Good news. Gardener's World is back on the TV Friday nights, and while I don't often get to watch it then I record it so I don't miss Monty's wisdom. And Monty said it was ok to cut my Dogwoods, so I have. I know that Dogwoods should be cut each year but I'm never sure exactly when to do it. Cutting the stems back encourages new growth and means you get the fantastic colours again next winter.
And this winter, my baby Dogwoods have done well and produced some jewel-like colours, just look:
Rather than compost my colourful stems, I decided to trim the side branches and leave them in the greenhouse to dry a little before bringing them into the house and displaying them somewhere. I've got a huge vase - I'm talking over half a metre high - that I plan to use, but I'm not sure where I'll put them yet. They still have to dry off a bit first I think, as I only cut them yesterday afternoon and it was lovely to spend an hour or so out in the garden.
It does make the Dogwood areas a little bare now, so I hope they hurry up and grow again. I was about to stop gardening for the afternoon when I had a brainwave. I remembered I had more flower seeds than I expected (well, actually I had more of almost every seed type!) so I could use some of those here and in some other parts of the garden.
I sowed three packets, which didn't need to be planted inside and then potted on. So soon I hope I'll have drifts of Calendulas and Prairie Sun and Cappuccino Rudbeckias. The cappuccino ones should be "an excellent mahogany" colour and the others will be a lovely golden-yellow with an acid-green eye according to the seed packets. And if the seeds of those are anything to go by, they're going to be bright!
The thing I struggle with when planting seeds direct is remembering where I've sown them. And when they start to grow knowing that they're not weeds. Ahem. So I hit on another master plan (two in one day) and decided to use old plant labels to mark the areas. The result does look a bit odd, as I covered the seeds with some compost and completely surrounded it with the plant labels to try and discourage any local cats. Hopefully it'll work.
I've also been making progress on clearing our log pile from when we had our three sycamore trees pollarded before Christmas too. On Saturday five trugs-worth went out into our green waste bin, and yesterday I took another couple out. It seems to be a never ending pile though, but at least it's off of the stone circle now. MOH is keen to burn some of the larger branches, but I think we're back to the man and fire thing! And we'll see...