Reacquainting myself with my greenhouse

What with the preparations for our 110th party I haven't had much time to get into my greenhouse, and of course it suffered - and I think I did too a little, so when I found myself with some time to myself last Saturday morning I knew how I'd spend it. Yes, reacquainting myself with my greenhouse.

First up was taming the lemon balm. Usually I chop it just as it starts to flower, not quite the Chelsea chop, but more of a when I remember to chop. And it needed to be first up as it's growing just inside the door.  A fragrant job though.

The lemon balm was for the chop

Once I'd chopped my way in (it wasn't that bad really) I finally got around to labelling the wallflower and sunflower seeds I'd saved. I've sown many of the sunflower seeds and they're doing really well, and I've still got plenty left for next year. It was timely to have found the wallflower seeds, as according to Monty I should be sowing those already, but I haven't just yet. Soon maybe.

I found some wallflower seeds
And finally labelled my sunflower heads

Looking around the greenhouse my tomato seedlings were still miniature, which was disappointing. This year was the first time for a while that I've sown them in modules like this, usually I chuck way too many seeds into a seed tray, and most likely would have potted them on by now. So that became my job to pot on my tomatoes. And of course, as is tradition I seemed to mix up the plant labels so once again I'm sure there'll be a surprise when (and if) they grow!

the tomato seedlings appear to be protesting

The sorrel had gone to seed. Again. I'm quite partial to a sorrel omelette, but I guess I'll be waiting for it to regrow a bit first.  It's pretty though.  The sorrel and lemon balm were sown the same year, and both have thrived in the greenhouse for a good few years, despite my neglect.

the sorrel has gone to seed - again

I've still some onions that need to go over the allotment. I know they should be out by now, and hopefully they will be soon. Everytime I water these two toads hop out looking most disgruntled.

And I still have onions that should be on the allotment

And of course now the party is over, the tiny bedding plants have had a growth spurt. I think these are scabiosa, which have tight pom-pom like flowers. Hopefully they'll be a decent size by the end of the summer...

the tiny bedding has put on a spurt - of course it would, the party has gone now

In more free-plant news I've some more succulents on the way. These leaves came off as I planted out a leaning succulent, and you can see teh roots are just starting to grow.

There's more free succulents on the way though

My squash is doing much better and is looking a more usual size. I've some butternut squashes, crown prince pumpkins and little munchkin squashes again. 

My squash - butternut, crown prince and munchkin - are thriving

They clearly loved the heat, the greenhouse topped 43 degrees, unlike the climbing beans which failed to germinate.  I've only one courgette, and again I've no idea what type!

It's got pretty warm in the greenhouse too

The tomatoes from dad are doing much better. He tells me they're giant ones, and in comparison to mine they really are. They'll be heading over to the allotment this weekend hopefully.

The giant tomatoes are living up to their name

Given my lack of success so far with courgettes and climbing beans when we were at Hyde Hall on Sunday I bought some newer seeds, just in case that was the problem and quickly set about sowing them to give them the best chance.

courgettes and climbing beans have been sown

And while we were there, somehow, i left with this purple chilli too.  Funny how that happens, hey?

And I bought a chilli which is about a gazillion times bigger than any chilli I've grown from seed, ever

My last task for this weekend's pottering was to collect seeds from the fading yellow marigolds. They went into two brown paper bags, one for me and another for dad. All I need to do now is remember to deliver them.

Marigold seeds, some for me and some for dad

Usually by now I will have posted a Sow and Grow post,  but this month I haven't - mainly because I've sown and grown very little - and I'm not even sure I'm up-to-date with my magazine reading. So I've decided rather than beat myself up about not doing this, I'll skip this month, but will return with a July post, and if I get my act together I may have something new alongside that too.  You'll have to wait and see what that is, but I realised it's the sensible way forward.

So the pottering is back on, and so will the quilt making. I'm looking forward to get back into both of them.  How's your growing going? Hopefully better than mine!

Forsythia inspiration

It'll come as no surprise that I'm a fan of the humble yellow forsythia. In fact I think I've had it in almost every garden I've ever had. 

Surprisingly though I've only ever planted one of those bushes, and that's in our current garden. And that was to replace a forsythia bush that had mysteriously given up the ghost one winter.  Ever the optimist I refused to believe that it wasn't going to spring back into life, so left it there hoping for the best. But nothing and by the summer, with its branches still lifeless I had to admit defeat, but not before making a plan to buy a replacement.

