Busy Bee

I can’t believe how busy I’ve been in the garden the last few weeks. It’s just as well I’ve been active really, considering how much food I’ve put away. Grumbling Rose is working away this week and I’ve eaten out with friends and family on 4 of the days – Italian on Monday, Greek on Thursday, wonderful afternoon tea with Victoria on Friday and again out with her today for a delicious Sunday lunch along with her daughter and Albert. Did I mention this is Victoria’s birthday week? I really don’t like the latest requirement to remind us on menus how many calories are in each dish. I managed to miss seeing the Sunday lunch damage, but the chocolate ice cream sundae I had for pudding contained over 900 calories – I think they must have got that wrong, don’t you?

So after all this I waddled into the garden this beautiful sunny afternoon. I used the soil I grew my courgettes in as mulch for the garden, refilled the containers with fresh compost and planted some shallots and garlic. I decided I couldn’t hang on to the calendulas and asters growing in my wall pots any longer – they were really starting to look sad. There were one or two flowers that still looked half decent so I’ve popped those in a vase. The lobelia still looks pretty good so I’ve left it for now but added some new seedlings. I’m not absolutely certain what they are though. Victoria grew them from seed and we think they’re some little daisy-like plants that grow well over the winter – but then again they might not be – they don’t look much at the moment, in fact they look pitiful, but hopefully they’ll get a spurt on before it gets too cold – on the other hand they might just die!

The garden is still looking quite colourful! The cosmos, calendula, zinnias and verbena bonariensis are still flowering away and larkspur, snapdragons and roses have come back for a second show. The sedum is finally looking an interesting colour – it always seems to take forever – the bees are loving it. You may remember I fell in love with the look of Café au Lait dahlias last year and grew a couple. They’ve been all leaves and no flowers but in the last few weeks buds have started to appear – I just hope they don’t get zapped by Jack Frost before they have a chance to open. I’ve planted some sweet pea seeds in one of my plastic greenhouses and I can already see shoots peeping through. The strawberries I grew in containers have just about finished producing fruit, but now there are runners coming off them left, right and centre. I think I’ve got around 30 jammed into individual pots which I’m hoping will root properly and provide me with free plants for next year. Grumbling Rose doesn’t know yet but I’ve decided to try growing them in hanging baskets so I’ve got some brackets ready for him to fix to the wall on his return.

Last weekend I took some cuttings from a beautiful salvia growing in Rosie’s garden – it’s a variety called “Hotlips” – it always makes me think of Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan from the series Mash. This spurred me on to take cuttings from my lavenders and penstemons. I had a bit of a disaster on my first attempt to make some more Geranium Rozanne plants. I tried to dig a clump out of the ground with a trowel but the handle broke clean off – to be honest I was being lazy – I couldn’t be arsed to walk up the steps to the garage to get the big spade. Anyway I was then forced to make the trip and I’ve potted some up. I have used the rooting powder I bought this year, so we’ll see. The problem I’ve got now is where to put everything – it’s a bit early to broach putting the shelving up in the conservatory. I’ve already secreted my 3 chilli plants in there for overwintering. I’ve had loads of chillies from them and most of them have turned red which is how I like them. When there’s only me and Grumbling Rose to feed we never use more than half a chilli at a time, so I’ve cut them in half and frozen them.

The trouble is the window sills are fast filling up with various pots, ripening chillies and tomatoes – oh and nasturtium seeds I’m drying (in case you’re wondering, the conker’s to ward off spiders). I got the seeds on a visit to a beautiful garden a couple of weeks ago. Before you think ill of me, I didn’t steal them. The volunteers were ripping out the nasturtiums to make a bed ready for its next purpose – they asked if we’d like some of the seeds. It’s a variety called Spitfire – the flowers are a vibrant mix of red, orange and yellow. I’ve a feeling it’s so named because it grows at high speed – I might put it in what I call my “dead bed” – a border next to where I park my car on the drive. It’s dominated by conifers and anything growing in their shade struggles for light. I’ve been doing some work on it too this week – well actually I’ve just thrown in a load of seeds that say on the packet you can plant now where you want them to grow – surely some of them will appear – I’ll let you know.

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  1. I felt a real sense of gardening satisfaction by proxy, as I read your blog – I love the feeling I get when I am digging, weeding, tidying up, and planting…I desperately need to do some tidying up in my garden and I feel as though I have neglected my little plot. Love that you are continuously growing your knowledge…and that in turn helps me!


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