Last Post 1147 days 21 hours ago
31 March 2010 20:30:31
I had 12 little baby Cannas in the greenhouse from last summers two. All went belly-up during the bad winter. But 'lo and behold, one little beauty was strong enough to survive.
31 March 2010 19:10:44
Are these pitchers developing?
I was just giving my Nepenthes a good dose of rainwater today. I only have 2 pitchers remaining on this plant at this stage. Bought it at Bloom last year. However, on closer inspection, I noticed a lot of ends of the leaves looking brown and turning upwards. But to me they look like tiny pitchers developing. Rachel, please correct me if I am wrong. If they are pitchers, I will have 19 or more. Surely the plant wouldn't be able to support that many pitchers?
31 March 2010 18:51:47
I wasn't feeling the best today, but I couldn't sit moping indoors. Wrapped up well and got the wellies on. The garden is like a swamp with all the recent rain and snow. I managed to get a few things planted. I need to keep on top of things. There are already lots of plants 'in waiting' here from last year, so I don't need any more.
Happy with what I accomplished today. I planted the 2 hellebores I got in Supervalu yesterday, and the Aubrietias. Then on to the stuff I got in Mullingar, Aconitum 'Blue', Primula elatior. The Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata' will have to wait till I can decide where to put it. Also Myrtle's sweet pea. I then planted Fran's Kaffir Lily, Clara's geranium 'Maderense', Sallysarah's Cowslips, and 2packs of red Phlox and 2 packs of Lupins from the €2 shop this morning I planted into pots for now.
When I came down this morning, my Pieris 'Valley Valentine' had blown off the garden table, a couple of branches had broken. I got that potted, just about had enough Brown Gold for the job. I know this is not the right time for hardwood cuttings, but sure what the hell. Gave them nice clean cuts, trimmed them down, dipped them in Hormone Rooting Powder and planted them into small pots of 50-50 Brown Gold and Seed and Cutting Compost. I decided to take my corn seedlings from the greenhouse for the night. It is to get down to -2. Not doing anything else now. And an early night is on the cards.
Ps. there is a blizzard coming down right now. Hope it doesn't last.
31 March 2010 16:59:53
What is this?
The ol' grey matter is not functioning as it should. I am not just having a 'senior moment', more like a 'senior few weeks'.
This 'thing' is coming up in a pot. I seem to be quite puzzled about a good few things growing in my garden in the last few weeks. But I have had the sense to label everything so far this year that I have planted. The identity of this is a complete puzzle to me. Any suggestions?
31 March 2010 16:33:02
Mairins (Sorry, MY!) Camellia
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of digging up a very substantial sized Camellia from Mairin's garden. Loads of buds on it, but I was prepared to have them all drop because of the uprooting. I planted it into a big barrel and watered it well. Actually last week, I ended up having to tie it to one of the Loggia posts as it had suffered a bit of wind rock during one very windy night. But looking at it more closely today, some of the buds are beginning to open. Oh My God that is going to be exquisite.
31 March 2010 14:27:42
A Near Greenhouse Breakage.
I was just in the greenhouse checking, as we do. I had the door open about an inch to keep the heat in. Next thing the blinking cat lunged herself at the door. A bee had flown in through that tiny gap and she was trying to catch it. She nearly broke the door. So I decided that, just in case my pollination process 2 wks ago wasn't successful, I would leave him inside to ensure the job was done properly. I will let him out in a couple of hours. He is all over the peach blossom as we speak.
31 March 2010 13:40:24
€2 SHOP BARGAINS!
Went out this morning, just for the sake of going out. I couldn't do anything in the garden with that hurricane out there. I was praying my car wouldn't turn over. It swayed all over the place. First stop was Aldi. Nothing. Next €2 Shop. 2 packs of 30 peat pots €2 each (obviously!!!), Perennial Pack €2 or 2 packs for €3. So I got 2 packs of red Phlox and 2 packs of Lupins. Had everything paid for and on my way out the door when I spotted hanging baskets for €2 each also. So I got 4. All my hanging baskets are taken up with strawberries this year so I needed more. The whole lot cost just €18. Not bad.
31 March 2010 12:43:52
Haven't a clue what this is, can anyone help? This is the spot where I had planned on planting the everlasting Sweet pea that Myrtle gave me on Sunday. I guess it will have to wait until I discover what this is.
31 March 2010 06:14:14
Pleoine bulb with new shoot
The day Liga and myself were in Mairins garden, Liga gave me some pleoine bulbs. I really didnt know what to expect from them as they were a new one on me. However, in Liga's greenhouse, I took note of how she had hers. They were literally just sitting on the top of the compost. Came home here and did the same. Here is what it looks like today with a lovely new healthy looking shoot. Happy Camper!
30 March 2010 17:27:24
Dahlias and Brachycome
I have so much to get planted tomorrow on my day off. I had to ring in sick today as I had a dodgy stomach. It has been snowing since 7.45am here and stopped only a few minutes ago. Sleety snow, and thankfully not sticking as the ground was so wet.
I will have to use the planks that go across the pond when maintenance is required to spread out on the grass to get to the border. It is so wet out there, and all the grass has been churned up since the weekend and me power-washing. Tonight I will have to make a mental note of where I am putting what. Myrtle gave me a huge everlasting sweet pea which I can't wait to plant. In my triangular bed I have a metal obelisk which will do nicely for the sweet pea. Perfect position.
Just watering a bit today, and checking on seedlings. All doing fine. I was going to pot on my Lollo Rossa and Butterhead. It can wait until tomorrow. Today I sowed more seeds. This is a second sowing of mixed lettuce, which I lost while trying to harden off the weekend before last. I have also done a second sowing of Cosmos 'Mixed Sensation', although Liga very kindly gave me some healthy looking cosmos on Sunday. I have also done a second sowing of Mimosa pudica. Don't ask me what I did wrong. They germinated very well, and then just wilted. Try and try again. At the weekend I sowed some Brachycome, Dahlias and Lupins. All are emerging. Dahlias look great. Now that the day temperatures are improving (Ok today is an exception) maybe my seedlings have a better chance of success.
