Friday, 23 May 2014

What's growing

I'm quite a negative person - it has to be said! My glass isn't half empty - I have no glass! and if by chance I did have a glass it would have a hole in it!
Negativity is part of who I am and always has been, it never really bothers me until I'm having a fight with the Black dog in which case it can be quite debilitating and when I'm gardening it can turn what should be a pleasant potter in the garden into a full blown mental assault on myself, anxious about all the things I'm not doing and which are getting on top of me - this usually then results in me flouncing about all cheesed off with myself and achieving nothing. Of course that then results in more of the mental attack on myself and so the cycle begins.
I tell you this because it began to happen again over the last few days and so nothing was getting done but instead of wallowing in the 'woe is me' attitude I determined to go to the polytunnel (mess as it is right now) and think about nothing but getting plants planted and seedlings potted on - music is my choice of weapon for those wandering thoughts.

So here is what is growing in my polytunnel just now

I don't grow many onions, certainly not as many as I should - these are Stuttgarter and they seem to love it in this soil.

Sweetcorn grow so well in this soil and last year I had pretty much 100% cob success. I wasn't going to grow in bottomless pots this year but I noticed mice ate the first batch of seedlings so I decided to play it safe with this second batch. The polythene is purely to stop that wretched Horsetail weed.

I am seriously naff at growing salad crops so I only gave up a small area this year. The Spring onion ain't springing it has to be said and the Pak choi has bolted - what the heck is Pak choi anyway? and what do I do with it?. The rocket was waaay to strong flavoured for me but the Spinach is tasty as are the radishes - guess I'm sticking to Radish and Spinach from now on.

First year Strawberry plants. I gave up growing these years ago cos I never got a decent yield but I'm giving it another go and hopefully have better succes over the next few years.

This Conference Pear is still riddled with some kind of pear leaf disease so it's going out in the garden in a sheltered area from the summer on. It may not produce fruit outside but it'll give the birds more cover in the garden.

The Victoria Plum is outgroing the PT so it too will be going to the garden against a sheltered south facing wall. It has 7 fruit this year - a grand improvement on last years one!

Climbing French Beans - I love these. They do so well in here and produce masses of fruits.

Second batch of Cucumber plants after mice ate the first lot. Also Courgettes are growing the other side.

The cut flowers are really romping away and I've already had a few Dianthus flowers.

The one flower I couldn't imagine not growing - sweetpea.

Quite alot of Allium on here, lord knows what I'm going to do with them all. Plus can you see the Thalictrum n the two middle pots on the middle shelf - I have loads of these that I grew form seed this year, I'm really pleased to see the doing well.

More shelving with Sunflower 'Teddybear', Coreopsis plugs and other plug plants from one of the 'Gardeners world' readers offers.

The plants have now overspilled to outside the PT door.

More overspill

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Mr TGs style of gardening!

My last post made mention of Mr TGs attempt at making a garden out of an area of our land that is seldom used - in fact we never really go along to this area because, well, we never really venture past the polytunnel, but Mr TG has decided in all his wisdom that he can make this area - that we never go to - at least pretty to look at as we tootle by on the ride on lawnmower.
Today I decided to showcase Mr TGs garden - aren't I nice! This is despite the fact that half the plants he has planted are actually ones he's dug up from my own garden areas - without asking first I may add.
I have offered Mr TG a few words of advice along the way but it has to be said he has heeded none of them and has decided he knows what he is doing and that coastal gardening in an exposed area needs no further planning than deciding what plant he wants and where he wants to shove it - it will either grow or it will die (which, sadly I fear many of them will).
Mr TG has also decided to do away with other gardening fancies such as when is the right time to dig up an established plant/tree/shrub and replant somewhere else - he figures the greener and fuller they look before digging up the better his new garden is going to look. He may well have a theory there however he has also decided that established plants/trees/shrubs do not need to take much of a root ball with them - apparently they can grow more so not to worry! While he may get away with that theory (to an extent) in the dormant season, I suspect that said plants/trees/shrubs may very well have something to say about it now they're well into leaf and growth and will most likely give up!

So onto this garden - which he is suddenly calling an "area" rather than a garden now that he knows I'm blogging about it.........................

Yes, most people would have done some kind of clearance and land levelling before planting but not Mr TG - oh no, no. The gorse bush was removed with a monstrous digger and he had to dig up a load of buried corrugated sheeting but as for the rest.....well, take a look

I did convince him that the tree saplings would grow quicker and better if we polythened around them and they didn't have to compete with weeds or grass and bless him he did follow that advice. However while I imagined lovely circles of cut out poly covered in rocks or bark chippings, this was Mr TGs interpretation

This next plant is an Apple tree grown from pip that Mr TG dug up having decided it was leaning too much where I had it happily growing next to the greenhouse. It did look very lush and healthy a few days ago however a couple of days with no root ball and those leaves are really starting to wilt down.

Next we have my Olearia Macrodonta - again one I grew from seed and was happy in my garden. Mr TG liked it though and so it fell victim to his shovel.

