Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Strange goings on in The Shire

There's strange goings on at Bag End. First there was the planting out of garlic and strawberries. Not in and of themselves strange acts but sailing perilously close to Real Gardening, something we don't see much of at Bag End.

After much soil sieving and hard work by The Sherpa to fill one of the huge planters my first Clematis (of many) was planted. Clematis Montana Broughton Star - chosen for it's pretty almost double flowers, vigorous growth and scent.

(The not very pretty board is shading the Clematis root. C. don't like to have their roots in the sun and normally I'd use a large piece of slate or stone. However, despite tamping down I know the soil level in this bed will drop and need topping up. Once that has happened I can put something in place permanently and plant the heathers to cover the top of the bed.)

This was followed by the careful planting of two lovely roses which are going to be grown as climbers - Gertrude Jekyll and Winchester Cathedral, two David Austin English roses known for their fragrance. Then there was the selection and setting out of a number of plants which have been residing in the nursery, but they've been moved to a bread basket until I have added more compost to the bed. The Lasagne method has definitely worked - there is no trace of the cardboard, very little evidence of straw and a vast quantity of worms, all in all a success, but next time I will make the effort to turn the underlying soil over first, it will make digging planting holes much easier.

The original Marshmello strawberry plants are flowering their little socks off and some fruit has already set. I've been planning these cages for sometime but I think Management was a little dubious until he actually saw them in place. 2m sections of heavy-duty hosepipe anchored on lengths of bamboo, a section of pipe (with a cane inside it) fixed to make a ridge and netting fixed at the ends and top. I can push the netting up to get at the fruit and hopefully won't find any frantic blackbirds trapped inside.

The first major grass cutting of the year tidied up the Potager and Cottage Garden.

The Easter edition of Gardeners' World had me drooling with envy at Monty Don's huge compost bin set-up and I paid attention to his comments about chopping everything up and mixing all the contents as they were added. When I emptied last year's grass clippings bin earlier in the week I took the time to mix up the bin which is currently being filled. As I started to mix in today's clippings I got a bit of a surprise - STEAM rising from the centre of the bin and what felt like a colossal blast of heat. If I hadn't stuck an old thermometer into it and photographed the result *I* wouldn't have believed this and wouldn't have expected anyone else to either.

Happy day indeed and no comments about the continued disintegrating state of my sanity if I get this excited about a hot pile of muck! However, even Management came to see what all the excitement was about and agreed that compost this hot was quite a result.

Further excitement later in the day to find the Winter Aconites saved in the nursery area have set seed. Eranthis Hymelis seed has to be sown when very fresh so I've put them in a mix of 50:50 compost and vermiculite and fingers are firmly crossed.


  1. Real gardening indeed, it's really coming along in leaps and bounds and reflects all the hard work you've put in. Just need a few days of rain now ...

  2. Eee - hot muck. You need a pineapple bed!

  3. Some of our strawberries have set fruit too - amazing

  4. It won't let me comment on your last post so just to say - love the obelisks!

  5. Thank you girls.

    Ali - you are right about needing rain. Our forecast is for another five days of wall-to-wall sunshine.

    VH - the muck was even hotter the next day!

    GLA - must go and water the strawberries .... sorry you couldn't comment on the obelisks, Blogger being stupid I guess.


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