Six on Saturday: Plan, plan and then cross fingers

Things are definitely on the move in the garden.  The bulbs are poking up their first leaves and here in London some of the perennials are beginning to stir.  Storm Eric poured in yesterday and is blowing itself out today.  The sun is shining and optimism is rising.

One

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There was a brief lull in the weather this week.  The snow disappeared and the ground wasn’t too wet so the opportunity was taken to plant out the asparagus crowns.  I dug out the trench, created the ‘w’ shaped profile and elegantly draped the crowns across the top.  The trench was then back-filled to just cover the crowns and over the coming weeks as the crowns send out shoots there will  be more back filling to ensure the crowns are well buried.  A scattering of fish bone and blood also went into the mix.  I opted for one long trench and I think I have space for a border of companion plants. Recommendations are to plant tomatoes and basil in an attempt to fend off asparagus beetle.  I am growing tomatoes from seed this year and I’m sure I will have some spare plants.  The extras can go by the side of the asparagus as a first barrier.  I’m happy to sow a few basil seeds as well.  That’s the first plan.  We’ll see if it works.

Two

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The potatoes have been bought and chitting is underway.  The second plan is where to put the potatoes this year.  My veg plot has a three year rotation plot.  (I don’t grow brassicas).  Potatoes are followed by onions followed by root crops.  The lay out of the veg plot gives me two larger beds and then three thinner strips.  There is also one medium sized raised bed.  I have to decide if  I use the raised bed for half the potatoes and one of the larger smaller strips for the remainder.  You may be a little confused by now – as I am.  I have a few weeks to sort this all out.

Three

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Beans will also have to fit into the plan and this year I am forgoing the climbing bean ‘Blue Lake’ in favour of a dwarf french bean.  The simple reason is I don’t enjoy untangling the beans and twine from the wig wam at the end of the season.  I also reasoned that the dwarf beans would fit very nicely into one of the thin strips.  A long term plan is to combine two of the thin strips, but that’s on the wish list.

Four

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My final purchase of sweet peas seeds has been made.  Let’s see how ‘Iris’ and ‘Gwendoline’ get on with ‘April in Paris’.  The first batch of sweet peas was sown last weekend.  These will be sown in a week or two.

Five

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Onion choices have also been made.  Sturon, Red Baron and Longor shallots.  I am going to start off the onions in modules this year ready to transplant as the weather becomes warmer.  A first time of trying this for me so fingers crossed here too.

Six

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The first flower on the Bergenia cordifolia ‘Purpurea’  has appeared.  It is nestled under a Mahonia in the front garden.  Yes, Spring is on its way.

 

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Six on Saturday

There have been some warm autumn days in the last week and much talk about flowers that are still in bloom or putting on a second show.  My first is one of those.

One

Choysia ternata.  RHS advises that this often flowers fitfully into winter.  I’d say it was putting on a very strong show.  It is in north facing border at the end that catches a sliver of late afternoon sun from the west.  Its white flowers are lifting the autumn gloom.

Two

Iris foetidissima.  The seed pods are really popping and every now and then I help them along a little.  I am hoping I will be able to develop a colony of these under the rhododendron but having looked into their propagation it seems it may take a year or so.  I have taken a few berries to plant in pots and will see just how long it takes.  Of course the easier route would be to divide them now or in the spring.

Three

The persimmon tree is shedding its leaves quite rapidly now but the fruit are hanging on as they are supposed to.  Advice is to pick the fruit in late October and let it ripen on a sunny windowsill, so any day now I will be putting the advice into action.

Four

Borlotti beans.  I grew about three plants this year.  The site is against the fence, west facing but in reality very shaded until the late afternoon.  It took  a while for the flowers to appear and eventually bean pods followed.  Its only a small crop but they will be enjoyed.  I miss my full sun allotment plot but I on the positive side I am not getting so many gluts.

Five

The lemon tree with its one ripe lemon was moved into the greenhouse a week or two ago and this week I was pleased to see several of the new lemon fruits had grown in size.  This is my first year of growing lemons and the first year of putting the tree in the greenhouse.  I don’t know how low the temperature gets in the greenhouse over winter so this is going to be a learning curve.

Six

I do like finishing with a rose.  This week it is a beautiful spray from R.Natasha Richardson.

I hope your garden to continues to flower and be fruitful.  Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday.  Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession