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Archive for July, 2010

>"Borrowing"?


>The parking area around my apartment building is being revamped – whenever they actually turn up and do some work – which means that the flower beds and shrubberies will be run over with a bulldozer later this year, so I’ve been going on a few nightly outings to gather seed stands from various plants that won’t be there next year anyway.

Giant red poppies, chives, columbines, just to mention a few. My dining table is set with plates of seed stands laid out to dry so I can collect the seeds and sow them around my garden. Knowing little about gardening, I’m thinking that if a plant sheds its seeds in July, then July is a perfectly good month to spread those seeds in what will become the flower meadow in the garden.

I haven’t been up to the summer house for two weeks, as last weekend I was visiting my boyfriend in Scotland (why, yes; he bought us a summer house and then moved abroad…), but I’m going up there tomorrow for the weekend and I’m looking forward to seeing how the sunflower and dahlia seedlings I planted two weeks ago are doing. The weather has been hot and dry, so I’m counting on at least some casualties, but hopefully some will have thrived and will be doing their thing. (The advantage of the high water level in the garden is that only the top few centimeters ever dry out entirely.)

Pics of the developments will follow on Monday…

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>The workshop


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Yesterday I decided to tidy up the mess that was the workshop. God, what a difference! I put up hooks and nails for all the gardening tools, organised everything on the shelves and cleared the work surface and the floor. It’s gone from a storage room to a useful workspace for when it’s rainy or cold outside.

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Due to the heavy clay soil in the garden, I decided to plant a lot of seeds in pots to allow them to get on a bit before releasing the little creatures out into the garden. Impatient as I am, I feel convinced that everything that hasn’t brought forth shoots after one week is doomed to failure, though my rational part can easily see why this is probably not something to worry about.

The sunflowers (the large pot in the lower right corner) are doing really well and have already far overtaken the sunflower seeds I sowed directly in the garden two weeks before I sowed these, so that seems an unqualified success, although sunflowers are, of course, very satisfying to sow, as even a 3-year-old can sow them and see enough progress from week to week to not loose interest.

The dahlia seeds (the blue pot top-left and the terracotta pot in the middle) are also doing their thing, so some of those seedlings will go into the pot where snails have butchered one of the dahlia roots I planted. With any luck, these seedlings will just about have time to make tubers and reach a moderate bloom in late summer.

Most of the rest of the seeds are still just on their way. The scented lupins are definitely sprouting and the seeds have many-doubled in size to a level where they’re shifting the top compost around in the pot, so I have every hope of them having surfaced within the next week.

These are the buttercups up against one of the hedges. They’ve grown to a height of 50cm and inspired me to experiment with the lawn… That is to say, I mowed the lawn on Sunday but deliberately only mowed about 2/3 of it. There are so many pretty little flowers in the lawn, especially buttercups, and I would like to see how they react if they’re not cut down every 1-2 weeks.

Already the buttercups in the unmowed part of the lawn seem to enjoy their freedom and are beginning to send the flowers upwards, though they still seem unwilling to trust me and let their leaves follow. In time they should get used to it, though. Other “weeds” in the lawn seem more willing to take a chance, so some of them have already reached 30cm with potential to grow a lot higher.

Now, we do need to have a traditional lawn, both for games of croquet, for al fresco dining and as a camp site when we have more than two visitors in the summer house, but I like the idea of only having as much lawn as we need and then letting the rest go (moderately) wild. With any luck, this could also make our garden more attractive to wildlife, from insects upwards.

In a hope to boost the meadow-like qualities of the unmowed part of the lawn, I’ve also sprinkled a mix of meadow seeds out across that part of the lawn. As it was literally just a sprinkling, rather than sowing per se, I’m sure lots of the seeds will not do anything, but if even a handful of them do anything at all, I’d say it was worth it.

I have a week’s holiday starting tomorrow, where I will mainly be up there, so hopefully I will slowly see changes. My aim is to have made a visible impact on the garden by the next time my boyfriend comes up there with me in two weeks, and I think especially the unmowed lawn area will go a long way in marking this as our garden, rather than the garden that somebody else planned.

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