27 October 2019

My Flower Of The week (Cockspur Hawthorn).

The flower I've chosen to show you from the garden this week is actually a tree but at this time of the year it's as good as a flower so I thought I would include it. It's called Cockspur Thorn, and if you would like to read more about it click [HERE].

24 October 2019

No Waste Removal.

Today I have been doing some work on the big flower border and so I thought it would be a good opportunity to show you the no waste removal technique that I've been toying with.

This is the flower border before work began. It's a mix of perennials, shrubs and roses. It's the perennials that I am cutting down on this occasion although I did prune a couple of roses as I had some time to spare at the end of the day.
Here you can see all the rubbish cut down and spread along the edge of the lawn. It's best spread out a bit so as to get the mower over it. I have the mower set on it's highest setting for the first past and then lower it a bit at a time until it's no it's lowest setting.
Here is the rubbish looking from the other end of the border.
By the time the mower is down to the low setting this is what the rubbish looks like and as you can see it's reduced no end and even if you don't fancy putting it back on the border I still think it's worth getting it to this stage as it's been reduced from something like three trailers full to maybe half a trailer full.
After I got it all chopped up I got the backpack blower and blew it off the grass back on to the border making sure to spread it evenly around which is not difficult as it soon loses itself among the plants.
So anyway this has saved me no end of time carting it all away, turning it in the compost heap and then bringing it all back again and while I don't suppose it's as good as compost it must do some good I would have thought. Below shows what effect it has on the border once the rubbish has been blown back on. In spring I will top dress with fertiliser and fork over the soil and it should be good to go for another year.

22 October 2019

Holly Hedge Trim.

Today I've been trimming the Holly hedge behind the big flower border. It's not a job that I look forward to as Holly is not nice to work with also cutting the backside of the hedge is a pain. It's no problem for me but I get some funny looks from passers-by.

In this picture you can see the hedge running behind the flower border. The hedge is about eight foot high from this side and probably about half that from the other side.

Here is a closer look from one end. as you can see I make no attempt to cut it straight or anything, it's purely a trim to keep it in order.

Usually I will load up the trailer three or four times with clippings and cart them off to the burn pile but this time I did the mulching thing that I mentioned the other week. I wasn't sure how it would work with Holly clippings but as you can see below it worked very well. I ran over them a few times with the mulching mower and then blew them all back under the hedge. I think it's actually done a better job than raking them up because the mower also cut down any rubbish in the hedge bottom. I will try and do a post on it sometime if anyone is interested.

21 October 2019

New Measure Board.

Today I managed to get all the Garlic, Onions and Shallots planted. It was quite a job and not at all pleasant on account of the ground being so wet after all the rain we've been having and even as I was planting them it kept on damping from time to time. Because of this I had to keep working the ground as I was planting rather than working over the whole bed and then planting which I would normally do. Anyway we got there in the end and so now I just have to wait and see how they grow. They are all Autumn planting varieties so they should be alright.

Before starting with the planting I decided to make myself a new measuring board. The old one which I've had for a few years now is getting a bit fragile due to it having a big knot right in the middle. I was thinking of bracing it somehow but then I came across this piece of wood one day so decided to do new rather than repair. I do have a garden line but I find the board much more convenient to work with.
 I have three measurements on the board. twelve inches is the cut right across and then on one side is marked four inches and on the other side is marked six inches. I use a saw to cut in the marks rather than a marker or whatever, that way you can still see them even when the measure is wet and dirty. Just don't make the cuts to deep though. You hardly need to do much more than a scratch on the surface. Also it's best if the measure is around the same length as the beds you're going to be using it on.

20 October 2019

My Flower of The Week (Bacopa).

The flower I've chosen to show you from the gardens this week is Bacopa. I grow it in various places around the gardens, mostly in walls and pots where it can trail and hang down although it can be used as ground cover as well. I have taken to growing this instead of Lobelia in recent years as I find it lasts longer with me. It is best treated as an annual but I have seen plants that I've missed pulling out that have grown again the following year although this is not to be relied on as I'm sure a cold winter would see the end of it.

