Friday, 26 August 2016

Rescuing, Propagating and Planting Grasses and Other Stuff

A wee half week blog cause I had lots of photos to share and things to chat about. Trying to get back into catching up with everything now Dan is back at school and I am feeling a bit better. I've gone back to using the light lamp in the morning while waiting with Dan for his bus, we'll see if that makes a difference. Some real sun and warmth for long longer than the day or two we do get it would help too. 

On Wednesday the weather was beautiful, sunny, hot and not a cloud in the sky until later in the afternoon. First job as usual was the cafe flowers, a catch up with everyone there and a mocha to keep me awake. I'm still managing to get enough wild flowers to make pretty vases. This week's flowers were very much on the same theme as last week, which you can see in last week's blog here

A gorgeous day at Quercus

Once I'd done some paperwork and got the wee shop set up for the week I took a barrow and spade to go and rescue the unfortunate Chionochloa rubra that got strimmed when I was off at the beginning of the week, grrrrrrr. Despite discussions on where should and shouldn't be strimmed on the furthest terrace and bankings, every thing was strimmed. This included the spotted orchids I hoped would seed this year and the Chionochloa which is probably 4 to 5 years old. Now it is about 3 feet shorter and looking like me most of the time, having a bad hair day. I lifted the orchid and put it in the banking nearer the sales area where I have more control over the strimming. I also dug up the Chionochloa and having had a brain wave on where to plant it, started to prepare the spot.

Chionochloa rubra in my last garden

Chionochloa rubra is a lovely grass, it forms an arching bronze green mound, is evergreen and looks great when the sun shines on it. I've seen it buried under three feet of snow and bounce back up once that snow melted. It likes a sunny situation and a drier soil, although I have successfully grown it in poor soil in my last garden. Anyway back to my idea of where to plant this specimen. Because of it's habit and it's striking shape when mature I think it needs to be on the edge of a path and on a corner where it can be appreciated. We are about to start the next garden in the nursery which has just such a corner. I cleared and dug over part of the corner (it's also a statement of intent, this is what we are doing next) and planted half the grass. It's hard going as the ground is matted with perennial weeds including clover, couch grass, creeping buttercup and thistles. The ground is clay, but to be fair I've worked with worse soil. I managed to more than fill the wheel barrow with the weeds and then dug over the square I'd cleared, making enough room for the Chionochloa for now. 

Half of the Chionochloa

Since I had the plant up out the ground I decided I should see if I could liberate some bits to pot up for sale next year. I got the root ball cut in half, so half back in the ground and half to the potting bench for propagation. I am looking forward to seeing the plant recover and make a fine specimen and feature in the scented garden.

Hard going clearing and digging this weeding corner

Planted in it's new home

Half to go to the potting bench for division

The rest of the day was spent dividing and potting some of the last of the grasses and Persicarias. As you'll know from reading the last couple of blogs, I'm nearly there working through the neglected grass stock we inherited with the nursery. With well over 60 varieties and some of them in sizeable batches it's been quite a job over the past year in amongst everything else. Once sorted they've then gone to the new grasses stock beds and are looking so much better for some TLC. So whats involved in re-vamping a batch of neglected glasses?

First I get all of the batch together, in all their pot sizes and then decide what size of pots they will get potted into.
I usually make a tray of 9cm for next year's stock and then divide and pot the rest into either a 2Litre or 3Litre, unless
it gets very big then it goes in probably a 5 Litre

Before, a tired, weedy, mossy plant that is a fraction of the size it should be

Once out it's pot you can see just how long it's been there. There is hardly
any compost left and the roots are going around the bottom of the pot

Disection time, to give a neglected grass like this a good chance to recover I cut about an inch off the bottom of
the root ball with an old bread knife (one of the best propagating tools you can have on your bench). By doing this
you remove all that congested root and encourage the plant to make lots of fresh roots. This is also the time to divide
up the plant if you want to make more stock, as you can see I've cut this one in half, again with the bread knife

They then get potted up into bigger pots (or smaller if you've divided them up more), labelled, watered and put away in
the stock bed to grow on

David has been busy with a new creation in the nursery as you can see in the video if it works. He's solder lots of old and new bits of plumbing together to create a wacky water feature. I love it.

We had a wonderful sunset on Wednesday evening, I even motovated myself to drive up to the top of the hill behind the house to get some photos.

