Wednesday, 12 October 2016

October Garden Checklist ...

Good Morning!
I've decided to change the weekly checklists into a monthly version,
that way you can spread out what needs doing over the month!

1. Spring Bulb  - During September - November is the time to get your Spring bulbs sown.
Whether it's direct into the ground or into pots it's time to get sowing! If you have some bulbs left over and you don't think you have any space for them simply plant them up into 9cm pots which can then be used to fill any gaps or containers next spring if a space comes up! If not you can simply give them away to friends and family as gifts.
The general rule of thumb is to plant bulbs at a depth of two times their size.

Iris reticulata 'Alida'

2. Indoor Bulbs - Carrying on with the theme of bulbs why not try some indoor bulbs this year? Bulbs such as Amaryllis and Indoor Narcissus are perfect for this! When planting Amaryllis use either John Innes no.2 or Multi-Purpose Compost in a container only just slightly larger than the bulb, keeping 2 thirds of the bulb above the surface. Keep in a well - lit warm place and water sparingly until the leaves appear, turning regularly to allow even light levels.
When planting Narcissus bulbs plant them just below the soil surface.

Amaryllis 'Apricot Parfait' & Narcissus 'Erlicheer'

3. Greenhouse - With the cooler weather approaching it's time to give the Greenhouse a good clean! Many tender plants won't survive the winter months so the greenhouse is the perfect place to keep them ticking over! To prevent any Pests and Diseases from Summer sticking around you need to remove all the plants and equipment from the inside and give everything, including the glass and good clean with a scrubbing brush and warm soapy water. Make sure that you get rid of any old compost and clean pots and trays as these can harbour any pests and diseases too. 
When bring plants under cover make sure that you check them over for signs of any Pests and Diseases too so that you don't end up bringing them back in! With most problems you can simply remove affected parts and squish any nasties.
Once clean you can put up specialised bubble insulation to help keep the greenhouse that couple of degrees warmer which is important if you have plants that are at risk if exposed to certain low temperatures. Once you've finished don't forget to wash the outside of the greenhouse to allow for maximum light levels over winter! 
I know it may seem like a lot to do but if you have certain plants that you really don't want to lose then trust me it's worth doing.

4. Autumn / Winter Displays - If you haven't thought about them yet then why not plant up some Autumn / Winter displays into pots and baskets? It's a great way of adding a pop of colour over the coming months. I've planted up some baskets with a mix of Perennials and Annuals and a couple with just one permanent plant as I felt the foliage deserved all the attention!

Coprosma 'Pina Colada' 

5. Leaf Mould - Leaf mould is one of those things that you can't get enough of! It's perfect for digging into borders a soil conditioner or as a mulch and is extremely beneficial! The only things is that you can't buy it ... you have to make it yourself. 
All you have to do is gather up the fallen leaves in your garden and designate a corner somewhere for it to break down. This can be done simply by creating a bin out of plastic / windbreak netting held into place by 4 bamboo canes, or you can bag it up into specifically designed sacks or at the very least a black binbag pierced with a few holes!
Simply add the fallen leaves to whatever you'd prefer to use, water each layer in then leave to break down, this can take up to 1 - 2 years but once you start doing it each year you'll have some ready to use all year round.

5. Lawn Care - If your lawn is looking a little worse for wear after summer then now is the time treat it with an Autumn feed.

Thanks for stopping by, don't forget you can find all the previous Checklists on the page tab above.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Harrogate Autumn Flower Show ... Part 2!

Good Morning!
You may have noticed earlier this morning that this post went live with nothing in it! I thought I'd already typed it up but apparently not ... so here it is, better late than never lol
Here are the rest of my favourite photographs from last Saturdays visit to Harrogate Autumn Flower Show ... I wish I could go back and do it all again, roll on the Spring show !!!

First up is this statement plant which caught my attention straight away, 
I love the towering spikes and dark foliage.
Actaea simplex 'Brunette'

Following on with the theme of dark foliage is this lovely brown grass. Grasses are perfect for filling gaps in a garden, providing structure and contrasting leaf shape to flowers. 
They're also great for using in containers and hanging baskets!

The flowers and fruits on this Euonymous phellomanus (Spindle Tree) look fantastic.

Speaking of flowers this Gladiolus murielae is definitely one for the wish list!

Heucheras are definitely plants that have had to grow on me over the past couple of years, when I first started gardening I wasn't a fan but now I can't get enough of them! 
With such a variety of colours they're perfect for adding colour to a garden when there isn't much else going on and they're relatively easy to look after ... just keep an eye out for vine weevil!

This display of Hardy plants was one of my favourites simply for its naturalistic look.

