Saturday, 27 October 2012

On a freezing cold day I am so glad I have a greenhouse to play in

The temperature has dropped rapidly overnight - much too cold for me (a fairweather gardener).  So I did the next best thing I pottered in the greenhouse.  A bit of harvesting, tidying up plants with dead leaves and getting rid of container plants that have finished.
The sun came out and it was quite pleasant in there, although my feet were still cold.  Above is a batch of tomatoes that have ripened, there are still quite a few small cherry tomatoes that are green, not sure if they will come to anything though.
I picked the last of the dwarf beans, the container can now be emptied, not sure what I will plant in it - maybe some oriental leaves.

The peas that I sowed a couple of weeks ago are now pushing through

and the pot of carrots will soon be ready for picking as baby carrots

I will be thinning these chard plants and using the thinnings  in a mixed salad.

Salad leaves are coming along nicely, I'm hoping to sow a couple more pots shortly to keep the supply coming.
The greenhouse is also sheltering some of my tender geraniums

I am going to be taking cuttings of these for next year's supply of plants

and a late sowing of Nasturtiums are still flowering bravely giving a bright welcoming spot of colour. 

No one can accuse me of not using my greenhouse to full advantage, and it makes me feel that I can still do a bit of gardening even when it is too bloomin' cold outside.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Saving the best till last

My Cosmos plants in the front garden are still flowering beautifully.  One particular plant has dozens of buds on it and the flowers have only just decided to open.

All the plants were put in the ground at the same time, so why this one has decided to hang on before flowering right at the last moment,  before it gets killed off my frost, I don't know.

A rather nice autumn surprise.

There isn't a lot going on in the rest of the garden, the trees are stubbornly refusing to change colour, but the Hydrangea Petiolaris on the back wall has turned a gorgeous yellowy-orange.
Once the leaves start falling we put a net over the fish pond to save having to scoop them out every day.

When the leaves are green I consider it quite a boring plant, except for when it flowers, but in autumn it earns its place in the garden.

And the Viburnam has sprung into flower, always a welcome sight, these flowers last well into winter, before they turn into berries.  It has been pruned hard twice this year when it threatens to take over the border, but still it comes into flower, thank goodness, as there is very little else.

And finally, the Cotoneaster tree in the front garden, it is full of berries this year, I hope this isn't a bad omen for a hard winter.  We get lots of blackbirds and redwings coming to eat them when the weather turns cold, I sit and watch them from the bedroom window, gulping the berries down like there is no tomorrow.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Indoor Gardening with Bulbs

I am never quite sure when the right time is to plant bulbs for indoor containers.  I know they take about 10 weeks of chilling before they produce shoots so about now seems right to get some early blooms for decoration indoors.  I have already planted a hyacinth in a glass container with just water and put it in the fridge to chill plus a couple of crocus and a paperwhite daffodil - but I want something a bit more showy than a single bulb.  Scillas and grape hyacinths or even snowdrops en masse in a lovely dish or bowl would definitely cheer me up on a cold winters day. 

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Here are a few ideas I found on Pinterest.

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I love this idea - I think I would put a bit of gravel in the bottom of the tumblers before putting the tulip bulbs in - then all you have to do is keep the water topped up.  You have to agree they look lovely.

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The best thing about it is that when the bulbs have finished flowering you can pop them out into the garden borders for next year.

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It's a good way of extending the gardening season and bringing some colour into the home and all for a couple of £'s. 

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I used to try and get hyacinths to bloom by Christmas but I have only managed to achieve this once but I now have a lovely selection of hyacinths in the borders as a result, and their scent, when I am weeding amongst them, is a bonus.

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I have a small collection of vintage china tea cups - I think I will plant some bulbs in them as Christmas stocking fillers for my friends - now all I have to do is buy some bulbs!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Cobwebs sprinkled with dew

Early this morning it was foggy and dank - but the one good thing about it is that it showed up all the cobwebs sprinkled with dew.  This is how my mind works - ooh lovely cobwebs - cobwebs - wonder why they are called cobwebs?  So I look it up:  it is from middle English coppeweb, from coppe (spider) from attercoppe (ator - poison) and (copp - head).  There, you see, you learn something new everyday.  Then I looked up Middle English - this was spoken between the 11th and late 15th century throughout the Plantagenet era.  So if you were transported back in time to that period - you wouldn't have a clue what they were talking about.



“These autumn days will shorten and grow cold. The leaves will shake loose from the trees and fall. Christmas will come, and the snows of winter. You will live to enjoy the beauty of the frozen world... Winter will pass, the days will lengthen, the ice will melt in the pasture pond. The song sparrow will return and sing, the frogs will awake, the warm wind will blow again. All these sights and sounds and smells will be yours to enjoy, Wilbur—this lovely world, these precious days"  from Charlotte's Webb by E.B. White

A great post about autumn cobwebs here

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Have you ever seen a cobweb as large and complicated as this.

When I think of cobwebs I think of gossamer threads - the word gossamer is also from Middle English - gos (goose) somer (summer).

Spider webs have existed for at least 141 million years, as witnessed in a rare find of Early Cretaceous amber from Sussex, southern England. Insects can get trapped in spider webs, providing nutrition to the spider; however, not all spiders build webs to catch prey, and some do not build webs at all. "Spider web" is typically used to refer to a web that is apparently still in use (i.e. clean), whereas "cobweb" refers to abandoned (i.e. dusty), webs. (Wikipedia).


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Seven things I like about Autumn


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Now is the time I start thinking about digging out my warmer winter clothes and finally saying goodbye to summer.
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We have had our first delivery of logs in anticipation of the colder weather - and although the log store looks full - the pile soon diminishes - but what could be nicer than a lovely log fire on a winters' evening.

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I spend more time walking in the autumn when there is less to do in the garden - and toasted crumpets with butter and honey are a favourite warm-up treat after a brisk walk in the country.
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And maybe some hot chocolate
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My walking boots will be brought out of hibernation and thick socks donned
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Ready for a good dose of kicking through the autumn leaves that pile up - something I haven't quite grown out of since childhood.

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And collecting conkers, I can't resist those shiney, chestnut coloured nuts - hiding in the grass - if I can get to them before the squirrels do, of course.

Justin Hayward singing Forever Autumn