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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