Thursday, 29 June 2017

Generous June Draws to a Close

This weeks cafe flowers
This week's cafe flowers

As this month comes to an end and we reach the midway point of the year, it's good to reflect on the month just gone and indeed the year so far. June has been another great month from a business point of view and in the development of the gardens and nursery. The feed back we are getting is fantastic, about service, plant quality and the look and layout of the nursery and gardens. This makes all the hard work worth it as we both collapse on the sofa in the evening! The plants in the gardens and nursery are being generous too in their own way. Filling up the borders, encouraging customers to buy and try them in their own gardens and making the nursery look fabulous every day. It's been a generous month in a business way, the generous feedback from customers and visitors, the generosity of friends in many ways and that life is being generous to us in many ways in general. It makes that leap into the unknown two years ago when we bought the nursery feel more and more it was definitely the right thing to do.

There is so much colour here in the nursery at this time of year and plenty inspiration  for visitors and customers
There is so much colour here in the nursery at this time of year and plenty inspiration
 for visitors and customers

The corner seating area is filling up nicely with early summer colour
The corner seating area is filling up nicely with early summer colour

We found a home for one of our farm sale finds as a plant support in the big entrance border
We found a home for one of our farm sale finds as a plant support in the big entrance border

How did we get to be in the second half of June, where has / is the time going? Once we get to this time of year in the garden and nursery things are a tiny bit less manic, there is a lessening of the pressure to get everything done in spring and it becomes a game of maintenance which usually means weeding, weeding and more weeding, oh and watering if it is dry. We've had alternating dry sunny days and then a day or night of very heavy rain which is keeping the plants topped up with water. Nature does it much better than I do with a hose. As I write this it has rained heavily for twelve hours so far, the plants are i danger of not only being well watered but floating away.

Our latest advert for Facebook and Instagram
Our latest advert for Facebook and Instagram, we find this an effective and cheap way of getting the word out to local people about where we are and what we are doing

Looking up through the nursery from the entrance
Looking up through the nursery from the entrance, my how everything
has grown and is coming together

We are now on the website of the Independent Plant Nursery Guide
We are now on the website of the Independent Plant Nursery Guide

I spent a very prickly day beating own all the nettles and weeds behind the nursery fence and black currents. This will hopefully help control the amount of weed seeds that come int the stock beds through the summer, especially as I've managed to get around to doing it before they get to the seeding stage. Fortunately I had a plant of Bulbine frutescens in the nursery. This succulent has similar properties to Aloe for soothing skin conditions. Bulbine frutescens is one of nature’s finest medicinal plants. It’s a remarkable first aid medicine chest all in one. Externally the freshly squeezed juice, frequently applied, is amazingly effective to take care of a wide range of skin conditions and wounds. The list is almost endless: acne, burns, blisters, cold sores, cracked lips, cracked fingers, nails and heels, insect bites, itchy places, fever blisters, sunburn, rashes and ringworm. It’s also very effective for treating wounds, sores and rashes on animals. You can also make a warm poultice and apply it to the affected area to treat any of the above as well as eczema and arthritis. For my nettle stings I applies the crushed leaf direct to the affected area, it certainly helped take the sting away.
 ** It's always advisable to check for allergic reactions before applying any thing like this**

The flower of Bulbine frutescens
The flower of Bulbine frutescens

I spent a couple of days weeding through the stock beds this week. Once we are at this time of year it get's a bit easier as the last lot of seedlings have been removed and the plants are bigger in the pots too, covering more compost. Working through the beds also gives me a chance to check batches of plants, sort out any poor ones, make a note of batches needing potted and tidy up the beds.

Iris 'Silver Edge' with the new herb garden behind
Iris 'Silver Edge' with the new herb garden behind

Piglets out for a walk
Piglets out for a walk, they were meant to be this time,
moving to  different field

More wildlife in the tunnel, a frog
More wildlife in the tunnel, a frog this time enjoying a shower as I was watering

I finally got around to building a display with the new wooden cable reels we got at the farm sale a few weeks ago. Having given some thought to location and what I would put on them, I finally decided to use the roses and climbers. The reels make great tables as they are solid, don't tip over and have a wide surface for sitting plants on. I've put low interest plants around the edges under the roses to add more colour and ideas for under planting roses in the garden. At the moment it's Geraniums and Erigeron karvinskianus. 

