|Daffodils and Birch catkins for the cafe|
It's a real mixed bag of weather again this week, though the theme is still chilly chilly with lots of lovely, clear, frosty mornings to make us feel good after the winter gloom. Having said that frosty frozen ground and compost doesn't get me very far in the task list. Back to the nursery on Wednesday with the sun shining and the ground frozen. I started with my weekly job of doing the cafe flowers and watering the displays and herbs. It's an opportunity to catch up with everyone in the building and maybe treat myself to a mocha too! The rest of the day was really busy with dividing and potting up some plants I took in from home and a meeting with someone from a labeling company. This is working towards us being able to print out labels to go in the plant pots (one of our next (and expensive) jobs to organise). We also met the young couple who are coming in to be partners on the farm with Pete and Heather. They have bags of energy enthusiasm and ideas, so it will be great to have more people around working on the farm. The birds are singing their wee hearts out so maybe spring is just around the corner.
|Progress in the stream garden, looking up into the nursery from the car park|
In the afternoon the ground was defrosting so I started the post winter tidy up in the nursery (at last) by starting at the entrance bridge and stream plantings. Again it's a process of cutting back, weeding, forking over and feeding and mulching. The last two are much needed in this area as the soil is very poor. The mulch will also hopefully make it obvious these are garden borders. At the same time I also planted some shrubs and installed some mini willow hurdles stop children running over the borders and trampling the plants! I have also put in some new signs. Yes it happens a lot, I've worked in many gardens and spaces open to the public and never seen so much disregard for peoples hard work and financial investment in making a place look good for them the customers. Parents actually stand and watch their kids tramping over the plants and do nothing to remove them or teach them right, wrong or respect, infuriating! Anyway rant over, hopefully my pro-active effort will pay off. Time and my stress levels will tell. The shrubs will also add height and interest and make the area less open. I haven't been happy with this area for a while and I think it's the lack of height variation and structure through winter that's been the thing. Hopefully the shrubs will help and we'll see how it looks in spring and autumn with leaves and flowers.
I have planted:
Rubus 'Beneden', a white flowered shrubby Rubus, the flowers are broad and appear in early to mid summer.
Spirea arguta, a childhood favourite, I love the frothy flowers all the way down the branches in May and early summer.
Berberis 'Red Chief', with purple-red leaves, growing to 5 feet and with lemon yellow flowers in early summer followed by red berries in autumn.
Aralia spinosa, an upright shrub with spiny stems and arge pinnate leaves to 1.5m long! Umbels of white flowers appear in summer. I am hoping it will grow here at Whitmuir.
|Horse and sunset on the way home from the nursery|
|Great evening sky over South Lanarkshire|
Thursday and more meetings but first some potting and admin in the morning. It was too frozen to do anything out side so a good thing perhaps I was away all afternoon. I was at Dawyck Botanic gardens where I had been invited to a meeting of the Scotlands Gardens Peebleshire group. It was good to meet other local gardeners, garden openers and plant people, not just for the nursery but also for myself, to get to know people. Luckily I already knew a few so it was good to catch up over coffee and lovely cakes.
|Two litters of piglets were born on Friday morning, only two hours old when I took this photo, awwwwwww|
Luckily Friday was a touch warmer and not so frosty so I got on with the other side of the stream planting. Again as before cutting back, weeding, top dressing and adding in a few more plants.
Narcissus 'Hawera', a smaller daffodil with several nodding canary-yellow flower heads in May and June.
Berberis thunbergii 'Aurea', a shorter berberis with yellow leaves that start off lime green through to golden yellow in summer growing to 3 feet in time.
Hebe buchananii 'Minor', a great plant for front of the border or an alpine trough. It grows into a mound of glaucus foliage to 15 cm high or so.
Fargesia 'Bimbo', a great bamboo growing to 6 feet, with it's fine leaves and stems creating form and movement in a breeze (or usually full scale wind here)
Petasites japonicus var. giganteus 'Nishiki-buki', a rapidly spreading plant with variegated leaves and white flowers, I've planted it in the stream bed to help stabilize the base of the bankings until the other plants establish.
