Adding to the Container Garden

After a rather pathetic frost than that was predicted, I decided to carry on with adding to my new ‘temporary container garden’.  Not as much work was carried out as yesterday as I had a ‘mud mountain’ to tackle and also 50 DAHLIA’S to find a more sunny home for.

Anyways, there were 3 further pots that I wanted to tidy up and put on the patio.

First was another LIATRIS ‘spicata’.  (I knew I had more than that one lousy specimen I found last time).

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As you can see, there was definitely more growth in this once so I was pleased this should mean I get a decent display.

When I tipped the pot out, unfortunately the whole thing just collapsed into a pile of compost and I was fearful that the bulbs weren’t going to be in any fit state to use.

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However, I was amazed to find that I had a lovely healthy clump waiting for me 🙂

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Once they were all potted up, they looked great and I even had room to put the extra bulb I had found earlier in the front of the pot!

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Next was PHLOX ‘Blue Paradise’.  I am going to be honest, I have been trying to grow this plant successfully with little success.  It always looks ‘sickly’ and never really fills out to anything much.

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There wasn’t much in the way of weeds in this one so a simple tidy up was all it really needed.  Fingers crossed this year will be the one that it ‘performs’ but looking at the ‘spindly’ branches and leaves, I am not holding out much hope 😦

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Finally was ECHINACEA ‘Doppeldecker’.  I love this variety of ECHINACEA simply because of it’s little hat!

Of all the plants I have done so far, this one wins hands down for the most unwanted weed residents!  They were that impressive, I even took 2 pictures!!!

After removing all of the weeds, I was left with a rather lacklustre plant and root system.  The growth that was there looks healthy and happy so I potted it up.

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But look at the size of the weeds that were left over (and MUSCARI – GRRR!!)

So my tidy ‘Temporary Container Garden’ is now filling up nicely – so pleased!!

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Surprise finds in the garden!

Having been pretty much in the tunnel for the last few days, I hadn’t really had the chance to have a good potter round the garden to see what was occurring.

It’s quite surprising what a few days of sunshine and then a good downpour of rain will encourage out of the soil.

Firstly DAFFODILS.  The bulbs that I had found around the garden and potted up for safe keeping have produced lovely green foliage, but as of yet, not even the slightest sign of a bud.

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What I was surprised to find were the two clumps of  DAFFODILS that had been growing without my knowledge down the side of the polytunnel.  Unfortunately, no signs of buds here either, but they were an unexpected find.

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It would appear my ongoing fight with my arch nemesis, MUSCARI is still far from over.  They are springing up all over the place and something I really must get on top of.

I have a patch of lovely little yellow VIOLETS which are in completely the wrong place, but have added a welcome splash of colour to an otherwise baron landscape.

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I have a HONEYSUCKLE (again, in the wrong place!!) which has spurted into life and has shot up from literally no where.  I had hoped to get this moved over the Winter, but as with most things, I ran out of time.

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In germination news, my first TOMATO seed has germinated 🙂

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Sunshine, Potting and Digging :)

Waking up to a dry, sunny morning is always a pleasant surprise this time of year so once I had dropped Will off at school, there was some serious green-fingered activities to do.

As it was still a bit nippy outside, I started my morning by re-potting some GAILLARDIA ‘F1 Bi-colour’ and some BUDDLEJA ‘Mixed’.

Both varieties were in a bit of a state and needed a good tidy up.  There was even a MUSCARI bulb growing in one of the pots!

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After a quick tidy up, the plants looked fab so after giving them a good feed, they are now ready to go back outside.

Most of my ‘bits’ are still in the mancave as the polytunnel is still having some final ‘tweaks’ however, with is being so sunny, and knowing that the tunnel was going to be warm, my next couple of hours were spent in pure bliss setting things up in there.

The flooring is now down, the staging is more or less up and I have even got some of the plants out of the temporary greenhouse and mini grow-houses now inside and happily soaking up the sun and warmth.

And then, as the sun was still out (although, the breeze was picking up quite significantly by this point), I decided to do some digging 🙂

The area under the pylon still needs a lot of work, so I pretty much carried on from where I left off last time.

Unfortunately I only managed to work outside for a little over an hour before the rain started which was really frustrating as I was on a roll.

