Beautiful sunny day spent potting up the begonias. These were the tubers which had been started off in trays in the middle of March. Very few failures, they are now all in small plant pots, and come the end of May they will be ready to plant out.
Most of the Begonias are for the bedding scheme, with a fair number set aside for baskets and planters. We have two greenhouses, but as usual it is a struggle to find room for all the annual plants. I sometimes think we would need a poly tunnel, especially when it comes to planting up the baskets, as we like to give them protection in the greenhouse before hanging them outdoors first week in June.
Basket at our front door with Begonia Flamboyant and Trailing Lobelia
Quite recently I suggested that Magnolia although relatively hardy was difficult to flower in Aberdeen. Well today driving along Great Western Road I passed three gardens with quite mature specimens of Magnolia Stellata.This is the smallest magnolia and one of the most popular, growing very slowly into a rounded bush, 3m (10ft) high when mature but still only 1.2-1.5m (4-5ft) after ten years. It is fairly hardy, and frost can damage the grey furry buds and open flowers if they are exposed to morning sunshine. A position with early shade and sun later in the day is best. The beautiful flowers, pure white and lightly scented, open very early and before the leaves, eventually covering a mature shrub for several weeks. Plants tolerate lime, even pure limestone.
The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit.
A bit of repair work was required on the round gardens lawn today. The grass in this area of the garden never comes through the winter very well. This is mainly caused by the fact that during winter this part of our garden gets no sun at all. You may well think why doesn’t he just redesign the area and do away with the lawn. Well I have considered doing this, but it comes away so well in the summer, I just resign myself to give it a little TLC at this time of year. What I do is, first of all, fork it all over to improve drainage. Then scarify the lawn with a spring tine rake. I give the first feed of the season, and finally sprinkle some grass seed. In two or three weeks it will be looking great again. Also finished treating the decking area with cuprinol preservative and getting it all ship shape for summer. Here is a picture of our decked patio spruced up.
Finally got round to preparing a small vegetable patch in the garden today. This is a first, I sowed seeds of carrots, lettuce, and radish, (well, from humble beginnings) I will keep you up to date with the progress. Here are a few tips for growing carrots. For best results they prefer a light soil which has been improved with lots of well-rotted organic material fully dug into the soil. Carrots grown on heavy soil, or where organic material is not well-rotted, will become misshapen and grow forked. Stones in the soil will have the same bad effect. Prepare the bed two weeks or so before planting, forking in a handful of bone-meal for each square metre (yard). Ensure that the soil is dug to a spades depth and is of a crumbly texture.Early carrot varieties do best in full sun, especially if they are to be harvested when young. Main crop varieties do best with some shade especially in mid-summer. Using a trowel, dig out narrow drills 2cm (3/4inch) deep and 12cm (8inches) apart. Carrot seed is fine – the easiest way to sow is to empty some seed from the packet into the palm of your left hand and and take small pinches of seed with your right hand fingers, dropping a couple of seeds every 2.5cm (1 inch) along the narrow drills. Sow the seed thinly to avoid too much thinning out later. Cover the seeds with fine soil very gently firming it down. Water with a fine spray if the conditions are dry. The seedlings should start to appear 15 to 20 days later. Sow from mid april till early july.
Working in the garden in the early evening, it did occur to me that the last time I was able to do this was thirty years ago. Reason for this is, since nineteen seventy five I have been a shopkeeper. Rising at four thirty every morning, preparing the daily newspapers in anticipation of the early morning rush, closing up at seven thirty each evening. This lifestyle gave me some free time in the afternoon to indulge in my gardening. Now all has changed, for last november I sold up, customers told me I would miss the shop, I would still want to get up at four thirty in the morning (right). I am not complaining, the shop served me well, but oh this new lifestyle suits me down to the ground. As well as having the pleasure of working in the garden of an evening, I must say early morning outdoors is even better. Think I shall lie in until eight thirty tomorrow.