Thursday, 17 May 2018

Blue Skies and Blossom

New foliage on Astilbes in the nursery

Settle down with a coffee for another two week catch up post, it's silly season in the nursery when there's barely time to breath  never mind write blog posts. With all the warmer weather recently the nursery and gardens have really come to life, after what seems forever looking a brown and bare stems it so lovely to see all the shades of green, reds and greys of fresh new foliage filling the borders and stock beds. The past week or so has been gloriously sunny and warm and it really makes everyone feel much better, especially me. Customers spend longer wandering around the nursery and gardens and enjoying being out in the warmth. The birds are singing their wee hearts out and there are nest of blackbirds, swallows and wrens that we've seen so far.

Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys', Sesleria caerulea, Valeriana phu 'Aurea' and
 Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex 'Plena' and Alchemilla vulgaris

Artemisia absinthium 'Lambrook Mist', Primula vulgaris, Pulmonaria 'Opal' and
Artemisia abrotanum

Work continues in the nursery, when does it not? In the tunnel I am nearly finished tidying up the herbs and propagating them, so it's all looking much tidier. We've lots of new and unusual herbs coming out into the sales area, propagated from the herb garden. Seedling potting up is well under way and I'm hoping to get the first of the veg seedlings out into the sales area at the weekend, starting with kale, beans and lettuce. Out doors in the nursery I am still working through the stock beds, weeding, cutting back, tidying and labelling. I've got a much better idea of what has come through winter and what needs propagated. In between I'm potting up last years propagation to go in to the stock beds.

The stock bed tidy up continues, I am now half way ..... yay!

Narcissus 'Thalia' in the wild life garden

On Friday two weeks ago the weather was lovely when I arrived first thing in the morning, so I took my camera and had a walk around the nursery and gardens. Sometimes we really need to make ourselves slow down and take stock, and see what we've actually achieved. 

The wildlife garden

The herb garden is coming to life after the long winter

Borders in the herb garden

The seating area in the scented garden

Looking back along the stock beds

Friday 4th May would have been my sister Mhairi's 46th birthday, a day for remember the wonderful person she was to so many people and to think of Graeme, Fiona, Katrina and Al and send them our love. We can't send a card, gift or birthday wishes anymore, but what I can do is my next challenge for charity. I am going to climb Ben Nevis in Mhairi's memory and raise money for Macmillan Cancer Care at the same time. Sadly I can't make any of this years dates so have signed up for next year's charity walk in June (that should give me plenty time to get fit!) I'll be setting up a just giving page nearer the time for donations.

How amazing was that weather last weekend? Lovely to see people enjoying the nursery and gardens and sitting outside at the cafe enjoying the sun, the swallows are back and we got lots of work done too. Lovely to catch up with Ann on Saturday (we were at Threave, a long time ago) Its all go with bat surveying season for David too.

Bracken finds it all quite exhausting

A long long time ago when I was head gardener at The Murrel in Fife, one of the plants that we grew and I loved were double primroses. I haven't seen them in a lot of years and was reminded of them when I was reading an article about primula, so I treated myself to a few varieties, looking forward to seeing their vintage, double flowers in a range of colours as they grow and come into flower.

Beautiful cherry blossom on the trees in the
back garden at home, lovely against
that blue sky

Another of my auricula primulas,
this is 'Stubbs Tartan'

Doglet of the glen....... well the garden bench, Bracken doing what Bracken does best,
 tracking the sun round the house and garden and sunbathing

We had a mad Bank holiday Monday! It was great to see so many people at Whitmuir and visiting the nursery and gardens, Yay! The weather was stonking and it was a busy day helping customers. Even had a visit from Bill Hean who was in charge at Threave School of Gardening when I was a student there, a long long time ago.... great to have a chat and catch up with him. Home and lovely to sit out in the back garden with Batman before he went off for tonight's survey.

Driving down to Duns

On Tuesday, our day off, the weather was still lovely so we headed down to Duns for a walk with the doglet. We parked up in the town and headed out to the east to a local nature reserve where we stopped for our picnic beside a lovely pond in the woods. We had swans for company and it was lovely to sit in the dappled shade and have a leisurely lunch. 

We spotted a yellow hammer on the hedge

Bracken doing his best give me a corner of your sandwich look

Swans on the pond

Enjoying some time off on a sunny day

Quirky Bird on a day off

After lunch we walked through the woods towards Duns Castle and it's lake which is called Hen Poo! That gave us cause to laugh. There was plenty cherry blossom and masses of marsh marigolds by the side of the lake.

