Saturday, 28 May 2016

Native Woodland and Hedgerow Borders in the Nursery

We have lots of ideas for different "gardens", borders and demonstration beds we want to create on the terraces of Quercus Garden Plants. The bottom terrace lends itself to being a wild life garden with all the wild flowers already there and I will develop it over time to include plants for bees, birds, insects and so on with interpretation boards and the plants for sale. I decided a native garden at the entrance would be interesting and fun to create, tying in nicely with the wild life garden.

Putting down the bark for the path

The year before we left my previous garden, I created a Scottish native garden in front of the office. It was fun to do but sadly I never saw it come to maturity. You can read about that native garden here. Here in the nursery I again decided that I wanted to use plants that occur naturally in Scotland and I referred back to my previous list of what to plant and how to plant them together in their particular habitats. Research has produced six distinctive habitats which will give us a wide spectrum of plants to grow. These are woodland, hedgerow, rock, bog/wet meadow and meadow and aquatic. These will be created through the wild life garden with the hedgerow with woodland habitats being at the entrance.

Building the arch into the wild life garden

So what is a native plant? These are plants indigenous to a given area. It includes plants that have occurred naturally, developed or existed for many years in that specific area. Some native plants have adapted to limited, harsh or very specific conditions and may be contained to a very small area. Where as others with less specific needs or the ability to adapt well can be found over a larger area Research has shown that insects depend on native plants.

With the borders dug and planting started

Having dug over both sides of the path and put in a wooden edge (the pieces of log recycled from the wild life garden to be) I started planting. To create a tree canopy I have planted a Rowan, Birch and Crab apple. These won't get too tall or cause a problem and will add interest all year round with berries, fruit and coloured bark. They will also create dappled shade for the woodlanders underneath. Having brought a large amount of my plant collection with us when we moved, I was able to divide some of the native plants at home and use them here. Others are being grown from seed in the tunnel and some were sourced from a wildflower nursery. Once all these are established we'll be self sufficient in seeds and plants for the nursery.

With a wooden edge and topped dressed in spring the borders
are coming together

The hedge for the hedgerow habitat will be planted along the top of the banking on the right. This will be a mix of beech, hawthorn, Euonymus europeus and roses and will continue along to where the scented border will start.

Woodland on the left and hedge row on the right

Planting list:

Malus 'Evereste'                    (Crab apple)
Sorbus aucuparia                   (Rowan)
Betula pendula                      (Birch)
Dryopteris felix-mas             (Male Fern)
Convolvulus major                (Lily of the Valley)
Fragaria vesca                       (Wild Strawberry)
Luzula sylvatica                    (Greater Wood Rush)
Blechnum spicant                  (Hard Fern)
Hyacinthoides non-scripta    (Bluebell)
Thalictrum minus                  (Lesser Meadow-rue)
Galanthus nivalis                   (Snowdrop)
Anemone nemerosa               (Wood Anemone)
Dryopteris dilitata                 (Broad Buckler-fern)
Viola riviniana                       (Dog Violet)                        
Geranium sanguineum          (Bloody Cranes-bill)

Fagus sylvatica                      (Beech)
Crataegus monogyna             (Hawthorn)
Rosa canina                           (Dog Rose)
Rosa spinosissima                 (Scotch Rose)
Euonymus europeus              (Spindle)
Arctium minus                      (Lesser Burdock)
Viola tricolor                         (Heartsease)
Luzula sylvatica                    (Greater Wood Rush)
Anthriscus sylvestris             (Cow Parsley)
Aquilegia vulgaris                 (Columbine)
Geranium sanguineum          (Bloody Cranes-bill)
Galium vernum                     (Lady's Bedstraw)
Digitalis purpurea                 (Foxgloves)
Lonicera periclymenum        (Honeysuckle)
Primula vulgaris                    (Primrose)
Geranium robertianum          (Herb Robert)

Athyrium felix femima

A small log pile with Violas and Oxalis

Rosa spinosissimus

Woodland planting on the left and hedgerow on the right

Violas in the woodland planting

WIld flowers for sale in the nursery

I'm looking forward to seeing these borders mature and fill out and begin to look like the photos below. The photos were taken by myself all over Scotland.

