Huge garden update

So it was winter. Then it was more winter. Then I was beginning to lose hope that we’d ever see temperatures above freezing, then all of a sudden IT WAS SPRING. I prepared a little by planting many seeds indoors, and set up a complicated hardening off system involving moving seedlings from indoors, to one greenhouse, to the other, then finally to outside, but I couldn’t actually DO much out there until a couple of weeks ago as the ground was frozen solid.

But this is (as much for future-vampy’s information as your edification), the state of my garden as of today.

Firstly, a couple of months ago I exchanged some Tesco clubcard vouchers for Thomspon and Morgan vouchers, and tried to take advantage of as many special offers on their site as I could so I could pay some attention to the non veggie part of the garden. Here’s what I ordered. All pics are taken from the T&M site, but I am sure they won’t mind as this is good advertising for them…so buy your plants from them, they have awesome bargains!

Firstly, I ordered some perennials from their collections. The plants you get are teeny tiny, but I don’t mind, I put them in pots in the greenhouse to get big and strong before planting out. I got a similar pack last year, and aside from one plant that got eaten by slugs, all are doing well. I got:

A Coreopsis Sunray
B Echinacea Magic box mixed
C Scabiosa blue jeans
D Digitalis Foxglove dalmation peach
E Papaver pizzicato
F Silene Jack flash

A Coreopsis Sunray
B Gaillardia Arizona Sun
C Scabiosa Blue Jeans
D Papaver pizzicato
E Silene Jack flash
F Aquilegia Swan mixed
G Gaillardia Arizona Apricot
H Delphinium Pacific Giants
I Lavender Munstead
J Heuchera Palace Purple

perennial collection

The pic isn’t actually of the actual things I ordered cos they substituted some, or I didn’t download the pic when I ordered and they changed the pack or something, but it’s all good, I love everything I have. Well, except the foxgloves, and that’s not for any aesthetic reasons, but because bees hide in the flowers and then come out buzzing ‘HI THERE I AM A BEE’ and scare the life out of me. But I like bees and I like them being around to pollinate my things, so it’s a good thing really.

I also ordered lots of seeds. I didn’t bother making a photo of the veggie seeds, cos I know what veggies look like, but I’m still very much a novice with flowers, so I stole the pics so I knew what to expect. These are all planted, and most are doing well, although there was an unfortunate incident involving lizards roaming around in the greenhouse and deciding that clambering all over my seedlings was more fun than sunbathing on the rock or eating the greens planted especially for them, so there were several casualties. Hopefully I’ll still have at least one plant of each variety, if not, I guess I’ll have to plant more seeds next year.


I went outside to potter and do a few chores and get some pics of everything. LOTS of pics. So erm, here you go. pics because it did indeed happen.

As ever, the bed beside the back door is the most finished, and has the earliest blooming flowers, so it looks pretty good already:

The herb part is in need of a few additions, i have flat leaf parsley, coriander, and basil all growing on my bedroom windowsill waiting to go out:

I have my first hanging basket! I was scared of them before cos i know I am rubbish at watering stuff in summer, but with it being fleece lined and having a water holding sheet in it, fingers crossed it’ll survive:

The chickens have been temporarily relocated to the lawn area so we could reseed their area. The honeysuckle and rose are having their first year of not being cut back to the ground, and are enjoying climbing the arch:

We decided to move things around a little and put the swing seat against the hedgerow, so the chickens’ fence will go in a different place to before, which is a bit annoying, as we planted the line of daffodils along the old fence, so they are gonna need relocating. The new layout at least means I could squeeze in another bed next to the greenhouse, for our squashes. At the moment there’s a courgette planted in the ground under the cold frame, and I moved the peas in pots in there to get a bit bigger before planting out. The straw is down to hopefully keep the grass seed moist enough to grow:

The view from the swing seat:

I got some water damaged floorboards on freecycle a while ago, and made a nice 3 compartment compost bin to replace the circle of chicken wire I was using before. J dug out the compost for me, and there were several barrowfuls of really good compost at the bottom, which have been put into the greenhouse and a couple of the beds. And there’ll be more to come next year!

