Tag Archives: garden

Slow progress

486 We managed an hour at the allotment today before getting rained off – this (rubbish!) photo shows that we’ve finished what will be the first bed, and have marked out where the next one starts. We thought it would make life a bit easier to have some narrow paths at intervals throughout so that we can get through to water and (hopefully!) harvest without walking over everything.

We were away last weekend at a wedding down south so haven’t done anything here for a couple of weeks. Everyone else has been digging away so we are playing catch-up! We realised that, even just digging one spade’s length down, we were bringing up subsoil, so now we are probably only digging down half a spade’s length, which will hopefully mean that it gets done a bit quicker!

Tomorrow, if the weather isn’t too wet (forecast isn’t great, morning is a bit better though) we’ll do another couple of hours. I must remember this time to take a tub down so that we can confine the growing broken glass collection, and a bin bag for the random bits and bobs of crap we dig up. We haven’t found any treasure yet – so far it’s mainly broken glass (apparently last year a greenhouse had a bit of a rough time at the hands of the wind) and bits of old china mugs, plus odd nails, random unidentifiable metal objects, and quite a few plastic markers. At least the old carpet is all up now (I hope!).

We also dug up a few potatoes that hadn’t been harvested, so at least we know not to plant spuds in the bottom left hand corner (along with not planting onions on the right hand side a bit further towards the middle of the plot – I dug up a couple of those a few weeks ago!). The spuds we bought a couple of weeks ago are happily chitting away – well 3 out of the 4 varieties are anyway, and the other one (pink fir apple – a salad variety) apparently doesn’t chit that well but still works when in the ground, so I’m not worried about that and will plant it with all the others.

I also want to set a few seeds this weekend to start off indoors. The only ones that I need to do this early are quinoa (which I’m expecting not to work, but fancy having a try) and brussels. I forgot to include in the last update that a few weeks back someone from the allotments donated some rooted blackcurrant bush cuttings, so I nabbed one of those and it is now potted up by the back door till we’re ready to plant it on the plot.

I also managed a bit of planting in the front garden today (whilst getting wet). I bought another spade at the garden centre this morning (finally using the garden centre vouchers I got as a leaving present from my last job, in February last year!) and some seed compost, and had really good intentions about not getting distracted and buying anything else. However, knowing where good intentions lead (!) I also came out with a pyracanthus and a couple of alpines (a sedum and another one I can’t remember the name of). So they’re now all planted up, along with a stray bit of forget-me-not which was growing in the gap between a couple of paving slabs but I’ve now transplanted to next to the rose bush.


…. with new life! A couple of pics from the garden this afternoon:

The clematis now has hundreds and hundreds of these buds, which are rounding out and hopefully won’t be too much longer before they flower:

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IMG_7732 This picture doesn’t look very exciting, but I was so excited when I saw it – there are shoots! When Rain came to the UK on her travels we met up in Edinburgh and she kindly gave me a few packets of seeds. I am pretty sure that these are some of those (although as I didn’t have anything to label them I will have to wait and see to be sure!) – I think these might be the columbines. Hooray!


The weather was lovely today so I spent a bit of time in the garden. It didn’t feel at the time like I was doing very much (weeding, pruning, planting seeds mainly, plus mixing up the compost a bit) but 3 hours later I appear to have pretty much lost the use of my legs! I can only move accompanied by loud groans and creaks!

The white crocus has finally deigned to flower (it waited till the yellow one was fully over before even thinking about flowering). The narcissi as well are finally starting to open up, some time after their cousins on the roadside banks.

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Some of the other bulbs I planted out are starting to emerge now, and the clematis too is a riot of buds like this (they are leaf buds, I have so far only counted 3 flower buds, but hopefully there will be more on the way).

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My Stirling garden flickr set is starting to get colourful!

More small garden adventures

IMG_7318Today I planted out the bulbs I bought earlier this week – I’d also bought lots of seeds, but they aren’t to be sown till March/April so I shall have that joy in a few weeks. Today I planted purple freesias and mixed harlequins in several pots out the back, I put them in pots as they need to be lifted and stored somewhere dry over the winter so it’s easier from pots than digging them up from the garden. IMG_7319 The pots which don’t have anything showing yet should start flowering from next month hopefully (I saw the first tulip shoot from the bulbs I planted in December so am optimistic, I should get at least one!). It was a bit drizzly today, as you can see from this skimmia.