Juncus greyii, with steely grey foliage that looks good all year round growing in water or as a marginal. Makes a great vertical contrast to more prostrate water plants.
|The finished result, can't wait to see it in spring and summer in leaf and flower|
Meanwhile David and Andrew worked on putting up the poles for the new signage at the entrance to Whitmuir. This is another big job that has been on the cards for a while and will make Whitmuir very visible from the road. I started cutting back the track side beds and did some potting before the end of the day.
|Getting the labeling on the sales tables|
|Luzula 'Hohe Tatre' with frost|
|Mothers day gifts from Quercus|
Another frosty day dawned on Saturday, cold but ideal for cutting back last years foliage and a couple of large branches off the willows on the track. The two I cut down were over hanging the track up to the nursery and leaning on the fence so they really had to go. Being willow they will readily sprout from the cuts making new windbreak material in a year or so. It's always the way, the branches are much larger on the ground than they were in the air. The rest of the day was spent finishing the track side bed on the right, doing admin and some potting to finish off the day. We decided to go out for dinner as we were child free for the weekend and ended up at the Mill Inn at Coulter, so not far to travel and a very nice meal again.
|A foggy start to Sunday|
Sunday was by far the best weather day, though frosty all day where I was working. The fog cleared through the morning with some great photo opportunities as it lifted revealing the frost encrusted trees around the farm.
|This was lovely to see on Sunday|
|Frost encrusted Scots pines|
I cut back and raked off the leaves and rubbish from the border to the left of the track, it was too frozen all day to get a fork in however so that job will have to wait. It was good warm work raking and lifting all those leaves and makes the place much tidier. We got the big wooden blocks moved into the wild life garden and I weeded and tidied the dry shade banking under the willows. David got all the tracking we have onto the sales tables (new deliver expected next week) and some labels put in place. The sun and dry weather always brings plenty people to Whitmuir, so we had a constant stream of people wandering through the nursery,
|Fog and trees|
|Tidying up the track beds after winter|
Monday and our day off, not so much as I have drawn up a long long list of things I need to do, need done and am falling behind with so our two days off this week are catching up days, as long as the lurgy doesn't completely floor me. We had a few parcels to pick up in Lanark so decided to do all the errands needing done there, walk Bracken and have some lunch out. We went to the Falls of Clyde, a favourite walking spot, but on the opposite side to the usual path from New Lanark. It's always quiet there and great views of the falls from the promontory and castle that jut out over the cliffs. It was cold and damp and the falls were only a trickle, they are usually a roaring, pounding mass of water, so the tap must have been switched off further up! We weren't up to walking far with this damn cold, so headed back to the car instead of doing the circuit. We had a lovely lunch in one of the garden centres in the Clyde valley before heading home. The afternoon was a catch up on chores, house cleaning and paperwork.
|Cora Castle, falls of Clyde|
|Cora Linn, falls of Clyde, we don't usually see it like this with the carved|
curved rock at the bottom
|The falls, very sparse today|
|Gentle, slow shutter speed falls|
|Snow drops at Cora Castle|
Tuesday and a much needed long lie and some much needed sleep. There was ironing done, a trip to Biggar to get gas and flowers, admin for the nursery and loads of other "stuff". I even got some baking done, which I really enjoyed as I haven't done any for a while. I made two loaves of bread in the bread maker (really enjoying having one again), rock buns and gingerbread cupcakes and a beef casserole which was delicious along with some mash for dinner. I managed to tick every singe task off my list over the past couple of days so am feeling very pleased with progress.
|Rock buns and gingerbread cupcakes|
Well that's it for another week, I hope I haven't bored you completely. Do come and visit the nursery if you are in our area, we've lots of lovely plants and things to buy, garden advice to give and it's great to meet people. We have offers on for Mother's Day gifts and lots of exciting plans for Easter Weekend.
Have a great week.
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