Sunday, 7 February 2016

Mongolian BBQs, a glimpse of sun and Willow Weaving

A short week between two weekends away, which sounds indulgent, but we are hardly ever away and then end up away two weekends in a row, c'est la vie. And we want to get in some us time before both our businesses hit the busy time of year, both being seasonal and all. Tuesday was domestic catch up day after a long lie. The house was cleaned and tidied, an awful lot of laundry washed and other bits and pieces done. We went over to the nursery after lunch to check everything was still in one piece after the latest storm whipped over the country. Amazingly, despite the 60+ mph gusts all was well, in one piece and where it should be. We were not so lucky at home, which is odd as the house and garden are much more sheltered there. The roofing felt on David's shed has been lifted off and the roof light in the wee greenhouse is smashed, so nothing serious, just a bit of fixing. 

A lovely warming fire at Khublai Khan

In the evening we headed into Edinburgh for a new dining experience to celebrate David's daughter Becky's birthday. She chose to go to Khublai Khan, a Mongolian restaurant, see their website here. We were seated next to the fire which was great as it was another chilly evening. The main attraction here is the way your main meal is prepared. You choose your meat (many unusual, but chicken for those that prefer a known animal or you can have vegetarian, just omit the meat) then sauce ingredients, vegetables and rice or noodles. You can follow a recipe on the wall above or make it up as you go along. You then take your bowl to the chef with your token and he cooks it on a huge hot plate. He then brings your dish to the table and you can do this as many times as you like for the set price which includes starter and dessert. I managed to tick of a few foods on my bucket list. It was lovely to spend the evening catching up with Becky over great food and drink.

My kangaroo haggis starter

Reindeer in a sweet and sour sauce

Wild boar

Camel in a coconut and pepper sauce

Raspberry creme brulee, yum

Not quite as impressive as the real thing, which I was very
privileged to visit in 2009

Wednesday and back to work in sunshine and blue skies, it was so good to not be weighed by dark clouds, rain and wind. I checked the plants in the cafe and weeded, fed and top dressed the tubs around the cafe veranda and car park. They are looking good and the snow drops and daffodils are starting to poke their heads above ground. I then got on with the back row of willow weaving on the bottom terrace. Again it was a case of cutting out the dead wood, excess branches then weaving in to a low fence of loops and again cutting off what wasn't needed. Tackling the willow has transformed the terrace, even before we start creating borders and planting it up. The six foot high branches enclosed it, cut light from the cafe and blocked the view from the cafe to the nursery so by spending some time on them we are tackling quite a few issues in one go. 

Getting there with the willow weaving, good to get started on the back row

When David came over at lunchtime, he did more preparation of the black boards for signs around the nursery and covered area. We have almost everything we need to transform the covered area and I can't wait to share the finished results, definitely a before and after series of photos! David then helped pick up all the willow cuttings off the terrace where I've been piling them up and we dragged them in a ton bag to the bonfire area on the farm. I finished the day by potting up some more shrubs now the bigger pots have been delivered.

Looking the other way

Thursday and another lovely morning of sunshine and blue skies, it wasn't to last as by lunch time it was raining. I made the most of the morning by getting a lot more willow weaving done. Piling the removed branches straight into a ton bag as I went. There is a mix of types of willow and some are much shorter, making it challenging to weave at times, but I am getting there. After lunch I potted the last of the shrubs, squeezing them into the shrub stock beds where I've taken rooted plants out to go on the sales tables. Once the shrubs were finished I sorted through more herbaceous, Some are in such poor condition from being in the same compost for so long I've stripped them down, re-potted them and they'll go over to the tunnel to recover. I am now up to A, having stated with V back last summer when we took the nursery over. That may seem a long time to re-pot the stock, but in between that I've also re potted all the trees and shrubs, all the shade plants and a huge chunk of the grasses. It's been a mammoth task to do this with the stock we bought with the nursery but in doing so I've revitalised, improved numbers, saved plants and got a thorough and up to date database of what exactly we have in stock. All the plants have had fresh compost and fertiliser and will be ready for sale and make great plants this year and give our customers a good range of happy plants to choose from.

It was so lovely to have a sunny day, the bright red Conus alba 'Sibirica' stems
caught the sun, showing how beneficial they can be in a garden in winter

You may remember I mentioned our lovely advert in the Scotland's garden scheme "Yellow Book" this year, well now we have some books for sale in the nursery. They are ideal for planning garden visit days out to well known and lesser known gardens through out the year. Many gardens put on teas, coffee and cake and have plants for sale. Definitely a good way to see gardens not normally open to the public.

Scotland's Gardens "yellow book"

Nutella pizza, who'd have thought!

Now I am off to pack for our February weekend away, which we do every year before David's business gets busy, and of course, nowadays before the nursery gets busy too. Have a good weekend.

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