Friday, 4 May 2018

GROUND ELDER PROJECT



Veilchenblau, what a glorious rose. Sadly either last summer or over winter this beautiful rose tree died.  It is not completely lost because a cutting is growing profusely in my daughter's garden.

 

Most photos on my blog hove in on the beauty of whatever is flowering so you rarely see the nitty gritty of the masses of ground elder that strew so many of my beds. Every year I tackle various areas by weeding out the spaghetti roots of ground elder and I give up on the bindweed, which I was advised by a reputable gardener, could really only be removed by a JCB due to their long root run.



A couple of years ago in recognition of my arthritis caused by Lyme Disease and my age I decided to give up even trying to weed the area behind the greenhouses, of ground elder. I covered it in synthetic weed suppressant and large bark chippings except for one or two trees and shrubs. It has worked very well and serves as an extra place to put the rather large number of plants I have taken from cuttings and not as yet found homes for. The above photo gives an idea but it is only part of that bed.



Today I decide before I planted my replacement for Veilchenblau then I needed to make some effort to clear at least the back of the bed and so with my earlier success I decided to weed out as much ground elder as was convenient and cover in weed suppressant and small bark chippings. I need more chippings to finish behind the seat.


I needed a new home for this lovely acer which was getting too large for it's usual position, so this a trial to see if it works behind the seat.


So far I have only dealt with about half the border, so I have much more to do. You get the idea of the problem from this photo. Centre back are several clematis which will need careful managing. The peony is about to burst into flower so I won't be disturbing that just now. The small shrubs back right will also take some managing to suppress weeds at their base.



Most years I stand my Agapanthus at the front of this border mainly because I run out of space elsewhere, but it does help to dress the border this year. Some small shrubs were dug out cleaned and replanted and I also planted a new rose rather to the left of the old one so I am hoping it is far enough away to thrive.

My new rose is Albrighton Rambler  thank you David Austin. Planted a little behind the Choisya ternata White Dazzler.

Monday, 23 April 2018

SPRING AT JOANNE'S COTTAGE GARDEN


This bed has been planted in a variety of ways over the years, at one time it was an alpine bed but then I decided to put shrubs in that might be less work to manage. Today I weeded as best I could but decided in the Autumn that I need to remove the overgrown shrubs mainly four and replace with small ones which I have growing from cuttings probably mainly cistus and some sage which I love when it flowers. Maybe some pinks and the snow in summer which always looks so lovely.


The Tulips are a picture at present mostly planted last Autumn but a welcome sight especially as so few daffodils flowered this year.


The Tulips are underplanted with the roses in the box beds either side of the main path down the garden.


All the weeding is done for now in these box beds although the lavender needs replacing and this left hand bed could do with all digging out, maybe when the Lavender cuttings are big enough to plant out. For some reason although easy to take cuttings I haven't been successful over recent years but maybe too hot when cuttings were taken although I see I have some that survived the winter.


This is my home made greenhouse shading which works very well on three long bamboo poles.


Another weed of the Delphiniums to remove yet more ground elder before it becomes too difficult when the Delphiniums get larger.


The Camellias have been lovely this year and this bed always looks nice in spring.


The Hosta bed looks much better for having dug out the Heartstongue ferns which overpowered the bed and allowed slugs and snails to hide and eat my Hostas at night.


It was hard work dividing my Hostas but already they are making it worthwhile.


Lovely in various containers and with this Macropetala clematis behind, one taken from a cutting of a cutting of a cutting but I need to take more this year as the old plants are no more.


 One use for a hip bath this is a large leafed Hosta with unusual markings but last year the leaves were about half the size so this year I need to use feed weekly and hope the plant rejuvenates.


Such hard work but worth the pain to see everything growing.

GREENHOUSE GARDENING EARLY APRIL



This time of year the greenhouse changes within days. Above are sweet peas and Tomato plants which I started indoors on a window sill and then moved to the back lean to once they germinated and later into the greenhouse.


This bench has peas under the plastic protecting them from Mice or rats which would eat the lot if they had chance, they have consumed several trays of rat poison nightly for over a week. And before you feel concern for the rats and mice, we are plagued with them and as someone suffering already with Lyme Disease I recognise the risks of them bringing ticks and infections into my garden and passing onto my family. Although already infected with Lyme it won't stop added infections adding to the load. Rats and mice are recognised as vermin and ticks will infect the next animal they have a blood feed off a bit like natures dirty needle.



