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Thursday, May 21

Come into the garden - Part 2

Let's take a second visit to our garden.. Here's the sketch plan again so you can place the area I am describing into the context of the whole garden. Our starting point is indicated by the red cross.

An archway leads from the garden area described in my last post to the area just outside of the greenhouse.
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During summer the arch and adjoining screen is clothed by a very vigorous passion flower and a couple of clematis.
Click to enlarge - photos taken 2014
Once through the arch you are in a small enclosed area.

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The views shown above are taken with my back to the greenhouse, On the left is the small fernery which at the moment is just unfurling and on the right is a bed ion which is planted an aucuba and a garrya.

The photos below were taken last summer in the case of the fernery and the garrya earlier this year.

Click to enlarge,

Just before we leave this part of the garden I'll let you have a peep behind the greenhouse where bags of compost are stored. The trees that you can see were initially a pear and apples grown as cordons but they had other ideas.

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Just before you go on the right is a quick peep into the area I'll be showing you on your next visit to our garden.

So that's it for part two of your garden visit.

Wednesday, May 20

Feeling Blue

Tuesday, May 19

Return visit to the plot

Again Martyn and I have both posted a video of our plot.

Some things have grown since our last tour but some things have struggled to thrive mainly due to the constant battering from strong winds and the lack of any sustained spring warmth.

There are still plenty of empty beds to be filled so we really do need some good weather so we can get on with things.

The video is about 12½ minutes long and again is complete with us wittering so if you prefer short sweet visits I've added some photos so hopefully everyone will be happy.

Some of the photos are a different shape as they were grabbed from the video but all can be enlarged by clicking in them

Monday, May 18

Red and Green

We have kept pulling a few sticks of rhubarb regularly for a few weeks now. So far the harvests have come from our early cropping varieties - Timperley Early and an unknown variety.

Last week we pulled the first sticks of  a later variety - Crimson Grooveless. As its name suggests, this variety produces much redder stems. 

The red sticks also retain their colour after cooking.

Compare the colour of stewed Crimson Grooveless above with that of stewed Timperley Early below.

I have intended growing pea shoot for a while now and eventually got round to it this year. The first lot of seeds sown were transported away by what I suspect were mice, so a defence strategy was required when I resowed some seeds.

A propagator lid was placed on top of the small troughs in which the peas were sown. Then as an extra level of security, just in case the mice could nudge the lid aside, a heavy  object- in mouse terms - was placed on top.

Our defences held and we are now harvesting the shoots. Having found that we like them I've sown more seeds.

Can anyone tell me whether the plants from which the shoots have been harvested will grow more shoots in the same way as a sweet pea bushes out when the tips are removed? Is this just wishful thinking?

We are also harvesting baby salad leaves from the greenhouse.

More baby leaves, radish and spring onions have been sown in our Woodblocx raised bed and some young lettuce plants have joined them. Martyn has made a cover to protect them from any would be salad nibblers. The frame may look very high for salads but this way we can just lift up one side of the mesh to plant without removing the protection completely.

The aim is to have a succession of fresh salad ingredients close to hand in the garden so we can have a salad when we fancy it rather than having to remember to bring salady ingredients from the plot and store them for use later.

If this works and we have enough space we may have to invest in a second raised bed.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

Saturday, May 16

Reprieve and destruction

As I posted here we have planted up a new strawberry bed this year. Previously we had a large strawberry bed and a small overspill bed that housed the runners that I rooted - just in case I needed to replace any plants in the main bed. Of course because I was prepared I never needed any of the reserve plants and so these were planted in a small bed - after all you can't just throw good plants away can you?

I may have planted them but in no way were the plants really looked after other than an occasional weeding and they repaid our lack of effort with a lack of effort on their part. Anyway when I decided to clear the bed I was confronted by this.
Despite being set in ground that more closely resembles concrete rather than soil, some of the plants looked strong and were producing flowers that had survived the cold nights without acquiring blackened centres. Only a very cold hearted person would rip them from the ground and so the bed that should have been cleared looks like this.
So that's the reprieve. 

Destruction was at the hands or maybe beaks of 'someone' other than me. For the second year running the cherry tree on the plot suddenly had its leaves ravaged and now looks like this.
Martyn and I searched the leaves in vain for what we suspected were crawly vandals. To our surprise a search of the Internet revealed that the likely culprits are wood pigeons. Apparently they are partial to some tree leaves in particular cherry and lilac. Just another thing to try and figure out how to protect from airborne vandals.

Friday, May 15

Come into the garden - part 1

I've often shown shots of our garden but I thought that it was about time I gave you an overview so that you could maybe put things into some sort of perspective. 

Our garden isn't very big (we would like it to be bigger), along the top edge it is about 27.5m (90'). Being a corner plot it is also a very irregular shape which also means that it is smaller than the length implies. The drawing below isn't to scale but is intended to give some idea of the layout.

The garden wasn't designed it has just evolved over the years and has undergone various personality changes. It is divided into several areas and so to keep posts to a reasonable length I will share one area per post.

To kick things off I am concentrating on the area directly behind the house. First some shots taken leaning out of the bedroom window.

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The porch roof hides some parts of the garden primarily the patio but as that is due a makeover this is no bad thing.

Looking in more detail - on the left is the start of a newly planted perennial bed that will have a red and yellow theme and be at its best - I hope - in late summer although spring interest will be added in the form of spring bulbs. Two plants that I bought for this bed died over winter so I am on the lookout for helenium Ruby Thuesday (or Tuesday) and have a few more new plants on my wanted list for this bed.

Click to enlarge

Along the screen behind this bed are two new climbing roses and I am thinking of adding a red clematis. The end of the bed is punctuated by a red camellia and a white flowered oak leaved hydrangea - hydangea quercifolia.

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Moving around the bed, partially shaded by the Malus Profusion crab apple, is the blue and white border.

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This bed was disappointing last year but this year has filled out nicely, Martyn gave the crab apple a severe pruning last year to reduce the amount of shade. The only disappointment has been that I seem to have lost most of the white daffodils and tulips. I'll need to plant more in autumn.

Back nearer to the house we have the pond area. The palm is a trachycarpus wagneriana which is just forming its flower buds.

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Click to enlarge
To one side of the pond is our pebble garden and the Living Lid that I have posted about recently.

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On the far side of the pond us the summerhouse and a small patio area.

That's all for today's visit - I'll take you to another area on a later post.