Tulameen
Raspberry Tulameen was bred in Canada. It is a summer (July and August) fruiting variety, and is sold as an excellent variety for growing in pots. It is supposed to be disease resistant and have fruit with a sweet aromatic flavour. Instructions for pruning says remove the canes that have fruited and train in new canes for next year. The cane will probably need the support of a post. Soil must be kept moist during fruiting time. The cane will probably grow to five feet. Apply a high potash feed in February each year.
Vaccinium Corymbosum Blueberry Chandler
Chandler blueberries could have been designed for amateur growing. The taste is outstanding, the berries are large and fruit for a long season from August to September. Blueberries are a superfood with high levels of anti-oxidants and anti-cancer agents. Chandler is an upright plant growing to 4ft and is easy to cultivate. All blueberries need moist, free-draining ericaceous acidic soil. This healthy looking plant has been repotted today in a large pot of fresh ericaceous compost. We already have three other older Blueberry bushes in the garden and these fruit, whilst being self fertile do fruit better with cross pollinators nearby. Apparently they are members of the heather family and need the same conditions as any other heather. That’s news to me. Very interesting. Update 25th May 2021. This plant looks dead. I will leave it for now. Update 18th March: This Blueberry Chandler has been replaced by McIntyres for which I am very grateful. They have been a good all round family company as promised.
Green Gooseberry Hannonmaki
This is a variety of gooseberry, Hannonmaki Green, that I have grown before at the allotment. It was very rewarding large juicy fruit with a sweet taste. It is a traditional variety producing an abundance of green-yellow fruit with a fresh and tangy flavour. The hardy bushes reach a height of about three feet with attractive bushy foliage. The fruit is ready from June to July and is useful fresh or in pies, jams and crumbles. As I remember this bush looked after itself requiring a little pruning back in the winter for the following year. I have missed having fruit in the garden and look forward to the gooseberries even though only one plant I think it will provide enough for us. Update 25th May 2021. This plant looks dead. Treated exactly the same as the others too. Update 16th March: This plant has also been replaced. Excellent service.
Red Gooseberry Hannonmaki
This traditional variety has a good resistance to disease and produces a heavy crop of fruit. The ruby-red, medium-sized gooseberries are sweet when ripe in July.
Pink Currant Gloire de Sablons
The Pink Currant is another old favourite that I grew at the allotment. This particular variety is new to me though. It is sold as a heavy cropping variety fruiting in July. It is a beautiful bush visually when the fruit is hanging like jewels and the jam I used to make from them was amazing.
Red Currant Rosetta
Red Currant Rosetta is also a new variety to me but my memories of the ones I grew on the allotment are vibrant and luckily I brought back a good cutting from one of my very established bushes which has really grown well in the garden. These shrubs are very easy to propagate so when they are a couple of years old I shall take cutting from the new ones. Once planted a mulch of well-rotted manure every spring as well as a nitrogen and potassium fertiliser will help to increase the fruit production. Make sure the plant is watered in dry weather. In the first year prune back to one bud above soil level in winter. After that prune out weak branches only. The plants I bought are already two to three years old so should be ok left alone.
Apparently Jhonkeer is a parent of this new Dutch variety. I am looking forward to cooking with it and cant wait to see the large fruit hanging in glowing red clusters.
Ribes Nigrum – Blackcurrant Big Ben
Blackcurrants have always been a favourite of mine and I just love jam made from these fruits. This variety, Big Ben, has been bred by The Scottish Crop Institute. It is an early season variety producing, as its name suggests, larger than average sized fruit. It is self-fertile, cropping in July and is disease resistant.
Goji berries are also known as Lycium barbarum. The goji berry is native to Asia where it has been used for more than 2,000 years as a medicinal herb and food supplement. Goji berries are widely available to purchase in health food shops and online. This is a completely new fruit to me. I have read quite a bit about it and I bought it because of its reputation as a super fruit with health giving properties.
Lycium barbarum was introduced to the United Kingdom in the 1730s by the Duke Of Argyll but the plant was mostly used for hedges and decorative gardening.
According to RHS the plants begin to fruit after two-to-three years. Berries appear from late summer until the first frosts. Only fully ripe fruit are edible. Fruit can turn black when handled so consider harvesting by shaking the berries gently from the plant onto a sheet placed beneath. Hmmmmm. Not convinced. The advice is it is best to train plants against a wall or fence tying the lax stems onto wires and to wear gloves for protection against spines. This will be an education for us. I’m not sure that I can eat these berries yet.
