adventures in gardening

Month: April 2020

Bring a bit of buzz into your garden

Did you know that bees help to feed us?  Over 30% of worldwide crops require cross pollination, which is done by our buzzing friends, without them we wouldn’t have tomatoes, blueberries, apples, olives, carrots, the list is endless.  Scientists and ecologists around the world are encouraging everyone to use our outside space, be it a window box or 1 acre garden to benefit our bees.  Planting flowers, herbs or trees that bees love is the way to go.

I have decided to do my bit for the bees by sacrificing our front lawn.  The lawn has never been a thing of beauty or envy, rather a mix of grass, moss, mushrooms, daisies and dandielions.  It was a battle we were never going to win, or really wanted to either.

This morning I planted some seeds  into the front lawn.  Lotus corniculatus (Bird’s foot trefoil),  Lychnis flos-cuculi (Ragged Robin),  Zaluzianskya capensis (Night scented phlox), Trifloium pratense (Red clover)

 

All good for bees and colour.  I’m really looking forward to watching our lawn turn from green to a mix of colours this summer.  Why not try it yourselves and see what happens.

 

Now, where did I put the label?

The Katie of the past didn’t keep a note of plant or bulb names, she just merrily planted them, hoped for the best and if someone asked, “what’s that lovely plant?”, she would just reply with, “um, I don’t know”

How times have changed, or at least they’re changing.  Doing the horticultural course with the RHS  and gardening in a professional capacity I am having to learn Latin names for everything, which for someone who isn’t good at languages is a struggle.  I might be able to say some or spell others, but it’s rare to be able to spell and pronounce everything.

So, the Katie of the present and future is going to gather the names and cultivars of the plants. I will then be able to look after them better and give an answer when someone asks “what’s that plant?”.

A great example of this is a beautiful tulip that I have in a couple of pots on our patio.  They are petite, but pack a punch when they sit in the sun, with a bright yellow centre.  They are stunning and I was talking to a fellow RHS student about them and she identified them as Tulip tarda.  After researching them, I think that’s exactly what they are.

It seems to be a popular flower for buzzing friends too!

 

A bit of TLC

We have a small bench, chair and table on our patio, which we bought from Ikea a few years ago. After sitting out in the garden over winter they were all looking a bit tired and flaky.  With the lock-down on and not being able to just nip to the local DIY store I rummaged through our collection of old paint pots in the garage and I was in luck we had some paint left!.

It’s amazing how much better they all look after a few layers of paint.

Mini Wildflower Meadow

Last year I bought a large rectangular planter for our front step.  Instead of planting it with the standard bedding plants for the summer I decided to plant my very own mini wildflower meadow.

It’s a huge pot, so instead of filling it all with soil I put three large plastic plant pots upside down on the bottom, thus reducing the volume and overall weight considerably.

The seed mixture I have used was from Thompson and Morgan called Meadowland mixture, which annoyingly doesn’t list the different seeds contained in the pack but looking at the picture on line I can spot some Rosebay willowherb, which bees love, but gardeners tend to hate.

I added some poppy seeds to the mix or for all you latin lovers out there Papaver orientale.

I planted them on the 25th March in situ and they’ve already started to germinate.  I’m looking forward to watching them grow and flourish.

 

 

Propagate

The garden I usually work in, (when the world isn’t on lock down) has a fantastic glass house with plenty space to grow lots of unusual plants.  They also grow your more common plants and seeds for pots and plants for the house and garden. The glass house provides light and warmth, which let’s be honest can be in short supply during a Scottish winter.  It’s always a lovely place to be sent to work during a cold and wet day.

I would love a glass house like it at my home, but I think the whole area would probably be the same size as my entire back garden!  So, I went for the next best thing and bought myself a fairly large heated and lit propagator, which has made its home in our garage.

I have the lights on a timer for about 12 hours per day and the heat set at 20-23C depending on how I am feeling.  I haven’t grown many things from seed in the past, but it’s such a good time to do it and it’s a lot cheaper too…(if they germinate)

As a member of the RHS I was able to buy a lot of seeds from them as part of their Seed Scheme which I would highly recommend.  Some of them were especially enjoyed by pollinators and others that would  “Green up Britain”   On the food front I have courgettes and chilli peppers already in the propagator and am still to receive carrots, sweet peppers and tomatoes through the post.

A lot of my back garden is made up of beds for flowers and plants for all year round interest, I’ve never been an avid fruit and vegetable grower so don’t have much space that I can dedicate to fruit and vegetables, which is the reason I am thinking of planting the vegetable seedlings into pots.

It’s early days still but the courgettes have flourished and are already out of their small seed tray and into individual pots.  I think it might be a bit of a juggling act to a) find space to germinate all these seeds and b) find somewhere to grow them on.  I think friends and family may find a pot or two left on their doorstep later in the season.

 

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