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Showing posts from February, 2012

A Good Weekend for Weeding

This weekend was perfect for gardening so I set to and managed to do quite a bit of clearing up of dead leaves that I had left as protection over winter - the blackbirds had been scuffling them about looking for worms and it was starting to look a bit messy - I filled a big trug with them.  Unfortunately there were lots of ladybirds hiding in amongst the leaves, so they will have to find alternative hidey holes, like this:-

Can you spot them - two ladybirds snuggled up together in the flower-cup of a Hellebore - I am always amazed how these little insects can survive over winter.

Greenhouse - Mission Accomplished

With the advent of warmer weather over the last couple of days a concerted effort was made to finally clear out the greenhouse.  I was moaning about the chaos in there last week, which was 'doin' my 'ed in'. 
Mission Impossible has now become Mission Accomplished.

The beloved made a start by making more mess and shifting everything to one side - and the glass was washed, inside and out, and the moss removed from inbetween the panes of glass.  The moss is a pain as it pushes the glass out so that it leaks.   Then today we finished the job between us by cleaning the back of the greenhouse and clearing the work bench, disinfecting, getting rid of lots of rubbish, and putting everything back neatly.  Voila!  Now I can get down to the real business of seed-sowing, instead of trying to find a bit of space.  We didn't bother cleaning the roof because we cover it with Cool Glass as the weather gets warmer, so that the plants don't get scorched.

Seed Box
I am always o…

A Slice of the Good Life

I can't resist a bargain, this pretty buttercup yellow Kalanchoe houseplant was reduced from £4 to 40p in our local shop - now that's what I call a bargain.  A few other 'sale' items I have picked up just recently

Two large hanging baskets for this years Tumbling Toms reduced to £7
A metre long Grow Cover reduced from £30 to £10
A mesh cloche for £5 reduced from £15
and a propagator for £5 from £15

You just have to be in the right place at the right time, and if you are lucky you find a new pair of wellies for £4.

I also picked up a great book in the sale at our local garden centre

which is full of really useful information from growing to cooking, preserving to making your own products.  So although I have had a little spending spree the total cost didn't actually amount to very much and I am delighted with all my purchases.

What's Happening in February?

I have been having a bit of bother with the new Blogger format - it actually published my post whilst I was still typing it yesterday, so I have gone back to the old familiar format where I can at least access my dashboard.  New and improved isn't always better Blogger!

Thank goodness for the rise in temperature over the last couple of days - our central heating decided to go on the blink on Monday, it hasn't been working too well in the cold weather and when the plumber removed the pump we found out why.  It was totally blocked up with gunk and corrosion.  So, new pump installed, we now have proper heat at last - trouble is, we have got so used to the house being on the chilly side, we are now finding it too hot, even with the temp. gauge turned down to practically nothing.   Well at least it will save on heating costs.

There are one or two jobs that I would like to complete before the end of the month
*spreading and incorporating compost, and
*placing cloches or sheets of pl…

Greenhouse Chaos

My greenhouse is in a right old state at the moment.  When it is not in use during the winter it tends to become a dumping ground for anything and everything . 

It needs a really good clear out so I can wash all glass and benches and get it ready for filling up with plants and seedlings, but the weather has held me back, and it is driving me nuts.  I am by nature a tidy person, but lack of space means that I am forever re-arranging things so I can get it all in without it looking like a tip.
Normally, in the spring, it looks like this

Spot the difference - nice and tidy - plenty of room for my tomato plants - just the way it should be.  I don't know how I have accumulated so much stuff in there, and where am I going to put in all when the gardening season starts. 

I have an idealistic fantasy greenhouse in my mind - that looks something like this

or this

Now they are what I call lovely growing places - so, suitably inspired - I resolve to get the greenhouse sorted out so th…

In Praise of the Crocus

I wish now I had had the foresight to plant some crocus bulbs in containers for inside use.  I always remember to buy hyacinths and paper white narcissus but never remember the smaller bulbs like crocus and scillas.

These small plants are much better seen  at eye level, when you can observe the finer markings on their petals - of course, they still look beautiful planted out in the garden, but I am getting a little creaky in the joints to really get down that far to have a good look.

  Any sort of container will do - but I think a shallow ceramic bowl would be perfect.  In the depths of winter these exquisite little beauties are enough to bring a smile on a dreary day.

How to force Crocus flower bulbs for inside use

Fill a bowl with gravel until it is three-quarters full
Press the bulbs down firmly  - they should be able to stand up without falling over
Carefully fill the bowl with water until it just reaches the top of the gravel and only just skims the bottom of the bulb

Chillin' Out (literally)

I don't know whether you can remember as far back as last Saturday, but compared to the freezing cold weather we are having at the moment, it was positively balmy.  I actually did some proper gardening - something I haven't done for quite a while.    I worked outside (without a coat) emptying the compost bin and spreading the remaining compost over the raised beds.  Then I turned the second bin and was left with about two feet in depth of lovely, crumbly compost from last year which I will spread once the weather  warms up a bit.  I pruned a climbing rose and the hardy fuschia and a buddleia.  I was pleased with all the jobs I managed to get done - but then the weather turned, and we have had hard frosts all week - it really has been bitterly cold.

The good news is that we had an oil delivery, so even if it does snow or whatever, at least we will be warm - the bad news is that the price of oil has soared and it cost over £300 to half fill the tank.  Sadly, we have no gas …