Sunday, 26 June 2016

A week of Planters, Vegetables and Gin

Hi, I'm still here, just madly busy and always trying to catch up. How has your week been? We're back to mixed weather but the plants are loving it and looking wonderful.

Back to work on Wednesday in the rain, but the plants look happier for it. First on the job list was the cafe flowers, it's great to be at the time of year where I can pick wild flowers from the bankings and fill the vases with frothy cow parsley, Ox Eye daisies, Ragged Robin, Campion and grasses. Although the long grass was very wet and I ended up with soggy trousars! I then spent a couple of hours in the tunnel potting seedlings, re-potting cuttings that had over wintered in the tunnel and having a bit of a sort out now there is space appearing with the bedding and annuals making their way to the sales area. I brought a barrow of plants back to the main nursery to sort out into the stock beds or into sales. The rest of the day was spent sorting out the plants I brought back, tidying up the crates of plants on the track, helping lots of lovely customers and putting our own made compost on some of the beds. 

Osteospernums for sale

Another dreich start to the day with rain on Thursday starting via Biggar to do some errands. I spent the day catching up on all the potting I had lying around on the bench and trolleys, so in fact it was good to have a damp day to get it all done. The weather rained and drizzled on and off all day but I did get the sales area weeded and tidied in between. I did some dividing of Sanguisorbas to build up stock now they've had  year of recovering in fresh compost.

This is how the top of the nursery looked a year ago

This is how it looks now, spot the difference?

It's lovely to get back to using wild
flowers for the cafe flowers

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were a combination of weeding the stock beds and borders, with all this heat and then rain they're really romping away. The nursery is really coming to life and looking lovely with lots to see in the gardens and nursery. We are now planning the next bed to go in which will be a scented bed leading into the herb garden on the middle terrace. I can't wait to get started. I've been planting up lots of wee containers dotted about the nursery, many of them with veges in. 

Herbs in the vertical planter

A miniature veg garden in an old china sink, you can grow veg anywhere no matter how little space you have

Equisetum hymale, an excellent plant for wet and damp soil

Waternlillies in the rain

I've been weeding through the stock beds and propagating any batches of plants on the low side. This is done either buy division and re-potting or cuttings. I've been experimenting with tip cuttings and so far have had a very high rate of success. Now is the optimum time with plants growing well and the warm, damp weather encouraging growth. Some cuttings are rooting in a week in the tunnel, being potted into 9cm pots and then rooting through in 2 to 3 weeks, so a month can see a new batch of plants ready for sale! Thankfully I'm getting through the seedlings, potting them and either leaving them in the tunnel or taking them to the stock beds, depending on what they are. This is leaving room for all those new cuttings. There is now some breathing space in the tunnel as all the annuals and bedding are out. 

A mini veg bed, ideal for a small patio or window ledge, radish and lettuce, so you can pick and sow all through summer

Radish violet from a window box

Radish Violet, a fabulous colour

My latest recycling container, an old kitchen tray planted up with a variety of Semperviviums,
 available from the nursery

Summer solstice moon

The summer solstice moon from the back garden

I decided to take an extra day off this week, as in theory we are closed on a Monday, but I've been going in and doing six days a week since the beginning of March. But the garden at home had got to the point of being an embarrassment as a professional gardener! So not really a day off but I did feel much more organised by the end of the day. I started off with a couple of hours of strimming all the long rough grass around the edges of the front and back garden and where the daffodils had been. I did some weed killing on the drive, paths and patio before gathering my tools and starting work on the borders in the front garden. The borders got weeded and hoed before being top dressed with compost from the compost bins. These borders were cleared and planted when we moved into the house in summer 2014 and are beginning to fill out and I'm pleased with a lot of the planting combinations. So a busy hard working day but the front garden looks so much better. Still the back garden to do, but I'll hopefully get some done in the evenings.

It was also David's birthday, he's not fussed about celebrating but I love a good excuse to do something, so I planned a day out for our Tuesday day off and we went out for dinner on the Monday evening to the Taj Mahal Indian restaurant in Biggar We always get an excellent meal there and the staff are lovely too.