It's forsythia time right now. The hedge on my walk to work (below) is just stunning right now, and it never fails to make me smile.

A stunning forsythia hedge in flower

While in Dorset last week, along with the yellow flowering gorse which lined the sides of the roads, we saw plenty of forsythia. That was in the gardens we visited, and in front gardens. We had a great visit to Compton Acres in Poole on the sunniest day of the week, more on that another day, and it was great to see so much colour on display.



But it was at Max Gate in Dorchester that my Forsythia Inspiration struck. 



I know the picture above doesn't look much, but seeing the forsythia cuttings neatly in a row I knew it'd be something I'd be trying for myself. I mean, I know how easily forsythia roots - and make a point of clearing it all out of the flower beds following a trimming - and with the vibrant hedge just around the corner from home, I couldn't believe I hadn't thought about trying this before.

You see over the winter I've been ogling bare rooted hedging in the plant catalogues to use as a low hedge on the allotment - I know, I really should get out more! I'd been deliberating about how many plants I'd need and the ideal mix of flowering and fruiting shrubbery. Not too much obviously, as I'm nowhere near knowing what I'd need, but I do know a lot of the theory of planting a hedge now!

Seeing those cuttings above, I realised I could make my own hedge (in time) and I've already a couple of cuttings shoved into soil in the greenhouse. MOH, as usual, thinks I'm mad, but I'll be adding to my cutting collection as the flowers start to fade because I can't bear to cut them beforehand.  I know this could be a lengthy business, but won't it be worth it?

Spring is on its way - hooray!

Last weekend was the first time in a while that I've ventured out into our garden. Part of my garden was forced as I knew I should be planting those tulips I'd discovered a few weeks back, and because from the house the greenhouse was calling me needing a water. As luck would have it Sunday was a relatively warm day so layered up I headed out with my phone in my hand. 

The other reason for taking a look around the garden was to see if Doris had played any of her havoc in our garden, as I'd spotted a neighbour's fence was down, both front and back. I was hoping that another neighbour's trampoline hadn't bounced into our garden, it hadn't. And thankfully Doris had left us alone, maybe she too, marvelled at my lone daffodil instead, and took pity on us!

I have one daffodil in my garden so far, just one

It's a beautiful daffodil, but just a bit lonely I'd say.  I'm hoping there'll be a few more to come as I've plenty of shoots coming up, so I could be lucky.  Back near the house I found some of my own snowdrops nestling amongst the black grass. Every time I see a snowdrop I'm still amazed at how delicate they look, but how hardy they must be to be out there right now.

Plenty of pretty snowdrops along the edge of the patio in my garden

I spotted a dot of yellow at the back of the garden and soon afterwards snapped this, it's nibbled petals and textured leaves and if you look closely the promise of more flowers to come.  

The perpetual primulas are doing what they do best - still flowering!

And then I spotted my hellebores. I mean I've been seeing some pink from my seat at the table and hoped it was hellebores, and it was. We started with one plant a good few years ago and it's been self-seeding ever since, so now I have a row of these gorgeous plants spreading across the garden. 

The star of the show in my garden right now is hellebores
A shy but still beautiful hellebore in my garden

One day I'll get brave and see if one of them fancies a change of scenery and try it in another part of the garden. With multiple plants that are self seeding it's easy to be brave like this. They seem such shy flowers with their heads downcast and their almost paper-like leaves. I was keen to photograph the inside of the flower as naturally as I could, but without looking a total loon and laying on the grass. Shoving my iPhone quite literally under their noses seemed to work.

The hellebores have self seeded and this is the first year I'm getting the benefit of them

Well for a bit, and then I decided to take a proper look. This flower is done and it's starting to set its seeds - see the bulbous bit in the middle - they'll burst and scatter their seeds when they're ready, and then hopefully next year I'll have a few more plants which I'll need to protect from MOH's over zealous weeding tendencies.

Inside a hellebore
A close up of the petals which remind me of butterfly wings
Plenty more hellebore flowers to come and hopefully some new plants next year too

Ah hellebores, too pretty to be hidden away. But also a sure sign that Spring is on its way - hooray!