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!
Planting dahlias out this weekend! I havent even got the turf off the border mine are going into and to be honest they are all a little small at the moment.
I never hit the 6 month block so I must have too much to say! I do take the approach that my blog is for me and I write for me generally rather than worrying about what readers like and it has seemed to work.
Looking forward to seeing your sweet peas new supports. I havent been able to grow sweet peas since I moved to Malvern from Berkshire in 2000. They start off Ok but quickly get stumpy stems despite my regular picking and then there is the mildew so I have given up
I agree the dahlias are a risk but there is only so much room in the cold frame and they are getting big and bushy (I will post a picture). As usual, peaked too early! The Sweet Pea supports are actually in the picture (end on to show the lean-back angle) and the first plants are in and on their way up the netting. They are in a raised bed with lots of meaty compost and good imported soil so do very well. They would never survive in my clay soil.
Interesting point about who the blog is for…..I started it for me, to keep a record, to look back on…but it took on a different role when I started getting followers and hundreds of hits. Suddenly, I felt a responsibility to write for them as well.
Glad you are back. It’s always so refreshing to read about various gardening activities all over the world. Hope you will keep up the blog as it is so nice :-).
Thank you so much. What a nice comment. I certainly aim to keep up the blog and hope to hear from you again in the future.
Keep up the good work David and let’s hope all the plants that you are growing for my garden in Ascot turn out to be wonderfully full of colour.
Welcome back! Was only thinking about you the other day. I would say just go with the flow, don’t force it or it will become a chore not a a joy. ps some of my dahlias are out in the uncovered cold frames!