In the front I planted out the bulbs which can be left to their own devices and don’t need lifting. You can’t see anything much from these pictures, but the areas of lighter brown soil mark where I’ve planted a couple of agapanthus IMG_7320 (I had one in my London garden that I’d bought from the Eden Project in Cornwall, which never flowered once, so we’ll see what happens with these ones), and along two sides of the border I planted 20 crocosmia (also a feature of the London garden as well as the Glasgow pots in the back court). I also finally planted the forget-me-nots I managed to retrieve from the Glasgow back court, hopefully they will thrive and spread as they are one of my favourite flowers.

The grass is a bit embarrassing, we’ve not done anything to it since moving here in November and it shows (in our IMG_7321 defence it’s never been dry enough to mow). I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, I am tempted to widen out the beds a bit and get rid of at least some of the grass; I’m also thinking maybe about gravelling it and putting a couple of biggish shrubs in, but remembering my gravelling of the London garden that was a bigger job than I anticipated and I’m not sure I can face that this year! Whatever I do, I’ll enjoy the garden though. It was SO nice getting all green-fingered again, I have missed it.

Although the pots and borders look like there’s nothing much going on, I love the thought of all that activity and new growth and life going on under the surface, getting ready to burst into view when the time is right. And as usual I just got such a kick out of the home-made compost in the back garden, the thought of all that stuff breaking down to make nutrients and beautiful new soil is just such a wonderful thing, it never ceases to amaze me. This is why I love getting out into the garden, even though it’s only a small one, it just reminds me of life and how good it is to be alive and that there’s so much more going on than what we can see on the surface.

Adventures in gardening

Yesterday on my way back from teaching in Glasgow I popped into a garden centre I’d spotted near home. I am really happy to have found it, hopefully I won’t go too mad with flashing the cash but I was excited to be able to buy some plants to fill the pots which I’d had to empty of their weeds when we left Glasgow. I’m hoping that the new garden will become a riot of colour; however I also have to be sensible – the front garden gets battered with wind, and the back court is quite dark and mossy, so much as I wanted to I didn’t buy a magnolia as it wouldn’t last 5 minutes.

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What I did buy though, along with some gloves and a broom to try and sweep up the worst of the moss, was a selection of things to start off with. Two skimmias (one male, one female, so the female will hopefully get berries in the autumn as well as them both having spring flowers), a hebe, a lavender, and a special offer on some bulbs which meant that I now have crocuses and snowdrops in one pot and some narcissi in another. The other thing I did was retrieve some plants which seem to be thriving in the (uncovered) compost bin, I think they might be forget-me-nots which I love, but am not 100% sure. So I potted them up, and if it turns out I don’t like them I can always return them to the compost.

My next plan is to buy a compost bin with a lid, or have a go at making something (if I can find the blog post I once found which explained how to do it) so that I can compost food waste. I’m happy to just throw it onto the bin I have, but I guess the neighbours might not be so keen as it is open to the elements, plus with a lid it can hopefully heat up and rot down a bit quicker. I’m very excited about the compost side of things, it always gave me a buzz in London too 🙂

I have started a flickr set of my garden photos, so I can track the progress over the year/years. I’ll add to it as and when I do stuff – the photos (including a few from 365 last year) are here.

2011 Project365 (day361)

27th December 2011

Readers of a certain vintage will remember I spent many happy hours in London pottering around my garden and making it beautiful, it is one of the things I miss most since leaving (over 6 years ago – how did that happen?!). Now in our new house the garden is a lot smaller (we have a small front garden, and a back court which at some point we will fence our bit off so that we can build some raised beds and create a nice outdoor space for the summer), but it is ours all ours. My friend the media darling, whose cuttings and spare bulbs played such a big part in my London garden, sent me some bulbs for Christmas, so today I planted them out in the first bit of proper gardening I have done since getting here. I am so excited! A bonus was that the vendors, as well as all the silly and bizarre and inconvenient stuff they left, also left behind a compost bin with some beautiful homemade compost which has added to the pleasure – it was crumbly, moist and beautifully rotted down, I’m really chuffed with it! Unfortunately it doesn’t have a lid so I can’t put my food waste there (will have to sort a new bin out for that) but it is great to keep me going till I can start making my own.