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On the plus side, the area certainly looks flatter now and fingers crossed I have got rid of all the MUSCARI from this area!

Sneaky and Unexpected Progress

With Will at school, Trist out and about doing some last minute Christmas shopping and a break in the weather, I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to get out into the garden yesterday.

Problem was, on Trist’s return from the tip Wednesday with a bad back and sore arm from carrying all the waste, he made it crystal clear that I would be heading for the divorce courts if I filled any more bags this side of Christmas 😦

Now this completely eliminated doing any more work on the middle bed as I knew this would definitely require waste removal so I needed to be creative (and maybe just a little bit sly)

As I had mentioned in a previous post, we had decided to bring the lawn down from the top of the garden to the lower part.  As we have 3 dogs (!!) I wanted to make sure that I didn’t reduce the area of the lawn from what we already had so this enabled me to work out that the first level of the garden needed to be 10 x 32 foot.  Now, I am a ‘visual’ gardener and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t ‘see’ how big the area for the lawn was going to be and the impact it was going to have.

As it stands, the brick wall we have at the front of the garden (yuck!) is actually 2 foot nearer the house on one half than it is the other and due to my OCD and liking clean, straight lines, I knew I wanted the right hand side of the wall  moved back the 2 foot so that it was in line with the left hand side.  Again,  just couldn’t ‘see’ it so, I decided to dig a trench!

The area I wanted to work on had been covered by a triple layer of honestly, poor quality weed fabric and I was quite pleasantly surprised with what I found underneath it.

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The fabric had been down for about 2 months and in the main, had kept most of the rain out of the soil and by the looks of it, definitely helped to keep any weeds (if not bulbs – Grr!) at bay.

So, pleased that the soil was dry enough to work with and safe in the knowledge that I wasn’t going to sink into the mud on every step, I grabbed the spade and dug!  As I was ‘forbidden’ to put any of the weed / bulb infested waste soil into waste bags, I realised that if I piled it up onto the area between the new trench and the existing wall, I might just be able to hide it 😉

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After digging out the trench on the right hand side of the garden I was quite surprised by just how much extra patio space I was going to be gaining which to some people, I know, must sound mad that I am reducing the amount of ‘planting space’ in my garden, but the patio area I currently have is the last section of the garden to get the Sun in the Summer and is currently in full shade until at least noon.  By taking out this corner of the bed, it means I can have a patio seating area that will enjoy full sun from about 10:30 in the morning, right up until nightfall 🙂

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After all, what is the point in creating a beautiful garden if I can’t sit in the sunshine in Summer, with a glass of wine in hand and enjoy it??

So, what to do with all this ‘excess’ soil and how to hide it?  I turned, of course, to my trusty hand fork and rake and started to break it down.  Within about 30 minutes, I had managed to break it down enough to almost look invisible (almost!)

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I was really pleased I had done this as it allowed me to get a much clearer visual idea of the lines of my garden.

And then Trist text me, he was on his way home!!!  There was only one thing to do, hide all the evidence that I had even been in the garden.

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Bless him, he hasn’t even noticed!!  Okay, granted, the material has sunk along the trench, but it’s not as though he has come home to a mound of waste bags for the tip!

 

Weeds & Bulbs!!!

They are EVERYWHERE! This mild, wet weather is doing nothing to deter the weeds in my garden from growing.  We’re now half way through December and have only had ONE frost worth mentioning.  The little green blighters are taking full advantage and are setting up residence in the exposed areas of my garden – GRRR!  Desperately hoping for a dry day at some point this week so I can get out there and attack them with the hoe!

It would appear from looking around the garden that I may have missed some Muscari bulbs – Another GRRR!

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They are sprouting up in the most random places and in quite significant numbers.  Seriously considering to start charging them rent!!

Talking of bulbs, I checked my pot of “mystery bulbs” this week and there is already growth!!  Not enough to help me identify what they are, but enough to prove I hadn’t killed them 😉

Considering I only potted them last week, I was quite surprised to see any green at all yet 🙂

Sunday in the garden :)

Unexpectedly, Trist took 20 bags of waste for me to the tip yesterday afternoon.  So, what else was there for me to do today, but re-fill them!

With a more of less fixed back and a dry and windless morning, I continued to crack on with the middle bed.  After turning over a chunk of soil yesterday, it didn’t take me long to break it down and sort it out.

