Saturday, 28 April 2012

I haven't got down the plot in ages, it has rained virtually everyday. I haven't even been able to mow my lawn at home, I got halfway up before it started raining again and I had top put everything away.

My plants finally arrived but I am not happy with them at all. First off they cut all the flowers off the Pieris so I can't see if they are red or not, that will now have to wait until next year. Then I got the Camellia out of it's box, the note said plants are trimmed for ease of packing, trimmed? Bloody hacked to pieces. Now I know you don't cut evergreen plants back like this but obviously they don't. It does have some buds on it and it is green under the bark so I am hoping it will survive. The Acer isn't a very good specimen either but at least it has some leaves on it.

Camellia Bonomiana

 I don't think I will buy from them again. I have sent them a strongly worded e-mail. They haven't replied yet. The delivery driver also left them outside my house where any one could have stolen them.

On a better note my old Acer Palmatum Bloodgood is in full leaf and looking very healthy after I re-potted it last year. It is about 18 years old now.

I really need to tidy up and clean the concrete but as we have a hosepipe ban this year it means I will have to get on my hands and knees with a scrubbing brush and bucket of water. I will paint the fence panel black to help show the red leaves off, this will all take time and I still need to crack on with the allotment.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A most wonderful suprise

I didn't go down to the plot today, the sun was shinning and the rain falling. It was a day of many parts, the weather couldn't make up it's mind so in between the showers I ran out to the garden and sorted my old veg beds. There are only four little raised beds but over the years they have always given a plentiful supply of beans, onions, lettuce and cucumbers amongst other things. I have strawberries, raspberries, braeburn apples, gooseberries and blueberries all dotted around the garden too.

So I set out to clear the beds so I can use them this year for the salad veg, having this at home and not at the plot makes it easier for me to pick and water. I pulled up the weeds and the remains of the winter salad and what did I find. A most wonderful surprise. Tree peonies. They have sprouted at last. I had originally put the seeds in pots to germinate but I often forgot to water them and they never sprouted, so, I'd got out my book "The guide to successful propagation" and looked to see what I could do. Well good job I did. It said to plant them outside, in the first year they grow their roots and in the second year they sprout. So I marked a row out in one of the beds where I knew they wouldn't be disturbed and I left them. That was at the beginning of last year. Today I cleared the winter salads and there they were, just a single leaf for each of them, but alive and well. I am so full of joy. Now all I have to do is wait for them to get big enough to transplant.

 I added some of my well rotted manure to the bed and sowed some lettuce direct. It should be fine here, this far south it warms up early, although I have covered the seeds with a cloche, mainly to keep the dog off.

I then checked the next bed, I had left some onions in this bed as they hadn't grown enough to harvest last year. I noticed that they had split and were starting to grow, so I dug them out, split them up, and replanted them. I hope they grow into big plump onions, most are red but there are a few white ones there.

It's looking all neat and tidy now. The pink pot on the left is one of my two blueberries, both different types to help with pollination. I removed the weeds that had started to grow and gave them both a top dressing of ericacious compost.

The rest of the garden is growing well too. The Braeburn apple trees are in blossom, my strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries are all in leaf with a few buds showing, and my blueberries are in full flower. My lawn has a lot of weeds in it but I only managed to mow half of it before the rain started again and I had to stop.

All in all, today has been a lovely day.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Day 19

The weather last week was bad down here, rain, sun, rain, hail, not the kind of weather to go down the allotment in. It hasn't helped that I've been at work. Today I managed about an hour. I took myself down B&Q, got the wood for the beds but wasn't able to get the canes for the beans (the ones there were too short).

So off to the allotment, knocked up the beds and got it all looking nice. I noticed the weeds are all growing but so far there is no sign of any potatoes.

When I got home I checked on my seedlings in the greenhouse, looking good. All my beans are up, including some of the ones the mice ate. So now some pots have 2 growing, so where I re-seeded them all, the mice must have missed some. The zucchini are up and some of the pumpkins but there is no sign yet of the butternut squash.


Not the correct time yet to plant them out so they will stay in the greenhouse for a while yet, I can then harden them off and eventually take them down the plot. I hope the weather gets better soon, it has been quite cold here, the wind gets through everything, but we do need the rain.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Day 18

It was lovely and sunny this morning. I needed to get the washing done before going down the plot, so didn't get down there until about 1pm. There was only one other person there and they were over the other side.
I raided the woods for branches to make a frame for my beans, all I need to do is get some canes to go along it. It is reasonably sturdy and the poles go into the soil about 18in.

I need to got to B&Q tomorrow and get some canes and some more wood, so I can frame the last 2 beds that I finally managed to finish digging. Should have bought shares in that company.

I also managed to sow some seeds, carrots and beetroot. I planted the red onions I bought around the outside of the bed, then a row of Beetroot, a row of Carrots, and another row of each, so it alternates. Hopefully this will confuse any pests, like the carrot fly. Just so I don't get confused I have written everything down so I don't forget what is where (see plan on right)

Still using the remains of my video tapes as a deterrent to the birds, don't want them pulling the onions up. Wasn't going to plant any but they were reduced in the shop, it is a bit late but I don't mind if they don't get too big.