Osteospernums are looking colourful
Osteospernums are looking colourful and are ideal for smumer
colour until the first frosts. If you have a frost free greenhouse
 you can usually keep them through to the following year


Geraniums flowers to put in an enamel mug
On Sunday evening I wandered around the garden at home picking some of the last
Geraniums flowers to put in an enamel mug for the kitchen window sill, they are such a
varied genus of flowers

Bracken the nursery dog
Bracken the nursery dog joined me on Monday, here he is on his
lunchtime walk amongst the buttercups

On Tuesday on our day off we headed to Ayrshire and Dunfries House but more of that in another blog coming soon.


How is your garden looking in June and what garden tasks do you find yourself doing as we head into July? 




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Sunday, 25 June 2017

In a Vase on a Monday - Gorgeous Geraniums


As I was cutting back some of my Geraniums in the garden at home this evening, I put some of the last stragglers in an enamel mug on the garden table. Like many genus of plants there is plenty variation in geraniums, be it height of the plants, leaf shape, flower size and colour or growing conditions. These lovely pastel coloured plants are tough and cope with a variety of conditions, so are ideal for my high exposed garden here at home and at the nursery. 

Geranium pratense 'Mrs kendal Clark'

In this old enamel mug are Geranium pratense 'Mrs kendal Clark',
Geranium  x oxianum 'Wargrave Pink', Geranium dalmaticum, Geranium 'Johnsons Blue',
Geranium 'Patricia', Geranium phaeum 'Mourning Widow',
Geranium phaeum var phaeum 'Samabor', Geranium pratense 'Mrs kendal Clark',
Geranium sanguineum var striatum and Geranium x monacense 'Claudine Dupont'

The flowers of June, I think, you know summer is under way
when the garden is full of Geraniums

As well as looking pretty in the garden, Geraniums are loved by bees, so it is worth planting as many as possible to attract these important wee creatures





Bees love Geraniums






Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting In a vase on a Monday. You can visit here blog for more inspiration and vases.





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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Weeding, Wedding Gardens and Wildlife

Loving the lime green of the Alchemilla mollis in the cafe flowers this week

So what does this week hold? Plenty of weeding though the rain has stopped play for several days so it's been a bit start and stop where weeding is concerned. The weeds of course are enjoying this alternating warm and wet weather, growing back as soon as I turn my back, or so it feels.

Bracken approves of the new rug,
and has now decreed it as a dug rug,
not what I had in mind

Iris 'Silver Edge' looking fabulous this year
in the nursery gardens



There is so much colour now in the nursery with Geraniums, Thalictrums, Iris, Hosta foliage, fresh green ferns, Astrantias, Chives and Nepeta. The gardens and stock beds are also alive with insects and the bees are loving the sun and bee friendly plants. The main entrance bed is a late summer flowering border but at this time of year it still has plenty interest thanks to the foliage of Rodgersias, Ligularia 'Britt Marie', Hostas, Matteucia and Thalictrum 'Elin'. The wildflower bankings are a riot of colour with Ox-Eye Daisies, Ragged robin, Campion, Yellow Rattle and grasses. There is so much to see, come and visit. If you have a gap in your borders at this time of year, now is the time to come to the nursery and see what is in flower that would fit into your plantings.

Geranium 'Mrs Kendall Clark' in front of the office

In the tunnel thing are ticking over, the annuals are all out for sale and now it's the turn of mid-summer bedding such as Osteospernums, Chocolate cosmos, succulents and Pelargoiums to take up the space. I'm also in the middle of potting up perennial seedlings for next year. There's a bit of an Aquilegia fest going on, I hope they all do ok and I'll be able to see what variations I have next year when they flower.

I've always found plenty frogs and toads of varying sizes in the tunnel, but this week there was great excitement when I found two palmate newts. They have very yellow bellies and a yellow stripe down their backs

Bracken the nursery dog inspecting the herb garden, not so much wild life as 
doglet daftness

The Nasturtiums are beginning to flower in the herb garden

June flowers in the nursery, Saxifraga 'Spotted Dog' , Iris sibirica 'Silver Edge', Astrantia ‘Ruby Wedding’, Ranunculus acris 'Citrinus', Geranium 'Sirak', Euryops pectinatus

A relaxing corner in the nursery to sit and enjoy the view and the sound of the water in the pond

A creative use for an old bain marie from the kitchen

On Saturday night we headed just along the road to have dinner with our friends Deborah and Colin. They run a beautiful B&B tucked away beside a river on their small holding. We had pre-dinner drinks in the evening sun while having a wander looking at all their animals and gardens. A lovely mix of hebridean, soay and shetland sheep, goats, pigs, horses, a donkey, chickens, ducks and geese all have their home here where they are spoiled. Dinner was fabulous, cooked by Colin and the company and conversation excellent. A late night on a work night too tut tut, but much enjoyed.