30 March 2010 10:18:31
Helleborus niger and Aubrietia
I have just been down to Supervalu to get the dinner. Spotted some outdoor plants at the entrance. Normally in Supervalu I wouldn't bother buying any of their plants as they are not maintained very well. However, these caught my eye. Helleborus niger, and Saxifraga. And looking very good. Must be fresh in. Great prices too. Hellebore was €2.99 for a pot not much smaller than the one I bought in my place last week for €6.99. So I could not resist buying 2. I also bought 2 pots of Aubrietia for just €1.99 each. Pity the weather is so damned awful out there now.
Definitely Supervalu is on the 'up'. Keep an eye on them.
30 March 2010 06:45:33
There was a forecast given for snow for during the week. I took this revelation with a grain of salt. However, just opened the patio door to let Holly out. It sure is snowing. It's pelting, but the roads are very wet so let's just hope it doesn't stick.
30 March 2010 06:29:08
Water Storage Crystals
They have some patio furniture in Aldi next week. But not much else. However, there are a few bits that people may be interested in. Mairin, for you, they have Water Storage Crystals for only €4.49. It treats 500 litres of compost. Shrub selection (Photinia, Cistus, Ceanothus etc). They also have hanging baskets (Water Hyacinth Baskets) for a mere €4.99. I paid €15.99 each for mine in my workplace 2 yrs ago. All my baskets this year are taken up with salads and strawberries, so they will be on my shopping list next week. They have plug plants too for €5.99, Fuchsia, Geranium, Trailing Petunias, Busy Lizzie. Might check them out too.
ps Just looking at the catalogue, the shrubs are only in a 9cm pot for €2.49. By the time they get to any decent size, we will all be on our zimmer-frames.
29 March 2010 19:34:04
Pieris jap. 'Valley Valentine'
Yesterday after the get-together in Mullingar, most of us all headed to O'Meara's Garden Centre, which is just minutes down the road from Belvedere House. This was only my second time ever in O'Meara's.
I bought myself a few bits which I am very pleased with; Aconitum 'Blue', Primula elatior, Anemone 'Mona Lisa' (white, and GORGEOUS),Pieris jap. 'Valley Valentine' that has brilliant deep red flowers, Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata Aurea' (Golden Irish Yew) and lastly a packet of sunflowers 'Italian White' (oops I went for white again).
I must say it is a lovely garden centre, which had such an array of stock. Everything was in mint condition, and there is sure to be something there to suit EVERYBODY'S taste. A very well-kept garden centre and the staff were only too happy to help. Will definitely be going there more often.
28 March 2010 21:23:35
Trip to Belvedere House, Mullingar was organized by Fran. Great turnout, great rapport with each other, great plant swaps, great talk by John, lovely grounds, great weather. And a great welcome to Gretta on this her first Garden.ie get-together. Thanks everyone for that. It was also the first get-together for Yellow Rose (Bernie) and Orchid (Eilish). Great to meet both of you and hopefully you enjoyed the day. But Fran, great work. Thanks.
28 March 2010 08:04:11
Nerves were in shreds before yesterdays' Clinic on Grow Your Own. However, I went about my business getting things ready. I had a big Garden Table set up, with lots of items that one could possibly need when taking the plunge of growing your own foodstuffs. I was thinking to myself that there would be nobody around at that time of the morning. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The clinic was only for one hour, but out of the 12 people that stopped to chat, I think I convinced at least 4 people to give it a go.
It does your heart good to see that people are prepared to put in a little bit of work for better quality and varieties of edible crops. I sold one person 2 6pks of strawberries, and hanging baskets and liners to grow them. This person had NEVER even grown a flower before so I felt really great about that. She will be coming back to give me regular updates throughout the summer. She is a regular customer here but I have yet to see her out in the garden centre.
I had previously sown some runner beans in a big pot with a wigwam of canes, and also peas. They were put out during the week to harden them off. I also had potatoes sown in a bag. And garlic and onions in 2 window boxes. Last year I was just so NOT prepared. Happy enough this time round.
I even convinced 2 of the young lads who work here to grow their own strawberries. Well, it is definitely a sign of CHANGE! Long may it last.
27 March 2010 20:47:53
Dwarf Bean 'Purple Queen'
Not to be outdone by Fran, I just sowed some Mangetout peas. Hee hee. Fran, mine will NEVER be as healthy looking as yours, but I just gotta give them a try. I also sowed some Dwarf Beans 'Purple Queen'. 'Purple Queen' takes some beating when it comes to flavour. Try them and see if you agree.
The heavy crops of glossy, deep purple pods grow on upright plants with pretty purple flowers. Good enough to grow in a flower border.
The pods revert to green when cooked.
27 March 2010 18:34:18
DON'T FORGET TO PUT YOUR CLOCKS FORWARD AN HOUR TONIGHT. DON'T WANT TO MISS TOMORROWS TALK IN MULLINGAR.
27 March 2010 18:06:43
Long Hard Slog
When I got home from work, Steve was painting the front garden walls. It badly needed it. It's amazing what a lick of paint can do to freshen the place up. While I was still in my uniform I decided to power-wash the patio out the back. By the time I had pulled all the pots onto the grass, I was knackered. I was half-way through power-washing when Steve came out to have a nosey. 'That's useless', he said. 'Crap power-washer'. He went on and on, saying I was getting nowhere. UUUUUgggghhhh. I was beginning to see red. However, I wasn't giving up just because HE said it was no different. I had to finish the job. Ok, the power-washer is a bit crap (Dont tell him I admitted that). It was an old one of Dads that he gave me years ago when he bought himself a new one. Yea, it is crap, but it did get a LITTLE bit of the moss and gunk off. And even if Steve doesn't notice the difference, I can. But I reckon that a new power-washer will be the first thing on my 'Santa' list.
When I was setting up for the 'clinic' this morning, I had a better opportunity to browse our stand that holds dry-packed fruit and veg. I decided to chance my arm, and bought 2 packs of 'Ostara' strawberries. Has anybody ever tried these driy-packed fruits. Made up 3 baskets so hopefully, I will get a decent crop from them. I also have 2 baskets with 'Elsanta'.
26 March 2010 23:00:43
Wish me luck!
