Suzanne's Garden Diary
The star of the garden at the moment is our Magnolia. It is a white flowering variety but I am not sure of the name. Plants are coming through nicely in the herbaceous border and everything everywhere is looking lush and green. We have a few rabbits in the garden so I cover some of the most tender plants with rattan cloches until they get going. The Primula Hose-in-Hose look very pretty against the dark mulch and there is an abundance of Forget-Me-Nots coming up everywhere. The seed was probably in the home made compost but I don’t mind getting plants for free I can always weed out what I don’t want.
I still have the heater on low in the greenhouse for the summer plants that have overwintered in there and I do put the blind down on very sunny days and also open the windows to ventilate it. It’s incredible how hot it gets. I have just started the Dahlias off in the potting shed and once they come through I will take some cuttings. I did this for the first time last year and was pleased at how well they took.
May is such a lovely month in the garden. The Hosta's in the front garden are looking great and hole free thanks to Eco-Charlie Slug and Snail Deterrent spread thickly around them. I do find planting them in a pot and keeping them away from any drooping leaves helps with slug and snail attack. The azaleas are flowering and with the warmer weather the smell in the evening is out of this world. Mine here in the Eco-Charlie garden are mainly yellow and have formed a large hedge. The Rhododendrons are also flowering their socks off which keeps all the bees very busy. This year in there is an abundance of Foxgloves, they seem to have taken over a bit but it will be amazing to see them when they all come out.
I have had a disaster with the tulips again this year. I thought that because the squirrels ate them last year I would only grow them in pots inside the cold frame then bring them out when they were about to flower. Not a good idea because the mice have invaded the cold frame and eaten them! Next year I will be putting chicken wire in the pots to deter any creature that fancies a nibble.
In the vegetable garden everything is looking good I have a good supply of perpetual spinach, wild rocket and rhubarb ( not sure of the variety as I inherited it with the garden ). I really feel that a good mulch of manure has improved and bulked up my sandy soil.
Weeding is the main job of the moment and keeping the edges of the grass trimmed and tidy. I am also getting the pots that have overwintered in the greenhouse out now which gives me some space in there to re-new the soil ready to plant tomatoes and cucumbers. Last year they were so successful and tasty that I am going to grow them again. Also I noticed that the little peppadew peppers have self seeded so I will be busy potting them on for later in the summer.
With this hot weather I am up early each morning to water all the pots in the garden and to water the veggie patch before the sun gets onto it. I have found watering in the morning works better at keeping the slugs and snails away from my plants. Eco- Charlie slug and snail deterrent is doing well on the beans and new lettuce I have planted I must remember to pick some lettuce today and some of the rocket that is growing wildly. Because of going away in the middle of June I have not planted many seeds in the greenhouse so not much happening in there. Just the cuttings I took last year to keep going. It’s such a shame that the big red Poppies Papaver orientale `Allegro’ have not lasted very long. I expect it’s been too hot for them. Even the Lupinus` The Page ’ have gone over really quickly and some have very nasty large woolly aphids on them. I tend to wash them off with my hose as I water and I do the same with the black fly that has attacked the foxgloves.
Cutting the grass should slow a little soon but at the moment I seem to be forever getting out the mower and my edging shears to keep everything looking neat and tidy. At least with the close planting scheme in the big flower border there is not a lot of weeding to do there. In the vegetable patch there is always something to weed and pick. I have a lot of Kale, salad, rocket, radish, beetroot and spinach. The carrots have not been successful but there is still time to try again. I must make time to sow some pea, beetroot and bean seeds before it’s too late.
Watering, picking and dead heading to keep the garden going is flavour of the month. The Eco-Charlie Aqua drip nozzles attached to re-cycled bottles are watering the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers efficiently so I don’t have to be too concerned about those but the vegetable seedlings need looking at constantly. I have decided to place them on a tray covered in Eco-Charlie Slug and Snail Deterrent and pouring on water then putting the pots on top to keep them constantly damp. It helps to keep any slimy creatures away and stops my seedlings from drying out.
The herbaceous border is looking a picture with a great variety of colourful plants. The star has to be Helenium `moerheim Beauty’ it’s a real favourite of mine. I also love Lychnis coronaria that has self seeded everywhere, more plants for free! I am a great believer in collecting flower and vegetable seed and using the following year or giving to friends. I also know it will be happy in my garden and resistant to any pests.
Talking of pests we have recently been visited by some deer. Our gate was left open and in they strolled grazing on the plants as they looked about. Not too much damage but Sedums seemed to satisfy their appetite and every flower head was eaten. They also munched happily on the raspberries. Luckily we have quite a few and they are the Autumn fruiting variety so not fully fruiting yet. Fortunately, the rattan cloches were protecting most of the salad and vegetables in the vegetable garden. It took us an hour to get the deer out as they can only come into the garden through the gate, all other boundaries are deer fenced and we have two acres of garden of which some is woodland. Good exercise for us first thing in the morning.
The Vegetable garden is surrounded by box hedging and with the changeable weather we are a little late in trimming it. We started this week because of the lack of hot sunshine and hopefully the cut edges won’t get scorched. Quite a laborious job but looks so good when it’s finished.