Archive for June, 2010

>Dahlia woes

>I went up to the garden in the middle of last week to see how the ground was doing, and everything looked fine. The butterfly bush seemed to be dead, but apart from that the flooding had given no casualties.

Slugs, however, have eaten the shoots of one of the dahlia roots I planted in pots during the wet weekend, but the other dahlia seems to be shooting along nicely. I also sowed some sunflowers and nasturtiums down by the fence at the entrance, and they should have a chance of making it.

And just to have one piece of definitely good news, the old clematis by the terrace is flowering, and so is one of the new clematises we planted a few weeks ago. The three other new clematises seem to still be focused on adjusting to where I’m telling them to trail, but they seem to be doing fine and are being eaten by neither slugs nor deer.

I went up to the house again Monday evening after work, just taking the time to stop by a supermarket and buy 40 litres of compost to do some more sowing. Since the soil in the garden is so heavy, I figured seeds would stand a better chance if I sow them in a nice, loose compost, rather than in heavy, dense clay.  Here’s the sowing list:

Scented lupins (annual): 17
Irises (perennial – will not flower this year): Two packets of seeds
Dahlias (perennial but not hardy – should, however, produce both flowers and roots 1st year): Two packets of seeds
Various sunflowers: Approx. 50
Goat’s rue (Galega officinalis): Approx. 20

I’ve planted them all in pots and placed the pots directly on the lawn in the hope that the dampness of the soil will keep them from drying out, and then I’ve placed a wire mesh fence around them to keep the deer off, should anything actually decide to grow. I’ll also go up again for the coming weekend and make sure they get plenty of water, so I have high hopes that something will eventually materialise in the pots. We shall see…

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It had been raining all of last week, so when I arrived at the house on Friday afternoon, the ground was pretty soggy and there were puddles scattered across the lawn. However, it didn’t stop raining – hard! – all evening, so when I got up Saturday morning, this was what the lawn looked like.

Needless to say, I wasn’t going to be doing any digging! Instead I rummaged around in the shed and workshop to see what the previous owners had left behind, and I discovered that there was a submersible pump in the shed, so I hooked it up to a hose and left it on the lawn for a few hours until the worst had been pumped into the little stream behind the house.

We’ve been discussing whether to install drainage under the lawn, but I guess this has settled that discussion… It’ll be quite a project, I suppose, but quite feasible, especially since we have somewhere to pump surplus water away to (unlike the gardens on the other side of the road, which seem to be even harder hit by flooding), so it can definitely be done.

I did sow some nasturtiums and sunflowers by the entrance to the garden, but that was as much as I actually got done all weekend, because the ground was still so water-logged that any digging would have created a small pond, rather than a flower bed. Oh, and I put some dahlia roots and some Abyssinian gladiolus into the pots in the small courtyard between the house and the annex, where they will be safe from the deer.

It wasn’t a bad weekend, though; the irises are blooming down by the stream and the place is lovely – though challenging and requiring wellingtons – even in heavy rain, so I guess my great plans will just have to wait a bit.

I’m going away for this coming weekend, but the weekend after that I’ll be up there again and hoping to make more progress.

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>Thanks to staudesalg.dk – a website dedicated to selling perennials and seeds thereof – I am now in possession of a quite ludicrous amount of seeds for flowers that will not blossom ’till next year at best.

Lupins, delphiniums, columbines, bind-weed, dahlias, sweet peas and all sorts of lovely plants. (And some sunflowers, just because they make me smile.)

The danger of ordering seeds online is – as with any online-shopping – that one (that would be I) has a tendency to over-do it “a little”. Some of the seeds ought to have been sown in May, but obviously we only just got the keys to the house, so I’m hoping that my tardiness matches the cold spring we’ve had this year and that the seeds will find the timing just right. However, as I want to get the seeds into the ground this weekend AND have to clear the ground for them first, I’m guessing I’m pretty much setting myself up for a mad, rushed weekend of hard work and little rest.

Also, I would really like to create a classic herbaceous border in the English country-garden style, but this would require more planning than I feel capable of at the moment, so I’m just going to make a first attempt and hope that the plants will be possible to move in a few years when I’m – hopefully – somewhat more knowledgeable about creating harmonious, yet unrestrained borders.

I guess that’s my one agony; that I know enough about gardening from my parents’ and grandparents’ gardens to know exactly how much I DON’T know.

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This be the summerhouse… Or more pertinent in this context: This be the garden!

It’s a lovely garden, but it needs some tidying up in places and roughing up in others, not to mention an expansion of the hedges/shrubs bordering the plot and the possible drainage issues.

I’m going up there this weekend to make an initial 2-year plan for the garden.  I want to clear some grass to make at least one or two new flower beds, I want to clear the ground-elder from the fern bed and the forget-me-no patch and I definitely want to sort out the pots in the courtyard between the house and the annex. Ambitious for a weekend? What do I know; I’ve never had a garden before so I’ll just have to see how far I get.

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