My Patch – A Garden update: April 2019

This month I have concentrated on trying to get the garden into a tidier/cleaner state for the planting out of the flowers when they are ready.  It has meant a lot of work so other aspects have suffered a little! 

April 1st – the basil has started to grow 🙂

April 2nd – as it is meant to be frosty for the next few nights I thought I would leave my cowslips and garlic mustard outside to ‘chill’.  They are meant to have a period of cold to start germination so I thought it can’t do them any harm as they don’t seem to be doing anything anyway! I tidied a little more of the glasshouse and found another five terracotta pots I will be able to use.  They will all need a bit of a clean, I just need to work out if I have any shorter plants which I can put in them; probably birdsfoot trefoil and sweet williams.

April 8th – tonight I potted on some of the sweet pea, sunflowers and borage.  I know I should have probably potted on the sweet peas earlier but I wasn’t sure where to pot them on too!  I knew I needed a deeper pot, I still have more that need rescuing from their small trays.  

Last year I removed a purple/red coloured steamed plant from the raised bed as it was in the way of the bird feeder!  I put it in a pot as no one knew what it was – thanks to @porridgebrain on Twitter who posted an image of her peonies I discovered what it was! It is still alive! I have removed all of ‘weeds’ from its pot and moved it to a sunnier spot – I plan to put it back into the raised bed but in a more suitable location.  

April 9th – This evening I decided I needed to take some images of the garden before I started to tidy/clean.  It does look a bit of a mess and its starting to make me stressed!  I know gardening isn’t meant to create stress it is meant to reduce it, but when there is so much to do it gets a bit much.  

I also potted on more of the borage and removed the ‘weeds’ from all the pots in the left garden.  The mint looks much better now I can actually see it is growing; I think it will need to be re potted this year.

April 10th – I finished potting on all of the borage today; I think I should have potted them on when they were a little smaller.  I have 73 plants in total.  I was going to sow some more though I think that will probably be more than enough for this year! 

April 11th – my common fleabane has started to sprout 🙂

I have only just thought about taking photos of my seedlings so I know what they look like in future years – I hope the flowers will seed themselves in the garden so next year I need to know what they look like so I know what is growing!

April 12th – So today I jet washed the left side of the garden’s patio; it only took 10 hours!!

April 15th – the mint has started to grow 😊  I have sown more rudbeckia as for some reason it hasn’t germinated.  

April 16th – sowed red campion, tall marigolds (I collected seed form the garden last year so I don’t know exactly what they are!) and perennial flax seed which I also collected from the garden.  

April 18th – painted the left fence, ‘weeded’ the raised bed and one of the love-in-the-mist has sprouted.

April 19th – was also a busy day, I moved the garlic mustard from growning in the right hand patio to the raised bed in the hope that it will survive, jet washed the patio, looked at repairing the garage guttering so a water butt can be fitted; we had to remove one of the branches from the hazel tree as it had caused the guttering to break.  I also potted on 62 cornflowers, potted on the rest of the sweet peas and put up a bee hotel 🙂

April 20th – I concreted 90% of the right hand patio – it took all day!

April 24th – Potted on 37 cornflowers and  33 teasel, the marigolds, red campion and the new batch of cornflowers and rudbeckia have sprouted.  I wasn’t expecting the perennial flax to germinate but it is doing quite well.

April 25th – Potted on 36 teasel and 21 sunflowers.

April 26th – Tonight I tweeted a photo of a tiny daffodil looking flower that is located in one of the window boxes.  @Mark_Couper replied to let me know they are daffodils; a variety called ‘new baby’. At least now I know what to do with them when they are relocated out of the window box, as at the moment they are surrounded by ‘weeds’ and very little compost!  

April 27th – today I visited a nursery sale with my Mum.  We went last year; this year I was going with a list of what I wanted to buy.  I managed to find only one plant on my list echinacea, I did also buy martin’s spurge as I thought it would look nice against the green of the fence and also add some foliage in the winter as I believe it is evergreen.   

April 29th – tonight I concreted where my potted plants are going to go so I will be able to start moving them about later in the week.  It will be nice to know some are planted up and are ready to just grow!  I have a few large pots that I assume had shrubs delivered in them, the pots have been kept for years so I have started to utilise them.  They aren’t the most attractive; black with handles on the them but I intend to hide them behind the more ‘attractive’ pots!  Tonight I put some borage in one of them.  I have probably made a mistake when putting 3 plants in one pot as I have read they can grow rather large, I think it might just be trial and error this year!  I also thought I probably needed to plant out the Martin’s spurge as their roots were coming out of the bottom of the pots.  I know they will expand and fill the pot; maybe when they do they can be separated into two pots.  By potting the plants out it meant I had some more small pots I could then use for potting on the remaining sunflowers 🙂 

Also throughout this month… the strawberries, field forget-me-not, garlic mustard, red campion, lilac and choisya ternata have all started to flower 🙂 

