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May 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, flowering in my garden May 10

it's the 15th May, and it's time for my regular update of what's flowering in my garden, and if you go on over to Carol's May Dream Garden's you can find out what's flowering all over the world.

The last couple of weeks have been cold and dry, so there are still Tulips showing, with the Alliums just starting to come out



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Plant Sale - West Horsley, Saturday 15th May 2-4pm

As you may know, i'm a bit of a plant fan, and I do tend to have rather a lot of propagated plants sitting around the garden in pots, waiting. 

They are collected from all over the place. - Seedlings that i've grown on, plants propagated from clients gardens, excess plant buying from nursery's (yes it does happen even to professionals!).

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When you go down to the woods....

i've said it before, but i'll say it again, I luuuurve living in the countryside. 10 minutes walk from my front door on Sunday, and this was the sight.

Of course these are English Bluebells, Hyacinthoides Non Scripta.

The bells all hang on one side, whereas the Spanish Bluebell, Hyacinthoides Hispanica (often sold as Scilla Hispanica)

are a lot more upright, and the bells are all round the stem. They are not so keen on woodland shade, and produce more foliage for less flowers

Unfortunately the Spanish types are a lot more thuggy than the English types so can cross pollinate and take over.

So, enjoy your wonderful woodlands while you can, and plant English bluebells, not the Spanish types in your garden if you'd like a show of deepest blue each May

Malvern Show, - The shopping

One of the best parts of my job, is that I get to go round Garden Centres and Nurseries, and buy things not just for my own garden, but for clients as well.

So after my morning stroll around the Show Gardens at Malvern on Friday, (missing loads by the look at photos from Ryan's Garden, The Constant Gardener, The Artists Garden, The Patient Gardener and Carrie from Grow your own) I got my shopping list out to get things not available at my local GC, and talk to some of the plant experts to make sure I was making the right choices for plants already planned for borders


First stop was Fernatix, who confirmed the overhead spray irrigation my landscaper had in mind for a project would work for Aspleniums and Blechnum (although at the end of the season the leaves may look a bit limescalley) They had yet more new types of Athyrium, but I didn't have them on my list, so I resisted.

I then checked with the Bougainvillea experts, so that I could report back to my exotic border client that - no there aren't any hardy Bougainvillea's in England, and the Southern California look that she wants will have to be thought over again.

My best plant find was a tray of Artemisia Schmitiana Nana, which I needed to finish a herb border planting, and which the local nurseries were having trouble sourcing, Here they are already planted up - (yes Nana means small, - the little silver foliage plants)


Nerines were next on my list, - all the local garden centres have sold out, but Malvern had 2 different stalls selling bulbs of Nerine Bowdenii, so i've now got enough to complete my planting plans

I then had to move out of the plants section, and onto the sundries. I've found in the past that this is where you can usually make the biggest savings.

Gripple clips which I used for the first time last year when I put up my Raspberry Supports. Watering Lances, Plant labels, and flexitie were all added to my rollalong trolley (yes I do have one!) during the afternoon, as well as my fab freebie book from Wiggly Wigglers and of course my contribution to the evening get together.

I actually managed to get home without a single plant for my own garden, maybe for next year, i'll have to use Lia's trick of letting people know in advance what you are looking for. Of course there's always Gardener's World Live, where i'll have DH to help carry things!

Harvest for this week w/e 9/5/10

While I was away enjoying myself at the Malvern Show, my garden was growing.

This Rhubarb was trying to Flower, - which stops it producing fruit. I whipped off the flower stalk and got almost a Kilo of Rhubarb. (yes that's the prepared weight!)

I've also harvested 2 Arctic King Lettuces, 3 portions of mixed lettuce leaves, 3 portions of Parsley, and 2 portions of mint. plus 15 leeks. (no I havn't eaten them all yet, but I need room for the beans) - There are still 6 leeks left in Williams bed for a couple of weeks time.

Malvern Show - Show Gardens 2010

I’m writing from a cold tent in Malvern, so excuse me if my cold fingers effect my typing, but I’m having a lovely day meeting all the other garden bloggers at the Malvernmeet.   This morning I’ve done a grand tour of all the show gardens. This afternoon, i'm going to do shopping, as i've got a list of things to get for me and clients.

Last time I came to the spring show, several years ago, I didn’t think much of the gardens, and didn’t spend much time in them, but this morning I wanted to look at them all objectively and I’ve spent more time walking through them.   The first thing I’d like to say is that although I love looking for ideas in gardens at shows, and I appreciate that they have to look good today, I’m usually disappointed in the plants used, and keep thinking about , how they’ll look in a couple of months time.  

The first garden that caught my eye was the ReSource garden.   This has a fantastic pergola, which I love, and has apple trees growing up it. 


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One Handed Weeding

By May, the evenings are long and light, the garden is looking and smelling gorgeous, and evening /after work wandering outside with a glass of something soothing is possible.

Unfortunately the weeds are also doing their hardest to overtake the garden, and seed all over your precious borders.

The good news is that most (not all) of the fastest growers are annuals, and are shallow rooted, which means you can pull them out with one hand, while wandering.

Sticky Weed , is one of the quickest spreading, but can be easily pulled out.

weeds with rosettes like these are easy to pull out, and speedwell and chickweeds can also be destroyed one handed


Herb robert, which is a geranium is also one which grows to a large size very quickly, but can be yanked out from the centre. Just getting rid of these can clear your borders out very quickly.

getting together a pile of weeds in 5 minutes each evening can be very satisfying, but better than that, it prevents the annuals seeding, which means you'll have more time for drinking later in the season.

Bank holiday weekends are for - digging out compost

About this time of year, I need more compost. My tomato plants are itching to be in bigger pots, my overwintered salad is exhausted, and I need more good stuff to plant into.

Luckily I always have compost bins at the bottom of the garden, that are just waiting to give up their overwintered black gold.

Last Autumn, we replaced our lovely wooden bins with an extra plastic darlek, and a compost tumbler. Our grass cuttings, surplus apples (there are 2 huge trees next door, I did make chutney and have an apple a day through to December honest!) shrub prunings, chicken manure and our kitchen waste were all added in.

After a few months, we now have the end results.

The tumbled stuff was a lot wetter and darker than the plastic bin compost, - I used this for mulching on the vegetable patch.

The Darlek bin compost was sieved with my tumbling machine

This is an electric rotary sieve, that is an expensive piece of kit, but means you can empty a full compost bin in less than an hour. - The sieved stuff drops through into the wheelbarrow below, the large un composted lumps fall out the end to be returned to the bin for another couple of months.

This compost is really rich and very easy to plant in, and I had 2 wheelbarrows full, enough for all my tomatoes and peppers, which I grow ring culture style in recycled florists tubs.