Saturday, 12 April 2014

Easter Holiday Musings

I've been off this week with the kids for Easter, typically the weather has mainly been lousy. Hey ho. I managed to grab an hour or so to sort some tree stakes and ties in between showers earlier in the week. We loaded up the barrow with stakes, ties, hammer and staples and went round the garden checking and sorting stakes. Loose stakes got hammered back in straight, broken tree ties were replaced and ones that were too tight loosened off. A couple of trees were right over, after they had  blown over in recent strong winds. These will hopefully survive and are now upright and firmly tied to strong stakes. It's important to make sure the ties aren't too tight, otherwise they will constrict and damage the trees.

An example of staking trees
 (this is the Pinus sylvestris when first planted in 2001)

Another damp day during the week found me in the greenhouses, giving them a tidy. The Pelargonium collection got pinched back to create more compact plants. I picked up dead leaves, threw some dead plants out and swept the floorst. I also gave everything a good water with some liquid plant food in the hose feeder to give the plants a kick-start for spring. Its now warm enough to switch the heating off in the large greenhouse which will save money and means I can leave the greenhouse open to vent it and get some air movement.

Cleaning out the small greenhouse
On Tuesday I spent a pleasant morning re-potting lillies and other bulbs and plants in the two greenhouses. I put the lilies out in the cold frame to harden off, along withe a number of plants and containers that get dotted around the garden for summer. Most got a sprinkling of pelleted chicken manure and a top dressing of new compost. Its still a wee bit cold for some plants to come out, so they got the pelleted fertiliser and top dressed with compost and will go out once its warmer.

About to get tidied and repotted
Waiting to be repotted

Waiting to be used in the potting shed

All re potted ready for summer
On Thursday we had a day at home in the garden. The weather was dry, breezy but quite warm, especially as I was digging. David and Adam moved several barrows and car bootfuls of type one down the track, to fill in the pot holes which will make a great difference to the cars. I tackled a new bed in the front garden, in front of the tree line wall. Because of the solid sub-clay (which refused to be broken up by a mini digger last year) the drainage here is awful. This means the unpleasant clay "soil" on top doesn't drain, lying there being soup-like and welly-grabbing at worst, claggy and smelly at best. Once I had dug over the "soil" I then dug out a drainage channel along the back of the bed and down one side a spade depth and width, down to the sub clay. We will leave this open to drain the soil round about for a week or so before installing a land drain, to permanently keep it drained. The water was running freely as soon as I started creating the ditch, so it will improve the prospects of plants in the border greatly in the future. Once the land drain is installed, better soil can be added to the bed.  It can be planted up with a mixture of perennials creating a ten foot deep herbaceous border, running in font of the wall and giving colour all year round.

Starting to weed and dig over new border
The drainage trench along the back of the border

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