Today we witnessed a rare thing: rain. Over the past few weeks there has been little, if any rain to speak of and this morning started warm and only became warmer as the day progressed. Around early afternoon the storm clouds gathered, there were a few mighty crashes of thunder and then the heavens opened, if not for very long. The rain was very welcome and invigorated the colours in the garden, but one wonders whether this was merely a blip in the current pattern of warm, dry weather or if further rain will punctuate the heat and dryness in the days and weeks to come?
The unseasonably warm weather has brought things on; the Wisteria has flowered a couple of weeks earlier than is usual and there are plenty of plants either flowering or well in bud.
One of my favourites, the Alliums are looking especially good at the moment, providing some nice colour, shape and texture and sitting nicely with the Campion flowers:
As the daylight hours are getting longer I have the opportunity of doing a spot of gardening once I arrive home from work. Today I had the added bonus of leaving work early and so was able to spend a good couple of hours tackling a job that I started at the weekend: building another raised bed.
We have 6 large beds and 2 small beds and these are used exclusively by my wife, Katherine (some of you may know her as Florist in the Forest) to grow cut flowers. At the moment it seems like we can’t build enough beds, or build them fast enough, to ensure that we have the necessary space to plant all of the plants that are growing in pots and seed trays but that will soon need planting out.
Now that the turf is lifted, the next job will be to rotavate the soil, add some more topsoil and compost (this will either be mushroom compost that has been sitting around for quite some time or well rotted horse manure) then get the actual boards in place.
I’ve also lifted some paving from an area next to the house in order to extend the size of the border that we have there. I think that Katherine is eyeing up this area for more cut flowers but I am determined to retain this patch for purely ornamental purposes. The earth here is very compact and is going to require plenty of work and added nutrients before it is fit for planting.
We have plenty of primula vulgaris in the garden, and I intend to propagate from this by sowing green seed. As ever, Carol Klein is the lady to turn to for advice on propagation and green seed should be sown as follows:
1 Fill a seed tray with good seed compost and firm down.
2 Take off a whole seed pod, starting with the fattest at the base of the flower stem.
3 Carefully open the seed pod from the top using fingernails or a sharp knife.
4 Peel back the capsule covering to expose the green seeds and gently scrape off the seeds on to the surface of the compost.
5 Distribute the seed evenly over the surface. This is sometimes tricky because the seed is sticky.
6 Cover the surface of the compost with sharp grit.
7 Place the tray in a container of shallow water until the surface of the grit becomes wet, then remove and put outside in a shady place.
There are accompanying images which can be viewed by accessing the article (printed way back in 2002) via the Telegraph gardening section.
For me this simple Primrose is the best of them all; I’m not a fan of the various gaudy colours available at garden centres. This Primrose, nestled against the base of a tree trunk, is beauty without ostentation; quite wonderful.
Finally, and this goes out especially to Dave, Alliums. How do they compare?
So this weekend will be one of hard labour I think; but it will all be worth it come the summer.
A very mixed day so far. I woke early to the sound of rain on the skylight which didn’t bode well for the plans I had for getting into the garden. However, by the time I’d filled up with breakfast the rain had eased so I was able to venture out. The morning has been spent mainly turning over the earth in the front garden; I have a very handy long handled fork for this sort of work which lets me get around the plants without disrupting them, whilst also allowing me good leverage to really get into the soil and give it a good airing. There’s nothing like newly dug earth.
Weeds, which are already suprisingly big, have been removed and I also dug out some small, self sown Digitalis and Pulmonaria. These will be nurtured and planted out later in the year. Having done this, and with a break in the cloud, I grabbed the camera and took a few pictures of plants that are starting to sprout and bud. Below are a few of the things I found:
The following shot is of an Allium, of which I’ve planted three varieties this year: Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’, Allium Cristophii and Allium giganteum.
It may not look much at the moment, but I do admire the strenght of the shoots and the coloured tips; in a few weeks the Alliums, poppies, and Delphiniums will form a wonderful display.
I can’t finish without showing a bud from my favourite rose, ‘Munstead Wood’. The flowers are of course amazing but I also love the rich colour and complexity of the shoot and to know that it holds so much potential!