Saturday, 28 April 2012

Burgeoning and Blossoming

This is my favourite time of year!  Though I think I say that almost every week of the gardening year as different plants make their appearance known in the garden.  This week my inspiration has been the blossom on the fruit and ornamental trees.

cherry blossom

crab apple blossom
The weather in this part of the UK has been very, very wet and blustery, not the ideal conditions for blossom!  So between downpours I thought I'd better try and capture the beauty of these fleeting blooms.

ornamental cherry - double
morello cherry
We have more blossoming trees at Holly Grove than I realised.  We inherited a few as poor little specimens growing in what was the rough grass of the paddock.  We moved these 5 years ago and have provided them with a bit more care and been rewarded with cherry blossom (and a few cherries) and from the old apple trees beautiful flowers in May and delicious apples in September and October.

burgeoning blossom on an ancient apple tree

fantastic display on the little pear tree
Other trees we have added including the morello cherry and pear.  The little pear tree is first into flower every year and this year it is a joy to behold.

apple Sunset
Then there are the apple trees that we planted about 4 years ago.  The only one of these currently blooming is Sunset, though the others, a Cox's Orange Pippin and and another whose name escapes me at the moment, are showing signs of buds.  Our plum and greengage haven't bloomed yet, so more blossom days to come in the not too distant future!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Greenhouse Year - April 2012

I've been inspired to make a contribution to a meme on the Patient Gardener's blog monitoring monthly progress in the greenhouse.  I'm a bit late with my submission as it's usually completed on 20th of the month, but here goes...

Due to the time of year and the rainy weather I've been spending a lot of time under glass (or in my case polycarbonate) over the past few weeks. 

Following a good day or two of tidying up the remnants of last year's tomato, chilli and cucumber plants I put together a potting bench that I actually purchased in 2010.  It's taken me all this time to assemble the bench due to the time taken to put togther the greenhouse...the saga starts here.

Anyway, after the great cleanup I set about planting seeds with gusto and now have a number of small plants growing on in the greenhouse including: cauliflower, All the Year Round; runner bean, Butler; kohl rabi; artichoke, Green Globe; tomatoes, Moneymaker, Yellow Stuffer, Principe Borghese; lettuce, Little Gem; aubergine...the list goes on.

baby peas

and broad beans
A few weeks ago I planted pea and broad bean seeds in modules and after a few days hardening off planted these little plantlets in the kitchen garden beds last Sunday.  They have so far had to weather sunshine, light and heavy rain showers and halestorms!  However they seem to be standing up well and I had to get them out of the greenhouse as I was running out of room.

Talking about lack of space, yesterday I transplanted forty-five leek seedings from small modules to root trainers.  These take up much more room than the modules so where to put them?  I don't have a coldframe yet (it's on the Handyman's construction list) but there was a bit of room under a tent cloche where I've been nurturing early carrots in one of the raised beds.  So the containers of leeks in root trainers are nestling between the rows of baby carrots until the weather gets a bit more predictable, then I'll lift them out and stand them between the back of the greenhouse and the oil tank until the time comes to plant them in one of the raised beds.

So not content with all the seedling filling the greenhouse and the plethora of seeds yet to be planted; borlotto beans, winter squash, more runner beans; I purchased eight sweetcorn plants from the local plant nursery yesterday.  They need to stay in the greenhouse for a couple of weeks before planting out in May unless...if space really is a problem I can plant them out covered with bottle cloches for a little protection.  I'm going to interplant the sweetcorn with the Little Gem lettuces - an experiment for me.

Every year at this time I think I should take a couple of weeks holiday from work as there is so much to do and enjoy doing, but then I'm not sure two weeks would be enough!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

April Showers

Typical Bank Holiday weather in the UK; I woke up this morning to a garden sparkling with raindrops, then it clouded over and along came another series of showers.  Now the sun is shining and the temperature rising slightly, so I took my camera and had a wander...

home grown drumstick primula
The two woodland borders are at their best at this time of year with primula, grape hyacinth, aubretia, narcissi and pasque flowers all putting on a show.  These borders can be seen from the kitchen and utility room windows and really cheer me up in the morning as I fill the kettle for my morning tea.
aubretia and grape hyacinth under the old apple tree

blues and yellows
Most of the spring planting is focused on these borders but I am beginning to branch out with spring flowering plants and bulbs.  There are some lovely new tulips in the party patio border, a soft lemon and sprinkled with water droplets sparkling like diamonds...

Then there is the camellia nestling in between my potting shed and the Handyman's workshop.  We brought this plant with us in a pot from our previous home.  We planted it in one of the large lawn borders initially but it was too exposed there and we moved it in the autumn of 2010 to this more sheltered site.  It didn't flower at all last year, probably sulking from the move, but this year it has lots of lovely pink flowers, it really brightens up this sheltered corner.

I planted five pasque flower plants a couple of years ago and last year collected the seed heads and planted them in pots, stood them behind the greenhouse and promptly forgot all about them until the beginning of March.  And there to my delight were a number of small plants ready for popping into the borders.  I love the nodding heads of these flowers and the softness of the foliage.  The purple flowers are followed by airy seed heads which are equally attractive.  I've got a red variety that I'm going to take the seeds from this year and see what transpires by next spring.
purple pasque flowers from seed
Finally, for this post, I love driving down the lane towards Holly Grove at any time of the year but right now whilst the daffodils and the damson blossom are out this makes such a pretty picture and always causes me to smile.
at the entrance to Holly Grove
So there we are, some sunshine on a cloudy for the other Bank Holiday ritual...the ironing!