Nice Day So Been Busy

Sunny day Wednesday – really spring-like with temp up to 14degC so had a go at a few jobs in the garden.

First I had a go at the old pear tree in the middle of the vegetable section. The ivy has been growing a lot (what’s left of the tree is covered in variegated ivy) and some tree branches have grown since I last had a go at it a couple of years ago. So I spent a while up a ladder with pruners getting rid of anything that might overshadow the garden. I wanted to get it done now as the ivy is  a good nesting site so it needed to be done before the birds stated nesting.

Then I raked the soil in raised bed 6 and planted a row of mangetout peas (sweet horizon) so that’s started the outdoor planting for this year….

I finally planted a couple of flower plants that had lived in pots through the winter and also put some of the polyanthus plants that had hung on over the winter in tray grids.

The sweet peas from inside the house are now big enough to go outside to harden off and one or two tomatoes are through plus the chives.

Well it’s a start…. but there are loads of other things to plant over the next couple of weeks.

Just to illustrate how things are developing:

 

Broad bean seedlings in the greenhouse

Broad Beans in the raised bed – coming on and only  a couple missing

Raised Beds All Ready To Go

Today I finally got the last raised bed cleared of weeds and forked over. A couple of course, are already in use, having garlic and broad beans growing in them and one is full of strawberry plants. but all the rest were just a bit weedy and needed forking over.

To some of them I’ve added the spent compost from the tomato growbags of last year where there is space to do that. I’ve still got two more growbags full to put somewhere though – probably onto some of the flower beds.

The raised bed I use as a sort of cold frame with an old door propped over it needed a bit of work as the soil was leaking out thanks to a ground level change so there was a space underneath one edge (it’s been like that since I built it but I’ve ignored it so far). So I finally put another board inside the bed to plug the leak – then re-spread all the contents along with a growbag of compost.

In the greenhouse most of the broad beans are now showing shoots – need to wait a bit longer to see if there any failures and if so I’ll stick some more beans into pots.

‘The Sutton’ shoots a few days ago so there are more now

There is still plenty of clearing up to do and I have still some flower plants in pots to plant out yet – they have been hanging on all winter so they must be hardy!

Inside the house,  the sweet peas I sowed a couple of weeks ago are now shooting. No sign yet though of the tomatoes and peppers in their plastic bag covering.

The daffodils in the main flower bed area are in full bloom now and odd little clumps are popping up in the flower borders. The first primroses are in flower in the ‘wild’ part of the garden so spring is really here…

Daffodils in flower

The first Primrose

Wildlife

Not too much to report, just the birds, and the most notable point is the way the robins seem to appear as soon as I start work on a raised bed – once they gain confidence they are happy enough looking for food around me while I’m digging.

Friendly Robin

Maybe next time I’ll have something to report from the trail camera which has been out a few weeks now.

More Planting – and Some Preparation

Well the weather was reasonable around 8degC and dry so I felt compelled to get out in the garden and get on with something….

Firstly some work in the greenhouse – and a check on the mouse traps. I’ve been afflicted with mice for a couple of weeks – they eat most of my first sowing of broad beans – but a couple of traps seem to have sorted that problem out.

I have resown my broad beans – now they are all ‘The Sutton’ since the mice seem to have preferred the ‘Aguadulce’. I noticed this morning that one bean was just through – I guess one of the original sowing.

Also, while in the greenhouse I thought I would sow some tomatoes and peppers for germinating inside the house (my heated propagators are full of broad bean pots – not with heating, just because the covers keep any mice away). So some ‘Gardener’s Delight and ‘Zuchero’ tomatoes are in pots plus some Sweet pepper ‘Blockie’ and some chives (the garden clumps are looking a bit thin).

Then some work in the garden, I cleared one of the raised beds (no. 2) and added one of the bags of compost from last years growbags giving it a good fork over.  Then I put a couple of cloche tunnels over ready for – well I’m not sure yet.

Cloches and broad beans beyond

Cloches and broad beans beyond

Then cleared another bed (6) and half of one (it has some plants waiting for transplanting to the flower beds in one end). Still several beds to go but t’s a start.

