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This page will include details of my flower growing exploits as they
develop over the years.
15 April 2008 - a long overdue re-potting of a money tree and white Easter cactus.
A friend gave me two nice old stone pots which I've planted Sedum & ??? in.
21 Jan 2008 - My free holly plant arrived this morning, so it got potted in place of a plant that had died. Looks a bit pathetic and may do so for some time as I think it will be slow growing. However, it hopefully won't be attractive to rabbits or chickens!
15 April - At last I've got around to planting something else in the bare holly pot. I've chosen Sedum & ???? which I bought at a house which I see on the way to the gym.
First spring bulb of 2008
28 Sep - new wildlife ;-)
June - Did you know we have a small pond in the centre of our
garden? I know I've not mentioned it before. When we first
moved in it was full of fish but they all disappeared the following summer
with the arrival of visiting herons. I don't do anything to look
after it, apart from tidying up the surrounding plants and throwing in
some barley straw if the water looks really grotty. This summer,
we've had a good water lily display, although the flowers do tend to be
very short lived and hide away under the leaves. I managed to catch
this one on film though -->
5 June - Just had to photograph this beautiful delicate blue iris in full bloom.
My favourite flowers are freesia, closely followed by lilies.
I've tried and failed to successfully grow freesia, so I generally plant a
new pot of lilies each year. That brought my total to four pots this
year, all of which were doing well until the rabbits got them, even though
I put some sharp chicken wire in three pots as a deterrent. Now they
are all just fit for the bin. I'm very sad.
Borders & lawn
was tempted by a free offer in Gardener's World - "a japanese acer
for every reader". I've always loved their feathery delicate
look and vivid red autumn leaves. It arrived as a pretty young, bare
plant, but with buds. I planted it up and watched it start to
develop those beautiful leaves, Then disaster hit on 14 May when a
rabbit or squirrel found it and ate all of the leaves and nibbled some
bark. Not one to throw in the towel immediately, I protected it with
a chicken wire enclosure and crossed my fingers.
16 Apr - always trying to propagate from existing plants, here's my latest two attempts.
5 June - sorted out quite a few houseplants including a tidy up of my
kitchen basket and the conservatory stand, especially the very leggy pelargoniums.
22 June - I have a giant cactus which I have had as long as I can remember and it grew from one piece into this monster which flowers for one day, about once every five years!
23 July - Started my gardening day by trying to find a way to support the conservatory veg plants which are getting very big. A mini disaster with the cape gooseberry ensued as I didn't realise it was resting so heavily against neighbouring plants and was pinned to my giant cactus. Yes, the gooseberry snapped, the cactus fell over and left its pot and spawned several babies on the floor. And OUCH, the cactus spines are lethal! Well, I had been trying to find a way to get it out of its pot for some months, so now was the chance to repot it and try to propagate from the fall-out (or fall-off, in this case). So I've now got a repotted cactus plus four new cactus plants and a rather messy but strapped together cape gooseberry.
13 Sep - I took three leafy climber cuttings from a plant I thought was dying (and has since recovered) and now it was time to re-pot this one with a support.
I tried to save my favourite and enormous lemon pelargonium plant in
January when I allowed the frost to get to it (see pic below), but it's on
its last legs now so I've taken twelve cuttings to try to breed new
27 Mar - Since the weather
has turned mild, I decided to prune my three rose bushes. Don't know
exactly how to do it for the best, as I don't know what type of roses they
are. However, they are more of a wild rose than a cultivated
one. So, I just followed basic pruning rules (I think!).
Flowers from seed
8 Apr - Agastache Apricot Sprite, Campanula cashmeriana, Campanula lusitanica, Incarvillea sinensis pink fairy, Nasturtium dwarf, Nigella Persian Jewels, Potentilla.
19 Apr - signs of germination: Agastache, Campanula lusitanica, Incarvillea and Nasturtium.
21 Apr - Nigella coming to life.
Bulbs 25 March
But growth in the borders coming along nicely with snowdrops in full bloom, daffodils at six inches tall and day lilies thriving.
16 Feb - Remember that I'm planning to convert border 3 into a shingle pot garden? Well, my rockery stones to form the edge were delivered today so I made a start, some final weed clearing and lifting of bulbs for transplanting, then laying weed suppressant and placing the stone edge.
7 June - built a stand for my pots which I hope the rabbits won't be able to climb. My Campanula, Incarvillea and Nigella which I have grown from seed are on the top shelf. I'll be adding the Lavatera and Agastache tomorrow.
8 June - Incarvillea pot destroyed on top shelf of new stand. So, it must be pesky squirrels, as well as pesky rabbits. Boo hoo ;-(
What to do with the 14-foot tall bamboo? I'm finding it difficult to get some sound advice. Do I chop it down to four or six feet, or lower? Do I thin it out? Or do I leave it to it's own devices? I've tidied it up today (31 Jan) but what next?
I make the classic mistake of impulse buying plants that I like, then finding they won't survive where I want to put them. As a result, I've had to pot two Skimmia plants today which I wanted to put in border 1. They need partial shade, so they wouldn't survive the summer in border 1, which gets very dry in full sun. I'll move their pots to my new "pot garden", which does have some shade, before summer. I think the variegated prickly bush should be ok though.
Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Tricolor' in border 1. Will tolerate full sun & dry soil, fairly hardy.
(You'll notice my top dressing favourite of the moment is plum slate.)
Skimmia japonica 'Rubella'. Needs partial shade, moist soil, fully hardy. Deep red flower buds in Autumn, dense clusters of small white flowers in Spring.
On 9 January, I continued with flower border clearing that I started last November. We have three borders in our formal garden. Two of them I will try to cultivate with blossoming flowers and favourite plants.
More of the same on 10 Jan plus general tidying of pots and lawn.
Trying to save my favourite lemon geranium plant (which I suspect is really a pelargonium as it doesn't die back and the frost got it).
Spotted first new growth of the year when I cleared the last border - snowdrops?
11 Jan - still clearing the third border which I want to make into a dry garden. However, given the swamp-like conditions of this awful clay soil in the autumn and winter, this might take tons of grit and still be impossible. So, it is more likely to become my pot garden where I will experiment with new plants and flowers grown from seed, plants which will not survive in the clay soil and probably some herbs. After clearing, I will cover with black weed suppressant and pea gravel, then pots galore!
Flower garden map
My first year at Longfield and I just watched the flower garden to see what developed.
Although I do love having cut flowers in the house, the flower garden is not my top priority - it will always take second place to my fruit and vegetable garden.
There were some pleasant bulbs in spring, snowdrops, crocus and daffodil. Followed by iris, prolific lemon balm, fabulous day lilies and many other plants I could not identify.
Some that I didn't like have been dug up, but I am totally unsure about how the flower garden will develop. Or even if it will develop at all, depending on the time left after fruit and vegetable tending.