Saturday 28 February 2009

The start of the gardening year

Mike has been busy for some time doing various pruning jobs. I also leave the vegetable growing to him mainly these days. We start many things in individual pots or trays on a windowsill in the spare bedrooms above radiators. As soon as they germinate they are moved to the lean to and then the greenhouse or garden. Broad beans were started this way and now having been planted out for over a week they are looking very sturdy and well. I expect he will give them some protection at night from frost due this next week. Mike has also planted onions, shallots, parsnips and beetroot in the ground (a bit early for beetroot but better not say anything, time will tell). We have a big problem with cats coming into our garden to use these beds. Living with a housing estate backing onto us means there are many cats around. This is where the Box edgeing is great because we lay hazel sticks across to keep off any unwanted birds or animals.

The 14th of February according to Margery Fish is the day to prune hard, late flowering clematis. So I had a busy time last week pruning and also had a few rambling roses that needed doing too. This is the first time in nearly four years I have been able to put one let alone both hands above my head for any prolonged time to do such jobs due to my Lyme Disease. I'm really going to enjoy this years gardening.

This week I started weeding the beds either end of the vegetables and am surprised how many of the plants in these beds have disappeared but that gives me an opportunity to do something different. Have to ponder a bit with that one. Do I return to Cosmos to fill in, it looked lovely some years ago but then it didn't do so well. Weeding is still difficult, I can't kneel because my knees are still swollen and my Lyme legs are stiff and throb, bending to collect weeds is difficult. Meanwhile I have been busy sewing seeds lupin, delphinium, sweet pea to start with. I have also started tomatoes, peppers, chillies, aubergine, cucumber and lettuce all in Sainsbury's economy mushroom boxes which make excellent seed trays. Two fit on filing trays brought back from work years ago when Mike had a clear out. To keep moisture in I use another box as a lid. This provides me with an endless supply of propagators and the depth is good as the roots don't get so entangled with each other nor do trays dry out too quickly, which is a problem I find later in the year in the greenhouse.

Well back to clematis of which I have about 50 one or two grown from cuttings, something I must try again this year.

The first is Prince Charles which makes a magnificent display. A cloud of blue. I had to persuade Mike to build an arch for it to climb up. Built from Hazel? rods cleared out from work they look much better than a bought arch although need replacing this year.

Comptesse de Bouchaud climbs a cherry tree and flowers profusely probably two of the best for a small garden. I thought the colour pink would be good to follow the pink blossom but actually they would probably look good in any tree.

Below is Perl d'Azur growing through Rose Vilchenblau both a real asset. Vilchenblau would benefit from more space. It was another sent by default but although I forget now what I ordered it is a much better flower. It has a speck of white on the magenta flowers and many people admire it for its unusual flowers.


  1. You have some wonderful clematis and I look forward to seeing more pictures of them.
    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment on my blog - much appreciated.

  2. Hello Joanne

    My first time here. Superb Clematis pics. You're right that Prince Charles looks better up a natural arch rather than synthetic. Rustic and beautiful.