Saturday, 1 July 2017

A Well Watered Catching up Post

Some weeks I have plenty ideas of what I want to chat about in my blog, lots of things have happened and I have lots of photos to share. Others weeks I just ramble on about random things (you'll have noticed) and sometimes it is quiet and things are just gently trundling along. Although it doesn't feel gently at the moment, it's a bit hectic at home and in the nursery as it all seems to be weeding and wedding, which are both almost the same words too, interestingly. There wasn't much of interest to talk about last week and now suddenly it's this week so here I am on a two week catch up post.

All mornings should start like this, a mocha and taste testing chocolate and
 beetroot cake in the Whitmuir cafe

The sunny hot weather of May and early June seems to have deserted us completely with temperatures falling by between five and ten degrees. The rain has also returned along with a northerly wind making it feel even colder. The rain was welcome to fill up the water table and refresh the plants and gardens but we would like that sun and warmth back, please, especially for August. When I say rain, it has really rained some days, cats and dogs, stair rods, it's been raining. Perfect for ducks, frogs, toads and gardeners ..... up to a point. Some days and nights it has fallen heavily and constantly. I considered building a boat or emigrating but finally decided at least the plants were getting a good water which saved me a job, though they might be in danger of floating away if it doesn't stop

Our wildflower bankings are in full flower now, the Ox-Eye daisies are spectacular this year along with Campion, yellow rattle, lots of different grasses, knapweed, Ragged Robin and many more. We have a selection of wild flowers for sale in the nursery so you can create your own mini meadow or wildflower border. When we bought the nursery two years ago we began a programme of strimming and selectively weeding the wildflower bankings. This is really paying off already with an increase in the yellow rattle and flowers and a decrease in the more thuggish grasses. We are also pulling out the creeping thistles and Epilobium as it appears and hopefully over time they will weaken. The yellow rattle is a parasitic plants which lives on grasses, thus diminishing them in the bankings and letting the wild flowers have more room. 

The cafe flowers in June and July are full of garden flowers
 and wildflowers, I love the rich combination of colours
at this time of year

Practising wedding posies
for August

Work in the tunnel is slowing down, I've potted up all the cuttings I did earlier in summer and am potting up seedlings as required. There are more cuttings done and the summer interest plants have all made their way to the sales area for this year. Most of the potting is done, just a few batches in the stock beds to do on wet days. It's a nice time of year when the hectic pressure of late winter and spring are done and we can take time to enjoy the fruits of our labours in the nursery and gardens. Until the next lot of weeds appear of course!

Cerinthe are a great plant for summer interest and good for flower arranging too

Another summer favourite we sell is chocolate cosmos,
 when you can get your chocolate fix without putting on the calories

Now my youngest is on school holidays he has been coming in every so often to sand down and re-paint all the garden benches we have in the nursery. He's making a great job of them too. It's also nice to have his company and gets him out the house for a while. A couple of the benches we got at auction so it's nice to see them finally being renovated and getting a new lease of life.

The nursery gardens have really filled out this year and our visitors are surprised when they hear we've only been there two years. Clay soil might be difficult to work but it is full of nutrients for the plants. As I frequently say to customers the key to a successful garden is to plant the right plants for your garden. Every garden is it's own little micro climate and it's worth watching what way the wind blows and circulates around the garden and where the sun falls, or doesn't.

Hostas have also been enjoying the rain

Wedding rings have arrived, another tick off the
W-day task list

Last Monday Val and I went for a walk in Cardrona forest, just along the Tweed valley from Peebles. I took Bracken and Val had a friends daft collie so the two dogs had great fun while we walked and talked. Afterwards we went to Kailzie gardens to meet the gardener there, have coffee and cake and a walk around the gardens. A lovely way to spend a few hours on a Monday. On Tuesday it was heavy rain again so we took youngest and headed to Livingston to do some shopping, we ticked a lot of things off the to do list and kitted Dan out for the wedding.

Cardrona Hotel from a different angle

Roses in the gardens at Kailzie

Kailzie gardens

Felicia in the greenhouses at Kailzie

A giant butterfly bred by the gardener

Meanwhile at home the gardens are looking neglected, I haven't had the time or energy to deal with them when I get home at night, and they are a serious embarrassment for a proffessional! I do enough to keep it tidy and presentable and I have sorted out some of the borders nearest the house (we're renting for now). In the greenhouses however all is good and growing. My Pelergoniums have recovered from their severe haircut and being re-potted and the cacti and succulent bench is full of exotic flowers. Also looking good is my pot of Eucomis bicolor or Pineapple Lily as you can see in the photos below. This is the most flowers it has ever had and has been flowering for nearly three weeks now.

I always think this is an inbetween time in the garden, early summer flowers are going over and we aren't quite there with the late summer autumn ones yet. It's worth looking past the fading flowers to plants who's foliage is also interesting or colourful and equally as interesting as flowers. Rodgersia and ferns look great at the moment, as well as Hostas and Ligularias. Grasses are coming into their own and evergreens are producing new foliage.

Thalictrum 'Elin', one of my favourite plants with it's ridiculously tall flower stems to over 7 feet tall. Ideal back of the border plant or even in the middle to make a statement as I have done here in the nursery. It flowers from July onwards on dark stems and copes with our cold exposed conditions and clay soil very well.

Knautia arvensis or field Scabious growing in the nursery gardens is a great adition to wild flower plantings. With it's pale purple or lilac to pink scabious flowers through July it is useful for flower arrangements and for attracting insects to the garden.

Iris foetidissima, the stinking iris, an evergreen iris with glossy rich green leaves and small, yellow-tinged, dull purple flowers which are followed by large pods opening to show bright orange-red seeds, which persist into winter, probably it's most distinctive feature.

Acaena microphylla in flower and looking stunning. This is a great ground cover plant which will grow pretty much anywhere including poor soil, sun or shade. It is what I call an enthusiastic plant so give it plenty space. It will also take some foot traffic at the side of paths or inbetween slabs. This plant in the nursery is making its way across the track and will soon be in the Whitmuir kitchen with Val and Shaz if we're not careful.

The finished herb garden, with a month to spare. now to keep on top of the weeds!

This week's day and a half off have mainly involved ferrying sons to and from train stations and hospitals. But in between I have managed to deal with the weeds in the patio and paths at home, finish re-doing the alpine troughs which I started about two months ago! I've cleaned the car and cut back some Geraniums, cleaned the manky hoose and ticked a few more things off the wedding to do list. 

I've been working hard on my instagram account and the nursery facebook page, please follow the links below and join me there too. Look forward to seeing you.

How has your week been? Hope the weather is being kinder to you, bring back the sun.

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