Wednesday, 27 April 2016

April Mish Mash

This post, like the weather this April, is a real mish mash of what's been happening in the garden this month.  As you all know I am creating what might be described as a monthly journal of the goings on around the garden.  I have kind of neglected the actual purpose of my blog over the past while and note that I have very few growing and planting notes on my garden.  These monthly posts are my way of resolving this and giving me some form of reference for future years.

First things first - I am up to date with all my pruning, weeding, and summer plant preparation. Much to my amazement.  Even more to my amazement is the fact that I should have little to do in the garden except potter around in the coming month or so.  Having pruned the roses last month, did I tell you just how guilty I felt at chopping off all that lovely new growth?  I am still feeling rather guilty, a few of them are extremely slow to get going again.  R. Lady of Shallot doesn't seem to mind the cold quite as much as R. The Lark Ascending.

Rosa Lady of Shallot and The Lark Ascending

Fritilaria mealagris Alba
The woodland corner  is, I think, looking good right now.  Shrubs are leafing out and the perennials planted in this area, primarily to fill in bare spots until my woodland planting matures and is added too, are coming away nicely.  Trees here and elsewhere in the garden are a only now breaking bud.  I trialed some Colchicum here last year and it is extremely pleasing to see they coped with some flooding.  I've given this area a good mulch in order to replace some of the goodness that may have been lost from the soil.  My only disappointment is that the 25 white Fritilaria bulbs I planted back in autumn seemed to have failed miserably.  I had hope for a nice swath of nodding white blooms beneath the witch hazel.  

The evolving woodland April 2016
The bleeding heart makes quite a statement here when it is in full bloom and it is spreading out nicely. This was a tiny wee £1 bargain plant at a local supermarket a couple of years ago.


With the weather being very changeable at the moment I am grabbing as much time outdoors as I can. We are regularly experiencing four seasons in one day at the moment.  I am working my way through some of those pernicketie wee jobs that I tend to put of until it's too late.  If I can get the timing right in between wintry showers I seem to be achieving quite a bit.  Some of the jobs turn out to be quite satisfying.  For once I am on top of tying in the Clematis.  I have also edged the top lawn.  The grass was now starting to spread between the stones.  I needed to get on top of it before it escaped into the borders.  My trusty old wallpaper scraper comes in handy for such jobs.  Again, it was extremely satisfying to get this done.

  
The swallows have returned.  Their presence is unmistakable as they dart about feeding in the skies above.  A new bird visitor to the garden this month.  One I haven't seen in the garden before.  A siskin (Carduelis spinus).  A small resident song bird.  These birds are fairly common here in Scotland but not in my garden.  It's always nice to welcome a new visitor.  I hope he and his family become regulars.

Male Siskin
More wildlife - I spotted the first butterfly of the year too.  This has been the one and only sighting though.  Strangely enough I've not seen any whites yet.  They are usually the first to appear in numbers.  The cold I suspect will be the cause of their absence just now.  I read recently that the Butterfly Conservation is launching a project to halt the decline of butterflies in urban areas here in Scotland.  It's a 3 year project and although they are not looking for volunteers in my area I am going to make a better job of providing for and recording butterflies visiting the garden this year.  In the larger pots and containers I am working my way through, that you will read about below, I intend to buy some butterfly friendly annuals.  Local nurseries and GCs always carry quite a good stock.

Peacock butterfly - Aglais io
A neighbour asked me the name of one of my plants recently, she loved the colour.  She just happened to pick the pot bound Phormium which has been sitting below the livingroom window all winter and wasn't at it's best.  She was looking for something similar to go in pots by her front door.  This spurred me on to finally get it out of it's pot and do a touch of slicing and dicing.  I split it in half to begin with and immediately potted one of those halves back into the original pot with fresh compost. The remaining half was divided into 3 pieces.  I kept one for myself as I'd like to give this plant a go in the ground in the front garden.  This had been one of those things I had always meant to do but never got round to it.  And as for Christine, she was most pleased when I tripped up at her front door with 2 plants that can now grace her front step.  Some Uncinia rubra seedlings I discovered whilst weeding were also lifted and potted up.  They too will suit the colour scheme out in the front garden.