Some of Colin and Deborah's sheep in the evening sun

The end of the Herb garden in more ways that one

On Sunday we finally finished the herb garden / wedding garden when I got the copper beech hedge planted in the boxes. I have under planted with white Love-in-a-mist along the front to fill in the gap for this year and give some colour interest through the summer and of course white flowers for the wedding. The two beds are full of silver leaved household herbs such as Artemisias and Helichrysum italicum and white flowering annuals, more white Love-in-a-mist and Cosmos. Lots of white as this is where the wedding ceremony will take place. We have enjoyed the challenge of creating both the scented and herb garden this year but we are glad it's finished. The new garden's will be open to customers after the middle of August so keep an eye on our Facebook page for news on that.

Geranium 'Sirak' looking good at the entrance to the nursery

Bakers twine now available in the nursery

Cauliflower fritters from one of my Ottolenghi cook books,
 I'm sure they tasted better because we were able to sit outside again in the evening sun

A herbal bouquet from the garden



When we were emptying one of the compost heaps on Sunday we uncovered a nest of baby shrews, we quickly made a new nest for them right next to the compost heap in the hope mummy shrew would find them. So far so good.

On Monday I had an extra day off to catch up and go shopping! Time to tackle the wedding shoes or lack of! After trailing around all the shoe shops in Livingston twice I eventually found a pair I liked, whew! I also managed to buy a dress and a CD before the shoes lol. Home to clear a lot of outstanding tasks, paperwork and house cleaning during the day when I have more energy. Hopefully I'll go back to the nursery on Wednesday caught up, re-charged and more focused after an extra day off.

Tuesday and it was David's birthday and happily our day off too. After an appointment at Peebles registrar to do all the paperwork and legal stuff for the wedding we headed off along the Tweed Valley towards Jedburgh. The weather was lovely again, we've been lucky with summer so far, it's been great to have hot weather for a change and be able to wear summer clothes, it is Scotland after all. We ended up at Woodside Plant Centre for lunch, they have a lovely cafe where dogs are welcome outside and it was very pleasant to sit out in the sun having lunch.


The birthday boy





Old plant labels in the walled garden at Woodside

Happy pansies, I love pansies they are such cheerful flowers





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Monday, 19 June 2017

In a Vase on a Monday - a Herby Bouquet

June is a wonderful time in the garden, everything is still so fresh and lush with so many plants coming into their own. The predominant pinks, whites and blues blend together beautifully in the garden and in a vase but I thought I'd go for something a wee bit different and focus on foliage colour. 

A bouquet of herbs for the kitchen

The herb garden is buzzing with bees, colour and scent and so much colour from foliage. Up here in the Scottish hills flower colour in the herb garden tends to be later so it's good to make much of the different forms and colours of leaves.

A culinary delight

I have put together four different mints; Mentha × piperita f. Citrata "Eau de Cologne", Mentha suaveolens, "Apple Mint" (my fav for cooking), Mentha suaveolens 'Variegata', "Pineapple Mint" and Mentha x gentilis 'Variegata', "ginger Mint". Two Origanos make an appearance; Origanum vulgare 'Aureum Crispum' with it's golden crinkled leaves and Origanum 'Country Cream' a great variegated form.

A lovely variety of colour form and colour

I have taken a liberty with the Artemisia as it's not really a cooking herb, but is Artemisia absinthium, responsible for the active ingredient in the drink Absinthe. Also featuring is purple Fennel, a striking tall herb much loved by bees and hover flies when in flower. Lastly purple sage and common Thyme are tucked in for those beef or pork joints on a lazy summer Sunday.

Pots of herbs at the back door for easy picking

Origanum vulgare 'Aureum Crispum'

Applemint





Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting In a vase on a Monday. You can visit here blog for more inspiration and vases.





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