Thursday 21 March 2019

'ere tis!

Today's delivery - my tripod ladder! I'm delighted with it, its light enough to carry about with ease and absolutely stable. I should have bought one years ago. I bought the second size up. All three legs can extend and take me up higher than this, which will make it suitable for most jobs around the garden. There is a mass of work that I can do with it quite apart from thinning out the apple trees. I hope it isn't too late in the season for me to be pruning them as they are already starting to bud up.
The 'St Patrick's Day' daffodils were open on their name day.

Cold winds have given the camellias quite a bashing. I've done a lot of dead heading so that I can enjoy the flower heads that have not been too damaged.

The flowers don't last for long, but what a joy they are while they bloom.
Just look at the beauty of the unfolding bud.
This is 'Lavinia Maggi.'

Monday 18 March 2019

Rare plant fair in Wells.

Yesterday we went to Wells to see what was on offer at the rare plant fair, held in the Bishop's Palace.
After days of rain and high winds it was a relief to see some sunshine. But the stalls were set out in the shadow of the palace walls where it was uncomfortably COLD.

I went into the palace building to get warm

and could look down on the fair from an upstairs window.
It was more comfortable to be out of the shadows, walking round the gardens and enjoying the spring sunshine.

The magnolia trees were putting on a wonderful display.

Too early in the year for anything of interest to be seen in the flower beds, but they were well manured and in immaculate order, all ready to swing into action.
What did I buy? I dithered for ages over a stall selling  old-fashioned roses. Then I discovered that the growers live not too far away so I plan to visit and make my choice at their nursery. Many of the stalls were selling plants that I wouldn't consider rare at all. I chose a couple of replacements for plants that I lost last year, nothing special, an erysimum from which I'll take cuttings, a pretty pink primrose and a rambling rose, Felicity Perpetue, to go over the arbour where my climbing Iceberg died. I've looked in my rose book since getting home and see that she's not very hardy, which is a bit of a disappointment.
I was behaving well, buying so little! Then I looked at the stall of Arthur & Strange  Ltd, 'passionate about topiary.' They had a tripod ladder on display - I've hankered after one of those for years. I went up. It was stable. It was expensive. I came back down. Study but light with three adjustable legs. Ooh, we could even put on it's rubber shoes and bring it inside for decorating!
Well, I've got the perfect reason for purchase - I'm no longer young and acrobatic and can't dangle at dangerous angles to trim hedges and prune the apple trees. Those days are over. This morning we wandered round the garden with a long stick trying to establish what size ladder would suit us best. 
In the afternoon I went on the Arthur & Strange website. The ladder is ordered.

Saturday 9 March 2019

Seed swap

Today was our local seed swap event. It has been running for ten years now and is very well supported, I think it is such an excellent idea. I divided some of my cottage garden perennials to sell and veg seeds to swap, £1 per plant - a bargain! Hopefully it will give the young families attending a life-long love of growing and harvesting.
I set up my stall and did a bit of selling with other stall holders before the doors were opened.
Yes, this gardening lark is addictive!
Okay, ready to roll.
I loved the carefully chosen outfit to accompany the National Garden Scheme display. "I look like a bee," the stall holder said. Well, how appropriate, all good gardeners want to attract bees into their garden.
Their display was so colourful, with lovely bags and pinafores
 and colouring pages handed out  to the children
There were some very tempting things for me to buy.

I came home with this lovely little plant
and lots of swaps!

Sunday 3 March 2019

The good the bad and the ugly

All the rain tubs are full and now I'm rather wishing that I'd emptied them out and got rid of the accumulated  winter debris before this latest batch of wet weather came in.
The garden is full of moss. I've pulled clumps of it from amongst the iris in the pond.
Its smothering the thyme and other small plants and making the pathways slippy.
The net blew off my brassica bed in the veg garden and before I was aware of it the birds fell upon the cavolo nero with delight. It had been looking so good, but not any more! (They pecked over the broccoli while they were at it.)
And the chard has taken a bashing as well.
But there is much to delight in at this time of year. We shall soon be eating the new crop of rhubarb.

I've used the large delivery of compost as a top dressing on the perennial borders and planted in clumps of forget-me-nots from where they had seeded in the veg plot.

Tulip leaves are peeping up. Unfortunately they provide a good marker for the squirrels who promptly come and eat the bulbs and leave the leaves lying on the soil. I've read that a solution is to plant under wire netting and its something that I should try because those squirrels can certainly eat!
The spring blossom is a delight, with something different to spot in the garden every day.

And among my favourite flowers, the camellia bushes 
with lots of promising buds.