Phormium, Stachys and Uncinia 
I seem to be nurturing a whole lot more pots and containers than I'd like at the moment.  I am slowly working my way through all the larger decorative containers that used to sit on the decking.  I've binned a couple of shrubs that were struggling and the same neighbour took a couple more off my hands.  There are a few though that I am willing to spend a little more time and effort over.  Namely the Mahonia eurybracteata Soft Caress.  These plants have never lived up to their expectations.  They were a gift from mum when they were first introduced to the market.  They hate the wind and I have yet to find an ideal spot for them.  I topped dressed them in autumn and have given them a granular feed in the hope they might improve.

Mahonia eurybracteatta Soft Caress
There is still a few plants waiting for the soil to warm up or at least I hope they are waiting on the soil to warm up.  The pristine Hosta shoots are just popping up.  I recently learned that these fresh shoots are edible, who knew?  I'm not sure I'd be able to get the image of slugs slithering all over them out of my mind long enough to try them.  Has anyone tried them?  I should add a disclaimer that you should not take my word for it do some research before you go a cooking and a tasting!

Hosta Blue Cadet emerging between some Eranthis 
    
I thought reader might like to meet Angie's Garden's latest recruit.  He's out and about now, faster than a speeding bullet.  I need my wits about me when he joins me in the garden for a wee play. Readers please say hello to The Tiny Gardener aka Olli.

Olli making a beeline towards Granma working in the garden with Daddy close at his heals

Thanks for reading.  Up next on my blog is my End of Month View post and I will end with some of my spring favourites,  white daffodils.  All are scented and really lift the garden since they flower a bit later and the garden is at that in between stage.

Narcissus Thalia

Narcissus Tresambles

Narcissus Pueblo

Narcissus Mount Hood

25 comments:

  1. Oh, Olli sure is a sweetie! Lucky grandma! It appears our gardens are just about at the same stage now--my Eranthus and Bleeding Heart look exactly the same, and we're having changeable weather, too. Your woodland corner looks fabulous!

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    1. He sure is Beth. Yes we are at quite a similar stage. It always amazes me at just how quickly your garden/plants catch up.

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  2. It always seems that the little tasks are the hardest to get around to, isn't it? You should feel a great sense of accomplishment in getting yours handled. The bleeding heart is beautiful - it's yet another plant I can't even think of trying. As to Olli, he's precious and, with training, I expect he'll make a very good helper one day!

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    1. My point exactly Kris. Still it's good to be getting them done. I hope he does take an interest in the garden - I have to leave it to someone ;)

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  3. A big hello to Olli, who is clearly headed in the right direction (Granma and gardening)! Your white narcissus lifted my spirits just looking at the pictures (love the shot of Thalia); and having seen your photo of Pueblo, I may try it since, being a jonquil type, it should grow well here. I still have a deal of trial and error ahead of me with bulbs, I'm sure! Your Phormiums look lovely. It must be grand to have plants big enough to divide and give bits away - not to mention having a neighbor who likes plants too!

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    1. Olli says hello right back Amy. Pueblo is a lovely daff Amy, worth giving it a go if you think it will do well with you. Lucky for me my neighbour has quite an empty garden and I am managing to find a welcome home for some of my cast offs. She is very new to gardening so I am trying to help her along a bit.

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  4. Awww..I'm jealous of you. I have so much work to do in the garden that they will not end even next year. And you are going to potter around your garden. That's not fair :-P. Now I wish I were your neighbor to get all those free plants :-D. Daffodils are lovely. And your grandchild is absolutely adorable :-D :-D...as usual loved the tour of your garden and enjoyed everything.

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    1. Believe me KL there is still lots to do here - each day I see room for improvement. There is so much I feel could be improved but we are often our own worse critics. If you were my neighbour I'd have no problem sharing with you. Olli is adorable but like all children he has his moments :)

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  5. You have done so much already, you're way ahead of me! What a lucky neighbour you have, donating your unwanted plants, I wish I lived next door! We too have a Siskin, just the one, I don't know where it comes from but it comes for its breakfast each morning. Ollie is adorable and I'm sure will make a great helper in a few years time or maybe he will be playing football!

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    1. I wondered if food is scarce for the Siskins at the moment Pauline. Being seed eaters it's hard to imagine there is much about right now. I am no expert so probably got the wrong end of the stick in so far as his reason for visiting. Perhaps their missus are very high maintenance. I know a few women like that!