Cherry Blossom

Marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris)

Wild garlic or ransoms (Allium ursinum)

Walking back into Duns we stopped off for coffee and cake to finish off our day before heading home

Another week and the nursery is bursting with new growth. In the sales area dwarf Rhododendrons and Viburnums are in full flower with perennials catching up. Grasses are finally pushing up shoots and filling the table with their colourful leaves. Work wise in the nursery it's more of the same, potting and pricking out seedlings in the tunnel and keeping the sales area full and colourful and working through the stock beds.

I planted a medlar at the end of the nursery
near the crab apple I planted last month,
they will form a nice back drop
to the nursery and a screen

The weather has been glorious over the last week, warm and sunny every day with very little wind, it's been short sleeves, sun cream and enjoying working out in the sun. It also brings customers out, who have been enjoying walking around the nursery and gardens.

The herb garden in the sun

Picking some edible flowers and herbs for
dinner on Saturday night

After another sunny busy day at the nursery it was lovely to relax and catch up with friends when they came to visit for dinner on Saturday night. On the menu was morrocan meatballs, a yoghurt and mint dressing, heritage tomato salad, freshly baked bread from Whitmuir and for dessert a lemon thyme and orange cheesecake decorated with crystalised flowers accompanied by sliced oranges drizzled with honey. Its great to be back at the time of year when I can harvest fresh herbs and flowers from the garden for cooking.

Heritage tomato salad

Yoghurt and mint dressing
It's nice to know one of my sons has inhertied my cooking skills. Last night we came home from the nursery to find Dan had cut the grass (yay) paid job, but he had also picked all the rhubarb that was ready (a lot) and started cooking it! Tonight we came home from the nursery to find he'd made a very nice rhubarb crumble tart, even making the pastry himself! Running out of gold stars.

We now have succulents for sale in the nursery

I love this grey leaved succulent

On our day off this week I had a lovely relaxing morning at the hair dresser before heading home and then up to the Restoration Yard in Dalkieth Park to meet my Uncle and Aunt for lunch. We took Daniel along as he's on study leave doing his highers, oh and Bracken came too. After a lovely lunch sitting out in the sun we took the dogs for a walk along the river. There were lots of bluebells and wild garlic under the trees in the dappled shade.

My goats cheese and beetroot salad

Three generations, my Uncle Andy, Me and Daniel

Wild garlic in the woods

Walking by the river

I hope you are enjoying your gardens in this lovely early summer weather and lets hope it continues for a while longer. 

 If you want to find out what's been happening in our garden at home like our Facebook page 
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All contents  and photographs ©  Rona, unauthorised reproduction & use of these images is strictly forbidden, thank you

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

One swallow doesnt make a summer but it's a start

East and West Cairn from the West side

It is beginning to feel like we've bypassed Spring and gone straight to summer. Warm temperatures, sun, fewer layers of clothes, it's been lovely. I should have known it wouldn't last ...... it's chilly again. Also customers are not buying spring bulbs and bedding and have gone straight onto everything else. This seems to be a wide spread trend across the trade. So fruit trees and plants, perennials, water plants and shrubs it is. Plants have definitely been slower this year to come into growth so it's lovely to now come into the nursery every morning and see more plants poking through the soil and bark with so many colours and shapes of foliage, it's looking good even before the flowers appear.

Water plants and marginals have arrived

Acorus, great as a marginal plant around ponds
or for damp soil

Caltha palustris 'Alba' like a wet soil and is even
 happy with wet feet every so often

Now that plants are really starting to grow there's lots of work tidying, labelling and moving batches of them into the sales area, it's now looking full with plenty choice for our customers, no matter what kind of gardener they are. The past two weeks in the nursery have mainly involved potting, propagating, tidying the stock beds and sorting out the tunnel where I'm tidying, weeding and propagating alpines. There is also a lot of moving batches of last years propagation out of the tunnel and into the nursery now the temperature is rising. This gives me space for more propagation and to pot up seedlings and cuttings as they are ready. The plants moved out of the tunnel are sitting waiting their turn to be potted and go in the stock beds, which I am working through tidying, top dressing and labelling most days, it's all go! We have lots of new plants coming out the tunnel which will be ready for sale in a month or two, keep an eye on the plant lists on the website for new additions.

A full nursery with blue sky!

The weekend before last we had a weekend of fab weather which really brought people out.  My car windscreen got replaced ok and the nursery was busy with customers all day. Great to see some of our regulars and lots of new customers too, lots of chat and admiration for the nursery and gardens. Kelly and I got lots of work done too including weeding and re-doing the bug hotel roof and replacing it with sedums and semperviviums. On a Thursday Elaine has been busy helping with potting in the tunnel and weeding the sales area. It's that mad time when as soon as you weed and turn your back the seedlings are making another appearance.

