May 2019

Wednesday 1st May – in the cottage garden

Ferns make up a large part of our Scottish cottage garden and tend to self seed everywhere. The hart’s tongue fern always looks better after a bit of a tidy up, snipping off old brown leaves to allow the new growth to appear.

It was hard to resist buying a few more plants. I can’t have too many pots at the cottage in case it doesn’t rain for long periods but I thought a few bright pansies would look quite nice. In the end I decided to take the stocks home to put beside our front door.

The Solomon’s seal is looking rather good but needs some space clearing around it so that you can really admire the elegance of the giant variety Polygonatum commutatum. I will make a note to transplant some to the other side of the pond to colonise on the banking once it has finished flowering.

2nd May 2019 – in the cottage garden

Working on the streamside garden today I came across a few horsetails but not many considering this border has been left to fend for itself all last year. I cleared out a lot of the wild campion to give the geraniums and hydrangeas a chance to breathe. The daffodils have certainly spread along here now but in and amongst I spotted a few of the Allium triquetrum – the three cornered leek which is non-native and pretty invasive! It has pretty white bluebell flower and the whole plant is edible but not as strong as garlic. As I have an intolerance bordering on an allergy to garlic I have not tried it myself.

I am relieved to see some blossom on the apple tree, I was concerned that the frosts and heavy salt spray in the winds might have damaged the buds, added to which we took a couple of large branches off the height of the tree and I was expecting it to sulk a bit.

Monday 6th May – in the cottage garden

The primulas are beginning to spread now but the young shoots are very vulnerable to the rabbits – luckily these plants have escaped.

I didn’t have much time to do anything around the pond – the netting is still in place and will need to be removed on our next visit and it is time for a big clean out – not a very nice job involving scooping buckets of sludgy water out.

I spent quite a bit of the day on the long trellis border on the seaside of the garden removing the large stones that were edging the plot but are not easy to mow up to. There used to be a wonderful Escallonia hedge along here which was very tall and planted before our ownership of the cottage to hide the caravan beyond that belongs to the caravan site. Sadly the hedge died when we had tempertaures of -16C one year so a trellis has replaced the hedge and we decided on a mixed border to hedge our bets!! Most people up here have a caravan of some kind in their garden – they seem to be a garden feature like other people might have a pond. The large stones have been barrowed down to the unfinished part of the Woodland Walk and dumped for now until I can spend sometime putting them in place.

Behind the apple tree in the holly border are the delphiniums. The one on the left has remained netted since I planted it three years ago and well protected from the bunnies. I have now netted all of them as the one on the right is an example of what happens when the rabbits can reach them and they have had their young shoots nibbled and delayed the growth. I need to make a note to buy a few new plants this year. These were just from Morrisons and have done quite well to survive. It was only when I visited the garden at Claymoddie that I discovered that Delphiniums grow quite well in a woodland setting.

Wednesday 29th May – in the garden at home

I was in Wilkos the other day looking for moisture crystals for my pots when I came across these little terracotta water pots.

Perfect for the courgettes – they don’t like cold water on their roots apparently.

My three outdoor cordon tomatoes are all planted now. I didn’t get to sow my own seed so managed to buy three plants all from different places and all at various stages of growth so we do not get a harvest glut – that is if we get any tomatoes at all. Presently I am keeping them snug and warm in this little outdoor mini greenhouse which has the metal shelving racks removed. Although I wouldn’t normally go for plastic pots I chose these planters from WIlkos as they have a water resevoir in the bottom which will be helpful when we go away.

The few seeds I have sown – lettuce, courgettes, chives, parsley and nasturtiums are all beginning to grow – some more rapidly than others. I need to decide what I am going to transplant the lettuce seedlings into. I have seen one of those raised vegetable boxes at a garden centre down near Matlock and we are going back at the weekend for another look. I am so short of room here at home; I do not have a vegetable plot, just squeeze things in where I can.

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