The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

Easter Baskets

Here in the UK we have a wall of Bank Holidays looming beginning with Good Friday and the Bank Holiday Monday that follows, which is going to give most of us a long weekend.  Not only that, but the forecast for the weather looks promising.  It's a short week for many followed by the Royal Wedding and May Day!

With the good weather and the holidays, I would imagine that nurseries and garden centres will be doing a roaring trade, so with that in mind, I got in there early with this little lot for my summer displays.

Ivy, petunia, loblia, fuschia, trailing pelargonium and I'm trying my hand again with buzy lizzies. 

The past few years have been tough for the bizzies with disease, but these ones look a lot healthier this year.  They can cope with a spot of shade, so I've popped them into the basket beside the front door along with some of the nepeta divisions.

These two have both been planted up with trailing pelargoniums, lobelia, petunia and a central fuschia.  I wonder how many people will buy plants in red white and blue over the weekend to show their patriotism...

More of the same in the window boxes.  Mine aren't themed around the Royal Wedding though, just big and bright and cheerful.

I just have to plant up the window boxes under the kitchen.  I need to wait for The Man That Can to lend a hand as they're too high to reach.  They will be more or less the same as the above, and not very interesting yet.

I have some fleece to hand should a frost be forecast.  If fleece isn't available a couple of sheets of newspaper will do the trick.

Have a wonderful Easter, I hope the sun shines for you all.

Lesson Learnt

The next time I get excited about Lola's rediscovery of laying, please remind me not to post about it!  Two entries ago, I mentioned that we'd all but given up on her ever laying again.  The very same day, she began laying, and had done so for a good three weeks.  I got so excited about it, I had to post on here.  Within a couple of days of my posting, she has gone broody yet again!  I love her to bits, but oh my goodness she broods if you so much as look at her funny!

Back to the garden.  The improvement in the garden with this week's high temperatures is clear for all to see.

Fresh growth on this heuchera take on a lovely glow in the sunlight.

This variagated nepeta had survived all winter in a hanging basket outside the back door with next to no watering.  The previous year it was molly-coddled in the greenhouse after gracefully hanging some 6ft from one of the baskets outside the front door.  I'm not very fond of the scent the leaves release if rubbed, but it's a great little plant and an alternative to ivy in baskets and containers.  I'm not sure I could responsibly recommend anyone plants it into the open ground though.  I would imagine it could very quickly take over!

I've divided this single plant now into 20 smaller plants for this year's display.  Cuttings from it are so easily rooted too.  When you pinch a plant out, use the pinched tips as cuttings. Strip off the lower leaves and push the stem into compost,  Within a couple of weeks a brand new plant for nothing!  Not bad for a £2 pot a couple of years ago eh? 

Last year I planted a row of box plants.  The strip of earth needs to be cleared a little, and I fear another batch of box plants should be planted between as I might have been a bit ambitious thinking they would thicken up enough to create a low hedge.  Still, it's all a learning curve.

Who doesn't find the fresh new fronds of ferns unfurling fascinating?

The only seeds that have been sowed in 2011 are my sons' sunflowers!

Hebe cuttings from 2010 potted on and pinched out to create a bushier plant.


 I love my lillies.  I adore lillies!  There's always room for more...

..and Clematis!  When you've filled your garden full of plants, think vertical!  Your garden is as high as you want it to go.  I had a single flower on this one last summer.  I had forgotten to prune it this year, so it's all a bit top heavy.  Another lesson learned.  Thankfully Clematis is one of those plants that can teach you it's own way.  If you inherit one, and don't know which pruning group it belongs to, leave it for a whole year and all will become clear.  They also respond very well to a good hard trim back if it has been left to run riot.  You may have to sacrifice flowers for one year, but once you have regained control, it will pay you back a thousand-fold!

This one however looks more promising.  Last year it sparesly flowered twice, which was unusual, but I put it down to the late spring, and the hard trim.  This year though it is heavy with flower buds!  In a couple more weeks it should be a real show-stopper!

This is a young Montana variety of Clematis.  Just two flower buds on it this year, but now it knows what it's doing next year it should come into it's own.


Another plant that reaslises its potential is this Lonicera (honeysuckle).  The Man That Can added a couple more rows of wire for it to train around.  There are finally flower buds forming on this after three years.  If the bugs leave it alone for long enough, it should become a highly scented addition to the driveway.


A weed is a misplaced plant.

Mind you, in any language a Dandelion can certainly be a major pain if allowed to.  This one think he's a hardy geranium!  We've been so lucky this month with the weather, but what encourages our beloved plants to grow and bloom also encourages weeds.  This week we've had clouds of dandelion seeds on the move.  Yes the unmown verges have looked very pretty with their cheery yellow faces, but all those millions of seeds are making their way to a lawn near you.  Armed with my trusty bulb planter, there are a few in my own lawn that need eradicating!


If I remember rightly, last April treated us to high temperatures. Today we have had a maximum of 32C!  Unfortunately, my greenhouse isn't quite as full as it had been last year as exams have been looming.

The plants in the garden have responded well to the summer-like weather, this is Dicentra

Two varieties of Bergenia

The ever-increasing Muscari

And the baskets of Violas have really perked up!

Since the weather is improving, it's time to move the hens into their summer home, at the bottom of the garden.  It takes myself and The Man That Can a good few hours to move the coop, run and all the kit and kaboodle, and give the patio a thorough scrub.  This is Fawkes

The lovely Lola, who incidently, began laying again the very day I last posted that we'd given up expecting anything from her again!

And the huge Hedwig.  Biggest but by far the most shy of our brood

Our little Bumblebee keeping the girls entertained while we get on with the job at hand.

The girls checking out their new quarters.  I wonder if Lola remembers being down here before winter set in?

Back to the flowers, and this seems to be the only tulip to show it's face so far, and what an interesting face it is too.

It's a dog's life.  This is Ellie sunning herself on the freshly scrubbed-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life patio.

Last April saw cooler temperatures with traditional showers towards the end of the month - I'll report back later to see how it compares.

Enjoy the garden this weekend.  It's going to be lovely!