The back bed is next on the list for adding more plants to. J bought me a dicentra and put it in the other day, I looove it. The pond isn’t so happy, too many leaves fell in it from the trees in the garden behind, so I spent ages fishing them out and pulled out a ton of rotting leaf mud gunge from the bottom. I recently put in some more oxygenators and a small red waterlily, so hopefully the algae will clear once the lily grows. It’s not toooo unhappy though, I did see a few newts in there the other day:

One of the best things about going outside is checking the chicken house:

I love all the different colours, even if they do end up a bit poopy. I kinda want a chicken that makes blue eggs:

The veg area is looking very bare, it’s too early to put most things out. The broad beans have been there over winter and aren’t doing too well, i think they got snowed on too many times:

The asparagus is doing okay though, plants here range from 1-3 years old. Not tooooo much longer to wait until we can pick it:

The fruit bushes in pots are pretty happy. They’re mostly blueberries, with a couple of honeyberries and a blackcurrant. The plan is to make a big raised bed and buy a load of ericaceous compost so I can have an actual blueberry bed:

I wasn’t very good at picking celery last year. I am completely amazed that it survived the winter:

One artichoke did awesomely at getting through winter. The others less so, though that might be related to cat digging rather than temperature. The blackcurrant bushes at the end of the bed are looking good, may even get some fruit this year, and the raspberries in the bed behind are running rampant as ever:

Unfortunately the front patio is a huge big mess. It’s somewhere down the list to tidy:

The sempervivium in the front bed is doing wonderfully though. It was growing on the roof of the garage, so I asked gren to get it down for me a couple of years ago, and planted it. It had a million babies, and this is one of the babies making baby plants of its own. There are at least 10 of them in this bed now, and they are great:

At least my pots and canes are organised, even though there is mess everywhere else!

We had too much garlic, so i stuck some in a pot, it seems happy enough:

The easiest way to plant potatoes: Make a big mound in the centre of the bed, and plant a row of potatoes each side. Then when it comes time to earth them up, you can just push soil down from the mound and not have to find it from elsewhere or worry about hurting any potatoes by digging soil from around them:

Stage 2 in the hardening off rotation, a cold frame inside a greenhouse. For a while I put a tube heater in here, but it’s getting warm enough now that it doesn’t need it. It has mostly peas in in this shot, but I moved them to an outdoor cold frame and switched things around:

After moving stuff around in there…basil, sweet peas, beans, melons, broccoli, chillis, aubergines, and some rather leggy tomatoes that i left indoors too long:

Here’s the greenhouse with the cold frame, kiwis, tobacco plants, tomatoes, and various other things in:

The other greenhouse is full! This bed is the ‘lets grow some salad things before we need to put other plants in’ bed. It has radish, carrots, rocket, mizuna, spinach and chard in.

Here’s some of the perennials from T&M in pots waiting to get bigger before going outside, and a couple of tomatoes to the right that were started off under a grow light indoors, along with the tobacco:

More perennials, tobacco, sunflowers, marigolds, and tomatoes. And maybe a couple of other things:

It’s a hard life being a cat:

Especially when someone covers up the catmint to stop me lying on it. This is the first time I’ve managed to keep catmint alive without the cats trashing it. Yay for hanging basket covers and tent pegs!

Do you mind? Taking cat drugs is serious business, do not interrupt!

Hey, I want in on the drugs! the lavender in the back of the pic is from one of the T&M perennial packs last year. It’s doing really well.

How dare you come near my run without bringing food!

And now some closeups:

The hebe my dad got me last year:

Pear tree:

The kiwi plants have leaves, and pink balls. I assume the balls are going to become flowers, so maybe we’ll get some fruit this year. I bought the plants last year and they were really small, so I guess I should look into whether i should allow them to fruit or not this year.

The grape my dad bought me last year is alive, woo!

I potted up some strawberry runners last year, I have no idea what we’re gonna do with them all:

We took some cuttings from the rose last autumn just for fun, we got at least a 50% success rate, which is great, though again i have no idea what to do with them!


And a few more random flower pics:

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