Friday, 30 January 2015

Gardening Books

I absolutely adore books and have literally hundreds. But I have a large bookshelf devoted entirely to gardening books. I can't get enough of them. People sometimes say to me 'but why do you have so many? most of them must tell you the same thing' and in some cases this is true, but lots of them contain wisdom that you find nowhere else.
I know that nothing really beats hands on experience in the garden but on a cold winter's evening, browsing through a lovely book, reading about all the things that are possibilities come spring, looking at some photos of a beautiful border or flower and, well, it brings a little bit of Spring or Summer into my house.
However, I think that only a very small handful of 3 or 4 books were actually bought new, the joy of gardening books is that other people seem to throw them out! Most of mine have come from charity shops and I have yet to go into a charity shop that hasn't got a single book on the subject. Mostly they are priced around £1.50 to £2 and this is really a bargain when you consider the a gardening magazine will set you back about £4 and won't contain nearly as much information or photographs as most of these books.

These are my two latest acquisitions:

The price of each was £1.50 and at over 200 pages each that's a lot of book for your money.

So you know what I'll be doing this evening!

Snowed in again here. SO pretty but SO annoying.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

The resilience of plants

Earlier this month I cleaned out my greenhouse because I had found some fungus growing on old tomato plants, I cleared everything up and then I let off a sulpher bomb (which gets right up your nose if you don't leave the greenhouse quickly enough after letting it off) which effectively smoked everything in there and should have killed off all that fungus.

It was only as I was putting everything back in and sorting it all out that I discovered, hidden under a bench 4 pots of three hyacinths each. A year ago I forced these and they gave me a beautiful (and beautifully scented) display for a few weeks over winter. When they were finished I put them in the greenhouse under a bench and promptly forgot about them completely. So it came as a complete surprise to me to find that they were growing again considering that I had not given them a drop of water for a whole year (yes I am very ashamed) and they had been fumigated by sulpher.

I promptly gave them a bit of a drink and brought them inside. Two in one of the pots did succumb but all the others are still growing and one is, dare I say it, really thriving!

I have no doubt that the majority of the bulbs will actually flower as three of the pots are nearly as far along as this pot!

It just goes to show that a plant can thrive when all the odds are stacked against it and I can't help but be slightly proud of them.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

January 2015

Thank you to all of you who sent me get well messages. As you can tell, 2014 didn't exactly end well for me but now it is the New Year and I'm ready for the Spring to come and the gardening to start. My face is just about healed too now except a small scar.
I have already started buying some seeds - I'm going for less varieties this year as last year I was a bit overwhelmed by just how much I grew. Also I am not not not going to make the mistake of starting my seedlings too early, so tempting when the winter is seemingly endless and you are impatient for Spring.
I have been snowed in for a couple of days here but the garden always looks so pretty. The woods are covered in ice and snow and no photograph (especially one taken by me) can do it justice.

I have taken the decision to use my raised bed for flowers this year rather than veg, I am going to keep veg growing to pots and anything large I will squash into a flowerbed somewhere in true cottage garden style. As you know I like that messy style of planting (for want of a better word) and find it very attractive. 
Seeds bought so far:

Sweet peas - Alan Titchmarsh
Cosmos - mixed
Zinnias - purple prince - my first attempt at growing these
Panicum - frosted explosion - my first grass
Snap dragons mixed

Also I have some Dahlia White Onesta and Berger's Rekord tubors which I thought would look nice coming up amongst the grass, which is lovely clouds of white.

This is an exciting time of year for planning in the garden. I have cleaned my greenhouse thoroughly and let off a sulpher candle in there as I think I had some fungus growing so the sulpher should sort that out. I have mended my cold frames as a cat had jumped on to one of them from the fence and gone through (luckily for the cat it was perspex and not glass!) He made a right mess but I hope he learnt a lesson.

Thank you all again for your messages.