Fuchsias aren't really a plant that I collect many of but the following variety may have to be purchased, the salmon spiky flowers are different to the usual blooms that you see.

Apart from the Clematis growing on my shed I haven't had much luck growing them, powdery mildew has always been a bit of an issue later in the growing season. However the blooms on the following variety are so teeny and delicate that it might be worth giving this one a go!

Clematis 'Fascination'

The colours on this Carnation were a muted mix of pink and green which contrast to what another onlooker described as 'mucky' I think makes them much more decorative, specially in a vase!

Outside the Plant Pavillion were more plant stalls including these two displays of a Dog and Witch's Hat decorated with Sempervivums! Definitely worth the effort!

Of course I couldn't forget the Veg, the decoration on these pods I think makes them worth growing just for decoration.

Finally you're probably wondering what I ended up buying? Well I was actually rather well behaved and only came away with a couple of Heucheras 'Brass Lantern' & 'Sugar Frosting' and my first Orchid, Phalaenopsis 'Mini Mark'. 
Although I may end up ordering a few of the plants photographed when I have the pennies!

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, 19 September 2016

Harrogate Autumn Flower Show ... Part 1!

Good Morning!
It's been a little while since I last posted, I hope you've all enjoyed the recent weather and are keeping up with the jobs mentioned in my previous post. I've spent the majority of the month simply dead-heading, watering and composting annuals past their best. 
The cabbages sown a few weeks ago are still sat in their trays in the hardening off stage and some winter pansies that I purchased a few weeks ago were potted on and are currently growing on, these will be put in some more hanging baskets once the summer baskets have past their best.

Back to the main subject of today's post and it's all about the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show!
Living in Yorkshire this is the only plant show that I can realistically get to and back in Spring it was the first time I went to it. I couldn't wait for the Autumn one which was on last Saturday and of course I took my camera!
Here are some photo's of the plants that caught my eye ... there's quite a lot!

Alstroemeria psittacina

I'm not usually a fan of begonia's but the spiky foliage on the following plants caught my eye.

Begonia 'Raspberry Swirl' & Begonia benichoma

I loved the green colour scheme of these Chrysanthemums and the fact that the blooms are slightly understated.

Next to the Chrysanthemums was this amazing stand of Hippeastrum and Alliums ...

This stand showcasing Houseplants certainly made me realise I need to add to my collection!

Another plant that I wasn't overly fond of before this visit are Echinaceas but the following two varieties have certainly tempted me ...

This last set of plants caught my attention for having rather unusual flowers ...

Fascicularia bicolour

Tricyrtis formosana Stolonifera

Well that's it for today, I shall share the rest of the photo's with you soon!
I hope you've liked what you've seen so far ...


Friday, 2 September 2016

Garden Checklist ...

Good Morning!
I can't believe September has reached us already, this year has flown by!
As for the Summer ... well the thing that we called Summer past us in a blink!
There are however a few things that you can still be getting on with in the garden right now ...

1. Hedges  - Now that fledglings will have left their nests it's time to trim any hedges that need doing! It's not perfect but the one in our garden has been neatened up and at long last it no longer resembles a spiky hairdo from the early 2000's!

2. Raspberries - If you have Raspberries in your garden then now is the time to do a little bit of pruning! 
If you are growing Summer fruiting varieties then prune out the canes which bore fruit this year as they fruit on the previous years growth. 
One way of telling which is what is that if you prune at this time of year the canes you need to get rid of will be a brown colour, this years growth will still be green.
Cut out all the old canes and try to leave each plant with 4 - 5 of the healthiest, strongest looking canes.
Autumn fruiting varieties however fruit on the current years growth which means you can cut them all down later on towards the end the year.

3. Hanging Baskets - If like me you have some Hanging Baskets looking past their best, why not give them a spruce up for the coming months! 
Below I have kept the conifers in my driveway baskets but replaced everything else with ...
Heuchera 'Obsidian'
Brachyglottis 'Greyi' for the silver foliage 
- Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue'
 along with some Winter Pansies for some little pops of colour.
(I will also add some Spring bulbs to the basket once I have purchased them)

4. Spring Bulbs - Now is the time to get ordering those Spring bulbs and the sooner you do it the better! The first reason being that the bulbs will be of a better quality compared to those left sitting around for a few months ... the second reason being that you have more choice before the favourite's are snapped up and end up going out of stock.
Here's a little look of some that are on my list to buy so far ... it soon adds up but it's worth it!

5. Deadheading - I know I mention this in every checklist but please make sure that you keep up with the deadheading to prolong the flowering of your favourite plants! 
As you can see below in the photograph the bloom on the left needs to be removed (simply cut back the flower stalk to where it reaches the stem) and it won't be just you enjoying more blooms ...

