Last year’s pelargonium cuttings are blooming.
On this occasion I think less is more.
So here we are at the end of Feb’ already, how time flies.
The greenhouse (that gorgeous building in the middle…lol) is still standing. It’s taken more than its fair share of wind n’ rain battering in its short life and continues to provide me with such a thrill every time I open its sliding door.
I nipped out quickly to get an undated panoramic view of the Tidy Garden for my ‘end of month’ review.
It doesn’t look like much has changed in the past month from this angle but take a closer look & the garden’s alive!
The first batch of Tête-à-tête have appeared, there should be some Rip van Winkles (Mr TG’s favourites) but they’re yet to appear.
Wind anemones are poking their little blue heads through the sodden soil.
Hellebores are better than ever this year.
Looking forward to my Double Ellen collection due to arrive in May.
Bird boxes have been put up for the first time. We’ve always had cats in the past so didn’t want to set up a fast-food canteen for them. Alas the kitties are no more so time to branch into avian property developments.
The house with the port hole doorway (designed to attract tits & sparrows, both of which we have in abundance) was fully furnished with a fresh layer of hay. 2 indecisive blue tits have been round for several viewings & ransacked the joint already. Clearly not impressed with my choice in home interior.
The other house with the open-plan layout (designed to attract our resident robin) has been ignored by the robin so far. The blue tits have also viewed this on numerous occasions…we’ll just have to wait & see what happens. So exciting!
Alas, some sad news.
I was going to spend the afternoon pottering in the greenhouse but found Mr Blackbird dead on the pathway by the house. He was in perfect condition. We have had 2 in the garden recently, fighting over their territory and they whip round the garden so fast, I’ve had to duck a few times. I wonder if this poor creature crashed into the conservatory or garage wall. Such a shame.
Cheerier news… a few new purchases for the garden.
Gold-laced primula (above), Silver-laced (below)…
… and these 3 polyanthus that aren’t normally my ‘thing’ but these were the most vibrant, zingiest oranges I’d ever seen… I couldn’t resist.
I’m gonna keep these, along with one of the silver-laced primula, in the greenhouse to oooh n’ arrr over and keep them in pristine condition.
These were for Mr TG, Dianthus ‘Memories’…
… which was apt, coz as soon as he inhaled their perfume he said it reminded him of his dad (who passed away when he was just 10yrs old) … so perfect.
So much more going on, I’ve got lots of seeds to try so there are seed trays & propagators everywhere, experiments of micro-greens taking place and 24 more bare root strawberries (Cambridge Favourite & Honeoye) have arrived.
The sweet scent of excitement is intoxicating.
What on earth did I do before the arrival of the greenhouse?
Well I tell yer what….a lot of drooling, loads of heavy sighing & plenty of dreaming.
I thought my life in the garden would be complete if I had one of my own to stroke, but it’s not. I’m keen to try so many things, I want to do it all now & I need about 20 more of these babies!!!
I heeded all the wise words, prior to my purchase, advising that one should buy the biggest greenhouse one can a) afford & b) accommodate.
I took on board all of the top tips on greenhouse colour choice, structure, eaves height, ventilation & positioning.
I read up on the vast choice of accessories available, staging, automatic opening gadgetry, heating, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
I have so much greenhouse knowledge, I now have a flamin’ GCSE in the subject.
But it’s Sunday, confession time.
It’s been 6 minutes since my last visit to the greenhouse, my 94th of the day.
I am a Greenhouse-A-Holic.
There! Said it!
I need to find out where addicts meet up, to discuss & receive help for their addiction.
It’s almost time for bed, just enough time to squeeeeeze in one more visit.
Next post – Confessions of a Plant-A-Holic
Down by the shed, in the Tidy Garden, is where we put shrub & tree branches for critters to hide under & for nature to take its course.
Prior to the arrival of the greenhouse (have I mentioned the greenhouse?) I had to cut back some arching Lilac branches ('Madame Lemoine') that would have leant on the greenhouse roof. I added these to the log pile leaving them to decay.