Tomorrow morning, here's a laugh for you all, I am doing a 'Veg growing Clinic'. Me, who has killed all those seedlings in recent weeks. It was supposed to be my weekend off, but I have to go in for this clinic. As you all know, I am quite shy. I don't do 'public speaking' too well. I hope the public decide to have a lie-in in the morning. Ok I may have killed a few seedlings, but I have managed to grow successfully over the last few years, tomatoes, grapes, cabbage, sprouts, cucumbers, peppers, melons, and plenty more. SO maybe I'm not THAT bad. I just get a bit ambitious at the start of seed-sowing time. I have to remember that I work full-time now.
However, when I get over my nervousness tomorrow, things will be fine. If there is one thing I love, it's getting everybody into growing their own foodstuffs. Wish me luck. If I manage to persuade just ONE person to try growing their own, I will be happy.
26 March 2010 20:18:06
Better Late Than Never!
We are not a family who tend to have the central heating on full blast all the time. In fact, our house is almost on the 'cool' side compared to most peoples. I remember my Mam (Lord have mercy on her) used to drop in regularly for a cuppa and keep her jacket on while here. She wasnt really a cold creature. The room that I have been keeping the seedlings in is quite like Central Station, with people coming and going all the time, and creating draughts constantly.
But when I see how many seedlings are perishing here over the last few weeks I am beginning to think that maybe this house IS actually cold. I have been resisting the strong urge to buy one of those famous greenhouses, as everyone else has been doing. But it kept on coming to my attention today in work every time I passed it by. Kept on thinking to myself mmm I would have a lot more healthy tomato plants at this stage if I had one. Why now! The seedling season is almost over. Or NOT!!!!!
Better Later Than Never. This is NOT usually a phrase that I agree with. It really p's me off if someone is late. So unfair on the person waiting. I mean, they could have been doing so many other things (like gardening) instead of wasting valuable time waiting for someone to be predictably LATE. However, if I had bought one of these greenhouses a few weeks ago, I might have more to look forward to with my tomatoes and other seedlings. I bought one in the end.
26 March 2010 07:10:30
Deborah, you advised me to keep the arisaema seeds in heat for 3 months, then take them off the heat. Arisaema consanguineum has germinated. I am presuming that I should pot it on. Do I keep it in the propagator though. Or should I keep it at room temperature. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
25 March 2010 20:05:08
OMG What a busy day in work today. I got home, had a cup of coffee, and got straight out to the garden. My bones are aching, all over. Was just doing a mental note of what needs doing. Not too much. But I will need a bit more time to get it done. And decide on where to plant a lot of plants 'in waiting'. SOme of them are still there from back to the time of the Rare Plant Sale in Glasnevin last year.
I had a look at the Mammoth Red in the greenhouse. They have been out there since Monday. So far, so good. This morning I brought out my Rat-tailed radishes. I was going to take them in tonight, but decided just to throw some fleece over them. I think they should be ok. I planted my Helleborus Niger that I bought yesterday. Ah it's like a little jewel, shining through all that bark chip. Very little has come up in the pond border yet, so it is heart-warming looking at it. The only other thing visible in that bed at the moment is the beautiful little primula that Liga gave me a couple of weeks ago. Liga, do you know the name of it?
Once my Chinese takeaway is finished, I will sow some of those new tomato seeds.
25 March 2010 06:50:32
New Tomato Seeds
In my desparate attempt to have some decent tomato plants for this year, I bought this pack of 6 different varieties of tomato seeds. Cost only €3.99 which I thought was excellent value. The pack contains 'Garden Pearl', Gardener's Delight', 'Marmande', 'Moneymaker', 'Roma' (Cloncaw is growing these, I think), and 'San Marzano'. Do you think it's too late to sow tomato seeds? The ones I have on the go here are still extremely puny, with only one set of leaves so far. I can't see me getting much out of them.
24 March 2010 20:22:51
Cute Little Planter
It was lashing this morning before I went to work, so I couldn't even get out. It was getting dark when I got home. All I did was take a photo of the sunset, and checked my sweet pea seedlings.
On the White trend, I succumbed to a Helleborus niger today. I have always wanted a white one. And I bought this cute little planter for a mere €6.99. I also bought this weeks Amateur Gardening which had a free pack of sunflower seeds. I am going to check over all my seedlings now and hopefully I won't have any more catastrophes.
24 March 2010 19:01:37
Successful Hardening Off
Well after having all that disappointment at the weekend with hardening off seedlings, and killing them, I am chuffed that my sweet pea seem to be grand. I put them in the greenhouse 2wks ago. Last week I took them out of the greenhouse completely, and this evening (after a full week outside day AND night) they are looking good. One success story! About time.
Just home from work. Look at the sunset this evening. Gorgeous.
23 March 2010 22:01:04
The warmth of Yellow and Orange
Couldn't help laughing to myself today outside thinking about all the white flowers I have planted for this year. Convallaria, Ornithogalum, Puschkinia, Anemone, Tulips 'Concerto', Gladioli, white Amaryllis, and even the flowers of the Horseradish. Yes I do love white, but you simply CANNOT beat the warmth of yellow and orange.
23 March 2010 21:27:48
My very first Anemone. AND IT'S WHITE! Good things come in small parcels. And there was I, in my ignorance, thinking it was Eremurus. Ha ha. First time for Eremurus too. Wahoo. This is brilliant!
23 March 2010 19:12:27
Onions, and potatoes in bags
I wasted the whole morning waiting in for someone who was SO late for an appointment. That really annoys me. However, water under the bridge. While I was waiting for her, I sowed some Lupin seeds, 'Zebra' tom seeds, and Reseda odorata 'Machet'.
Later on then, I got all my spuds planted into the bags. I planted Home Guard, Maris Peer, Desiree and Arran Victory. Moved my onions in planters over to the shelving unit that Steve made at the weekend. Now I can get into the greenhouse without falling all over the containers.
Planted Convallaria into Pond Bed, and Ornothogolum (Chincherinchee) into a planter and potted up the Horseradish. Then out with the secateurs and cut back grasses, ferns, and Phoenix canariensis which died over the winter. Gave everything a good soak in the garden AND greenhouse. I did another stint of pollinating the peaches too, just to be sure.