Some Bacopa info.
I get my Bacopa seedlings from here.
 I'm thinking that the Fuchsia featured last week would be a good match for these earns next year.

18 October 2019

Ivy Bustin' (Part Three).

Today we are going to be tackling the wall behind the Blue Spruce border. This is just an Ivy maintenance job as it's trimmed every year. It has in fact already been done once this year but by a little hotel gardener rather than the big house gardener which is why it needs doing again now. anyway without further ado, lets get going.

This is the picture we started with. It had grown over the wall but it was nothing like the last wall and was just a matter of pulling back over and then snipping off just below the top to remove the worst and then measuring a set distance from the top and making another cut to get a straight line.
 I do two cuts as it's hard to get the line straight if you have all the weight of the Ivy pulling down. So basically I remove all the weight and then just have a few inches left to snip off. Here you can see the job part way through.

16 October 2019

Ivy Bustin' (Part Two).

Today we are attempting to get this Ivy under control. Whenever I've done anything with it in the past it's been nothing more than a trim but it never looks right because the growth on the top is uneven so this time I have decided to take it down to the top of the wall as well as trim the sides. We always try to leave some of the sides as it makes a good place for birds to nest also when it flowers it attracts the bees so Ivy is not all bad but it does need to be kept under control. Anyway here goes.

This is how it was when we started which was okay and some may even prefer it like this, but this is an important part of the garden for weddings and so I decided that it looks a bit scruffy to be attending weddings.
 This picture is take from on top of the wall and shows what I had to contend with. It got even worse further along where there were vines as thick as my wrist all intertwined which I could only be remove a few inches at a time.

And here we have the finished article being inspected by the head gardener who thought it looks a bit sparse now but I assured him it would green up nice in the spring and would look great this time next year.

15 October 2019

Ivy Bustin' (Part One).

This wee we are going to be Ivy bustin'.

First on the list is the back steps to the office where there is some to be trimmed and also some random bits further along to be removed altogether.

14 October 2019

Barn Wall Border (Part Two).

Today I managed to finish off work on the barn wall border. It's been a bit of a job what with the weather and everything being neglected. I haven't done much with the Dogwood as the red growth will be a bit of colour over the Winter months. Also the Forsythia shouldn't really be pruned at this time year but I did it just to make the job look right. The Holly tree will have a few of the long ends trimmed off near to Christmas. Anyway here are a few before and after pictures.

I need to try and poison the small tree at the base of the wall. I can't dig it out as it's mixed in with a rose which I would like to try and keep.

Most of the shrubs were pruned by this stage, I just removed a lower branch on the Pyracantha as it was a tangled mess and couldn't be seen anyway,

The soil was forked and a new edge put to the grass although it wasn't the best job as the soil is saturated.

12 October 2019

Flower Of The Week This Week.

I think my favourite flower in the garden this week is this Fuchsia.
It lives in a stone trough in the Japanese Garden. It's been there around five years now and was originaly one of several varieties, this one has taken over though but thats okay as it puts on a good display. I must try and get some cutting from it in case we have a hard winter and doesnt survive.


Today was not as productive as I was hoping on account of the weather not being so good during the morning. It was so wet early on that I decided to come home and look in to ordering some Garlic for planting in the garden. Whilst looking I came on this collection for Garlic, Onions and Shallots all for planting anytime soon so I though I would give that a go. Below is the link if you want to check it out.
Garlic/Onion Collection

I did manage to cart off all the prunings from yesterday and tidy up any other mess I'd made. This had to be done whether it was raning or not because of the wedding tomorrow. Thankfully by the time I got round to that the rain had eased off quite a lot so I only got a bit damp.

This afternoon I finished off the pruning on the Barn wall Border but there is more work to be done there on Monday so I didn't bother to take any pictures of it yet. I did take a picture of the roses I trained yesterday and the wiring arrangement just in case it's of help to anyone.

