It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot

and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade - Charles Dickens

So since I started writing this blog over a week ago things have changed dramatically. Its hard to know what to say or what to do. As a self employed person who rents a house I stand to get no help from the government at all in any way, David is the same, he also runs his own business! That's quite gutting. I'm grateful that David and I still have our health and that as far as possible our 5 kids all look like their jobs will be ok and hopefully they won't fall into financial problems along the way. The youngest, who is at college is now studying from home, well Granny's home where he lives. They are also healthy and for all that I am grateful. 

Spotted hellebores in the office border

What will happen with the nursery? I can only hope we will survive. I am worried that I won't be able to travel to water and look after my plants if we go into lock down. Losing my income through no customers and losing my stock is a painful thought. The worst is very likely to come and soon, and very few people seem to realise. The carelessness, thoughtlessness and stupidity of some is frightening!

Prunus 'Kursar' flowering on the lower terrace

But for now:

The weather has certainly felt wintery but fortunalty in the past week everything has started drying out after a very wet winter, the sun has shone thought it's still cold at night. Winter isn't done with us yet! Despite the weather buds are bursting, flowers are unfurling, tentative green shoots are poking their way through the soil to the light and the birds are singing their wee hearts out in the trees and hedges. I was treated to a real chorus this morning in the nursery from blackbirds in the hedge behind the office and a wren on the fence. At home my alpine troughs are coming to life with a lovely show of mainly yellow flowers at the moment. Corydalis malkensis, Crocus 'Cream Beauty' and Hacquetia epipactis are looking lovely, brightening up the wee courtyard behind the cottage. 

Corydalis malkensis

Crocus 'Cream Beauty'

Hacquetia epipactis 

One of the themes of the nursery is lots of ideas, garden inspiration and plant suggestions for our customers. Either on information boards, in planted borders or collections of planters. This little group is in a shady corner infront of the fence and is made up of plants for shade that do well in pots. SO if you have a shady courtyard garden or basement garden with no soil to plant into this will give you a few ideas.

Pots for a shady corner

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Bob's Best'

Every morning in the nursery I spend the first hour over in the polytunnel. I'm working my way through the plants that stay there all year round. Some get re-potted, some get propagated and some get promoted and head over to the sales area for their moment of glory. Its a great way of seeing what is doing well or not, what needs propagated and cleaning up the ground fabric underneath and giving everywhere a good clean. I also need to start moving plants out across tot he stock beds to get potted and sold. This then makes room for all the pots of seeds I've been sowing and the seedlings and cuttings that need potted. Its a juggling trick of what can go out to the stock beds and cope with potentially cold weather still to come and needing the room. You can't even swing a hamster in winter in the polytunnel, it's that full.

No room in the tunnel

I've been filling up the sales area with lots of lovely, tough and hardy plants, colour for early spring, bulbs, shrubs, conifers, grasses, climbers, shade plants, wild flowers, rhododendrons, fruit plants and trees and a new range of terracotta garden items sourced from a family run pottery.

Some of the new conifers for 2020

This year we have lots of lovely new items in our wee shop in the nursery. I've sourced in lots of recycled items, items made from natural materials and terracotta pots from a small family run pottery where they hand make and hand finish all their wares. You can see them all on our website nursery shop page here Quercus wee shop

Glaze dipped flower pots and saucers

Glazed cache pots

Glazed long toms

The terracotta range for 2020

If you have visited the nursery you will know that I create lots of little corners of pots for different plants. We have a shady pot corner, a seasonal corner (below), a corner for alpine planters and a few miscalanious ones dotted about too. We love to give our customers ideas and inspiration.

Planting up pots for spring

Pansies and iris

This week's recipe from the garden features Pot marjoram'

“Pot marjoram” A lovely low-growing, semi evergreen herb which has a wonderful fragrance. Used in Italian cooking, oregano is the fragrant addition to Pizza which gives it that aromatic authentic taste. It thrives in dry, well-drained soil and is hardier in a sheltered position. With hairy stems and bright green pointed leaves it has white flowers in late summer which are very attractive to bees. H 45cm, S 30cm. 

This recipe is from the Remoska Cook book which we’ve been experimenting with since we got one at Christmas.

Mixed veg Gratin
Serves 4

3 courgettes cut into small chunks                                        12 – 15 baby carrots
12 cherry tomatoes                                                                   9 shallots, halved if large
Salt and pepper                                                                         springs of pot marjoram, chopped
3 tbsp pesto (or more to taste)                                               1 tbsp Dijon mustard (or more to taste)

Put all the prepped vegetables into the remoska (or non stick pan), season with salt and pepper.
Add the pesto and mustard and stir well to coat the veg. Cook for 30 mins then add in the origano leaves. Cook for another 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

~ we added in some crème fraiche to calm down the mustard and used an aubergine too. Served with bread it was a tasty dinner. 

We had bread from local artisan baker The Fat Batard Please do support local small businesses, now more than ever!

Origanum onites

We explored another new walk from Traquair to the cycling carpark just to the south of Innerleithan. We managed to get a break in the weather too. 

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