I have updated March 2010 album.
23 March 2010 17:34:38
ID these please!
Potted these up in November. No label. Haven't a clue what they are. Can anyone help?
23 March 2010 10:03:56
Good or Bad?
Krista, I have just planted my horseradish into a big pot. Here is what it looks like. I wouldn't know what to look for when choosing them for you. Perhaps you could let me know. I think all the packets look like mine. Does it look ok?
23 March 2010 07:30:34
I am a CHICKEN
I have been awake most of the night just thinking about my newly-acquired Horseradish root. Dilemma. A lot of you might think I am stark-raving mad to plant something as bullyish as Horseradish. I don't want it to take over my small-enough garden. Mmmm so maybe I will just plant it into a pot and see how it goes. Yea I am a chicken!!!!!
22 March 2010 21:05:33
Even though I said previously that I wasn't buying any more pots for the garden, I couldn't resist this today. It's a strawberry planter. But I usually plant my strawberries into hanging baskets. This planter will be used for Sempervivums. Is there a garden centre attached to Mullingar House and Gardens?
I also got Narcissi 'Bridal Crown'. I reduced all our bulbs to half price today.
22 March 2010 20:59:17
My future Gardener
Here he is now. Nearly 7 weeks old already.
22 March 2010 19:33:35
Was quite busy in work today even though the weather wasn't great. Thunder, and hailstones, with showers and very strong winds. It was too cold to be in just a t-shirt, but too warm to have a fleece on. I organized my veggie growing in work for the GIY session. I have runner beans planted into a big pot with a wigwam of canes for support, and the same idea with peas. I also have a large window box with garlic planted, and another one with onions. Then today, I sowed my HomeGuard Potatoes (Earlies) into one of those potato bags. It's all down at the area that I did a makeover on last summer.
I am off tomorrow, so my plans are to sow my own potatoes. I have Homeguard, Maris Peer (2nd Early), Arran Victory, and Desiree (Maincrop). I can keep them in the greenhouse until all risk of frost has gone. I have no other plans, but I am quite sure I will end up doing more. And I will plant my Horseradish.
22 March 2010 18:48:24
Attractive Foliage Plant
Just thought I would show you all what an attractive foliage plant Horseradish is. I believe it can grow up to a meter and a half.
22 March 2010 18:30:05
Just bought myself a Horseradish Root today in work. I have never grown horseradish before, and indeed I know very little about it. However, Mr. Google has just provided me with all the information I need to know, or DON'T need to know. Mmmmm Maybe this was a bad choice. It seems like Horseradish is as much a thug in the garden as mint. But I won't know until I try it. I will plant it into a bucket and bury that into the soil. Fingers crossed that it behaves itself.
21 March 2010 21:12:55
Ok I have sown the Brachycome (they are going to be another nightmare as the seeds are pure dust) and the Dahlias which are far more substantial. I am going to make a point of only looking at my seeds ONCE a day as I am driving myself demented waiting....I have just finished looking over all other seedlings and watering. Have potted on my Rat-tailed Radishes and they are looking very happy with themselves.
Get this, lads. Deborah sent me Arisaema seeds a few weeks ago. I sowed them. She told me to keep them in heat for 3 months, then change them to cold growing conditions. When was that? Certainly not even a MONTH ago. Arisaema consanguineum has just germinated. Wahoo. You lose some, YOU WIN SOME!
21 March 2010 19:44:16
Ok I have just had dinner and feel a bit better. Time to be positive. No point in worrying over fatalities. I won't re-sow anything that I have lost. Tonight I will sow something different, Brachycome 'Summer Skies' and Dahlia 'Dwarf Double Mixed) for starters. I have just separated and potted on my little Sweet Pepper seedliings. At least THEY are looking healthy. I am wondering have the deaths got anything to do with not having the heating on in the house as much in the last week. And it will be on the decrease from now on. Maybe I just sowed everything too early, and couldn't harden them off gradually. Ah well, what's the point in wondering. Damage done. But I can't have my summer garden devoid of colour. So it's back to my numerous seed boxes.
21 March 2010 18:58:12
This morning I put a few seedlings out into the greenhouse for the day. I left the window open and the door slightly ajar. I don't think it was THAT sunny here so they would not have baked. When I got home from work, I went to take them in. I had Mixed Lettuce, Loads of Cosmos, Corn, Rat-tailed Radishes and Mammoth Red Cabbage. The Cosmos are all dead, as are the mixed lettuce. I don't know what I did wrong. My Death List is getting bigger.
21 March 2010 08:56:17
Tete-a-tetes And Czar Peter (Tulips)
My cup and saucer are planted up with Tete-a-tete's and tulips (Czar Peter) Things are finally beginning to happen. Hopefully if the sun shines all day I will be greeted later with a little boost of colour.
20 March 2010 21:32:28
These ones are Radish Daikon (Mooli Minowase Nr 2)
I intend sowing these radishes tomorrow before I head out to work. They are supposedly easy to grow. They are large Oriental radishes. The succulent white roots 30cm long or more, have a crisp texture and mild flavour. They are traditionally used in stir-fries, and pickled. They are also great in salads.
20 March 2010 20:23:19
Helping Mother Nature!
This morning before heading out to work, I gave Mother Nature a helping hand to pollinate my 4 peach trees in the greenhouse. Because they are in the greenhouse there is very little 'bee' activity. So I pollinated them with one of my paintbrushes. Hopefully I will get a lot more delicious peaches this year, and also hope the dreaded slugs and snails dont get to them before I do.
20 March 2010 18:34:40
OMG What a day! That was definitely the best so far. But, let's not be complacent. A lot of people will now take the good weather for granted just because we have had a few good days. The Garden Centre was a hive of activity all day. We are lucky to be alive. And I feel extra lucky as I LOVE what I do. The amount of people who are getting started with growing their own is brilliant. Most of them are doing it for the very first time. It was such a pleasure to witness their enthusiasm. From now on, I will have a longer working day, so there will be less time in my own garden. I am not giving out though (YET!). I will just have to work more efficiently in the garden. Low maintenance will now have to take priority.