So far this year; total number of plants grown from seed and potted on…
99 cornflowers
73 borage
27 sunflowers
69 teasel 

My Patch – A Garden update: March 2019

With the days getting slightly longer I feel like I have started to achieve some small things with the garden this month.  Its starting to take shape a little bit…

March 1st – this afternoon a couple of the daffodils and one of the crocus looks like they are nearly ready to flower 🙂 Some of the others though are just starting to show through the soil.  At least I will have plants at different stages of flower for the bees.  The seeds I ordered from Emorsgate have arrived 🙂 

March 5th – I cleared some space in the glasshouse.  Its rather an abandon structure where some of the occupants of the house store items that are no longer of use rather than disposing of them! Its amazing how much space you can create when you organise useful things and recycle unwanted boxes! 

March 6th – one of the daffodils in the front garden is flowering.  

March 8th – there appears to be a lot more cuckoo pint in the garden this year, both in the raised bed and in the ‘woodland’ area. 

March 11th – Last summer there was no garden waste bin at the patch, it had been decided by the owners that items can just be thrown over the fence and into the field!  Some of the items did break down, others which were more woody didn’t.  I managed to convince them that it really isn’t the best idea throwing everything over the fence, although some things are sort of okay!  This evening while I still had some light, I filled the newly emptied garden waste bin with items that are still lingering on the other side of the fence!  There is still a lot to remove but at least now the bin is being emptied every two weeks everything that cannot be put in the garden compost can now be collected. 

March 13th – In the week I bought two packs of greenhouse racking/shelving to put my seed trays on, tonight I put together one of them.  Thankfully it fits on the table okay and I think the other one will fit alongside it once some more of the items located in the glasshouse are taken to the tip.  I managed to sow my cowslip and rudbeckia seeds before it got too dark.    

March 14th – this evening I sowed some more seeds: sweet marjoram, sweet basil, borage, sweet peas, wild teasel and sunflowers.  I still have more to sow!

March 18th – this evening I cut back a rose that was, well, a little out of control, I think it is a climbing rose but there was only one stem and it was about 10 foot long!  I’ve cut it back to a bud point and hope to do something with it to control it a little.  I had a little wander around the garden and have noticed two of these growing in the garden.  

At the moment I’m not sure what it is, I guess I will have to wait for the leaves to unfurl to try and find out.  

I also found these, which I think are glory of the snow, I’m not sure where they came from as I haven’t planted them but they look very pretty in the raised bed and they are welcome flowers when there is very little else flowering at the moment.  I managed to sow three more trays of seed; garlic mustard, birdsfoot trefoil and ox-eye daisy. 

March 21st – I have assembled the second set of racking for the glasshouse. Tonight both cornflowers and common fleabane were sown.  I have a horrible feeling the racking is going to fill up rather quickly!  

March 22nd – The borage is sprouting eight days after sowing! 🙂

March 25th – This evening in the glasshouse I have 51 borage, 2 oxeye daisy, 7 sunflower, 36 birdsfoot trefoil, 2 rudbeckia and 30 sweet pea 🙂 now all I have to do is not kill them! 

March 26th – today I also have 4 Marjarom which have come up.

March 27th – after spending some of yesterday evening making newspaper pots, this evening I have potted on 41 sweet williams, I have also sowed mint, Italian parsley, thyme and love-in-a-mist.  I have now run out of seed trays! 

March 28th – potted on another 23 sweet williams – somehow I need to create more space in the glasshouse, I hope having another tidy next week might clear part of one of the other sides.  I now have some teasel and cornflowers which have come up.  The sweet peas are now about 1 inch tall!  I’ve never grown anything but sunflowers from seeds before so I’m rather pleased with what I have managed to grow so far 🙂

March 30th – I decided to ask Twitter what my mystery plant is which is growing in the raised bed, TimM kindly replied and said its a buddleja.  I guess because it is smaller than the ones I was gifted I just didn’t recognise it.  I also didn’t think I would find them growing in the garden!  From having none last year, this year I now have five!  

My Patch – A Garden update: February 2019

As January ended in light snow, February began with a thick covering, approx 8cms!  Now the weather forecasters hadn’t predicted that much, so I was very pleased I moved all the pots into the glasshouse! 

February 8th – The first batch of daffodils planted are now doing really well and have been joined by the crocus’ which were put in pots.  In the raised bed the snowdrops are in full flower and the hellebore that no-one has ever seen flower is showing nicely 🙂  

February 15th – more plants are starting to emerge in the ‘woodland’ area, snowdrops, cuckoo pint, what I think are bluebells, the crocus’ I planted and also the first lesser celandine I have seen this year.   Its the part of the garden which has received the least attention and it seems to be happily developing on its own.  The buds on the goat willow tree are beginning to open. 

