Finally rain arrived. Great for the garden, less good for other plans. I’m having family over for lunch on Sunday, and rain is forecast all day. Outdoor entertaining will have to come inside and someone will be cooking in the rain! This week has been very hot. The plants in the garden are scorched, the veg plot is desiccated but I managed to find six things in the garden:.
The lawn. Quite an interesting view at the moment. The crispy dry stripe is where, long ago, there was a path. The middle section is a mixture of green weeds and brown grass and the far corner is the part of the lawn that is always waterlogged through the winter. There is local talk of underground streams but I think even these have dried up this summer. The grass hasn’t been mown in months but a close look showed the creeping buttercup is, of course, creeping very nicely and the little acorns planted by squirrels are growing into mighty oaks. The clover is mostly going to seed and providing food for the birds. Such biodiversity.
The hydrangea in the front garden is usually uniformly pink but this year it is pink on the side that gets the sun and shades of pink, purple and blue on the less sunny side. Curiously it is doing well in the heat. The front garden is watered very sparingly – and this plant hasn’t been watered once. I hope last night’s rain will keep it in good health. It will probably die of shock.
The first ripened chilli in the greenhouse. It’s a cayenne – looks pretty hot to me but apparently not a knock your socks off chilli. Picked now and soon to be added to a tomato salsa. The tomato crop is also ripening you can see a few ‘Golden Crown’ tomatoes in the background. Note for John K – I’m only up to four trusses.
The combination of tithonia and blackberries looks so autumnal to me. There are lots of berries to pick and I haven’t watered these at all. Maybe they do have their roots down in an underground stream. The tithonias have now made it to six feet and with the help of the magic water I think they may well make eight feet.
The shallots have been harvested. They were planted out in late November and again I didn’t water them so they are on the small side. I have been so mean due to a combination of lack of time and a short hose! Some of these are heading into a potato salad this weekend.
And finishing on a sort of ta-daa! Work on the ‘ugly end of the garden’ project started. Temperatures were in the 30s and all was going well until the imminent thunderstorms meant the electrical equipment had to be packed away. Now I want the rain to stay away today so that the job can be finished. Then I need to start planning again. The beds get afternoon sun and I have asparagus on my wish list. I’ve grown beans against the fence for two summers but I think it is too shady for a really successful crop. More thinking to be done.
Who else is suffering and who is winning the rainfall lottery? Those down under speak of cold winters. Find out more by visiting The Propagator’s blog for this week’s links.
The fair weather gardener in me has been dominant this week. The temperatures are low and the lawn and borders are still squelchy and sticky. I did refill the bird feeders, pull a few weeds and tie in a stem here and there but very little else was done. Here’s my six:
The new borders are going into their third summer. The first was spent weeding, digging, suppressing weeds and feeding. The second saw some perennial planting with annuals. This year it is the turn of bulbs. A mass planting of tulips and alliums took place in autumn and, with no apologies, I was very excited to see the first emerging shoots of allium Mount Everest pushing through.
The last of the cutting back was done recently. The sodden brown remains of iris siberica were removed and there was more delight to be found in seeing the first signs of the new growth.
Over on the veg plot the onion and shallot sets are progressing. I’ve kept the covers on to protect them from the birds but it is good to see there is strong growth.
Every March I settle down to watch the new series of Gardener’s World and every year Monty brings out trays of seedlings he has sown in the depths of winter. They are all ready to drop into the beautifully prepared soil for early harvests. This year I have got wise and I check in with Monty’s website each month. Eureka! Now is the time to plant your rockets seeds. I’m going to put mine into modules so that I too will have a tray of plump rocket seedlings ready to drop into my beautifully prepared soil!
My tray of violas from last week’s six was planted up and they are smiling away at the bottom end of the garden. A good enticement for me to get out and about.
Gardeners are generally sharing souls and this little pot of persicaria red dragon was given to me by a friend. I’ve just got to find the right place in the new borders for it.
That’s my six. For the links to a great many other sixes go to The Propagator. You will find a treasure trove of good gardening from around the world.
Some things on the gardener’s to do list are there for several weeks. My list has a few that have been hanging around for months. I am pleased and relieved to present the first of my Six on Saturday for this week. I have finally bought and planted out some onions.
Far from thoughtfully researching the most interesting, disease resistant and high yield bulbs I could find I simply bought what was in the nursery – radar, electric and jermor for the shallots. The wire mesh and freezer basket are in place to keep the birds off until the onions are fully rooted. I will leave these on for some months as I have learnt the lesson of taking them off too early.
Still on the to do list is cleaning the inside of the greenhouse. I promise you the outside did look wonderful about a month ago. The ghostly apparition seen here is the lemon tree. Having bought myself a min max thermometer – another one crossed off – I could not avoid seeing the inside temperature fall to zero. So I wrapped the lemon tree in 17gsm fleece. The top section has two layers of fleece and I have my fingers crossed. Underneath the fleece I have decorated the tree with sachets of Amblyseius californicus mite. These are a preventative control against spider mite. And washing down the inside will also go some way towards eradicating those pests.
The leaves of Pulmonaria officinalis are looking fine at the moment. This was a plant share and I am promised that the slugs avoid this one. It has really bulked up from the tiny divisions planted earlier in the year. You can also just spot a bit of new mulch. Mulching is not complete yet but a start has been made.
There is often a surprise to be found when looking for the six and this week it was finding a new flower on the hydrangea. What a contrast the white makes with the pink of the autumn colouring
Boxes of tulips arrived a while ago and planting up the borders has begun. These Violet Beauty are joining Queen of Night, Barcelona and Shirley to form a line either side a path that runs through the border. This border was first planted from about this time last year and it’s on the to do list to write up the story of its development. I will. I will.
There is one last shout of colour in the garden. The container pelargoniums are stubbornly hanging on. Cold weather is forecast for this weekend so its seems right to give them their five minutes of fame now.
Looking forward to seeing what’s going on in your garden. 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