This picture shows how I attach the wires to the wall. In the past I have used rawplugs and vine eyes but I've found that these floor board nails work very well. They hammer into the joints easily enough and fasten themselves in very well, I've never had one pull out yet. Also they are tapered so if you wrap the wire round them a couple of times it can't slip off. I find it very easy doing it this way. 

It depends on the courses in the stonework as to how far apart I place the wires but I aim for the length of the hammer apart which is 12 to 14 inches apart. 

10 October 2019

Barn Wall Border Tidy (Part one).

Today I made a start on tidying the barn wall border which is a continuation of the dog run border. Both have been neglected over the past few years on account of building work being carried out on the barn. I can tell you there is nothing more demoralising than having builders working around the place.

It's hard to see in this first picture but there are three roses to be trained against the wall but before I could do that I needed to add wires to the wall on to which to tie the roses.

After that was done I set about the shrubs. Some needed a massacre, others needed just some light cutting back for now, and then the ones on the wall at the back need retaining. The Holly tree to the left also gets a bit of a trim but that will happen just before Christmas.

I got quite a lot done today but there is some left for Friday, In fact there will be some left for Monday as there is a wedding here on Saturday so I will have some jobs to do in relation to that.

9 October 2019

Strawberry Runners.

Today I managed to get some Strawberry runners potted up which as it happened turned out to be a good job as there some quite heavy showers this afternoon. The ones in the pictures are to be grown on before being planted out in the garden at a later date. I also have some more smaller ones coming on which I am thinking of growing in the greenhouse. I already have some indoors but they don't seem to be a very productive variety so it might be time for a change.

Also today I managed to do a cut of the small lawns in the walled garden. They where long overdue on account of all the wet weather we have been having of late. It was still wet this morning when I cut them but this mower seems to cope quite well with wet grass so I was able to get them done.

Also today I had to attend the diabetic clinic just so they could check to see if I was coping okay. They were very pleased with both my record keeping and also the way I have been keeping my blood sugars under control.

8 October 2019

Finishing Of The Border.

Today I managed to finish off the border behind the dog runs which I started yesterday. The first job was to cart off all the Ivy to the burn pile. I then laid off the border job while I cut the lawn in the front garden as it had dried up enough to do so and the way the weather is I have to make the most of such opportunities. Before I could do any cutting I had to clear up a load of Beech nuts as I couldnt run on where they were or I would have pressed then in to the lawn. Once the grass was cut I returned to the border work where I pruned a few low branches off the Fig tree in the corner. That done it was just a matter of putting a new edge to the lawn around the border and this finished the job off nicely.

Below is a picture of the finished article.

7 October 2019

Tidying the dog run border.

Today I made a start on tidying the border behind the dogs runs although we had more rain on and off so I didn't get on as well as I might. First job was to cut down all the old growth and clear it off the border on to the grass. I have recently been following this contract gardener who doesn't take away any rubbish, instead he reduces everything and then returns it back from where it has come from. This goes against the way I've always done things but it does make sense so I thought I would give it a try. So I got all the rubbish laid out in a row on the edge of the grass and then ran over it with the mulching mower that I have. It took a few passes but it did reduce everything to almost nothing. The only problem I encountered was the mower didn't want to pick up the long stalks so maybe next time I will try and cut them off shorter. After mulching everything down in then got the big leave blower and blew everything back on to the border. I have to say that I am happy with the way it looked and there wasn't to much that it buried the plants so hopefully there are to be no hidden problems caused by it. It certainly saved carting away a lot of rubbish and I can see that it will be good for the soil as it dogs down.

After dealing with the border I then set too removing the Ivy from the top of the wall. This proved to be quite a job but I just managed to get it all done before it was time to go home. I still have it all to cart away in the morning. It will have to go away to be burnt as there is far to much to mulch and it would be to strong for the mower anyway.

 This picture was taken before I started work.