I was like a child when I got home. Steve had been busy making me some shelving to fit under my garage window. It's just what I want, and need. Fair play to him. Tomorrow he will creosote it, and it'll be ready to use.
20 March 2010 07:06:35
I have 8 Rat-tailed Radish seedlings doing well here. Just doing a bit of research on them reveals that they should be grown fairly quickly. I have been waiting for the weather to warm up significantly before hardening them off. These radishes are not grown for their roots, but grow somewhat like climbing beans. So I was thinking of erecting a tripod of canes into a big pot on the patio.
I will put them into the greenhouse this morning and begin the 'hardening off' process. Hopefully within the next week or so, they will be ready for planting out. I hope I am not being too impatient in getting them outside fully. It will then give me more space in the house for any more seeds that I wish to try. :)
Dave, if you think that I am being too impatient to get them out, please tell me.
20 March 2010 06:50:41
Sweet pepper seedlings waiting to be potted on!
Here is a photo of my sweet peppers seedlings. I grew these from supermarket-bought peppers and they look absolutely fine. Thank God. As I seem to have killed a lot of stuff to date. However, even though they are slow to do anything, I will pot these on individually later on after work. I have grown supermarket bought ones before with great success. Hopefully these will be AS successful.
19 March 2010 21:14:44
First time to make marmalade
During the week I bought 6lbs of Seville oranges from the local greengrocer for just €2. I soaked 2lbs of the oranges last night with 6 pints of water and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
I made the marmalade this evening, during cooking I just added 6lbs of sugar, and the pips wrapped in a cotton cloth for extra flavour, and got 9 jars out of that lot. I have the remaining 4lbs of oranges in the freezer for further use. 9 jars of marmalade for the price of 6lbs of sugar and €2 for oranges. Not bad, I reckon. I will definitely be making that again.
19 March 2010 18:57:40
If any of the seedlings that I sowed perished, I just kept the accompanying plant labels. Amongst those that have failed are Cos Lettuce 'Winter Density'. This died overnight in the greenhouse, Cornflower, Leucanthemum, Hollyhock 'Queeny Purple' (old seed), and 'Nigra', 2 sunflowers 'Pastiche' and 'Tall Yellow' (of which I have sown replacements) and Marigold 'Colossus' (hadn't sown enough of this one anyway, so did a repeat sowing and MORE of them, which are doing well). That seems like an awful amount of DEATHS, but there are still plenty of seedlings doing really well.
19 March 2010 18:04:25
Weeded Stone Circle
Had to go and buy a new phone today. While out, I took the opportunity to drop into Aldi in the hope of getting something nice. I was thinking of just having a look at the blister packs of bedding. Unfortunately I was a week early. However, I picked up one last perennial (Solidago praecox) and another window propagator.
I spent a bit of time cutting back a few things like Clematis 'The President' and 'Polish Spirit'. Also gave my Photinia a bit of a haircut. It looks a bit better now that it has a better shape to it. Cut back a few Fuchsias in pots and a Ceratostigma. Weeded my stone circle and tidied away more pots. Swept down the patio. We dont have a coal bunker and over the winter months we just usually throw the bags of coal on the ground. So now it needs to be power-washed. I am in work tomorrow, so I might leave Steve a list of 'things to do' Ha ha. Cut back dead growth on Ivy-leafed geranium I had in a pot. Not looking too hopeful for THAT one. Then I planted the Solidago into my sunny border, where my sunflowers and dahlias will go.
Finally got the remaining tubers of the Bishops into pots for the patio. Happy enough with the few bits I got done.
19 March 2010 07:31:02
Ode to the daffodils
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze,
COntinuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way.
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance
The waves beside them danced: but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company.
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude:
And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.
19 March 2010 00:03:32
My daffodils are all in bloom in the front garden, which is south-east-facing. Yet my back garden faces north-west and they are only starting now.
18 March 2010 23:21:56
Disappointed with sweet potato
It seems like I have been 'chitting' my potatoes for a long time. When I bought the seed potatoes, I also decided to try, for the first time, 'sweet potato'.They have been 'chitting' out in the garage for the last while. Yesterday I went out to the garage to check on the mouse traps (Deborah won't be impressed that I caught 5 mice over the last few days) and discovered that my sweet potato is spongy and has a white fungus growing on it. So I am presuming that I shouldn't even bother to plant it. A bit disappointed, I was really looking forward to seeing the results, and tasting it for the first time. I am also wondering why it went like this.
Seed potatoes are not quite ready for planting. Maybe another week. I have 4 different varieties to plant. There is nothing like home-grown spuds. I will be growing these in potato sacks on the patio.
18 March 2010 21:43:43
I sowed some Red-Leafed Basil (Pressie from Chilipepper) on the 3rd March. Not a dickie bird out of it, and I was ready to dump it on the compost heap. However, in the last couple of days, it decided to put in an appearance. It's funny the way it is actually pushing the compost up out of the cells.
18 March 2010 19:50:59
Eremurus (Foxtail lilies)
Ok I am over my little moan. I have rested my feet and I am back to square one. Will be preparing all my seville oranges in a few minutes and soaking them overnight. Tomorrow I will make the marmalade. Never did it before, so fingers crossed.
Had a quick look out in the garden this evening, planters with tulips are almost ready to flower. And I have a lovely selection to look forward to. Also, in my stone circle, I think I saw my Eremurus DEFINITELY coming up. The foliage is just trying to burst out of the soil and looking very healthy. First time for Eremurus too. Oooh the anticipation!
18 March 2010 18:31:21
To Pot on, or Not to Pot on?
Run off my feet all day in work. Knackered. We were so busy. Good complaint though, but now I am not in the mood to do much in the garden. I will examine my seedlings later for watering issues.
With regard to seedlings, Dave, my Mammoth Red Cabbages stand at roughly 3 inches and I am not sure whether they should be potted on. They look a bit gangly. And if I DO pot them on, should I plant them deeper as with the tomatoes?Your advice would be much appreciated.