The Edinburgh gin distillery

Tuesday and our day off which we spent in Edinburgh. For David's birthday I bought us a tour of the Edinburgh gin distillery. We spent a lovely hour or so learning about the history of gin and Edinburgh gin, seeing the stills and learning more about the process of making the gin and then a tasting session in the converted cellars. This was great fun in a stone lined wee room filled with a big wooden table and benches around the wall. Everyone had a G&T with orange, shot glasses each filled with their range of gins, cannonball, summer flavour, and liqueurs of raspberry, elderflower and rhubarb and ginger. I liked all three of the liqueur flavours, especially the raspberry. At the end you get a 20cl bottle to take home of your choice of flavour, so we have raspberry and elderflower waiting for an evening when we are together to drink them. After a late lunch we wandered around the city enjoying the sun and the views. Home to collapse on the sofa while the youngsters sorted themselves out for tea.

Tasting session in the cellar

A large vanilla slice for pudding at lunch, I love custard slices, this was massive, but I managed!

I shall leave you with some views of our beautiful city. I don't get in as often as I would like, but we are very lucky to live so close to Edinburgh and to have such an interesting and beautiful place as our capital city. 

Looking across the Royal mile to Salsbury crags

Roof tops of the Royal mile

Arthurs Seat, Salisbury Crags and the Cannongate Kirkyard

Waverly station

The floral clock in Princes Street Gardens

Floral clock detail

Looking up to Ramsey Garden buildings from Princes Street Gardens

The memorial to the Polish men and woman who fought in the war

Our gin bottles from the tour and the candle I bought

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Friday, 17 June 2016

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - June 2016

Another month gone already, where are they going? We're in that early summer lull where spring flowers are over and we haven't quite reached the full explosion of summer colour. The hot, sunny weather of the last few weeks has really brought plants on and now we've had a big dose of rain, they are looking very lush and fabulous (so are the weeds sadly). In the containerised garden at home the plants are coping very well with being in the large troughs and pots, it's nearly two years since we left the last garden (I know, that time thing again!). So here are a few photos of what's looking good at the moment. 

The first time my Paeonia tenufolia has
flowered since I got it six years ago

An unknown Paeonia tree cross with lovely
dark flowers

Geranium phaeum 'Mourning Widow', a lovely dark form of G. phaeum
which goes well with Astrantia 'Buckland' in my garden

Aquilegias, Geraniums and Astrantias are the back bone of borders at this time of year, in their many colours they form a great foil for more choice Alliums, Camassias and Nectaroscordon.

Astrantia 'Claret', a quick growing robust Astrantia, ideal for the more exposed garden

Astrantia 'Buckland'

Aquilegia 'William Guiness', one of my favourites, plant it with apricot Foxgloves and dark leaved Actaeas
such as A. 'Brunette'

Hairy buds of Meconopsis just
waiting to burst

Primula alpicola, a delicate species in yellow or
purple with a delicious scent

Ranunculus aconitifolius 'Flore Pleno', this is a great plant for dividing up contrasting colours, it looks like a
big Gypsohelia once bulked up, I love it

Rhodiola rosea

Another lovely combination, Veronica gentionoides.
Euphorbia polychroma and Aquilegias

Dactylorhiza hybrida, Astrantia 'Claret' and Hosta

Brimeura amethystiana in an alpine trough

Geraniums and Ranunculus

Astrantia 'Buckland' and Geranium phaeum 'Morning Widow'

Persicaria bistorta 'Superba' and Actaea 'Brunette'
make a great team

Aquilegias and Camssias

Camassia leichtlinii 'Plena'

Adiantum aleuticum 'Imbricatum' and Heuchera
self sown seedling,

Nectaroscordum siculum

Nectaroscordum siculum, Thalictrum and ferns

You can find more blooming Garden blogger's posts here at May Dream Garden.