Thanks for stopping by, don't forget you can find all the previous Checklists on the page tab above.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

August's Plant of the Month!

Good Morning!
The PLANT OF THE MONTH for August is ... Penstemon 'Raven'
Penstemons are one of the easiest plants to grow and are great for a gap in the border that needs filling quickly! Flowering from June to first frosts they are one of the best performers in a garden and are rarely victim to attacks from slugs and snails.
They are also a great plant for anyone that is a beginner to taking cuttings!
There are a range of varieties but the one that I have chosen for today and that is also in my garden is called 'Raven'.

Photo from Crocus

Photo from my garden (You can also see the white variety growing alongside)

This particular variety is semi evergreen, happy in most soil types and aspects in either full sun or partial shade.
This plant will grow 50-100cm tall which is great for a border. This plant is clump forming and the flowers are similar to those of a foxglove which will flower from June right up until the first frosts. To make sure that flowering is continuous make sure that you deadhead once each flower spike has finished.
During the winter months it is best to leave the plants foliage intact and give it a dry mulch to protect the crown and roots. In Spring once you can see new shoots emerging you can cut the original stems down to the base to promote a fresh flush of growth.

This plant can be propagated in the Spring time by division, softwood cuttings in early summer or semi-hardwood cuttings in midsummer.
I took some cuttings myself on the 10th of July and they were ready to be potted on into individual 9cm pots yesterday ...

Generally disease free, can be prone to attacks from pests but usually pest free.


Sunday, 14 August 2016

Garden Checklist ...

Good Morning!
Yet again it's been a while since I've posted here, due to work or feeling unwell I just haven't had the time to sit down let alone venture out into the garden!
Here's hoping that changes soon and here are a few suggestions of what you can be getting on with in the garden today ...

1. Tomatoes  - Your Tomato plants should've reached a height that you're happy with and setting plenty of fruits by now. To help focus the plant's energy on the fruits trim away any foliage restricting light to the ripening fruits, you can be pretty drastic with this but make sure that you leave some foliage on the plant. Continue giving them a weekly feed and you should be feasting on your tomatoes in no time!   

2. Wildlife - If like me you also like to look after the local wildlife in your garden make sure that you clean any bird baths regularly and maintain that water levels are always topped up. It can soon evaporate in hot weather! 
I also like to give bird feeders a good wash out when they need filling up to make sure that they are kept disease free and in a good condition for the birds.

3. Collect Seeds - If there are any plants that you've been particularly impressed with this year in the garden and you'd like more of next year then now is the time to start thinking about collecting seeds! 
Plants such as Foxgloves will be setting their seeds now and the seed can be sown as soon as collected in preparation for plants next year!

4. Deadheading - As always make sure that you keep up with the deadheading to prolong the flowering of your favourite Summer plants such as Dahlias, Pelargoniums and Basket Plants!

5. Watering - Keep up with the Watering, especially of pot plants. In hot weather plants may need a good drench daily to keep them happy and healthy.

6. Paperwhite Narcissus - If you want some Paperwhite Narcissus in flower this Christmas then it's time to start thinking about the bulbs and getting them potted up! The perfume can be love or hate but I think they make a great centrepiece for a table when in flower.

Thanks for stopping by, don't forget you can find all the previous Checklists on the page tab above.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

July's Plant of the Month!

Good Morning!
Apologies for it being super quiet on this blog this month, the past couple of weeks have just been filled of following the recent checklist and constant watering due to the hot weather we've had recently!

The PLANT OF THE MONTH for July is ... Crocosmia 'Lucifer'
(This plant may also be known as Montbretia 'Lucifer')

This plant is happy in most soil types as long as it is moist but well drained, it will thrive well in any aspect except for the North and is happy in either Full Sun or Partial Shade.
Crocosmia 'Lucifer' can also cope with exposure to windy weather.

The total height and width for this plant is 0.1 - 0.5m which is great if you are wanting a little height in your borders at this time of year. 'Lucifer' forms clumps of narrow green leaf spikes along with spikes of funnel shaped flowers which flower from late July - September.
This plant is a Hardy Deciduous Perennial so it will die back to ground level over the winter.
Protection may be needed during particularly cold winters, simply cover the crown with a mulch to protect against Frost damage.

This plant can be propagated in the Spring time by dividing the forming clumps into smaller groups and re-planting just before the growth starts at a depth of approx 4inches.
There is no need to prune this plant.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' is generally Disease free but may suffer attacks from the Glasshouse Red Spider Mite.