Off tomorrow, thank God. So I got all the compost I need for now and will finish the job of potting Bishops and other bits and pieces. I also got loads more plant labels and slug pellets. I intend being on top of the dreaded molluscs before they destroy everything I am growing from seed. I was supposed to start my weekends Easter Saturday, but unfortunately that has been brought forward and they start this coming weekend :(
By the way, Chilipepper, they are not yellow, like they appear to be in the photograph. It must be the light.
17 March 2010 20:28:24
More Jobs Outside
In my shady border today, I also planted a few Anemones that I got in the job months back for just €1 each. Then I spread the 6 bags of bark chip all over the place. The bark chip also does a good job of hiding the electricity cable running down the whole length of that border, and the irrigation hose. It's amazing how tidy the whole place looks too. I LOVE the smell of Bark Chip.
I also watered everything in the garden as it was completely dry. All in the greenhouse got a good soaking too. And tidied away a lot of pots.
17 March 2010 19:44:44
A bit of Elbow Grease
Couldn't get out to the garden until after midday as we had to drop Steve's mam and dad to the airport, so I had to stay clean. However, I got stuck in as soon as we got back. I started off by scrubbing clean some of the pots which had a fair amount of algae on them with hot soapy water. They look better already.
I potted the Salix caprea 'Kilmarnock' that Kim gave me for Mothers Day. I also potted some Ixia bulbs, and Brodiaea. On the way home from the Airport, I dropped into the nearest Aldi just to check on things. Bought a pack of Brodiaea bulbs there for €1.29 for 40. I had already bought 20 in my place. Planting them and realized that Aldi's ones were mouldy and had only a tiny bit of growth on them. However, the ones I got in work were perfect. I planted 60 into the one pot. Hopefully they will ALL come on.
Then it was the 'Bishops' turn, only didn't I run out of compost. I didn't want them in work to think that I couldn't do without the place on my day off, so I left them. Will get some tomorrow. And I sowed more stuff early this morning, so all in all it was an ok day. Beautiful day to be out. It is a long time since we had a dry St. Patrick's Day, let alone a sunny one.
17 March 2010 07:58:25
This morning I sowed more seeds; Maliope, Nicotiana and lots more sunflowers. This year I will be growing an abundance of sunflowers. I absolutely adore them! I intend to plant most of them down in my back bed. That means that they will probably have their faces turned towards the house and will be in full view from the patio doors. The sunflowers that I have sown to date now are;
And one whose name I can't remember.
Let's hope these will give a lasting display with plenty of impact. And plenty more seeds for next year. :)
17 March 2010 01:03:28
More of Dad's mushrooms
I have bought mushroom kits twice in the past. Both of the mushroom kits that I bought, I followed instructions to the 'T'. However, they produced absolutely NOTHING. I am a bit partial to mushrooms. Visiting Dad today after work, and he showed me his mushrooms. He is not a very experienced gardener but he is willing to try anything. Once I set him up with starting off the mushroom growing, I was so surprised to see that he was actually producing mushrooms. More were very evident today. I bought some mushroom spores a few weeks ago. But I will wait until I can sow them in the greenhouse during the summer months. Can't wait to taste my first RAW mushroom. MMMMMM
16 March 2010 23:09:07
Bishop of York
Bless me Father, for I have sinned......
Sowed too many seeds, neglected them, killed them, sowed more. Guilty!!!!!
Tomorrow I have to deal with the Clergy once again. Thanks to Heritage Bulbs, I have plenty more Bishops to plant up into pots. I think the weather will be on our side once again.
16 March 2010 21:56:21
Very excited this evening having received flight details for Chelsea in the post. Wahoo! Happy days! Normally I don't take any holidays during the summer, as this is obviously the busiest time for me. However, I have no guilt pangs. I intend to enjoy this break to the fullest. I must get that promised new camera now.
Ole, ole, ole, ole. Chelsea here we come!
16 March 2010 20:37:58
Seville Marmalade Oranges
Paid a visit to the local greengrocers and got 8lbs of Seville Marmalade Oranges for €2.
Easy enough to make. All you need is
2lbs of oranges
6lbs of ordinary sugar
6Pints of water
Lemon juice (3 tablespoons)
Cut the oranges into quarters, and chop.
Add the water, and let it all steep for about 12hours. The steeping softens the rind.
Save the pips. Add them to a wrap of muslin or cotton. The pips give the marmalade a lot of the flavour.
Bring mixture to the boil (about 40minutes). Have the sugar warmed previously. Put the warmed sugar into the boiling mixture for about 4-5minutes. Bring it all to the boil again and simmer for 60mins. Test the mixture by pouring onto a cold saucer. If it forms wrinkles, it is done.
16 March 2010 19:40:38
When I grow up, I want to be as big as YOU!
I always buy my tomato seedlings in work, until this year. Got our first delivery in today. And of course I couldnt resist buying just ONE. This year I made a promise to grow all my own. But, come on, growth is really PAINFULLY slow. I sowed about 5 or 6 different types of tomatoes (and yes, I have also lost a few already). Dave posted a photo of 'Maggie up to her eyes in tomatoes'. And the difference in his tomatoes and mine is amazing. What am I doing wrong? Are everybody elses as small as the one on the left?
16 March 2010 07:55:43
Here we go again!
A while ago I sowed some Marigold 'Colossus' seeds that Rachel gave me. However, I didnt sow HALF enough.
This morning I have sown loads more, they are so gorgeous. Also some of last years sunflower seeds and Sweet Pea 'White Ensign' and 'Beaujolais'. I didnt want to sow too many seeds all together. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, we can start getting seedlings out to the greenhouse. I sowed some Gazania seeds a couple of weeks ago. These were an old packet that I didnt want to throw away until I tried them. However, no sign of anything. So I just sowed a fresh pack.
15 March 2010 21:19:27
Got 3 bags of bark chip today for spreading on my shady border. Need another 3 tomorrow. Will do it on Wednesday as I will be off. Spent an awful long time this evening potting on tomatoes 'Demidov', 'Costoluto', Hanging Basket (yellow). Also potted on Mammoth Red, Mixed Lettuce, Cosmos, sunflowers, Brompton Stock.
Also sowed Pyrethrum, Kniphofia, Dimorphotheca, and 2 other types of tomato 'Minibell' and 'Rozovy Titan'.