Monday, 9 April 2012


Today, like yesterday, it has been raining. I can't complain, we are officially in drought here in Kent and have a hosepipe ban, but the plants need it. It has meant I have not been able to get down to the plot and I so wanted to get some more digging done. Instead I spent today window shopping. B&Q first and I found lots of thing I want, but yes, cost too much. Brain is trying to work out if I can make them myself, or, is it worth paying out the money for the quality.

Now the one on the left is the one I really want, in fact I want 2 of them, either side of my greenhouse for my strawberries, but do I want it enough to spend £100 for each of them. The one on the right is the cheaper option, but, I would then have to find some troughs to put the strawberries in as it only a shelving unit, this I could easily make myself. Decisions, decisions.

As I couldn't find the plants I wanted I came home and web surfed. Oh dear. Just spent a fortune. I found lots of plants I wanted there, and ordered some of them. Thank goodness I didn't order all of them.


These are the 3 plants I bought. I couldn't decide between the Pieris Passion and the Pieris Passion Frost (pictured below)

Now you would think the one with the word Frost in it would imply the colour was slightly lighter but no, it is much darker (at least in the photo). I really didn't want to make a choice but, in the end, I chose Passion. I think it may have been the wrong choice as I like the variegation on Passion Frost. Maybe I will buy this another time. I also found more Rhododendrons I wanted. I restrained myself from buying these, but I want them so much. These will be more plants I will buy later.

I am still looking for an Almond Tree. I have found one with pink flowers but I really wanted a darker colour. I think I will keep looking for a decent nursery as they will be cheaper there or I will ask at Hawley and see if she can source one for me. I want it as a standard so it doesn't grow too tall. If I was to buy a maiden whip I could pollard it, that way it would be the correct height but it would take much longer to flower than one which was grafted.

The weather report says it's going to rain all week :(

Sunday, 8 April 2012


Well I went down to Hawley Garden Centre today for their Grand Re-opening, what a disappointment. They have turned into the same as all the others, hardly any plants and lots of garden furniture. I stopped going to Ruxley because they had started concentrating on expensive tat (as I call it), you know the silk flowers, candles, books and stuff that can be bought cheaper in any B&Q or Homebase. I like plants in my garden centres, suppose I will have to try and find a good nursery where they only sell plants. Any way I took some photos of some of the plants they had there, and of the new store (the cars number plates are coloured out for their security).

I took the photos on my phone as usual so the quality isn't very good. The Chaenomeles Japonica above looks very pale, it was in fact a really deep red. The Scabious was very pretty and the colour was set off very well in the pink pot, there were also a lot of grasses and Heucheras which I liked. Most of the Heucheras in my garden are the dark red type so it made a change to see lime green and fudge coloured ones, I think I may invest in some of these this summer.

They have also taken to selling the ridiculous giant plastic garden ornaments, at least I now know where the ones Fizz and I see on our walks come from, not that I would buy them for my garden but they can look fun in a large space (picture below).

Friday, 6 April 2012

Day 17

Well it's day 17 working on the plot. When I look at what I've done in 17 days I'm quite proud, I have done a lot. I know I got the plot back in January but as I work I can't get down there every day and of course we had some bad weather in February so couldn't get down there then. March was lovely weather and I was able to really crack on but then I got some top soil which has taken a lot of time to shift down to the plot. But that is finally done and now I can get back to digging. I ache all over after today, I shifted the last of the top soil and started to dig over the last bed in the row, but, I was very hard going as there were so many roots in it. This is the bit where the brambles were growing the most and some of these roots are massive. You can't really see in the photo below just how bad they are but it gives you an idea.

It's looking good though and now as all the top soil is moved I can get on with digging over the rest. I could have had it all done by now if it hadn't been for that top soil, won't be taking any more again, although it has filled up the top bed in the first row that was a bit low. So this is how the second row is looking now.

I didn't quite finish digging over the top bed, was far to knackered by then so I have left a little bit for next time. Hopefully I can get down on Sunday, if not it will be Monday.

I will be popping down to Hawley Garden Centre on Sunday, they have their grand re-opening, by invitation only. I like Hawley as it's not one of those big chains, although they don't always have a large selection they will get plants in for you. They also have a big selection of Acers and Rhododendrons, which I love. And they never sell anything to other people when you have ordered it, unlike the market stall I go to. I was there on Thursday and saw a lovely red & white Camellia, it had been sold but the man said he had another one down the front so I followed him to buy it. When he got there another customer came up and asked for it so he sold it to her. I wasn't happy, he said that there were 2 other camellias there, I looked and told him they were white so not the same. I don't suppose he cares so long as he gets a sale but Hawley isn't like that. They are very good to their customers.

I hope you all have a nice Easter weekend.