These poor sad looking agapanthus were left outside this winter in all the cold and it was a mistake. Although I brought them into the greenhouse belatedly I am hoping they might survive and grow again. Usually I store all my Agapanthus in a cold greenhouse but I was encouraged to leave them out in the hope that the cold would encourage more flowers. I think not, I suspect I need to make a point of feeding the pots once a week to encourage flowering. I must also get rid of the ground elder I can see in one pot as well as the dandelion. There's nothing like adding photos to a blog to realise just how many more jobs you have to do although sitting at a computer gives my back and joints a much needed rest.


These are plants left from last years hanging baskets in the hope that some might grow but the last cold spell was too much and only one or two fuschia and one petunia have survived.


One self sown tree but I am not sure from what maybe Gleditsia maybe something else I had years ago. Rather poor specimens of Pleione must try and look after them better.


 A collection of cuttings from last year two clematis, two Hydrangea and others.


Regale Lilies my favourite if the Lily beetle doesn't devour the lot, still it is worth adding to my collection each year so I can enjoy their wonderful flowers and smell, I move the pots to the front and back patios so the smell can waft indoors as well as being enjoyed when you walk by.


Nerine Bowdenii which I leave in the greenhouse during the winter and then will sit outside later. Hoping for flowers in the Autumn.


Leeks sewn in buckets and encouraged by the glass to germinate. The bits of bicycle are not rooting although one would expect so, they were put there temporarily over six months ago but will have to go soon as the tomatoes will go there when they are big enough.


Agapanthus are mainly moved outside now it's April making room for other things in the greenhouse. Also pots of Hostas as I have split most of my hostas this year.


More pots of cuttings make this area a bit more interesting. It was covered in ground elder and because of various permanent trees growing and rubble I decided a couple of years ago to cover in weed suppressant material and then bark. It has worked very well and makes one less job for me in the garden as well as provide extra space for many pots.


My working area and strawberries also the four half barrels make really useful places to grow Sweet Peas giving them some shade as they don't cope with full sun all day. Because I like to cut Sweet Peas for the house I decided long ago they were not something best grown in a herbaceous bed.


A few more tomato plants and in trays left in the lean to in case a late frost wipes out ones in my greenhouse which has happened in past years.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

WHAT A MISTAKE! I FORGOT TO PREPARE THE DELPHINIUMS.


Delphiniums need careful attention in my garden to achieve success.



Usually about February I should weed the bed because it is very full of ground elder as well as bind weed and other weeds.


The above two photos are of the half of the bed which I have yet to prepare. It is hard work trying to bend to weed since I struggle with arthritis from Lyme Disease so half a bed is as much as I can manage in a day.


It is difficult to see the shoots because they have been badly eaten by slugs and snails but once the bed is weeded then grit and slug pellets are a must.



The plastic bottle tops make excellent protection from late frost although as it is actually April now I think I missed the boat this year but fingers crossed something is saved.


Another bit of a disaster was that the mice got into the lean to and devoured the sweet peas. I think there are probably enough saved for what I need, I have now moved to the greenhouse where mice can again be a problem so I am not taking any chances.



I was encouraged by others to leave my Agapanthus outside this winter and I belatedly realised that it was a mistake these should be evergreen, fingers crossed the bulbs are intact.


These Nerines thankfully survived the cold weather in an unheated greenhouse.


A few cuttings also survived including a couple of clematis cuttings in the plastic box.


A bit of fun growing Echiums but I am not sure if they will transplant and flower this year.


Thankfully I did bring most of my Agapanthus into the greenhouse in time to miss the very cold and wet weather.


The black plastic is to prevent ground elder popping up but it makes a useful area for pots of cuttings



More cuttings and a rather weedy cold frame with hopefully some Hollyhocks to plant out.



More cuttings make this area a bit more interesting. The area is riddled with ground elder and so I covered it with weed suppressant and bark.



The white Camellia struggled with late frost and many of the buds were browned.




The red Camellia has fared better with less damage to the blooms from frost.



Tomato seeds are germinated on an indoor window sill then moved to the lean to until they are pricked out.


Coronilla Glauca Citrina brought indoors during the winter and makes a welcome sight with its dainty yellow flowers.