Tomorrow I need to pot on Sweet peppers. ANd I am sure I will find a lot more that need potting on when I have a proper look.
15 March 2010 20:30:56
Geared towards Children
Picked up this magazine in work today. It is more geared towards getting children into growing foodstuffs. They have included two free packs of seeds to get them started and a seed diary to track their progress.
The seeds that are included are Carrots (Amsterdam Forcing 3), and Peas (Kelvedon Wonder). If anybody wants them, let me know.
15 March 2010 20:18:53
On the prowl!
Sitting having ANOTHER coffee this morning when out of nowhere came the dreaded heron. He landed on the pergola and I could see one of our huge koi swimming at the surface of the pond. I willed him to submerge down to the safety of the deep. However, luckily when I stood up and went over to the patio doors, the heron took off. I am seeing him practically every day now. He must have had a long hungry winter. I felt a bit sorry for him.
15 March 2010 17:23:22
My First Daff
What a beautiful and long-awaited sight that beheld me this morning going out to work. My first daff. I will have loads more flowering by tomorrow. And these are in the front garden. The ones in the back have a little while more to go.
15 March 2010 08:25:29
Enjoy your garden
Just thinking back on the last few weeks in the garden. So much has been done, and so much more TO BE done. Now that the season for sitting on our backsides pondering and contemplating is over, it's time to get out and be active once more. Don't you just love it? Things are definitely on the 'up'.
Whatever the weather, enjoy your garden.
14 March 2010 20:19:04
Perfect temperature for the price of a bar of chocolate
Some of you may remember me sowing seeds of a fruit called a Pomello which I bought in Lanzarote, purely for the seed. I sowed it, germinated it, and then googled it, revealing that it requires pretty high temperatures to keep it going.
On Friday I discovered a shelfless cd rack in the skip in work. I could see its potential. But I couldnt have it for nothing. It cost me a bar of chocolate. Now it sits on top of my radiator in the dining room and is the perfect environment for my Pomello, temperature is 38.1C as we speak. Pity the heating will be going off soon. Once the heating goes off for the summer, I will transfer the Pomello seedlings into the greenhouse for the hotter months.
14 March 2010 17:52:58
Shady Border weeded and planted up.
I don't know about anybody else, but whenever I make a list of 'things to do' I usually end up doing completely different things. Today was no exception.
I did manage to take the washing in, and put another one out. But I spent the majority of the day digging over my shady border. It was completely over-run with couch grass and other weeds. This year I am hoping to plant things that I have in pots, in an effort to dispense with all the pots cluttering the place. I managed to plant Ilex crenata 'Gold Tip', Mitrarea coccinea, Helleborus argutifolius, Saxifraga x arendsii 'Highlander', Nandina domestica 'Firepower' (Sacred Bamboo), Contorted Hazel 'Coryllus avellana', Libertia 'Taupo Blaze' (thanks Fran), Arum italicum, Primrose (Thanks Liga). I did a lot of cutting back today. I think it may just be safe enough now. I cut back some ferns and fuchsias, Lysimachia, Rudbeckia, Montbretia, Pennisetum alepecuroides 'Hamelyn', etc. Lots of new fresh growth evident everywhere. It does the heart good.
I also made sure to plant my Bishop Dahlia collection in my sunny border, which will be shared with my sunflowers. And I have marked them out and scattered plenty of slug pellets, just in case. Can't have those ravenous molluscs munching their way through those little gems. I also have plenty of surplus BISHOPS for planting into pots for the patio for extra impact.
This morning there was virtually nothing in bloom in my garden, apart from my Helleborus orientalis, 2 Galanthus (Snowdrops) that I didn't even plant, and a few crocuses, but by this evening I noticed a lot more crocuses in bloom and some irises. It seemed that I was the only one on this site that had very little colour in the garden right now. That has all changed. I reckon all the daffs will be in bloom over the next week, weather permitting. Oh it was such a pleasure to be out all day.
14 March 2010 17:19:42
Late last summer I spotted 3 frogs swimming in my upper pond. However, I feared the worst as we have a cat, Holly. And she is extremely good at catching anything that moves. However, as I was digging over my shady border today I nearly drove the fork into this little critter. Oh, I was elated with my discovery. Steve was giving the ceilings a third coating of paint and thought I had had an accident in the garden as I was screaming for him to come out. Do you know that frogs only spend about 20% of their lives in water?
14 March 2010 09:05:25
Jobs for Today
Ok Let's see what needs doing in the garden today.
Compost needs tidying up and put into its own corner.
Pots need to be emptied of old stuff, and new plants put into them ie, the last of my perennials.
Border needs to be cleared of weeds and dug over.
Bishop Dahlias need planting in that area and slug pellets scattered around.
Shelving from greenhouse needs dismantling and put away until after summer.
Washing to be taken in. Another to be put out. Can't beat the smell of freshly-laundered clothes when folding them.
Leeks to be sown.
Tomatoes 'Tumbling Tom' red, and 'F1 sweet Million' need potting on. Also Cayenne Pepper 'Heatwave'.
13 March 2010 20:16:04
Potted on some toms this morning 'Demidov', 'Costoluto' and 'Sweet Millions'. I also sowed some more sunflower seeds, the same as I had lost. I meant to do a lot more seeds today but somehow I got side-tracked. Outside, I weeded my back border and also dug a new space for gladioli. I planted 40 altogether, either side of my compost bin. Just a little way to cheer up an otherwise dreary area. I potted up the some hostas and planted some Hemerocallis into the border down by the raised pond.
Inside the greenhouse I gave everything a longed-for watering too. It seemed like the Good Lord was trying to cheer me up after losing my Voodoo Lily earlier when I spotted plenty of flowers on my 4 peach trees. In a couple of weeks they should be ready for pollination with a paint brush. It's strange the way somethings that you would imagine to be tender have come through this difficult period and other things that you take for granted are wiped out.
I watered some of my houseplants, Nepenthes, Rhipsalis and Platycerium (with rainwater) and Beaucarnea, and Swiss Cheese plant.
