Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Another busy week at Bag End

A friend recently said to me "any point in suggesting you take a break from it?  Your garden was meant to be a hobby not a punishment" because I was tired and grumbling.  Bless her for caring but deep down, I am having so much fun that turning Bag End into a garden isn't really hard work at all.  We're at a point where some parts are finished apart from the maturing and growing, and the majority of the remainder is under control. It's exciting and believe it or not, I often sit down to either look at the view, see how plants are developing, or watch the wildlife.

We've got FIVE different red squirrel visiting, two of which are this year's kittens, more baby blackbirds than I have ever seen in one year, and this week, two lovely Redpoll have put in an appearance and seem to be staying.  The only concern is that although the male pheasant come every day for corn we haven't seen any females or chicks.  In fact, I don't think I have seen a hen pheasant for nearly a month which is a bit worrying.

I'm trying to concentrate on the plants - so much needs pricking out, potting up, moving on.  After managing to empty the nursery of all the purchased plants, I've nearly filled it up again with seedlings.  Things are going to be a bit tight for space when many of them move into 9cm pots.  A great deal needs planting out but it's just too flippin' wet.

It took about 5 minutes to completely overfill the cold frame.  I also had to make a new top for it because I discovered very quickly that bending over to move heavy double-glazed glass units was not a good idea.  I've already damage my hip and shoulder in the name of horticulture and have no desire to add lower back to the list.   Much pricking out to do ...

In the greenhouse the tomatoes are growing . . . slowly.  I tried sowing later this year to avoid having straggly, leggy plants that needed heat.  Having such a bitterly cold start to the summer didn't help as plants just sat and sulked until it was warm enough to get moving.  Perhaps next year I try what I've resisted so far which is to sow earlier and accept I need to heat the greenhouse for 6 or 8 weeks.

LP continues to work miracles.  The ground around our top pond has been raked and smoothed, hollows filled in and raked some more and is now ready for turf.  Recently we bought a glorious piece of Kirkstone slate which has been set as a step into the seating area, that involved chainsaw carving to rebate one edge into the larch slab and looks fabulous.  The colours in this picture are a bit off and it was half wet/half dry which doesn't help!

The willow fedge continues to delight and amaze and is growing strongly, one plant which is quite happy with our unseasonal rainfall levels.  Everyone who visits seems to like it too and at the risk of sounding big-headed, I am chuffed-to-bits with all seven metres of it.  Big plans have been made and agreed with Management and LP as to where in the garden we can have more ☺

In front of the fedge LP has prepared the ground for planting.  We're going to try to create a small wildflower meadow area and all four Common Spotted Orchids have been moved.  Not an ideal time to do it but LP dug them out with a huge amount of soil (think large bucket-sized clods).  Because of the cold, dry Spring they are not flowering well this year but I wanted them moved before they set seed.  Am going to inoculate the ground with mycorrhizal fungi* and it would be wonderful if any seed which sets manages to germinate.

* Quick botany lesson - orchid seed does not have any endosperm which is the 'food' needed for germination until the cotyledon leaves are above ground and can photosynthesise. Orchid seed obtains nutrition by utilising mycorrhizal fungi in the soil.


  1. You have been busy, despite the weather! Your tomatoes look a lot stronger than my skinny things in the greenhouse. Maybe I should sow mine later next year.

    1. Oh my, DW, anyone who says MY tomatoes are better than theirs is having a ~really~ bad summer :}

  2. I was wondering if heavy glass was the way to go on your cold frame. I think you'll be better served with the plastic film you've switched it too. Like the slate step and would enjoy a pic from a little ways back to see the whole 'step up' effect. Otherwise, cold and wet aside, your plants look lush and green and a site for sore eyes over here riding out heat and drought. Got my fingers crossed for your orchids. :-D

    1. More pics of the slate step to follow Kris. things certainly are lush here and very green - albeit somewhat flattened.

  3. Looks like a plant-fest! Much progress and I'm sure your tomatoes will catch up. Amazingly, with all the fluctuating temperatures and low light levels, ours are growing like mad :-)


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