Despite being detached from their parent, stems in the air rather than lying on the soil, for over a month in freezing & soggy conditions, the Lilac hasn’t given up. It’s re-sprouted fresh shoots along the length of each branch.
So I’ve chopped up some of the branches & potted them up and they’re still hanging on.
What’s also not giving up are the divided sections of an indoor plant Spathiphyllum ‘Peace Lily’. The original plant was rescued from a clients frozen greenhouse and had outgrown its pot.
So far, so good.
What aren’t looking good are the plug plants I bought from Thompson & Morgan last year.
7 months on, I would have expected slightly more growth than this (these are the Salvia ‘Blue Queen above)…
…slightly more success with the Delphinium ‘Magic Fountains Mix’. Well success with 3 out of the original 24!!
The Penstemon ‘Tubular Bells Rose’ (above) are doing ok.
We won’t mention the Echinacea ‘Primadonna’….alas no foliage to photograph but I won’t give up, not just yet.
With all the rain & grey skies we’ve had this winter, it does feel good when the sun comes out.
Don’t give up…spring will be here before you know it!
The excitement of the new greenhouse is yet to wane.
In fact I’m starting to run out of excuses to ‘pop out & check something’.
Mr TG has a photo of me by his desk to remind him what I look like, having mistaken me for a burglar fondling his ‘smalls’ on the washing line, and I now wear a badge so the TG offspring can recognise me when I’m tucking them into bed.
In order to gain some brownie points with said offspring, I’ve bought strawberries. I’m having a go at bare root strawberries bought from The Range. They had 3 varieties to choose from priced at £2.99 for a pack of 3 or 4 packs for £10, so I bought 4 lots of the Elsanta variety which is a mid-season fruit.
I left them for an hour or so, in my ‘bestest’ casserole dish, to luxuriate in warm water which helps to rehydrate their rooty limbs.
Then potted them up, leaving their crown above soil level (the crown’s the bit where the roots stop n’ stems start).
So I now have another reason to ‘just pop out & check something’ in the greenhouse, which is where they’ll stay until a) they start to spring to life, b) I’ve decided their final destination c) Mr TG discovers my whereabouts.
What I’m pondering is somewhere to plant where those damned vine weevil can’t get at them. Our current crop, despite regular treatments with Provado, has now been disposed of. I checked them again last week & they were absolutely riddled. Someone suggested a display stand where the legs can stand in water trays which stops the vine weevil reaching the strawberries. Now I need to invent such a stand.
Hmmmmmm….I need to think…..hmmmmmmm.
Off to the greenhouse, yell if you need me!
Before you go…I found this…..
Gardeners’ World & D.T. Brown have a special offer.
*24 strawberry runners - 12 early-season Honeyoe & 12 mid-season Cambridge Favourite*
Just pay the postage of £4.95 by entering the code GD14FEB at the checkout
This is one of those Before & After moments.
Not by me, but by a fellow card-making blogging buddy who I ‘virtually’ met a few years ago.
My pal Chrissy lives in New Zealand, she works incredibly hard and she’s passionate about her garden but doesn’t always have the time with her busy workload.
The other day she shared the amazing transformation to part of her garden, I was so thrilled for her and the happiness it’s bought her, that I’d like to share it with you.
So above is the Before & below is the After.
I think she will have inspired a lot of people.
You can see all the transformation photos between the beginning & end result on Chrissy’s blog here.
(End January 2014)
Another posting from me this week (I know…Shock! Faint!)
As it’s the last day of January, I thought I’d post an ‘End of Month’ panoramic view of the Tidy Garden.
I was going to spend the day sowing seeds but it was too flamin’ cold, so a quick snap of the ol’ jardin & back indoors before the heavens opened again.
No chance of a hosepipe ban this year!
The latest revamp is complete, everything is in now in position, we just have to wait for it to come alive again.
Apologies if you’re eating your tea.
This is a poo…Fact!
