Friday March 31st

Hostas are essential plants because they thrive in shade, have wonderful shapely leaves and often gorgeous rich foliage colours, and combine extremely well with scores of different plants. They can be used as ground cover and as stunning specimens in ornamental pots. Hosta look great when planted with ferns,or grasses. Another good idea is to plant up early spring bulbs with Hostas, just as the leaves of the Hosta are opening your spring display will be over, and the unsightly leaves of your spring bulbs will be hidden. If their is a disadvantage with Hosta it has to be the fact that slugs love them. If you are tempted to use slug pellets,avoid using them in an on going manner, check out the ones that claim to be wildlife friendly.

 

Wednesday March 29th

This morning we received the plug plants Begonia Semperflorens which have been eagerly awaited. I have before grown this variety from seed, but they can be slow to germinate, and at 9.99 for 120 plug plants you can’t go wrong. The quality of these plants,which could be described as a size up from seedlings is excellent. They were purchased from a mail order company of which I would highly recommend. www.gardeningdirect.com. These Semperflorens will create a major part of our front garden bedding scheme. All going well I will show you the results mid summer. This afternoon we visited four garden centres in search of two varietys of the evergreen plant Pittosporum. Only managed to get one of them today Pittosporum Variagatum, an excellent plant which I have sung the praises of before, I will come back to them again. Only two of the centres had this particular plant, who had the best specimens? B&Q. The other variety which we will pay Raemoir of Banchory a visit for is Pittosporum Tom Thumb, a red leaf evergreen plant which if we are unable to get, we will just have to rethink what else will look the part in this particular area of the front garden.

Pittosporum Tomb Thumb

Monday March 27th

Back to work in the front garden again today. After removing the box hedging on Saturday, the hardest work was carried out today. The main back border which is, or was planted with a range of evergreens is now a blank canvas. Some or most of the plants had been in the garden for twelve years, which made their removal very difficult indeed. The border really was becoming overgrown looking, no amount of pruning was going to give the rejuvenated look that was necessary. Mind you no one enjoys destroying healthy plants.

True as it may be, our gardens would not be the same if our feathered friends stopped visiting, but the dawn chorus at four this morning would have awakened the dead. We did have an early morning visit from a male bullfinch today, perched himself on an old ornamental watering can just outside the back window and was drinking quite contentedly. Makes a change from the year when two of them completely stripped the leaf buds from a mature Acer. Bullfinches do this, no one seems to know why, unless you do, let me know if you do.? Visit this website it will tell you all you may want to know about the birds that may visit your garden.http://www.garden-birds.co.uk/birds/

Male Bullfinch

Saturday March 25th

Our front garden is a mixed combination of permanent and annual plants. Three years ago we added a little formality with box hedging. This can generally work quite well, however with our garden in an elevated position, we are beginning to think that this has not enhanced the appearance of the garden. It looks as if the box is about to find a more pleasing aspect in the back garden. In the front we will probably return to our traditional edging of Allysum and Lobellia. Thinking of Allysum we have found the best one of all is Snow Crystals the individual flower in this variety is noticeably larger than the others, giving an all-over better effect .

Box Hedging about to be transplanted

Friday March 24th

Cleaned out the greenhouse the other day, and just for added protection I lit one of those sulpher candles. I did remove the young plants which are growing away nicely for tubs and baskets. took them indoors where they will be safe overnight. These candles as they call them come in a tin, filled with yellow sulpher granules, and a paper wick. I lit the wick and made a hasty retreat, five minutes later it was quite clear that the lit paper had fizzled out. I had to go in and relight it, but in spite of going out prematurely the fumes were still noxious. However got it lit again, and I tell you the smoke was still belching out of the closed greenhouse four hours later. Next day I opened the greenhouse door, and left it that way for a good six hours, after which time on entering the greenhouse you just knew that no nasty bugs or pests could have survived. Couple of hours later I returned my young plants to their sterile home. Just noticed that the fuschia cuttings have spots on their leaves and generally not looking too healthy, looks to me like contaminated condensation is dripping onto the plants. I will use these candles again but will not be in such a rush to get the plants back into the greenhouse. Talking about Fuschias, a fantastic upright for the centre of a tub is Leys Unique.

Leys Unique in our window box with Begonias Flamboyant