This year I decided to buy a few more seeds of Ammi Majus but unfortunately I had put the seed packet in my jumper pocket and it ended up in the wash. Disaster. I have put them in a bit of compost but an pretty certain that I have ruined them. I think if I can get just one plant to grow I shall be happy. I last sowed these in 2017 and thought that they would be popping up every year but not much survives in my garden, not even plants like this tough weed-like specimen.
Bishop’s flower, Ammi majus is a superb annual bearing delicate white lacy flowers and attractive ferny foliage. They look good in a mixed herbaceous border. These tall plants do best in well drained soil in sun to partial shade. As Ammi is an annual collect seeds to sow the following year but leave some for the goldfinches which like to eat them in winter.
Ammi majus, commonly called bishop’s flower, bullwort, greater ammi, lady’s lace, false Queen Anne’s lace, or laceflower, is a member of the carrot family Apiaceae. The plant is native to the Nile River Valley. Wikipedia
I have sown seeds of The Tobacco Plant, Nicotiana today. The seeds were from Seekay Horticultural Supplies. I prepared a deepish box of warm, moist compost and scattered the dust like seed on the top. No need to cover with more compost as it just settles into the soil being so fine. Unbelievably small seeds when you know how large the final plants are. I hope that the seedlings wont mind being transferred into the garden. I may try sowing some directly into the garden when the soil warms up a bit.
A Very tall variety of Nicotiana that bears white pendulous scented flowers well above the foliage..
Sow from Feb – April.
Do not cover the seed.
Germination will take between 7 and 20 days
When all risk of frost has passed plant out the plants at 3′ apart in a Sunny free draining site
Following a negative Covid-19 test yesterday. Sean paid me a socially distanced visit and as always I was given presents. Firstly two beautiful cushions made by Deb. They match really well with the wallpaper in the bedroom. Secondly a big strong root of Clematis Princess Kate that I have been wanting for a couple of years. Very exciting. I plan on getting the other variety called Princess Diana which is equally beautiful.
This beautiful texensis type Clematis produces upright to nodding, bell-shaped flowers up to 6cm long that flare out widely towards their pointed tips. The petals have an attractive colouring, being white on the inside and stained reddish-purple on the outside. These petals form around rich plum-coloured stamens. The overall effect is very pretty and the plant has the benefit of a long flowering habit. RHS.
This variety was bred from the Clematis texensis, commonly called scarlet leather flower, a climbing vine in the buttercup family native to the United States, where it is endemic to the Edwards Plateau of Texas. Its natural habitat is on rocky limestone cliffs and beside streams. Wikipedia
Clematis Group 3 Care Instructions :- In early spring cut back the previous year’s stems to a pair of strong buds about 6-8″ above ground level and apply a slow-release balanced fertiliser and a mulch of well-rotted garden compost around the plant avoiding the immediate crown. As a group three Clematis Princess Kate should be fast growing and vigorous.
2012 – The Breeder, Wim Snojer and grower J. van Zoest from Boskoop entered Clematis ‘Princess Kate’, in the annual competition and has won best new plant at Plantarium in Boskoop, the Netherlands. Judges from Koninklijke Vereniging voor Boskoopse Culturen said the plant flowers abundantly, bearing upright flowers with a unique shape, and has a well-chosen trade name, in line with other varieties of clematis. Zo – Pri – Ka
This beautiful young tree was given to me last Spring by Sean and Deb. This year it has thrown out some really long Catkins. They look beautiful beside the Daffodils. It is still quite small as it is young but seems a very strong healthy plant. It is in a largish pot at the moment and seems happy there.
In February and March, the bizarrely contorted stems of this small hazel are draped with golden-yellow catkins. The leaves, which are mid-green and twisted, appear later. This corkscrew hazel is ideal for the middle of a sunny border, where its winter outline can be fully appreciated, or planted in large containers. The twisted stems, much-valued by flower-arrangers, also provide a curious and unusual focal point for an oriental-style garden. Crocus
Update 18th April 2022 – I am so upset. This lovely little nut tree is showing no signs of life this year. I really wish that I had brought it indoors for the winter but I was sure that it would be ok.
This morning I have sown seeds of Mirabilis and Balsam that were collected from the garden about three years ago. As I remember they were both large and colourful flowering plants which I thought would self seed. I came across the seeds today so decided to try them. I have listed the links to the original page when I first bought the seeds. Update on 15th March, six days after sowing and good signs of healthy germination.
This morning I have sown seeds of a few annual climbers. It is last years seed so fingers crossed that I get some success. I have sown them in some warm moist compost in a deep root trainer sized pot. In actual fact I have sown them in a container that i had left after we had eaten the red grapes. I had two boxes so one has served as a cover.