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My “little helper”, Bella was in the garden with me this morning and to be fair, she was really well behaved although she does have a tendency to  get in the way a bit 😉

The wall continued to collapse around me so I am afraid the pile that needs to go to the tip is starting to look like a mini mountain.

I am still finding Muscari bulbs everywhere and am beginning to wonder if I am genuinely ever going to rid my garden of them.  It was beginning to feel that every spade full of soil I turned over, there was a clump of bulb attached to it.

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And then, without even realising it, I had filled the 20 bags again – to see Trist wasn’t impressed was an understatement.  And then, to my utter astonishment, he offered to go back to the tip and empty them for me! So thankful!!

Whilst Trist was finishing up something he was doing with Will, I started to dig over the next section of bed.  Due to the amount of rain we have had of late, my spade was going through it like butter so made good progress.

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Just as we had finished loading the van, the rain started hammering it down.  And I am not kidding you, it was like sheet rain for about 30 minutes.   By the end of it, the garden was like a swamp and had really put a damper on my morning.

However, within an hour, the sun was back out and Trist had returned from the tip…. with empty bags!  What else was I supposed to do, but re-fill them again??!!  I have however promised him that I won’t mention the word “tip” to him for at least a week, so I am going to wait until the next predicted dry day, which at the moment is Wednesday, and attempt to take them myself.  So, I cracked on….

By the end of my time in the garden, I have to admit, I am really chuffed what I have achieved.  I know it looks like a muddy swamp, but I am starting to feel like I am getting on top of this bed and it won’t be long before it has completely disappeared!

I am trying to do it as a slope as with the amount of rain we have forecast over the nest week, I don’t want a lake or rivers forming in it.

Here’s to a great few days in the garden and some real progress made 🙂

Sun, Spade, Spaniels and Serious Graft!

With the sun shining and a non-existent breeze (miracle!) I was itching to get out in the garden.  I knew the weather forecast was promising for today so had already pre-warned Trist that I was planning to get out and do some weeding and the chances were, there could be about 5 bags to go to the tip.

I wanted to do a bit more stripping of the middle bed as I knew there was still a lot of stuff in there I wanted to get rid of.  I had done well last week, but as always, there was still plenty to do.

During my earlier mooch in the “man-cave” I found  a new roll of waste bags – perfect!  7 in total which I ‘thought’ would be plenty.  So off I go, stripping out weeds, concrete (!!), broken bits of stone wall (!!!!) and to my horror – HUNDREDS more bloody Muscari bulbs.  They were everywhere – again!!!  I genuinely thought I was getting on top of these little blighters, but as you can see, obviously NOT!!

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After about an hour, I realised I had ran out of bags!  Surely, I couldn’t have done that much already.  I also realised that unless I took my coat off, I was going to pass out from heat exhaustion as the combination of sunshine and hard graft, was really warming me up!

It became apparent by this point that unfortunately, Bella was not as green-pawed as Spot is.  I found myself constantly chasing her round the garden as she took it upon herself to try and remove anything and everything that was sticking out of the ground.  Some serious training needed here!!

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I had to have a quick break for 2 reasons, 1 – I needed coffee and 2 – I needed more bags!  Luckily, I found a pile of used bags in one of my mini-greenhouses and even though I knew I was going to be in serious trouble if I filled too many waste bags, I just couldn’t stop!

So after my caffeine levels had been upped to an acceptable level, I carried on.  It took four of the best hours I have had in the garden for ages, but I managed to fill…… 20 bags!!

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By this point, my body just gave up on me.  I couldn’t feel my arms or legs due to the work and my back was killing me!!  Loved every second though!!!

As predicted, the second I started working round by the stone wall, it started to collapse which isn’t great, but nothing unusual.  So, as well as the bags, there was also a medium sized pile of stone wall to get rid of too.

I would have loved to have done more, but I was shattered.  Pretty pleased with the result and fingers crossed if the wind isn’t too strong tomorrow, I might aim for filling another 5 bags – Just don’t tell Trist 😉

On a personal note – can I just say thank you to everyone who reads and indeed, follows my blog.  Writing this blog has been so motivational for me and has rekindled a flame in me that was on the verge of going out.  It means so much x