They may look a bit dull at the moment, but come March/April time they will hopefully be a riot of red. I am bound to forget by then what they all are, so here’s my note to self: the round pot has 4 Triumph Tulip Lucky Strike, and the long one has 12 Anemone Coronaria Hollandia. 🙂

2011 Project365 (day145) / The Gallery week 60

25th May 2011

It’s been ages since I took a picture and posted on the Gallery, hosted by Tara at Sticky Fingers. The Gallery (for the uninitiated) is a weekly photo challenge where you post up a picture related to the weekly theme. This week the theme is My Backyard. To see all the other blogs taking part this week click on the Gallery logo up above next to the picture.

Those of you who read this blog in its early days might remember photos of my beautiful garden in London. How the mighty have fallen (sigh). I am posting this today, of my bit of the back court here in Glasgow, to shame myself into doing something about it. I was heartbroken to leave the London garden, having built it up from nothing, and then when I moved here where there was just a communal back court I was really sad (despite loving the Stately Pile – I’ll be sad when we move from here too). I did at least manage to bring up my various pots with me and array them under my kitchen window, so for a while I did still have a bit of colour and some fresh herbs and bulbs and whathaveyou and I could still enjoy the garden even at a much lower level of activity. For 3 or 4 years they pretty much thrived on neglect (living in the west of Scotland the pots drying out was never an issue, so they could quite happily just get on with growing as they wished). Unfortunately the last couple of winters killed off nearly everything – all my herbs, my two oleanders (woe!) and the strawberries. For some reason the winters had absolutely no effect on the weeds, which this year have gone mad. I’m pleased that the forget-me-nots spread, but am really embarrassed that the paving slabs are so full of rotten leaves and moss that the forget-me-nots have grown there quite happily! There’s also an enormous bramble and goodness knows what else taking over as well.

Now that my OU course is nearly over and I will have my day off a week to myself, one of the things I really want to do is sort out this area. We will probably be moving somewhere bigger at some point in the relatively near future (hopefully), so this may be our last summer here. I think I’ll get hold of a bag of compost, new herb bushes and a load of cheap bedding plants and hopefully have a final summer of colour and beauty.

2011 Project365 (day134)

14th May 2011

This afternoon I spent an hour or two planning my book chapter with a pot of tea and a muffin at the Hidden Gardens at the Tramway Theatre. I love these gardens. The silver random things spin round (there are 3 or 4 of them), there are usually kids playing on them, they’re always a hit.

In other news, I can’t wait for Eurovision tonight! Come on Jedward!

Greenbank Gardens

IMG_2519We had a very pleasant afternoon this afternoon cementing our middle age by strolling round the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) property of Greenbank Gardens in Clarkston, about 6 miles from Glasgow City Centre. It was raining a bit when we got there but not torrentially so I took the risk and took pictures anyway – there’s a set on flickr here. The rain eventually (more or less) went away for a bit so we didn’t get drenched, and I was able to practise taking close-up pictures of plants. It was one of those places I thought it might be nice to take my pastels to sometime, seeing as flowers in gardens are pretty much the only thing I can draw!IMG_2541

The garden is quite formally laid out, but it managed to not feel as po-faced as some formal gardens can. They also sell excess plants from the garden, so it’s probably just as well we haven’t got a garden at the moment as I would probably have bankrupted us!


Hidden Gardens

IMGP6774This afternoon we had a lovely time meeting up with some friends for a cuppa and a walk round the Hidden Gardens, which is round the back of the Tramway Theatre not far from where we live. It was a lovely day, and great to be able to sit out on the grass and chat and drink, and I even needed my sunglasses! It was also the first day this year that I have gone out wearing sandals and (horrors) exposing my feet to the world. The weather the last few days hasn’t been very good, so I’m happy that it managed to sort itself out for the weekend rather than being gorgeous on a work day when I’m stuck in the office!

This photo is of HD walking through a funny arty gate sculpture thingy – it had coloured flashing lights which must look fantastic when it’s dark. This picture makes me laugh – I think all it needs is some dry ice and HD saying “Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be ….” for this to be straight out of “Stars in their Eyes”!

The garden has a number of different sections, including a herb garden and a random chimney stack (as the name of the theatre might suggest, this used to be a yard for the trams, but has been transformed into a really interesting space, both indoors and outdoors). Photos from the garden might well find their way onto my Glasgow blog later in the week.