Love that blue and yellow combination

Blue skies make all the difference in so many ways

At home my plants are really coming into their own with so much colourful foliage and the spring flowers making lovely splashes of colour. I've been moving plants out the cold greenhouse onto the patio for summer and got my Primula auricula collection top dressed and fed and outdoors for summer. It's amazing what you can get done in half an hour first thing in the morning while waiting for David to get up for breakfast.

Anemone 'White Splendour', Anemone x lipsiensis, Anemone trulifolia
and Anemone nemerosa 'Allenii

Caltha palustris, Scilla sibirica 'Bright Blue', Cardamine pentaphyllum
and Cardamine heptaphylla

Narcissus 'Mounthood', Narcissus 'February Gold', Narcissus 'Jenny' and Narcissus 'Delibes'

The big greenhouse never seems to get any emptier, hmmmmm

When all your magazine subscriptions arrive on the same day! Just need the time to read them

Not last Tuesday but the one before, Granny and I had a day out over in Culross. It was a lovely day for a run in the car and she enjoyed seeing places she used to visit with family. We had a great lunch in Bessie's cafe next to Culross Palace then a walk along the river with Bracken, who enjoyed a walk somewhere new. Back to Linlithgow via Kincardine Bridge and a coffee before I headed home over the Bathgate hills in the sun with some music on loud of course.

Who's taking who for a walk?

Culross Palace, love that colour

Brooding skies over the RIver Forth

Old pilings in the marshes, Culross

Another week at the nursery and more of the same tasks as I mentioned at the beginning of this post. On Saturday David and I cleaned out the fish pond in the herb garden which was an entertaining hour or so of David getting wet and the fish getting fished out into a large bucket and back again once all the rubbish and leaves were removed from the bottom of the pond. They coped well with it and are swimming around quite happily and we can see them again. Kelly did an excellent job of weeding the whole herb garden.

Scilla sibirica in the scented garden

The narrow beds in the stock beds are filling up with lots of colourful foliage, great ideas for small border or small gardens.

Did you know it's national gardening week this week? Not that we need much excuse to garden. With the temperatures improving and plants really starting to grow, its a great time to be out in your garden, planting and enjoying fresh air, bird song and all the new growth on plants. Why not come along to Quercus and choose some new plants to fill in the gaps in your borders. From old favourites to unusual plants, perennials, grasses, trees, shrubs, fruit, shade plants and water plants there is something for everyone. Check out the link below for national events around the country

Up the garden path ........ through the scented garden
into the herb garden

Euphorbia griffithii - Making a blazing entrance with it's eye-catching, fiery stems that retain their glory long after the narrow, red-tinged leaves have fallen. This plant shouts ‘Look at me!’ and is perfect for a ‘hot’ border. It also goes a striking orange and red in autumn before the leaves fall. It is what I call an enthusiastic plant, needing plenty space where it can run free! Well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. H 90cm, S 200cm.

One swallow doesn't make a summer but it means they are back and summer is on its way, they appeared back in the nursery on the last day of April this year

Narcissus 'Jenny' looking fab in the nursery this week against
that beautiful blue sky. The nursery is really coming to life now
 with lots of spring bulbs in flower and all the fresh new
 growth emerging from the soil

Some of my Primula auricula collection in flower this week. Primula auricula 'Blue Velvet', 'Lemon Sherbert', Primula auricula, 'Callender Park', 'Chaffinch', 'Kisum Krushna', 'Dales Red', 'Sunray', 'Joel'

A big old moon in a clear sky

Tuesday and our day off but no long lie as we headed to the gliding club so David could get a safety check flight so he can go gliding again. After walking Bracken I retreated to the club house to keep warm with a coffee while David waited his turn on the flying list. Unfortunately the list was long and it was taking hours so we gave up and went off for lunch at Loch Leven Larder. Great food and service with views over Loch Leven. Then we took Bracken for a walk around the loch at Lochore. It ws very windy, cold and choppy on the water. Brrrrrrrrrrrr. Hme for a warming chicken and sausage cassoulet and chilling on the sofa before we start all over again.

Sloe blossom at Lochore


Cherry blossom, Lochore

Hope you've not been too bored with my two week catch up, it's a madly manic time in the nursery and if you're a gardener you'll know just how much needs done. I hope you are getting garden friendly weather and enjoying getting out and about.

 If you want to find out what's been happening in our garden at home like our Facebook page 
                                                      The quirky Bird Gardener 

 If you to see whats new and looking good at the nursery like our Facebook page
                                                         Quercus Garden Plants

Find out more about the nursery here - our web site:

Follow us on Instagram @quirkybirdgardener

You can now sign up for our monthly newsletter on the facebook page or by emailing us to be added to our mailing list

All contents  and photographs ©  Rona, unauthorised reproduction & use of these images is strictly forbidden, thank you