A snowless Saturday and a windowsill of seedlings

It’s a busy Saturday in the garden as Winter eases off. There’s sowing, pricking out, and shed sorting to do!

Finally! A weekend day where it isn’t raining, snowing, or icy cold with the remnants of freezing temperatures and winds that chill you to the bone.

I was very pleased to be up and outside in the garden with RubyCat by 9am AND without a coat. I had loads of jobs to get done.

I was pleased to finally find a Daffodil that hadn’t been flattened by wind, rain, or snow. A cheery lone fanfare of Spring’s arrival.

A container-grown yellow Daffodil
A container-grown yellow Daffodil celebrates a lack of snow.

First up, was to finish putting up some more shelves in my shed. When i moved in, this shed was shelf-free, and I brought some cheap pine shelving with me, but with the demolition of the rickety old shed, this has given me enough planks to turn into shelving. The most significant shelf being the full length one that runs under the shed window.

To make this, I bought some inexpensive brackets from my local DIY store, and then took the old shed door and cut it down the length – thankfully it was 6 planks wide – so it made the perfect 3 plank wide shelves. I put those up with my new drill/screwdriver, and was then able to start pricking out some seedlings.

I planted some Cleome ‘Colour Fountain’ seeds a few days ago, and they have shot up, so I took the opportunity to use this new-found workspace to start potting them into individual plugs.

Cleome ' ' seedlings (left) with Cosmos 'Seashells Mixed'
Cleome ‘Colour Fountain’ seedlings (left) with Cosmos ‘Seashells Mixed’ (right) have been pricked out.

I also took the four surviving Cosmos ‘Seashells Mixed’ seedlings (RubyCat had been pulling them out of the pot and spitting them on the carpet until I moved them out of reach!!). I potted these on, and sowed some more as they were so pretty last summer.

Cosmos flowers in garden
Some of the Cosmos ‘Seashells Mixed’ reached about 4 feet tall.

I found a little pot of Honesty seeds that I must have collected from my parents garden a few years back. I added these to a pot of compost – not expecting much – but they had been stored carefully in a sealed container. You never know! Once you’ve got Honesty, you tend to have it forever seeding itself all over the place.

I also sowed some Lettuce ‘Red Salad Bowl’ seeds. I think that these were the variety that grew from that old out-of-date Erin seed kit. I’m growing these again because the slugs and snails did not touch them.

Ten days ago I also sowed some Swiss Chard ‘Bright Lights’ – my first ever time growing these – having been completely inspired to by the blog and videos by Katie at Lavender & Leeks (thanks, Katie!) and it turns out they’re packed with nutrients.

Swiss Chard 'Bright Lights' seedlings
Swiss Chard ‘Bright Lights’ seedlings showing their coloured stems.

These seedlings were up within a couple of days and now I’m staring at the pot thinking that I might have too many! 😀

In addition to my first-time Chard, my first-time Broad Bean ‘Crimson Flowered’ seeds have been growing on a cool windowsill in my spare room.

Broad Bean 'Crimson Flowered' plants
Broad Bean ‘Crimson Flowered’ plants are doing well

Whilst I’m only growing half a dozen, I’ve done two sowings and gotten 5 plants! The first 3 plants shot up, and the next 2 did too. Are Broad Beans usually temperamental?

The plants are now in the shed to begin a hardening-off process, and they joined the Lupin ‘Band Of Nobles Mixed’ (remember them?) which I sowed a year ago in 2017. These plants take a while to mature, and somehow they’ve survived a year on windowsills, despite the recurring threats of central heating. Hopefully the slugs and snails won’t eat them in the first evening.

My windowsills are now covered in trays, propagators, and seedlings. It finally feels like spring has arrived and the garden of 2018 is coming.

What jobs did you get done in the garden this weekend?

As ever, thank you for reading. Go-on, share this blog post somewhere, and have a happy gardening weekend!

Andrew

The Crocuses and Daffodils awake

The snow reminds the Spring flowering bulbs that Winter hasn’t quite finished with us yet.

Over the last couple of days there’s been a lot of snow in the UK, and whilst my garden is somewhere under this icy white blanket, I feel like I’ve gotten off lightly with just a few inches compared to other places in the UK or Europe.

Bursting out of the snow are little dashes of colour in the garden this week, as yellow Crocuses begin to flower. I managed to catch the crocuses before the snow fell. I planted these Crocus ‘Golden Bunch’ bulbs back in about October/November.

Yellow Crocuses on flower before the snow.
Yellow Crocuses on flower before the snow.

They’re being closely followed by the Daffodils, which I was hoping would be on flower in time for St. David’s Day, but whilst they have a tinge of yellow, they are still tightly in bud.

Daffodil buds
The Daffodils are beginning to turn yellow.

But for now, they are all but buried under the soft, cold, white carpet. A few more days, and we’ll be back on track for Spring (hopefully).

Going….

Yellow crocuses in snow
Yellow crocuses begin to get surrounded by snow.

