"The world's favourite season is the spring.....

................. All things seem possible in May." -  Edwin Way Teale

I'm going to do a two week catch up blog this week, running behind, been a bit exhausted and under the weather, and busy busy busy in the nursery. Another week gone, and they are going, I can't believe we are into May already in this part life existence we have. The great weather continues, though we have had some frosty mornings and I've had to scrape the windscreen, but no plant damage. This week has seen the new garden completed on the middle terrace in the nursery, planted up and ready to show off to our customers when they are allowed to visit again. I'm continuing to pot up seedlings in the tunnel and bring last years propagated plants out to go in the stock beds for sale. As soon as I make space in the stock beds or tunnel it quickly gets filled again! Water is essential everywhere as the weather continues to be dry and I am now at H in the stock beds. H for I wish I would Hurry up and finish lol. 

A gift of tulips from David 

The gardens are really colouring up now in the nursery, the plants growing and filling out and started to look how I see them in my designs and plans. It is a joy to see that happening and the plants growing away ready for another year. The railway garden is now planted and complete, propagation continues and we are still getting orders to deliver or for click and collect. This method of getting our plants and customers together has got us through April and into May, meant we can pay bills and I can still get a wage. There is still no sign of the lock down being lifted in Scotland, it's too early, its still a frightening situation. We continue to try and remain positive that both businesses will make it through this situation. though I admit I've struggled this week to be positive. Here are some plants looking good in the gardens to cheer us up. Caltha palustris 'Flore Pleno', Primula chungensis, Onoclea sensibilis, golden Saxifrage, Rumex sanguineus var. Sanguineus, Tulip 'China Pink', Tulip 'Kingsblood', Tulip 'Ronaldo' and Tulip 'Apeldoorns Elite' all make an appearance here.

The weather has been a bit of a mix this past week or too, still very dry and warm most days, but frost is still making an appearance, the odd dose of rain (much needed) and some lovely skies (or not) on the way home at night.

Sunlight playing on the stair wall in the cottage

Blossom in the cottage garden

Another week, another bunch of flowers!
A dozen roses from my wonderful hubby 

Exciting news last Tuesday on our day off as if the roses weren't enough! David and I were having a wander around the woodland area part of the cottage garden, looking at the bluebells. We were chatting about the owl box in one of the trees and wondering if it was used as we hear the owls every night. I was casually wandering past the owl box tree when I saw a fluffy bundle! Turns out it wasn't a piece of sheep wool from the neighbouring field but a fledging owlet and even better there were two! Made my day, so cute. Oh and they are tawnie owls in case any one was wondering.

Useful Plants from the garden - Golden thyme, Thymys vulgaris 'Goldentime'
Seared Mushrooms with Garlic and Thyme
Servings 2
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces mushrooms (such as maitake, oyster, and/or king trumpet), cut into large pieces
 salt, freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 sprigs golden thyme
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1.Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high until just beginning to smoke. Arrange the mushrooms  in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until the bottom side is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, toss the mushrooms, and continue to cook, tossing often and reducing heat as needed to avoid scorching, until golden brown all over, about 5 minutes more.
2.Reduce heat to medium and add butter, thyme sprigs, and garlic to the pan. Tip toward you so the butter pools at bottom edge. Spoon foaming butter over mushrooms until butter smells nutty, about 4 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan with a slotted spoon and serve with a dish of your choice. We had it with some good quality sausages and a potato gratin.

A toadlet in the polytunnel, awwww

Tulips in the morning light

I've got the lovely little print I bought for David framed. It looks so much better now its out its 1970's gilt frame! Another fab purchase from Junkshopantiques

An accidental colour combination in the sales area, Bergenia 'Overture'
and Cardamine pratensis 'Flore Pleno'

Meanwhile in the cottage garden the bluebells and in full flower, there is wild garlic, must do something with that and the primroses are still flowering away. 

Wild garlic, ransomes


An owlet update: David had a camera on the owlets, recording whenever there was movement, there was plenty footage of them getting fed over the last week, then on Sunday night there were no owlets there. On Monday evening I went for a wander around the woodland to see if I could see them or work out what had happened. Not a sign of them, then I spotted parent owl watching from above, keeping a very close eye on what I was doing. The as I swept my eyes across the trees at her height low and behold a white fluffball up in the trees! There was only one, so we presume one has died by what ever means and this is the survivor, which was the biggest. There was no sign of the youngster today but it may have moved, though David thinks its far to young to fly , with no adult feathers either. Apologies for the poor photos, only had my phone with me. 

Meanwhile in the herb garden the Marigolds are confused by the mixed messages of the day. Some are staying at home, others are quite clearly not!

Apple blossom in the nursery gardens

While we've had the nursery to ourselves during lockdown, Bracken the nursery dog has been making the most of the hot weather, finding hot spots to sunbathe in and generally keeping an eye on David and I. He's been making sure we have been working hard so that when we can open again there will be lots of new garden areas to see and plants to buy. He's also been pushing his fuzzy luck and wandering off to explore the nursery while our backs are turned.

Bracken keeping an eye on things

From Wednesday we'll be trialling an appointment system for visiting the nursery. You can book your slot, turn up and have Quercus to yourself for half an hour to enjoy a walk round the gardens and purchase plants.
Please do the following when visiting:
1. Try to combine your visit with your shopping or daily exercise.
2. If possible pay by card (the card machine is disinfected between customers).

3. Please keep a minimum 2 metres distance when paying or asking for advice.
4. We're short of boxes so try to bring your own container to carry your purchases.
We're taking bookings via Doodle: https://doodle.com/meetme/qc/eHTjPzD0mP
The stock beds this week

Our day off walk took us along the river and through the woods, we are loving seeing it all come to life right from the beginning of the year. New out in flower this week were Geum rivale, the water avens and Potentila sterilis which I've never seen before. The ferns are unfurling and the sunlight through the fresh green leaves of the trees was glorious. In times like these, enjoying each small moment makes  us feel a small bit better. 

Geum rivale

Always remember to look up

The green green grass

stay safe, stay well x

#rural #countrylife #countryliving #cottagelife #antiquecottagescenes #interiors #scottishborders #independantretailer #smallbusiness #localbusiness #independantplantnursery #uniqueplantnursery #hardyscottishplants #scottishgarden #gardeningontheedge #scottishborders

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Find out more about the nursery here - our web site: www.quercusgardenplants.co.uk

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  1. What a lovely post. Totally agree with the sense that everything is possible.
    Super sweet owlets and I too hope that the remaining one will make it.
    I also love to see all that you (and Bracken) do in your nursery, and that you name the plants and introduce good combinations! I have a Primula chungensis too but never seen it in flower, this spring it is making leaf (candelabra types are tricky here in Finland, most of them just seem to die) so I'm hoping to see it bloom one day.
    We've had super cold weather these last few days, even snow on two days - what a May. Hopefully it will warm up just a little bit, and hoping that your business will thrive.

    1. HI, thank you for commenting, isn't it a strange time. Trying to keep positive and motivated to get my wee business through this. The owlets are so cute, only one seems to have survived, I've seen the bigger of the two in the trees with a parent. My new plants for sale of Primula Millars crimson were damaged by the frost this week, their flower stems have all fallen over! I hope they produce new ones. We've had quite bad frost here, even for Scotland, quite a bit of damage but the apple blossom seems ok, so hopefully we will get a better crop than last year. Take care in these challenging times.


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