As Long As You Have A Garden

Monday, 14 April 2014

Call Me Digger

The weather has been beautiful the last two days. We even ate breakfast outside on Sunday morning. Time to get back to making new beds for all the things I want to plant. I wish I could get a rototiller but there are so many rocks it just isn't an option. Manual labour it is then. Time for some exciting pictures.

ready for native plants with emphasis on bird friendly
 I love birdsong but not losing my berries. The above spot is as far away from my fruit bushes as I can manage and will have plenty of seed producing plants.

bee friendly slated for here
I'm going to try transplanting some heather from our property into the bee area. This way I will know pesticides haven't been used for several years. I'm still deciding what else to plant. Do I go with non native but proven bee attractive or stick with native and see what happens. I've read non native, particularly originating from the Mediterranean attract honey bees while native will bring native bees. Is there any truth to this? I'd prefer native bees but do the native plants have the drawing power?

Plenty of stones as you can see but nothing to the size my husband removed.

my foot for comparison
This baby was about four inches below the surface in the spot we needed for a blackcurrant bush. 

It was given to us by a neighbour as long as we dug it out of her garden. I wasn't expecting it to be so big. We broke her fork getting it out! We needed a wide hole as the roots like to be spread out sideways and that was when we ran into the baby boulder.

Some heavy duty raking is on the agenda for today. The uncared for trees need some top dressing.  I'm following advice from an old timer. Low nitrogen, higher potassium and some lime. Top dressing goes on top except when there is moss which needs to be pulled off. Of course we have moss as far as the eye can see.

The good news is the daffodils we planted in the orchard last Fall have come up. 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Raised Bed Redo

The AMP has spent the winter in the barn organising, almost completed to his satisfaction, it is finally time to start a project or two.

You can, apparently, never spend too long looking at planks of wood. Now I know what it feels like to wait for me in the garden centre. When it comes to utility grade no one checks-you just put it in your vehicle and tell them in the office how much you took. You can also have as many cedar chips as you want for free.

One down, nine more to go. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Tree Following-April

“When perfectly ripe, [it is] deliciously sweet and enticing, with rich, intense, aromatic flavour,” notes Joan Morgan, describing the Cox in The New Book of Apples. “Spicy, honeyed, nutty, pear-like… subtle blend of great complexity…”

Alas the Cox's Orange Pippin does not travel well, neither the fruit or tree. Here in North America few find success in growing it. It seems odd to miss an apple so much. For me it encapsulates a Suffolk childhood. A tree in every garden.

I didn't find the Cox's Orange Pippin on my property until after we had bought it. There are two, planted at the wrong end of the meadow, struggling in shade and waterlogged ground. It is bittersweet, the joy of an old friend, the knowledge it may not thrive.

The wrong end of the meadow


Buds just coming

Damaged bark


Last week it was professionally pruned. This week fertiliser, lime and potassium rich. Planting pollinator friendly native plants. Fingers crossed.

Pictures taken April 6 2014 as part of Loose and Leafy's Tree Following project.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The Cutting Garden

Chancing upon a vase of flowers in a home always gives me a thrill. When I say flowers, I mean those cut from a garden close by, so fresh they awaken all the senses. I have long aspired to have a cutting garden so I was delighted to receive a request to review The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley.

One of the reasons I don't have flowers in the house more often is the guilt I feel about bringing in a thriving bloom which fades once in the vase. I may not be the only one who frets about this as it is one of the first issues Louise addresses in the section on what makes a great cut flower. All the flowers included in the book will last at least five days, some up to two weeks, before beginning to flag. This section also covers abundance and length of blooming.

The Cut Flower Patch is divided into the following chapters:

Planning a cutting patch-the darling girl has planting plans, from easy to advanced, and shopping lists
Recommended flowers with extensive information about each and a colour photograph:
Annuals & biennials

The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley
Bulbs, corms & tubers

The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley

Foliage & fillers
Dianthus barbutus 'Green Trick'

Making your cutting patch

A page from Chapter 2 of The Cut Flower Patch

  • Caring for your patch
  • Cutting time
  • Showing off

The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley

The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley

The invaluable tips page takes any stress out of flower arranging-Louise is a proponent of quick and simple.

Rich pickings-plants to pick for each season
The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley
opium poppy seed heads
A year on the patch-Louise takes us through a year in her own cutting garden
It is hard not to be effusive about this book. Louise is a master of her craft. The book is crammed with detailed practical steps however her writing dances lightly across the page making it easy to absorb. The images, a delight for the eye, are used well and complement the text.

As with all books written on one side of the pond or the other, Louise is in England, resources are specific to that country. Don't let this put you off, however, as the book has a depth of knowledge which will be appreciated and useful to gardeners everywhere. All the plants mentioned grow well in most parts of the northern hemisphere.

Louise is the writer behind wellywoman a respected blog out of the U.K. The beautiful and abundant photographs in the book, some of which are featured in this post, are by Jason Ingram.

For anyone who understands the destruction caused by the commercial cut flower industry, but still wants flowers in the house, this book is the answer.

The Cut Flower Patch
Author: Louise Curley
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Frances Lincoln (March 6 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0711234752
ISBN-13: 978-0711234758
$21 average price