Bluebells, Portavadie

Primroses, Portavadie

Violas, Carnethy, Pentland Hills

Polypodium, Beinn Dearg, Glen Artney

Anemones and celandines, Dunino, Fife

Cow Parsley, Pentlands

Aquilegia, Easter Mosshat

Honey suckle, Easter Mosshat

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Thursday, 26 May 2016

Bats, Beaches and Border Towns

Back to earth on Wednesday and back to work with youngest son in tow as he is doing his work experience with me this week. We checked the tunnel and did some watering and potting and then brought a trolley load of plants back to sort out. It is colder this week, so back to layers again. Dan spent most of the day working through the seedlings we brought from the tunnel, potting them into strips for selling while I carried on weeding the stock beds and sorting through some grasses ready for re-potting. David came over and finished the irrigation system in the tunnel so now I can turn a tap and the water comes on and the tunnel is watered without me having to stand forever watering. Yeh! The evening was spent catching up with domestic chores including doing the food shopping online and the massive monster ironing! The excitement.

Cardamine pratensis 'Flore Pleno' in the sales area

A later start on Thursday in order to go to the post office, bank and doctor, a few wee errands out the way. I checked the tunnel while Dan opened up and got everything ready for the day. I spent most of the day weeding and topping up the sales area while dodging showers, but I got it done in the end with some new plants out for sale from the tunnel, it is really filling up and so nice to see at last, after a long winter of no colour on the sales tables. David came over and worked on his latest project, making wooden crates while Dan dug out some black currants. These are in the way of the water storage tanks so we have moved them further along the hedge where they will soon grow away. He then flattened the area and made it ready for the tanks. So all in all a productive day despite the showers. A lazy relaxing pamper night was in order after tea. With David out working most evenings I get command of the TV too for the survey season.

Looking good in the sales area

Pots, herb planters and wee Quirky birds for sale here in the nursery

The wind has got up and it wasn't the beans! Chilly again, but I'm weeding the drive so that will help keep me warm. Dan emptied a lots of dead grasses from the old grass area and swept up leaves and weeds, so at least it looks a bit tidier until I have all the grasses moved and re-potted. Having weeded the track I carried on and started the steam planting as it really was needing some attention. The plants are really filling out now having been in for almost a year but the weeds are growing faster! The Candelabra primulas are coming into flower with P. pulverulenta in pink and P. chungensis in orange. The Gunnera has got two leaves and Anthriscus 'Ravenswing' is in full flower. Once the borders around the top were weeded it was time to get the wellies on and get into the stream to weed and top dress the bankings. Once weeded Daniel brought down barrows of compost from the compost bins and I topped up some eroded part of the bank, covering exposed roots on some of the plants. Once established the plant roots will bind the soil of the banking together.

We haven't had a tunnel photo for a while, I have taken so many plants out but you wouldn't know as it
fills up so quickly. You can just about make out the new water system working with the sprinklers in place

You too could have your own Quirky bird in
the garden, available in the nursery

Despite being tired on Friday night I decided to accompany David to Penicuik house where he was doing another bat walk. It was a pleasant evening despite the occasional drizzle. We saw plenty bats of three varieties including the Daubentons bat that feeds just above water.

Doing dog stuff while the bat group checked bat boxes

Inside the ruins of the house

The ruins of Penicuik house in black and white

Oxalis in the woods

Violets under the trees

The weekend and from having two extra bodies in the nursery most of last week to just me and the dog. David and Ben are working and Dan is away to is dad's. The weather over the weekend was not too bad, with a couple of heavy showers on Sunday afternoon, sunshine and short sleeves. I managed to get a chunk more stock bed weeding done, potting and moving plants back and forward to the tunnel. Bracken managed to behave himself as nursery dog. There were lots of lovely customers to chat to and help. I treated myself to some luxury ready meals which were very nice and a good bottle of wine then a relaxing evening of relaxing watching tv with the doglet.


