Roses are Fed

First of April, very much sign of Spring now, buds are out on most plants, and the apple blossom is just waiting in the wings

With the new planting of roses in the Age Concern garden I decided to try and give them a good start in life by feeding them this year. I do not normally feed plants in the open ground

The fertiliser I am using at present is Maxicrop complete, first time purchase of that, normally I find it too pricey for me, luckily I bought some last weekend during 20% off weekend at the local garden centre

I gave about a gallon diluted to each bush, watered around the roots, supposed to be done about twice a month but may wait and see, cut it to perhaps once a month

I also did same to my recently planted apple trees, and the Opal plum in it’s pot, and the Thorn free blackberry and the figs in pots

The daffodils I planted last year are going well now, as are the wallflowers, and their scent is lovely as they are in a sheltered corner where the scent lingers

Continuing with the patio cleanup, noticed the pear tree was encroaching onto patio, so I have decided to try and train it sort of espalier, never done that before but I think it will look nice once settled

Knocked in two metal posts to tie the pear into, and took the opportunity to tie back a goosberry, currant & rose that live nearby

Summer Time starts

The clocks go forward tonight, lovely sunny day outside, time to update this blog

My runners are now all germinated, well all except the mystery one I found, the beans have rotted so never will know what they were. Because the weather is good I have started to harden the runners off, first day out in the sun today, they were galloping away in the conservatory

The tomatoes are now showing the first true leaves, not going leggy and still on the window sill, but no extra heat except from normal room

The mini roses, I have now planted them into a large pot at Age Concern, I did take a photo but it really was a poor shot so not posting that

A lovely show of daffs now in the sun, the early Tete a Tete are going over, but plenty of other varieties to come

My peach is in blossom, but has peach leaf curl, which I was expecting since it is now outside, will just have to take it’s chances because the greenhouse is no longer suitable

And lastly, one of my figs, the one in the conservatory, has embryo figs showing, not quite pea sized yet

Spring Sowing starts

The weather is improving daily, and my itchy fingers just had to get going sowing for summer

I have an electric thermostat controlled propagator, had it for over twenty years and still going well

Decided early start for 2017, indoors, for beans and tomatoes

My beans, both self saved seeds from last year, are runner, White Emergo and an unknown climbing black French bean from Bill at Age Concern, six of each sown into loo roll innards

I have two other varieties but short of loo rolls so will hold off sowing these for a week or so

Also sown, in individual cells in a tray were four each of these tomatoes

Shirley – bought on clearance last year from Wilkinson’s

Tumbling Tom – bought on clearance last year from Wilkinson’s

Minibel – bought on clearance last year from Wilkinson’s

Unknown variety self saved seed from a very sweet cherry tom from Lidl, April last year

More roses plus alpines

It has been very wet and windy lately with storm Doris going through, but bought two more Alpines for the front, from Morrison’s as usual. In pots and growing well

Arenaria “Montana” and Alpine wallflower “Bowles mauve”. I have heard of the latter, seems to be one often mentioned, so either good and reliable or common as muck. Either way both now planted out in the front and very well watered in with the rain

Still getting roses for the Age Concern border, two more today, from Poundland, unnamed, just “white” but they will do the job. Currently soaking in a bucket for planting tomorrow

Starting to look through my seeds, getting itchy about soaing tomatoeas and maybe beans sometime soon

First flower of Spring

After a few days of fog and frost the sun came out for a quick look, which enabled me to get up close to my first flower this year, a primrose in a pot at Age Concern

It is a survivor of half a dozen bought last [2015] winter whilst I was in hospital, to brighten up the dull old pots. They did the job 2016 spring, but gradually most fell prey to Vine Weevil. There were just two survivors before I got round to dosing the pots with killer this Atumn

Only one stalk with three flowers on it, but lovely welcome in the frosty sunshine

White buddleia pruning

I have a white flowered buddleia in my back garden, variety unknown because it was grown from a cutting I took from a supermarket car park, just as well I did as the parent plants have long since been grubbed up for yet more parking

However over the intervening twenty years of more the cutting took, grew and prospered, being a buddleia it never minded neglect, drought, rain, snow etc, bees, butterflies and all type of flying insects loved it over these years

It had grown very large, the trunk is at least as thick as your arm, and had been allowed, by me, to get over 12 feet high. I decided to give a good sort out this year and bring it back under my control again

The prunings go to the tip, but I used 4 as hardwood cuttings to compliment the other buddleias in the Age Concern border, they should take, especially as the parent started life in similar style

White buddlia before pruning Jan 2017
White buddleia before pruning Jan 2017

Daffodils

Prompted by having just bought a pot of “mini daffodils” in Morrison’s this morning, reduced to 50p, variety not stated but I guess Tete a Tete , I thought I would write a few words about the daffodils I have planted for this coming season.

Like most of us I have always had daffs in the garden, normally unknown or mixed varieties that have been acquired over the years, they pop up spring after spring

However on a visit to RHS Wisley in April 2013, as well as the beautiful displays of spring flowers, including daffodils, I saw a lovely pink daffodil, “Chanson” and at that moment decided to grow some pink daffodils for a touch of the unusual

Come the autumn of 2013 and I was looking for bulbs of pink daffs the only ones I saw were at prices I was not willing to pay, like one pound or more per bulb, seem my tastes were a tad too exotic then.

Roll on three years, to autumn 2016 and an unsolicited catalogue from J Parkers arrived, with offers on pink daffodils, plus 40 free Tete a Tete with every order, the time had arrived to get in quick

Ordered bargain package of 15 Delnashaugh and 20 Salome, both £2.99 plus my 40 free Tete a Tete and they arrived very quickly, not quite by return of post but under a fortnight. Some of the Delnashaugh were a bit soft but all the other bulbs supplied were firm and a good size

That delivery re sparked my interest in daffodils and I decide to go big on daffs for 2017 spring both at home and in pots at Age Concern.

The free Tete a Tete were planted in pots both at home and Age Concern, and I set out to buy more bulbs for pots at Age Concern

I bought the following over the next month or so, in no particular order

All except Double Dick Wilden have Award of Garden Merit from RHS

10 Mount Hood [white] from Wilkinson’s £1.75

10 Mount Hood [white] from Wilkinson’s £1.00 reduced from £1.75

10 Double Dick Wilden [yellow double] from Wilkinson’s £1.00 reduced from £1.75

12 Minnow [white, lemon centre]from Home Bargains £1.00

36 Quail [bright yellow] from Home Bargains, all £1.00 they had run out of Minnow by the time I went back for more

All planted during October November 2016 in large pots at Age Concern, and at time of writing some are just poking above the soil