Going….

Crocus in snow
The yellow flowers of Crocus lay buried in the snow.

I don’t think my part of England is due any or much more snow, so it looks like those bright yellow flowers will escape being completely buried.

I have planted loads of other Crocus varieties in the garden, and transported some in pots from my previous house, but these yellow ones are the first out, and it’s a welcome sight.

Looking back to 2017 and 2012, I can see that the crocuses are fairly close to previous flowering times, albeit without the snow. However, this same variety flowered in mid-February in 2013, even after the -11C temperatures.

Feed the birds

I’ve also been making sure that my garden birds have fresh water and filled feeders during this snowy weather. They’re pretty desperate right now, and I’ve seen a load of species in the garden tucking into the peanuts, sunflower seeds, niger seed, banana, wild bird seed, and the fat balls. I’m trying to put out as many types as possible, so that there’s something for all kinds of bird.

If you’ve got any fruit that’s beginning to turn in the house, pop it out for the birds – you’ll please the blackbirds at least, but probably a few other species too.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, keep safe and warm, and happy dreaming about all that warmer Spring weather!

Thanks for reading,

Andrew

The garden Springs to life

The garden springs to life indoors and out.

I came home today to be met by a very cheery Spring time ‘hello’ from some of the bulk purchase bulbs that I’d planted up in pots on 30th November. I think there’s little more cheery than the bright yellow of Daffodils when it’s so cold and not quite warm enough to put the scarf and gloves away for another year.

These were joined by the first of the Tulips that I’d planted the same day. These are mixed, but look to be predominantly red. I expect the, to open in a few more days. All these rain showers and the interspersed boughts of mild weather are ideal for them.

Red Tulips on bud
Red Tulips preparing to bloom in my wooden troughs.

Not to be out-done, the Courgette Black Beauty seeds have germinated, amongst many others, with one racing up a few inches ahead of the rest. It was old seed, but there’s signs of at least one more pushing composted up.

Courgette seedling in pot
Courgette Crisis averted – the first seedling races ahead.

I’ve taken it out of the propogator in a bid to slow it down a bit. Courgette plants get quite large, and seeing as I’m moving house soon, I want this to be easy to move with minimum damage.

Lots more seedlings growing, but I’ll come back to those real soon.

As ever, happy gardening,

Andrew

Buying up bulbs in bulk for a colourful new garden

A trip to the garden centre sees me return home with rather a lot of bulbs…

It’s been a long time since I wrote a post here. Basically, I’ve been busy doing other things – writing in other places about other things – but after a week where I had an offer accepted on a new house (although I’m now waiting on a chain…), I thought that I would take the opportunity with a ton of optimism to go and buy a load of bulbs.

Fingers crossed that the house becomes my new home at some point in the next couple of months, and that the chain completes swiftly, and that my surveyor doesn’t discover that it’s built on a sink hole, between a nuclear reactor and a volcano.

Theres a lot of hoops there, but I thought that I would plan ahead a little. The new house’s garden is blank. There’s no planting areas front or back – it’s all entirely sad lawn, scattered with child play apparatus (slide, swings, see-saw) and well trodden paths that have worn the grass through. There’s also a curiously fenced in patio – which made me wonder if that was for people who wanted to sit outside without feeling like they’re outside, or for people who like to stare over their neighbour’s fence?

I have plans. That fence is coming out for starters.. but with a house completion that will hopefully make that my home by Christmas, it means that buying bulbs now, and storing them in a cool dry place, is probably worthwhile.

Packs of crocus, tulip, and allium bulbs
Today’s purchase of bulbs

Today I picked up a big pot of Daffodil bulbs (one of those fill-a-pot jobs, where they then donate a % to Marie Curie), a bag of 10 mixed Tulip bulbs, a pack of 12 Crocus Vanguard bulbs and a pack of 12 Allium Caeruleum bulbs.

Jumping the gun perhaps, but if everything falls through, or it gets well into December and the chain still hasn’t moved, then I’ll just pot them up and allow them to grow into nice cheerful pots of colour until the chain completes.

Spring 2014 has sprung

Spring has arrived, and so has the time to choose what’s going to be grown in the garden in 2014.

It’s that time again – where I need to pick the plants for 2014.

Daffodils in Cambridge
Daffodils in Cambridge

I’m perhaps a little behind, in comparison to previous years, but with what has been quite a catastrophic (weather wise) start to the year, what with all the rain and flooding here in England, it’s encouraging to start seeing some bright sunshine.

The Crocuses came and went with little display. The Tulip ‘Negrita’ are now reaching up and I look forward to see their crimson blooms emerge. The Daylily ‘Hemerocallis Bonanza’ are also making progress.

Despite the sunshine, it’s still cold. Last night it reached low enough to give me a chilly start at -2C and a frozen windscreen.

Still, the rest of the day did bring sunshine, and whilst in Cambridge I managed to take the snap above of some Daffodils.

Spring is here. Now, where did I put those seeds….