The post must have known I was having a
weekend to myself and supplied reading

Cacti in the greenhouse at home are looking great after their re-pot a month or so ago

Pelargonium 'Tornado'

Another buy day on Monday with re-doing the cafe flowers and preparing plants for the plant sale we are doing on Saturday. I selected several trays of good looking plants and tidied and labeled them. I might add some more if I feel there are enough out in flower by Friday. The rest of the day was spent restocking and weeding the sales area, weeding the stock beds and some potting. The weather was not too bad

Dianthus and Tulips in amongst the herbs at home, making
an eye catching little scene at the back door

Our day off this week took us to Berwick upon Tweed, a town we've passed many a time heading up or down the A1 but not explored for many years and certainly not together. It also meant we could have a walk on the beach and enjoy the sun. I love the beach in any weather, it's a good thing I don't live next to one or I'd get nothing done. An hour or so down the road found us parked next to the long pier that shelters the mouth of the River Tweed where it empties into the North Sea. It was a bit dull to begin with but we didn't mind as we walked to the end where the lovely stripy light house sits.

Light house on the pier, Berwick upon Tweed

Message in a bottle

This gave me a chance to tick something else of my bucket list, to send a message in a bottle off into the horizon. Being at the mouth of a big river the current and out going tide should take it out on it's journey.

There was plenty Sea Thrift growing on the pier

We walked back along the pier and onto the beach where Bracken had a great time racing around. He loves the beach and we love watching him. He ran in huge circles, taking off and flying over rock pools and splashing in them looking for the sticks we threw him. 

Bracken on the beach

Flying dog

I found it

From the beach we went off in search of lunch, which we found in a wee cafe. I had scampi and chips, because you should when by the sea. We then had a lovely walk around the old town walls and the sun came out, it was lovely to wander and enjoy the views of sea and town. We could peek down into old town gardens where cherry trees and magnolias were flowering in profusion.

The pier from the town walls

Old town 

Cherry trees and blue skies on the town walls

A lovely day off after another busy week, and some valuable time together. There is still masses of work to do in the nursery so I better crack on. Have a great week.

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Thursday, 19 May 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - May 2016

From the frost, snow, hail and sleet of April to soaring temperatures and sun in the first week or so of May. It has been lovely to shed layers and enjoy being outside. The plants are benefiting too, from being frozen and sitting in suspended animation they are stretching, leafing out and producing flowers and buds a plenty. Here are a few of my favourites out in the home garden this month.

You can follow other Garden bloggers' posts here at May Dream Gardens

Anemone trulifola, perfect for an alpine trough or well drained site in sun

Cardamine heptaphylla, a tall white species for shady corners with dark foliage

A lovely purple parrot tulip

Epimedium 'Pink Elf', I love Epimediums, this newer variety
is very triking

Epimedium grandiflorum 'Lilafee', small and ideal for an alpine trough this
purple flowered variety is well worth growing

Epimedium pinnatum ssp. Colchicum and it's fantastic foliage in spring and again in autumn,
add in the yellow flowers and it is a winner for shady spots in the garden

Epimedium pinnatum ssp. Colchicum

Erythronium 'Pagoda', the delicate flowers become more numerous as the plant matures

Erythronium 'Pagoda', every year I get a few more flowers

Euphorbia polychroma, I love the lime green flowers of this Euphotbia and then the
autumn foliage colour

Forget me nots and Bellis pomponette,  splash of colour and a nod to the bedding of my teenage and students days

Geranium phaeum var phaeum 'Samabor', great drk flowers over leves marked with maroon splashes

A lovely pure white Narcissus

A mad over the top Narcissus

Primula auricula 'Helen Ruane'

Rhododendron 'Curlew'

Rhododendron 'Curlew'

The very long living Tulipa 'Apeldoorne Elite', Tulips are notorious for dying out after a few year but
these have been in the garden for over 10 years and flower beautifully every year

The large cherry tree in the back garden

Glorious blossom against the beautiful blue sky

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