I’m back! I know I have been absent for a while and I hope you didn’t give up on me. I think I hit the infamous blogger’s ‘six month wall’. For reasons which are difficult to explain, a lot of bloggers lose the enthusiasm or the desire to continue their blogs and often stop altogether. The impetus stalled and I felt really guilty. Admittedly, I have also been more involved with committee business for the Cheltenham Horticultural Society for which I am now Publicity Officer, but that is probably just an excuse. Anyway, I have a number of ideas for keeping the blog fresh, interesting and entertaining and I hope you will stick with me.
I hope you like the new header picture; it was taken last week at the garden of author and gardening journalist Mary Keen at The Old Rectory, Duntisbourne Rous near Cirencester. I have admired Mary’s writing in the Daily Telegraph and The RHS Garden magazine for many years and looked forward to her NGS Open Day on Monday. It was….disappointing. This deserves a blog post of its own and I will put finger to keyboard very shortly on this topic.
It has been a long, wet, difficult winter and I have to confess, I have been a bit depressed about the garden. Living in a bungalow with the garden on three sides gives me the opportunity to move from room to room and see every aspect regardless of the weather. This is generally a good thing. It enables me to look out and plan the work to be done, often very early in the morning in pyjamas!
This picture reflects my most recent activity, getting the raised beds ready for a variety of cut flowers and vegetables. I am going to try tomatoes outdoors this year having built new staging in the greenhouse over winter where the tomatoes and chillies used to grow. I once had an allotment and grew tomatoes outdoors very successfully there so I am hoping the same will be true in a raised bed.
The electric propagators are all full of emerging seedlings in the greenhouse and as usual I will shortly run out of space. I always end up juggling between the main greenhouse, the tiny Wickes ‘overspill’ pop-up greenhouse, cold frames and the big risk…..planting out early! I check the detailed short and medium term weather forecast every day and it looks like we may have seen the last of the frosts so this weekend will see the dahlias planted out in the cutting garden.
A friend suggested I grow my sweet peas up ‘outward facing’ 8′ canes this year for a change. The theory is it allows a row of strawberries to be grown in front of the sweet peas and the flowers rise above and out towards you for easy picking…my wife (the sweet pea fairy who does all the tying-in and picking) is not convinced yet!
One of the wonderful side benefits of our old Labrador who constantly sheds hair is the copious amount of free nesting material it provides the blue tits at this time of year. I put it into a fat ball spiral feeder and it’s gone in days.
Hoping and praying for a long hot summer, the next most important job is to install 100 metres of ‘leaky pipe’ irrigation which has been in the shed for nearly 10 years waiting for this moment. Like a lot of things we own, it was bought on a whim, an impetuous moment of weakness, but I still think it was £65 well spent. I planned to install it last year but, as we all know, it turned out not to be necessary!