Monday, 31 March 2014

Bag End through the year: Vegetable Patch

January 2014:   Main beds constructed and ready for soil but the ground has been too wet to work in the middle area.  The piles of flower pots waiting to be tidied up are in danger of becoming permanent. 

Bag End through the year: Potager / Fruit Cages

March 2014:   The new strawberry raised beds look brilliant although their purpose has been subverted for a while.  Somewhere on "The List" I must add 'sorting out shelving/staging in the nursery'.

The Potager is still a sorry state, I haven't yet dug up the old strawberries and raspberries. Must do that soon before they grow any more. This area is due a radical sort-out during the summer and one thing I am determined to do is get rid of the grass path. It's a nightmare to mow taking longer to cut and edge than the rest of the garden combined.  I've made a small start on taking down the frames, the black plastic will all be re-used making hoops in the Vegetable Patch.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Bag End through the year: Cottage Garden

March 2014: The Cottage Garden was a mess in January and it's still a mess.

In a corner under one of the big buddleia's there's a very welcome patch of self-sown Honesty, the little 'Evereste' crab apple is in leaf and the (supposedly) autumn flowering cherry is in bloom.

Behind the arbor is a huge mess but the clematis are growing fast and will soon hide it all :}  Ribes sanguineum 'White Icicle' is full of flowers which the early bees appreciate and thankfully it doesn't smell as foul as the more commonly grown pink version.


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Bag End through the year: Greenhouse/nursery

March 2014: Radical changes since the end of January! The inside of the greenhouse is almost unrecognisable - really delighted with the raised beds.  The new strawberries arrived from Ken Muir - fabulous plants with great root systems.  They will grow on until I'm ready to put them outside.  The 'Christine' plants (at the back) had such long roots they needed to go into extra deep pots :}

Friday, 28 March 2014

Bag End through the year: Ponds

March 2014: I've managed to get all the (currently visible) Water forget-me-knot out of the Big Pond but I think I'll be battling with it all year.  I suspect I will also be fighting with a huge Carex that was meant to be clump forming - it's not.  It is a ghastly invasive triffid and I spent much of Sunday making a hell of a mess trying to dig it out. 

The Top Pond is full of frogspawn and the plants in the bog bed are growing strongly.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Bag End through the year: Vegetable Patch

March 2014: Incredible change in the veg patch over the last month. Details are here but a few repeated pictures to complete the record.  For probably the first time ever all the flower pots are washed and put away!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Bag End through the year: Side Garden

March 2014: Lots of new growth, much of it earlier than usual thanks to the very mild winter. Also due to the mild winter (but not at all welcome) are aphids, suspect it will be a horrid year for pests and diseases which were not killed off by cold as they should have been. Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Robbiae' clearly loves this area and it won't be long before I'm digging up bits of it. A welcome and unexpected success is Tellima grandiflora var. purpurea which seems to be growing at an exponential rate.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dreaming big

Over the years Management has taught me that it's OK not just to dream but to actually have a go at making those dreams a reality.  I only have to mutter "wouldn't it be great if we could ..." and he's off making plans and sourcing materials.  So when I casually said "do you think we could make a vegetable patch full of raised beds" there was no question in his mind that's what we would do.  Thanks to his encouragement and LP's continued willingness to work extremely hard, an overgrown and completely out-of-control part of the garden has undergone a complete transformation.  In truth, beds were an absolute necessity because this area is riddled with tree roots and trying to grow veggies straight into the soil would have been a less than pleasant experience but I could not have made these beds on my own.

By mid-way through Saturday afternoon LP had every scrap of timber, including the old pallets, chopped up, put away and the ground cleared.  We don't think this part of the garden has ever been this tidy and I've certainly never had this quantity of wood in the log store so early in the year.  As 'early finishes' don't seem to be in his vocabulary he then made a start on post holes for the next raised bed.

Daisy found a sunny spot from which to observe proceedings.

Sunday was equally productive and as is so often the case when we're this busy, I don't take pictures.  Management had an energetic morning when he offered to pressure wash an IBC tank. Bless his heart, I dislike using the Karcher nearly as much as I don't like cutting metal.  The steel frame he made was exactly the right size and now the tank sits firmly and securely waiting for me to connect it to the drainpipe.


We were on the home straight by Monday with a mission to get as much finished as possible by the end of the day because LP won't be back for nearly two weeks.  It was a hard day because there are more tree roots the further back towards the fence you go.  There was mattock swinging and swearing on more than one occasion.

Daisy was kept occupied chasing rugby balls around the garden interspersed with snoozes on her 'outdoor' bed which has a water resistant backing.  Spoilt rotten?  Surely not :}

We didn't get finished.  There are sections where, because of the slope, soil has to be dug away before the boards can be fixed in place and LP ran out of time. 

And the crime scene tape?  Well, we're cogitating a seating area or maybe even a tiny summer house ....