Thankfully not a life-size image, but this 10mm monstrosity, and several others were found on the conservatory floor last week sending Mr TG reaching for the silicone sealant & sealing every hairline crack on the walls for fear of mice.
As well as bits of soil here n’ there, oh….and over there on the table, I noticed some of my cyclamen leaves were looking a tad tatty.
Oh dear lord…don’t let it be earwigs!
I may be a gardener, unearthing all sorts of beasties on a daily basis, but I don’t ‘do’ earwigs…please don’t let it be earwigs!
So I Googled ‘What’s eating my cyclamen & leaving poo?’ and found 2 other victims who suggested…Caterpillars.
Caterpillars! Caterpillars! What sized caterpillars do poos that big and so many!!??
Dressed in full body armour & wielding a baseball bat, I returned to the conservatory with caution fully prepared to face the Jabba the Hutt of caterpillars.
More poos greeted me and there it was, in all its hideousness, hiding in one of the flower heads. Surprisingly only an inch long…
… and there was only one!
Apparently Caterpillar poo is called ‘Frass’ and I can now report that the conservatory is now a ‘frass-free’ zone and the frassing / eating machine is now in the compost bin where he can poop n’ eat to its hearts content. No idea what it’ll turn into, butterfly, moth, Jabba the Hutt, just thankful it wasn't a giant earwig.
Don’t have nightmares kids!
For the purpose of this review & for those of a nervous disposition, about to run for the hills…I can assure you 100% that there will be NO photos of me modelling the garment above.
Let’s face it…vests are not sexy!
As someone who spends most her life outdoors, the brand agency behind Heat Holders asked if I’d like to trial one of the many items now available under the Heat Holders name. I thought they just sold cosy socks but now they have Thermal Hats, Gloves, Long Johns, Tights, Leggings & Vests.
I chose to road-test the Ladies Long-Sleeved Thermal Vest in Black (I would have looked ridiculous in a pair of Men’s Thermal Long Johns).
I was asked what size top I normally wore (Size 14) & was sent a size L/XL (which according to the sizing on the packaging was for ladies sized 16 – 22…hmpf!) That said, it looks like there are only 2 size options, Size S/M (6 – 14) & Size L/XL (16 – 22).
Now, compared to my normal winter-gardening vests from M&S this has a far smoother, luxurious feel to it. It does cling to the body (which I guess helps to hold the heat in) and feels cool when you first put it on but that ‘sensation’ soon disappears and you quickly forget you’re wearing it. Additional layers (my work T-Shirt) glide over the top as you put it on and it has an under-armour / silky feel to it. There are ‘patterns’ rather than cups’ where one’s boobs are supposed to go but, without going into too much detail, (sheesh, this is a gardening blog after all!!) I would just ignore them. Just see it as a pretty pattern!!
The length for me (I’m 5’2”) was more than perfect. My current vests leave my back exposed to the elements of winter when bending over. The Heat Holder vest is longer and covers, protects & does not move while twisting n’ turning about.The vest has a Tog rating of 0.39 which to be honest, unless it’s a duvet, means nothing to me. I don’t know of any other Tog Rated garments to compare it to so can’t comment on that aspect. I wore it to work yesterday morning with my short-sleeved T-Shirt on top, the weather was damp, foggy & about 8 - 9C and I was more than warm enough and I don’t think I would have felt any warmer in my normal vest.
However, I will definitely be replacing my old vests with these. The warmth factor may equal my current vests but the Heat Holder versions are much ‘slinkier’, a far superior, softer feel and the longer length that stays in place, keeping my back covered, is a huge plus on cold winter days. Despite normally wearing a Size 14, I’d stick with the L/XL size (I’ve seen other reviewers suggesting it’s a bit tight, so maybe they’ve tried the smaller size?)
A ‘must-have’ for us gardeners!
They retail at £15 each (I think they’re worth it) and you can find out more at the Heat Holders website.
Now, for those of you with any warped visions of me in a vest ……