Sunday, 18 December 2016

Catching up in the run up to Christmas

How ridiculously warm is it for December here in Scotland? Hopefully the plants won't start shooting away and then be nipped back by frosts later on. On the plus side mild, calm weather has meant we can get on with some outdoor tasks here in the nursery.

Another lovely sunset in the nursery

I have at last after many days finished lifting the leaves in the sales area, it's looking very tidy for the start of another year and makes me feel like I'm ahead in the task list (which I'm not). My aim is to keep the sales area looking tidy even over winter and work out through the nursery from there. Usually I leave this and cutting back and tidying the borders until after the new year but I felt now that the leaves are all off the trees and the weather was good it would make a difference visually and task wise to get this big job done and out the way. I'm feeling motivated again which makes such a difference after a real dip at the end of the season. I think looking back I was really tired and run down after a busy and successful season, but having had a break and then an enforced break when my back went I'm back re charged and keen to get on with things.

Lifting leaves, it's either therapeutic or will drive you to tears!

The natural progression after the leaf lifting in the sales area is to tidy the sales tables and tidy up the border that runs along the front of the office. This narrow border sits in shade all the time facing north east, so shade lovers and plants that will cope with poor soil are essential as is interest all year round. This has been done successfully using Phlomis russeliana, Persicaria 'Firetail', mixed Hellebores, Gilenia trifolia and Aconitum 'Arendsii'. At this time of year everything is cut back and I top dressed the border with compost form our compost bins. This improves the soil over the coming year as it gets hoed in and worms pull it down, naturally mixing it through the soil.

Office border top dressed

I've tidied the display tables at the front of the sales area and stocked them up with evergreen shrubs, conifers and perennials. It provides a bit of colour and interest in these darker short days and gives customers ideas of what they can plant in their own garden to give interest through winter. You can mix together stems and winter flowers or Cornus and Viburnums, evergreen conifers and Saroccoca, evergreen grasses and perennials. I will be writing a winter interest blog soon.

Winter interest plants in the sales area including Viburnum 'Dawn' 
with it's scented, pink winter flowers

You too can have lots of colour and interest in your garden through winter

 In the past couple of weeks I've been using evergreens in the cafe flowers teamed with berries and cones and they have coped with the heat of the building very well. Buxus, Lonicera nitida, picea and holly go well with larch cones and cotoneaster berries.

I've finally got around to potting up the bulbs which didn't sell in autumn, but that's ok because they will sell as potted bulbs in spring and provide colour and interest then. I've also potted up the bulbs to go in the gardens here in the nursery. The borders aren't ready yet so they'll happily sit in compost over winter and then I'll plant them out once the spaces are ready. I'm really looking forward to seeing all the scented bulbs coming up in the scented border. One of the things I really enjoy in gardening is designing and creating new borders and seeing them come together, it's a creative thing.

Tulips being potted up

There was great excitement this week as David started work on the new gardens on the middle terrace. He was in again on Sunday and got lots more done but it was dark by the time I remembered about taking photos! He has now got the curves done on the first four beds and the bricks around the pond. It's all looking so good and gives us incentive to get to with more. There are lots of barrows of compost to come down into the beds and gravel to be barrowed up to go between the beds. Then I can do the exciting planting up bit. We are even thinking of making our own willow hurdles using willow from the farm and weaving in situ.

Making a start on the new gardens

You can't beat a climb up the nearest hill first thing in the morning to cut greenery for christmas decoration, great views of the Pentlands too, keeping the Quirky Bird fit
Kale is still growing and tasting good
I've started weaving the willows

The annual willow weaving job, going much faster this year as the basic structure is still there after I renovated it all last year

In other news I've been Christmas shopping, got the tree, decorated the house, been doing lots of festive bakes (see another blog) and I've got all the wedding save the date things made to go out with Christmas cards, whew! 

It's all very festive

Organising Christmas and a wedding, it's a bit manic

I'm also reviewing this blog, I've felt dissatisfied with it for a while and struggled to write it hence getting behind. I don't want to not write a blog, but I need to feel I want to do it too. A couple of bloggers whom I followed and read and enjoyed their blogs have stopped in the last few weeks, which was sad but I understand their reasoning too. So over the Christmas break I'm going to have a think about what I'm going to do here. I'm not going away just having a think (that's what the funny smell is, my brain overloading ha ha). I've changed the look of the blog too, let me know what you think. 

Have a great week enjoying lots of festive spirit.

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