February 17th – my sweet william’s need potting on again so today for the first time I made some newspaper pots!  They are so easy to make and seem to function well enough.  I have only made 15 so far as I want to see how well they are doing in a couple of weeks time before I make more and pot the rest of the plants on.   

February 19th – I had a short window of light after work today so I pruned the climbing rose on the right hand side of the shed.  I still need to get more wire attached to the wall but the rose is ready to be attached once it is done. 

February 22nd – I had today off of work with the sole purpose of cutting back the hawthorn hedge. 

Now I would have just taken a bit off of the top but two out of the three people that live there wanted it cut down to the top of the fence!  I didn’t get the whole of the hedge finished as I needed some assistance cutting the thicker branches with loppers, as the loppers kept breaking!  What I did manage to achieve was saving the hedge from being hacked off with a chainsaw and cut to the same height as last year.  I have cut the tallest branches to a few inches higher than last year, cut the thinner branches back to bud points and managed to save the side of the hedge which faces the field from being cut at all! – normally it gets hacked away so the top of the hedge can be reached!  I do however think the best option for the hedge is for it to be layed.  It has been cut back so much that the main growth doesn’t actually start until about 3-4 foot up the main trunk.  I am hoping that it thickens this year but I’m not holding out too much hope 🙁

While having a break from cutting the hedge I noticed flowers starting to open on the Lily of the Valley bush, just in time for some of the insects who have started to appear in the garden.

February 24th – today I ordered my wildflower seeds from Emorsgate Seeds 🙂

February 26th – tonight we put up another nest box, hopefully they will like the location – the guttering needs fixing and a water butt fitting to it! 

My Patch – A Garden update: November & December 2018

I thought I would combine November and December’s garden updates due to Winter being a quiet time in the garden…

November

This year I concentrated on the right hand side of the garden and rather neglected the left.  The left side consists of no beds at all; there is a whitebeam tree planted in the patio and a few pots containing, mint, rosemary, Penstemon ‘Pensham Plum Jerkum’ and Choisya ternata.   There are bird feeders and a bird bath, the birds always feed from the feeder on the left side first.  I think this is because of the extra cover the whitebeam tree and next doors hazel provide.  On the other side of the fence there is also hawthorn hedge that I am yet to cut back as I have read they should be cut once dormant and that is in mid-Winter; the birds like it for darting up into when they get spooked.  

December

I have done some ‘tidying’ of the garden.  The tomato canes have now been taken down and stored in the greenhouse.  I discovered two hazelnut saplings in the raised bed so they have now been transplanted to a large pot.

I have collected all the leaves and put them in an old water butt that has a leak so they can decompose / be added to the compost bin as required.  I have ‘weeded’ the raised beds, pruned the roses and planted daffodil bulbs in pots for spring – there will be more flowers in the garden next Spring than there was this and hopefully they will help support the early emerging insects 🙂 I have sown yellow rattle and lady’s bedstraw in the garden and found a buddlea in the bed which has been relocated to a pot.  I have found more pots, some of which I have washed, but there are still lots to do.

I have been given two very small buddleia by my Auntie as she had a few that self seeded in the garden.  I have decided that they should be kept in pots as I don’t have a lot of bed space! When they are big enough they are going to live on the left side of the garden.     

I have been looking at some wildflower seeds to order for next year:
Borage – The flowers replenish their nectar regularly so they are great for the bees and other pollinators.
Birdsfoot trefoil – is the burnet moth’s principle food plant, I have no idea if we have any burnet moth in the area but I am willing to provide them food 😉
Garlic Mustard – to encourage orange-tip butterflies
Cornflower
Red Campion
Wild teasel – as they are popular sources of pollen in the summer and when they got to seed the birds will like them too 🙂

What I also want to do is take a look at the insects that I have photographed in the garden this year and find out what their principle food plant is, I can then help them by planting more of what they like.  So far I have researched…

Small Magpie moth – stinging nettles, less often mint and other labiates – we have mint and lots of stinging nettles in the field.

Mother-of-Pearl moth – Stinging nettles

Buff-tip caterpillar –  Deciduous trees; most frequently on sallows, birches, oaks and Hazel (Corylus avellana) – there is hazel in the garden J 

Red admiral – common nettle

Green-brindled crescent moth – caterpillars feed on a variety of trees and bushes, including hawthorn and blackthorn.  There is plenty of hawthorn and some blackthorn in the hedgerows of the field 🙂

Mint moth –  caterpillars feed on various Labiatae – we have Mint in the garden but I plan on sowing more.

Although I have been looking at what I can plant in the garden, I hope to also plant some of the wild flowers I grow in a small patch in the field / road verge. I will be buying them from Emorsgate Seeds so their origin can be traced to sustainable UK sources 🙂 If anyone has any suggestions of other wild flowers I should definitely grow please let me know in the comments or via Twitter. Thanks 🙂