Asarina Scandens Jewel Mixed
This climber is listed as a half hardy annual. The advice is to sow February to March on the surface of moist compost and keep in a warm place. A constant temperature of 20 degrees C is recommended and germination should take place in 21 to 30 days. Do not exclude light. I have a bad feeling that I have pushed these seeds below the surface. I really hope that these are successful as they look beautiful and graceful. They are often referred to as the Snapdragon Vine but they look much more fragile. I may try a second pot of these as I am really taken with them. Update on 15th March. Great excitement today when Laura spotted what looks like one of these in a pot today. It must have been potted on into a seven inch pot and left over the winter. Fingers crossed that it does turnout to be Asarina.
This delicate looking but strong growing vine has graced trellis work and scrambled among summer flowers since Victorian times. Still one of the best long-blooming vines, it thrives and blooms summer to fall, and should be given a trellis to climb early in its growth. Annual; tender perennial. Seed to Bloom: 16 weeks
This tender Mexican native plant needs free draining soil in a full sun. Growth is rapid and requires plenty of nutrients as well as a good support to carry the weight of the plant. wiki
Cobaea Scandens White
Cobaea scandens is said to be a vigorous perennial climber usually grown as an annual. It has pinnate leaves and fragrant, bell-shaped flowers which change from greenish-white to purple. Commonly called Cup and Saucer Vine or Cathedral Bells. NB. The title Scandens indicates a climbing or a creeping species.
Cyprus Vine or Morning Glory
Cypress Vine seeds make a beautiful climbing vine that is perfect for a concealing screen over a shabby shed of which I have a few. Cypress Vines it seems are easy and fast growing. The two species seem to have very different foliage so I am excited to see how they turn out.
I have sown both red and Pearly Gates, which is white, and known as Granny’s Vine so should suit me well. A beautiful climber that produces bright white flowers in the morning throughout the Summer. These look superb when mixed with other ipomoea species. I cant wait. This species is very closely related to Bindweed which although beautiful is considered an invasive weed.
Thunbergia Alata Mix – Black Eyed Susan Vine.
Apparently this climber is fast growing with a mix of orange, yellow and white flowers. Generally grown as an annual in the UK. Should flower from June to September.
Thunbergia alata, commonly called black-eyed Susan vine, is a herbaceous perennial climbing plant species in the family Acanthaceae. It is native to Eastern Africa, and has been naturalised in other parts of the world
Laura and I have been sorting through the seed boxes and listing what seeds we have and when we can start sowing. Laura is ahead of me as she has already sown a few tomatoes and peppers a week or so ago and already has Cosmos seedlings popping through on the window ledge.
Today we have ventured outside and direct sown the end of a couple of packets of flower seeds from last year. There were six seeds of Cosmos Lemonade and a few Anchusa Blue Angel. Fingers crossed. She has placed them in the side garden after loosening the soil a little.
This is a beautiful pale yellow cosmos with a central white eye. We sowed a few of these last year but had very few flowers. We are hoping that they self seeded last year so live in hope. This should be early flowering and a little shorter that the usual cosmos.
Anchusa Blue Angel
These were another no show last year so we are using up all the seeds left in the packet and have inter sown them with the Cosmos. If we are lucky and get a few good plants they will hopefully seed themselves. The colour looks amazing so should look good interspersed with the lemon of the cosmos.
Dierama – Angels with fishing rods.
I have sown seeds of these and covered the seed box with cling film. They are slow to germinate apparently. A selection of purple, red, pink and pale pink forms so I have no idea what colour they will turn out to be. I have sown just four seeds. . Bred by a nursery situated near and named after the highest of the Mourne Mountains in Co. Down, Ireland – Slieve Donard.
Yellow pom pom flowers with pale green foliage. This unusual plant has a sweet apple fragrance. This is a new one on me but I think Laura tried a few last year. They are in a module tray and I shall keep them in the warm in the computer room.
Tomato Yellow Pear
My contribution to the tomato collection. I have grown these before but not since I lost the allotment I don’t think. Pear tomato or teardrop tomato is the common name for any one in this group of indeterminate heirloom tomatoes. They are very sweet and lovely to eat right off the plant in a warm greenhouse. Tomatoes prefers acidic soil to thrive and benefit from fertiliser when starting to fruit. A very good link providing loads of growing tips is listed below.
These were the last of my sowings today. I sowed a few in each module and have covered them with cling film. Laura loves all daisies so I hope these germinate well for her. She grew quite a few last year so they may well pop up again in the borders. Neither of us could resist pushing a few Nasturtium seeds into the ground and I also popped a few in a module tray. That’s all the sowing for today so its back to reality after that bit of play time.