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Thursday, 16 June 2016

Bugs and Beasties

The hot sunny weather has continued, although the forecast is for drastic weather changes by the weekend which means we will be back to normal Scottish summer weather .... cool and wet! Needless to say the sprinklers have been running constantly, keeping the plants watered and looking good. I have started on another border next to the new stock beds and am covered in nettle stings again which hurt for days, hmmmmm. This border will be a combination of grasses and perennials for colour through the year. I've also been extending the border along the top of the banking next to the stock beds. This does two things, acts as a buffer between the weeds of the banking and the stock in pots and I can plant it with some of everything we have to bulk up for propagating and to show customers what plants will do in the ground. I must try and take some photos when I've got a minute.

A frog in my waterlily bowl at home

Now is an ideal time to do propagating, especially cuttings of perennials and some shrubs. The cuttings root quickly and you can get them potted up and established in no time and certainly before winter. I am working my way through the stock propagating batches that we have low numbers of, part of this involves planting each plant as I mentioned above. So as the seedlings get potted up in the tunnel the spaces left are being filled with pots of cuttings. It is another part of gardening I really enjoy, creating new plants, sometimes it's interesting just to try different ways of doing something and seeing if the plants grow or not. 

Th e woderfully bright Acer 'Princeton Gold'

The plants all over the nursery have really burst in to life now, the stock beds and sales tables are a tapestry of foliage colour and flowers. In the shade tunnel the lush foliage of the Hostas are unfurling into greens, gold or silver variegation, tiny leaves and tall long ones. Primulas and Sinopodophyllum are flowering under the bronze Rogersias and Japanese Acers. You can read about what to plant in dry shade on our website here.

Hosta sieboldiana

Sinopodophyllum hexandrum

At last the good weather has broken, as we knew it would, it is Scotland in summer after all. It is still quite warm but overcast though none of the rain forecast. To be honest we really need some good, heavy rain to soak into the pots and soil. So far this week we certainly had a lot of rain, ha ha.

I'm still working through the grasses and Persicarias, dividing and repotting them before they get re-homed in the new grasses stock beds. They look do much better without years of weeds and a lack of compost. It also means I have a definite record of what we have regarding grasses and Persicarias. Many of them have been potted into smaller pots so they can recover.

On Sunday we celebrated owning Quercus for a year, a year already! We gave away cupcakes with every urchase which was popular and much appreciated by customers. Happy birthday to us.

Soutra Aisle

Our day off saw me ticking another thing off my bucket list, watching butterflies emerging from their chrysalis. But first what a driech day for a day off. Still we can't complain as our days off over the past six weeks or so have been lovely and sunny. We decided on a wee short trip as David isn't well and went with plan A to go to Soutra Aisle, despite the worsening weather. By the time we got there the low cloud fog stuff has really settled in so I settled for some moody black and white shots of the old stone building. The site here contains the remains of the largest medieval hospital in Scotland which you can read about here. Apparently the views are great but you wouldn't have known it when we were there, maybe another day. Even the cows looked fed up. From here we went and had coffee and cake at a local cafe which was very nice.

Gorgeous butterflies

On the way back we went into Butterfly and insect world at Laswade so I could tick something else off on my bucket list. I have never been before but I have to say (in my opinion) it definitely isn't worth the entrance fee they charge. It all looks a bit run down and sad but it was lovely to see huge butterflies flying around and see butterflies emerging from their chrysalis (the tick on my bucket list). Just a wee easy local afternoon as we are both exhausted and David is under the weather with a bad cold.

A shorter blog this week as the days are pretty much the same at the moment. Lots of weeding, potting, seedling potting, and sorting grasses, helping customers and domestic stuff at home and a lack of sleep! I'll leave you with some photos of the bugs and beasties we saw. I hope you are having a great week, catch you soon.


Butterflies emerging from their chrysalis #Ronabucketlist

Beautiful butterflies

Dutchman's pipe, Aristolochia macrophylla

The chrysalis "nursery" on bamboo canes

Stretching new wings

A caterpillar that's self defence mechanism is to look like a bird dropping

Fruit lunch

Lovely details

Some of the other inhabitants 

Leaf cutter ants

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