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  6. Hi Olli! Welcome to the blogosphere! Ah to be on top of the gardening and to have time to split plants and share them with friends. What a fab photo of Thalia. Mine have all been trampled by the chickens. I don't know what they've got against her!

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    1. My cats usually do the trampling here in my garden Sarah. It's odd if they've taken a dislike to Thalia in particular - perhaps the bright white blooms?

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  7. Interesting about the Siskin. I've had Siskins on my feeder recently for the first time, and so has someone I know on Twitter in Redcar. Now you in Edinburgh. I wonder why they are suddenly visiting our gardens?

    I love your bleeding heart plant. It's one I have not taken notice of before, until seeing it this year in several Scottish gardens, including the Botanic Garden in Edinburgh (am visiting this week). Suddenly I've decided I must have it. Like your photo shows, the young leaves are really gorgeous.

    Anyway, since you are so on top of your garden at the moment, I thought I'd mention I could do with some help.... ;)

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    1. Perhaps food is scare right now Julieanne. Wonderful to read you are visiting the RBGE - believe me you won't be disappointed. I visited there only the other week. They a nice wee shop and cafe too. You'll need to buy a plant as a momento for your visit. Enjoy - I look forward to reading about your trip north.

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  8. Like everyone else I just wish I was ahead of the game. How wonderful to be able to enjoy your lovely garden with just the nice things to potter over. I hope The Lark catches up.. that's one thing I can claim a head start on!

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    1. I doubt I'll be ahead of the game for too long Jessica. When we finally get some rain there will be no stopping things, particularly the weeds! Good to know your Lark is ahead - if I remember correctly wasn't it the opposite last year?

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    2. Absolutely right! I seem to have found a spot for it that it likes.

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  9. I bought a pot of fritillaries some time ago and when they flowered I had both white and snakeshead. The snakeshead are still going strong but the whites disappeared.

    We have had siskins in the garden fleetingly but they have never hung around.

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  10. Mish Mash, much more than that. In spite of the changeable weather your garden is looking fantastic, but cmon, Olli steals the show. (very cold here today)

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  11. So difficult at this time of the year, particularly when the weather has been so bad, to find interesting stuff but you have achieved it Angie, love Narcissus Thalia coincidently I also think Fuchsia Thalia is a great plant which I have grown. My fritillaries are coming to an end and this year lily beetle has not appeared on them due to the cold weather which we have to be thankful for however when the weather picks up all hell will be let loose every pest and disease under the sun is just waiting to let itself loose on us poor gardeners after being held back!

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  12. We occasionally have siskins visit the garden and very regularly grandchildren who have been encouraged to take an interest in gardening (they are still young enough). They are building a bug hotel to go in the garden in time for the NGS open weekend. Your Oli is a lovely looking chap he looks determined to get to you.

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  13. That is a gorgeous photo of Olli - he looks very determined. Lovely to see all your white narcissus - I grew Thalia for the first time myself this year and have been really pleased with it. Shame your Mahonia 'Soft Caress' isn't doing so well. I have one that I got last year so have yet to see it flower. I have it in a shady part of the garden that I suppose is quite protected, so here's hoping. The white bleeding heart you gave me a few years ago is through, though I moved it to a better position last Autumn. I was pleased to see it.

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  14. A lovely post Angie, everything is looking great, including your wee recruit:) I hope you've not been too affected by the snow, hail and sleet. I love the white daffodils, a refreshing change from the yellows :)

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  15. What a gorgeous new recruit you have, Angie ! I bet he brings you so much joy - and tempts you away from all your garden chores! Your garden still manages to look terrific, and I think you are a little further ahead than us , here in Lincolnshire.
    Thanks for solving a knotty problem for me - I saw a bird in the garden last week which I had never seen before, but couldn't make a positive identification from books / online, but having seen your photo of the Siskin, I am am sure that is what I saw.

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  16. Angie your garden is looking good, Olli is so sweet and adorable, how lovely to have seen a butterfly already, I do like all your white narcissus I think I will put a note in my diary to buy some in the autumn, how nice to have new visitors your garden is very wildlife friendly, I have over the years planted fritilaria bulbs and they never seem to return, Frances

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