A beautiful sunset on Wednesday night

Sunset over South Lanarkshire


Ribbons of gold

Looks like a whale in the sky

Thursday and a cooler cloudier day than Wednesday but still comfortably warm. I am now focused to get these grasses finished, I finished one in the morning and now there is one batch to go and it's a big one. Having potted all morning I took a break and started tidying and stocking up the sales area. A few plants finished flowering to go back into the stock beds and others to come out, be tidied, labelled and out to top up the sales tables. It was good to have some customers to chat too, and an American tour group pasing through who were taken with the heathers.

Ham and 5 counties cheese omelette with
 own chook eggs and chives from the
garden, perfect
With salad, a quick and easy tea for Dan
and I after work

Really pleased with these combinations in the front garden prairie border and I've got Echinaceas
growing and flowering! Woo hoo

Echinacea purpurea 'Rubinstern'

Striking white Gaura lindheimeri

The start of this years seed collecting in the nursery and gardens

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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - August 2016

As the garden slides into late summer we are having extremes of weather here in the borders of Scotland Beautiful sunny hot blue skies are quickly followed by wet windy and cold weather the very next day! But the plants are standing up to it and carrying on regardless. This year the prairie bed in the front garden is really coming together and the quickly sown annuals are filling the empty corner on the patio with lots of bright colours.

A mixed packet of Nigella (Love in the Mist) has provided lots of jewels that have brightened up an empty corner

The mixed nNgella seeds have produced some lovely singles and doubles

I love this light blue one

Agastache 'Black Adder', a lovely plant I hope to have available in the nursery
next year

Astrantia 'Snow Star' which has flowered for months in it's shady north border

Centranthus ruber var. Coccineus also coping well with the shady north border, this one benefits from a
 dead head and will usually give a second flush of flowers to the end of summer

Lamium maculatum 'Beacon Silver', a great grund cover plant under this big Elder. The silver leaves
are much more pronounced in shade and brighten up a dark spot

Bellium bellidioides, an alpine curiosity with blue daisy flowers.  I first came across as a child and spent a lot of years
trying to find again, eventually stumbling accross it a couple of years ago. I now have a healthy clump of it in one of
my alpine troughs.

Borage, a beautiful blue in the borders, great for bees and will hapily self seed around the place, try the
white flowered one for a bit of variation

Cirsium rivale 'Atropurpureum', a tall clump forming perennial
loved by the bees

Eryngium x zabelli 'Jos Eijking', there are many Eryngiums on the market these days, but for me this is one of the best,
good height, lovely blue and copes with my high, cold garden and clay soil

Geranium dalmaticum, great for ground cover on any soil and sun or shade. Grows to about 12 inches and covers
itself in pink flowers all summer

Hosta 'Pandora's Box', a tiny Hosta, perfect for alpine troughs, which
is where this one lives, with it's variegated foliage and mauve flowers
it stands out despite it's size

Lewisia cotyledon, a seedling I grew quite a few years ago, it has so far coped with wet winters in the trough,
ideally should be covered in winter, but often the trough covers blow off and it survived

Malva moschata, the Musk Mallow, a pretty plant for the border which will seed around enthusiastically, there is also
a white variation which wil also cope with my colder garden conditions

Primula florindae Red form, a specially selected plant by myself from a
 batch of seedlings, the deep red flowers are also scented and will cope
with damp to we sol in sun or shade

Rosa 'Eye Paint', a shrub rose with small red flowers and a white eye

A striking Sempervivium which I have no name for, it has these
 big yellow flowers in summer

Aconitum carnmarum 'Bicolor', an interesting alternative to the usual
deep blue aconitums

Clematis integrifolia 'Rosea' which I grow in a big ceramic pot

Echinacea 'White Swan', this is the first time I've successfully grown Echinaceas, they much prefer
the more sheltered garden in a valley I am in at the moment

Echinacea purpurea 'Rubinstern', the colour fills the whole petal as the flower opens out

Gaura lindheimeri, until now I'd never grown these, and am blown away with them,
this is their second year and they are covered in flowers

Leucanthemum 'Esther Read' with a bit of editing on the back ground

There is nothing cheerier than the humble marigold

Or Nasturtiums, these guys are scrambling about the edge of the patio under and over everything

Part of the prairie bed in the front garden which has been very successful, at the
moment it is a riot of blues, pinks and whites with the Gaura, Echinops and

Triosteum pinnatifidum, another shade loving curiosity with it's fuzzy white seedheads

So a wee wander around what's looking good in the Quirky Bird Garden this month, what's looking good in yours?

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