Here's a view looking onto his garden from my polytunnel - nice and exposed to the sea, just how all these plants like it. NOT!!
It doesn't show too well in the picture but it has loads of willow and ash saplings planted (and a few fruit trees of mine he pinched), you can also see a few Rhododendrons and the Gunnera I gave him in return for giving me back the Fatsia he had pinched from my polytunnel.

This is the the side of his garden and there are saplings of this stuff running wild where he has planted. I honestly think he believes that I can produce a miracle plant that will smother all this before it takes hold.

A half dead Rhododendron in the foreground but I did give him a couple that were in bloom too - hopefully they'll survive.

I do take the mick out of Mr TG for this haphazard, devil may care attitude toward gardening and planting but I get the funny feeling that next year each and every one of these plants is growing to be thriving (except the Fig because it died as I expected). I have long suspected that my pandering to plants followed by my impatience is my downfall and prevents me having the garden look that I want. Mr TG may just prove me wrong and show that leaving plants to their own devices and not interfering or prematurely pulling them up may produce an established garden quicker than I've ever managed, and if that happens to be the case then I will never hear the end of it - guess I'll just have to claim it's beginners luck.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Land clearance - again!

Mr TG is not in good books!
I went over to the polytunnel yesterday (MY polytunnel) and noticed a Fatsia missing so I asked Mr TG to come over and asked him if there was anything he wanted to tell me.
"Like what?" he says
"Anything. Anything at all?"
"Well I did borrow a plant for my new area" Yes, Mr TG has suddenly decided he's Alan Titchmarsh and could do this "Gardening lark" easily.
"Well what do you think you took?" I asked him.
"One of those Gunnera things" he said.
"Actually no, you took a Fatsia which will not survive here in such an exposed area as where you're planting stuff. Believe me. I've lost 3 so far"
"Yes but that's you, it'll grow for me" Yes, he really did think that.
"Actually it won't because you're going to get it back and I'll swap it for an actual Gunnera".

I was already a bit peeved at this point soI did a quick check of the PT to make sure nothing else had gone - it seemed ok. I went over to this new planting area of Mr TG's and noticed it looked rather full compared to the other day. I'd already donated him Willow trees and Ash trees and had promised him 4 Rhododenrons but then I noticed 2 empty fruit tree pots. As I stared at the empty pots not quite registering what I was looking at, Mr TG shouts out
"Oh yeah I had them trees too!"
"Do you even know what they are?" I asked
"Yeah trees" Oh he's so technical.
"Don't blame me when they die in your very exposed area, it's an Apple tree and a Fig tree and the winds from the sea will just kill them" I told him.
"They won't die, they'll grow for me"

Seething doesn't quite cover it.
Then looking around I noticed a lovely tree that looked suspiciously like an Apple tree that a friend had grown from seed and I had looked after and was now growing into a decent tree. I couldn't quite believe that he had pinched that too from my garden area at the greenhouse but Mr TG simply stated
"Well it was leaning where you had it and I thought it would look better here"
Now I could see the nervous look on his face as I spotted another rather lush looking specimen that I hadn't (and wouldn't have) given him.
"What the bleep bleep bleep"
"Ah yes" he says "It does look so much better there doesn't it"
"But that's my blinkin Olearia that I grew from a cutting and you've dug it up from my ruddy garden"
I'm not joking when I say the air was blue with what was coming out of my mouth.
He's basically gone along my gardens deciding what he likes the look of, dug it up and planted it in the most exposed area of the land - I was so not happy.

We've been clearing the land for a few weeks now. It started in December with the clearing of Gorse bush on a couple of acres and then the local farmer came along and did something cool with a malicious looking instrument that levelled it for us.
We then went along collecting all the dead material, large boulders and roots with this amazing piece of fun (should have purchased one years ago)

The farmer will come along again with his equipment and level it, then we'll de stone it again, then seed it and then another farmer will come along and roll it. We've been here almost 11 years and this is the first time we've ever come close to having land we are able to walk on and eventually mow.

We have Sheligeo burn running along the edge of our property and own the land on the other side of it. I was down there the other day (collecting the dog who keeps jumping the fence) and decided we really need to renovate the area. It's over run with gorse and other bramble type plants but it's a lovely area to sit and relax as it's covered with deciduous trees which isn't too common here.

This is Shelligeo burn running through the land. The wooden structure you can just about see on the right was a den made for the girls when they were younger - they used to sleep over in it with their friends but gave up because it was too scary and then they would be too scared to make their way back to the house.
The bridge is probably still serviceable but I'm not brave enough to use it.

Somewhere along the burn is a Gunnera but some maintenance is needed and I can't quite see it just yet but this marsh marigold is growing literally everywhere

Lots of lovely Primrose growing everywhere too. It's funny but I don't particularly like this plant and would never willingly grow it however seeing it in it's natural setting is pleasant to stumble across and I imagine there are numerous other amazing wild plants growing in this area - if only we could get to them.