I’ve put the cover over the rhubarb now as it was just starting to shoot – makes me think of rhubarb pie (and custard) mmmm.

Daffodils are mostly out now and the snowdrops are m mostly over flowering now. One or to other flowers are out such as some cyclamen!, pulmonaria and ‘elephants ears’ (Bergenia cordifolia)

Daffodils (this bed is undeplanted with  perennials

Daffodils (this bed is underplanted with perennials)

Pulmonaria of some sort I think

Pulmonaria of some sort I think

'Elephant Ears' -

‘Elephant Ears’ – Bergenia

WIldlife

Robins always in attendance when I’m gardening and anxious to get any grubs they can find. The blackbirds are also very busy but I haven’t seen any territorial disputes yet. Also, long tailed tits keep appearing on the feeders as well as the usual blue & great tits.

No more squirrels so far!

Bean Plantin’

Yes, in a fit of enthusiasm this morning I planted some broad beans – mostly ‘the Sutton’ with a few ‘Auquadulce’ I had left over from last year. So now I have around 24 beans planted – mostly two to a pot, enough if they all come up, to fill the raised bed that already has the two rows coming up (as in the previous post).

So I can say my gardening year has actually started now! Lots more to do though…..

A New Year – Not much goin’ on

Well here we are in February and the garden is a wasteland – full of weeds as the winter hasn’t really been that cold (9 degC on Thursday!) so they have kept on growing and the lawn is muddy as we’ve had enough rain just to keep it wet.

All in all I’ve not felt much like working in the garden and there have been more important things to deal with inside in any case. I’m also missing encouragement  from my neighbour (no longer here).

All I’ve done recently is a bit of hedge cutting – particularly in the flower border area as it’s the best time to give it a good cut (the section is mainly holly) while the perennials etc. aren’t growing. I’ve also chopped down the remains of the nettle patch at the bottom of the garden. I’m hoping to insert an open composting heap into that area this year as I seem to be generating so much compost now – three bins on the go!

Regardless of my efforts things are growing – the garlic is coming along nicely and the two rows of ‘The Sutton’ broad beans are now up (see below)

Broad Beans just appearing

Broad Beans just appearing

The fact that the Autumn planted beans are up highlights the fact that I should be spending some time in the greenhouse getting some more beans planted into pots – I’ve just restored the WiFi connection in the greenhouse in anticipation – well sitting in there planting needs a bit of entertainment!

Bulbs are springing up all over the place of course and soon there will be daffodils appearing in flower all over the garden – but first of course are the snowdrops – not quite open yet though (see below) but this year there will be more patches of snowdrops thanks to some planting a couple of years ago.

Snowdrops - not quite open

Snowdrops – not quite open

Wildlife

A recent review of the trailcam set on the lawn watching the bird ground feeding spot near the house revealed a fox having a good look round, as well as the usual cat etc. Some good pictures of robins and dunnocks but strangely no mice at night. No hedgehogs either so maybe they are actually hibernating just now.

A couple of squirrels need to be evicted during the last month as well…

Growbags Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to my reader!

Here is a Christmassy picture to celebrate. There were a lot more holly berries but the birds have had almost all of them and I had to struggle to find these:

Holly berries for Christmas

Holly berries for Christmas

Minor Update II

Yes I have been in the garden again!

I’ve actually been doing some tidying up in the flower beds, removing dead annuals and cutting the dead stalks of some of the perennials – still looks a mess though…

While doing that I did notice that the garlic is sprouting:

garlic_shoots1

Garlic sprouting

It looks like a few haven’t come through, but most are sprouting. I have a pot with a few in inside the greenhouse which are also sprouting well.

That’s the growing news. I also include a photo of one of my containers with bulbs in which the squirrels have been at – and I know I’ve had to put back a couple of bulbs in this one which had been dug up completely – but you can see signs of more digging:

bulbs1

See the signs of digging on the right….

Lastly just to brighten thinks up a little here are a couple of pics of the winter flowering jasmine near the house which is looking good right now:

winter_jasmine2

Winter flowering jasmine

winter_jasmine1