MAY 2014

Lovely and fluffy! These Japanese acers are impressive.
Lovely and fluffy! These acers are impressive.

MAY YOUR GROWTH SPURTS BE SUPER-CHARGED!

Looking super in May 2013
Looking super in May 2013

It’s almost as is if my garden has been super-charged! A fabulous crimson rhododendron is looking impossibly voluminous and vibrant compared to last year. But the Japanese Acers steal the show as ever. Maybe it was the mild winter, but last year I thought they were magnificent and this year they are just gorgeous. I’m definitely hooked on Acers, so beautiful and well worth the investment.

About a dramatic as you can get.
About a dramatic as you can get.
Lovely mauve tulip.
Lovely mauve tulip.
The sun catching the tulip petals so that they positively glow!
The sun catching the tulip petals so that they positively glow!
Ceanothus lambs ears hosta horstail
The lambs ears compliments the Ceanothus and brings texture.

Tip-toe through…
…the pots of tulips has been pretty dramatic. The sun, when it catches the pale lilac petals, makes them positively glow. I experimented with black tulips and mauve ones too. I love their solid depth of colour and are beautiful even as they fade. It’s the ceanothus turn now. That lovely blue next a variegated hosta and lambs ears brings texture to this border.

The green wall planting. Winter plants on their summer holidays.
The green wall planting. Winter plants on their summer holidays.

Green Walls
My vertical green wall is now looking its best too. It was a winter planting scheme but actually looks better now. A mixture of ivy, heather and variegated skimmia has given the scheme a lovely texture. I was going to dismantle them and put the plants in the border but I’m glad I let them stay.

Evil Weevil
In my front garden I’ve had to deal with a raised planter that had been riddled with vine weevil. I removed all the compost and replaced it with grit and soil. Now succulents live here and hopefully the weevils don’t come back.

Busy in the greenhouse.

Greenhouse Action
The most action has gone on in the greenhouse. There really are not enough hours in the day. It’s packed full with vegetables for the allotment and there’s not an inch of space left. I even made use of some hanging containers to plant up some strawberries. Very soon the first batch of frost sensitive veggies (sweet corn and French beans) will begin the hardening off process. Before that I have to clear that area of baby broccoli. They need urgent planting as soon as I’ve sorted butterfly nets. A baby cucumber is having a growth spurt since I potted it up. The fruit must be about ten days old and look how much it has grown. For a giggle I photographed in the morning with a ruler and then again one day later. What a result: 12mm!!!
I’ve potted on so many plants that I’ve now run out of pots, and that’s the point where I’m stopping. I’ve lost count of how many bags of compost I have got through. But it’s nice to see the greenhouse so lush and full of promise.

Well done baby Cue! 12mm in 24 hours.
Well done baby Cue! 12mm in 24 hours.

Weeds Can Take Over
At the allotment I’m battling with couch grass that has sneaked into one area. I’ve missed a couple of weekends of digging and the weeds have got out of hand. So that’s top of my to-do list before the big planting out session. I was also late with putting in the potatoes. I had forgotten that I’d left them outside still in their pack, so for a week they were rained on so much so that roots have developed. After I’d disentangled then from their wrapper, I put them in a tray of water for a drink before I planted them. I hope they survive, I will just have to wait and see.

Potatoes
Potatoes get a drink before planting.

Planting in Storms
May has had some pretty extreme weather. Gorgeous days mixed in with dreadful storms. My greenhouse was flooded out on one occasion, and my gutters produce several kilos of potential compost! However there has to be a general move to get the veggies ready to plant out. Hardening off butternut squash, pumpkins and courgettes has seemed too cruel this last bit of May. But a temporary loan of a greenhouse that’s next to my patch by a holidaying neighbour, has meant that I can whip the plants in and out of shelter easily. Being actually on site with the more exposed weather has got to help the plants to get used to the conditions. This has freed up my greenhouse at home, so that I can concentrate more on the cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. Oh and the sweetcorn, errr…

Too much and you can take your eye off the ball?
You can overlook problems when you have a greenhouse packed to the rafters. I was disappointed when I discovered that the sweet corn was seriously pot bound as the black plant cells were faulty with no drain holes. So when I checked the bases for tell-tale roots, they were never there, and I was convinced that they didn’t require re-potting. Luckily I spotted the problem in the nick of time.

Lulled into a false sense of security, I didn't spot the faulty plant cells!
Lulled into a false sense of security, I didn’t spot the faulty plant cells!

Veggie plot taking shape at last.
All this water and the weeds are thriving but at least they are easy to pull out. My peas are developing but needed extra sowings to fill the no-show gaps. Herbs are look good and cauliflowers nicely growing away. Broad beans seem to be wrestling with the nets now that they have reached full height.

Lush growth with all the rain.
Lush growth with all the rain.

I got a chance to get some Brussel sprouts in the ground now that the butterfly net has arrived. Only got the broccoli to go with them then that’s another bed done.
Slowly but surely I am getting  it done.

Garden News
Read all about my garden, and the Chelsea Show round up  in the May 31st edition of Garden News! And step into summer!

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A blog about my gardening exploits to inspire, even if its looking like its all about go wrong. (Which it does, alot)

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