(Title quote - Anne Bradstreet)
|Dry shade border, Digitalis purpurea, |
Valeriana officinalis, Brunnera macrophylla,
Aster (Symphyotrichum) pilosum var. Pringlei 'Monte Cassino'
So what have we been up to? In the nursery its all about getting everything ready for opening on Saturday 3rd March for the 2018 season. This includes carrying on cutting back, tidying and top dressing the garden borders and filling up the sales tables with plants. David has been putting up new signs and working on installing the new fence at the entrance to the nursery. We've had a couple of days of dry weather to get on then it's snowed or been frozen then dry and sunny again, so a bit start stop, but we will get there, after all, there ain't anything we can do about the weather.
Tidying the dry shade border, before and after
Its encouraging to see so many plants bulking up over the years and uncovering the start of this year's shoots when I cut back the old growth and lift the leaves. There are one or two plants which haven't liked where I planted them, so I have lifted them and potted them until all the borders are tidied and I can select a new home for them. In the dry shade border I had a couple of fallen willow trunks to cut back and a lot of invasive Aster to remove.
|Tidying the Scottish native plant border|
|After, with a mulch of home made compost|
To maximise my time in the nursery we have invested in eight ton bags of bark to mulch some of the borders this year. This will hugely reduce the amount of weeding required on some of the biggest borders in the gardens. We did this with the big entrance borders when we first opening the nursery and it has been a huge success. I spend half an hour cutting put perennial weeds once a month instead of spending days weeding in those borders, so you can see how it makes sense and my time is spent doing other things. Despite what my children say, this is not drinking coffee and eating cake! Once I have cut back and tidied the borders I've been barrowing the bark up and onto the borders, it all looks very tidy and is getting me fit after winter.
|Native garden, Blechium spicant, |
Fragaria vesca, Luzula sylvatica,
Some borders, because they are small or because of what is planted in them get a compost mulch instead of bark as you can see in the photos above of the native Scottish plant borders. This helps improve our very clay soil as it is hoed in over the year. In the native borders I've removed the luzula sylvatica as it was taking over, it has a new home at the side of the stream on the edge of the woods where it will happily do its own thing without drowning everything else out.
|Track border, left side, Primula denticulata 'Alba', |
Lamium maculatum 'Orchid Frost',
Stachys byzantina 'Silver Carpet', Carex dipsacea
|Track border, Geum 'Flames of Passion', |
Polystichium setiferum 'Plumosum Densum', Iris foetidissima,
Tidying the track border and putting down the new bark this week
I have also finished the big annual task of weaving the willow hedge in the wildlife garden,
its a great job to do when its not too cold but there is snow on the ground
|Chorizo and kale with humous |
and flat breads, this was awesome
|Ottolenghi leek fritters, coriander and parsley dip |
with salad by David. We also had pancakes
for dessert by Daniel, it was a busy kitchen tonight!
|There have been some lovely evening skies on the way home from the nursery|
|Clivia berries in the greenhouse at home|
Meanwhile at home in the garden I've managed to get all the troughs and pots in the back garden cut back, tidied and mulched with compost. It's nice to stand at the kitchen window and be able to see the snowdrops coming up now and not just a mess of last years dead stems and leaves.
|Galanthus nivalis at home|
|I wanted to split this Agapanthus to take some in to the nursery,|
the only way to get it out the pot was to smash the pot,
fortunately it was already cracked! I got five plants out of it and one
piece is re-potted and back in the greenhouse
|I brought some Galanthus 'Magnet' indoors today, did you know some snow drops are scented Magnet is one of those and my goodness what a scent! The living room was filled with a jasmine - lily scent from|
We had our annual long weekend away in February before the busy season of both businesses begins. This year we booked a cosy wee cottage in Teesdale, an area we often drive past but rarely stop. The cottage was lovely, booked through a company we often use with a log burner and everything we could need for a long weekend. We visited Beamish, which I haven't been to for a long time, Durham for the first time, Durham Botanic Gardens, a walk at Low Force Falls from the suspension bridge, Eggleston Hall Gardens and a visit to High Force falls on our way home. We relaxed more because we also had snow, first time on any of our February weekends.
|The bakers shop in Beamish|
|Durham Botanic Gardens|
|High Force Falls|
|Low Force Falls|
|Birch Trees in Teesdale|
Our Tuesday days off have been a sporadic so far this year due to weather, ill health and work. Last week we took Wednesday off to head up to Argyll where David was doing a survey. The site was just south of Oban on the shores of a sea loch, so Bracken and I were able to have a walk while David worked. The weather was sunny and warm and the scenery was stunning as it always is on the west coast. Afterwards we headed home via Kilmartin Glen and a stop for lunch at Inveraray. A great day out.
|Snow capped mountains on the way to Crianlarich|
|Bracken and I enjoying the sun on the beach|
|Geese coming in to land|
|Bracken thinks he can reach the geese and bring one back for tea!|
|We've also had some fabulous sunsets at home after days of clear skies, sun and cold temperatures|
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Find out more about the nursery here - our web site: www.quercusgardenplants.co.uk
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