13 March 2010 19:09:29
Free pot pourri
By the time Steve got up this morning, I had everything from the kitchen and dining room in the living room to make space for Steve to paint the two ceilings. I went over to work to get paint and Manager gave me this planter of Hyacinths which had gone over for just €2. Original price €16.99. There are 4 really healthy bulbs in it, so they will get planted out in the garden during the week, or tomorrow. However, I pulled off all the petals and got 2 lovely dishes of pot pourri out of them free.
13 March 2010 18:40:17
While out in the garden today I tried to think of the name of this plant. I have been wracking my brains all day. Can anyone enlighten me as to what it might be? The oul' grey matter is dead today!
13 March 2010 15:39:40
Just in from the garden. Such disappointment greeted me out there. During all this horrible weather, my Dracunculus vulgaris did me proud and seemed to be fine, it's snout rising proudly from the pot. I thought it was a born survivor. But I was aware that it probably wouldn't survive the REALLY cold temperatures so I took it in during that time. However, when I felt it today, the snout just fell off in my hand. What can I say. I am now wondering whether it was the really wet winter we had, or the cold? I am gutted to say the least!
13 March 2010 06:08:33
Got up at 5am and discovered that a few of my seedlings were not looking very healthy. Already I have lost Cos Lettuce 'Winter Density', but I suspect that they were put out to the greenhouse too early. I ended up throwing the whole tray of Mimulus in the bin. Even though they had germinated, they didnt seem to be growing at all. Therefore it was impossible to pot them on. I threw out 2 of the 5 Gherkins. And this morning yet another one is on its way to the bin. Also a small pot of Lollo Rossa Lettuce.
Sunflower 'Evening Sun' seems to be doing well except for 1. I sowed just 3 of these. Two of them are looking very robust already. I have given all my sunflower seedlings the same conditions. I have my pasting table at the patio door. This is where I have a lot of my seedlings. Maybe they caught a chill but I'm not so sure. But I have a feeling that these were sown into Multipurpose Compost. So this shows the importance of using Seed and Cutting Compost for best results. With the sunflowers, it looks like 'damping off' disease, and Seed and Cutting Compost is a lighter planting medium with much better drainage properties. But I have been very careful watering only when necessary. The one that I am disposing of has grown tall and gangly and needs support as it is very limp, the others are standing up unaided. In fact, they are now producing their second set of leaves. But the good thing is, even though I started sowing early, probably TOO early, I still have plenty of time to keep on trying. Anything that I have lost will be sown again. So fingers crossed.
12 March 2010 05:48:43
Bishop of Llandaff
Slept soundly last night after a really hectic day in work. Now Friday has finally arrived and I am feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to tackle anything. I hope to be off early today and can get stuck in to getting those perennials potted up, and my Bishop Collection. Oooh can't wait to see those beauties during the summer. They have got to be one of my favourite flowers. So colourful and vibrant. And their petals are so architectural, with so many different forms. Last year I combined my dahlias with sunflowers. But I think it may be a bit of a struggle this year as I hope to have 12 different varieties of sunflowers to try and squeeze into that same bed. However, a few of these will be planted out in the front garden.
Hopefully this front garden make-over will be a success. I have neglected it for so long. Maybe I will also put some of the dahlias out there. I really have to sit down and plan this properly, AGAIN! I have lots of potting on to do later. I noticed last night another few tomatoes had germinated 'Demidov' , 'Costoluto' and 'Tumbling Tom' yellow. I will sow some more types later. I didn't want to sow them all together for fear that they would all germinate simultaneously. And I have lots more veggies besides them. It's time to use 'the noggin'.
Really looking forward to seeing the results of my melon-sowing this year. It has been a while since I grew them.
11 March 2010 19:39:28
Working late today so I havent even seen the garden. Steve is outside in the kitchen cooking dinner. I have just thrown off my boots. Feet are killing me, so I am going to soak them in foot spa after dinner. I was run off my feet with customers all day, plus the usual jobs. Then at 4 0'clock I was asked to work late as the Examiner is visiting the store first thing in the morning. This is the start of the Garden Centre of the Year Awards all over again. It only seems like last month and here we are again.
I consoled myself with Amateur Gardening this evening and the added bonus of a free packet of Verbascum seeds. Hee hee. Maybe my feet aren't that bad after all. My job is seriously getting in the way of my gardening obsession. And this is just the start of the busy season!
11 March 2010 08:13:28
I was a bit worried about my Goji Berry shrub a few weeks ago. Dave suggested that I should bring it indoors, although he assured me that they were pretty hardy. I duly did what I was told. Two weeks later.........nice new growth. First year with Goji Berry. Can't wait.
10 March 2010 21:37:29
I felt like just 'chillin' when I got home from work this evening. However I did go out to the garden to inspect things. Still no sign of daffs opening. I planted some Eremurus in the centre of my paved circle, and I think they are coming up. Something is anyway, and I am not familiar with its growth. So I am only presuming.
Last weekend I planted up some of the perennials that I got in Aldi and Lidl into pots, and left them in the greenhouse. Myrtle informed my that the Nerine Alba would be suited to a shady place. My greenhouse is in full sun. It has already started to poke its nose up through the compost. So I think it was wrong of me to keep them in there. Will shift them at the weekend to a more shady spot.
10 March 2010 17:07:22
Bishop Collection and FREE SEEDS
I am so delighted. I have just got a delivery from Heritage Bulbs. These items were outstanding from my order dated 1st August. I contacted them querying the absence of some of the order. Stupid me, of course it was the wrong time of year for them to send out my BISHOP COLLECTION. Today however, it came. I didnt take any of my Dahlias up before the frosts, just gave them a good hefty layer of bark mulch. So I am a bit dubious as to whether they will have survived the winter. But at least now I can start off my Bishops and can keep an eye on them as they start into growth. And they also sent me a free packet of Leek seeds.
10 March 2010 08:28:32
Discovered this on our shelves yesterday. Dave (Chilipepper) posted a journal on the benefits of using this as a feed. You will probably find it in most garden centres now. Some of the Key Benefits are;
Cures leaf yellowing
Greens hedges and shrubs
Use for winter bedding
Feeds vegetables and brassicas
It comes in 1.5kg box and costs €5.99. That seems a pretty reasonable price.
And for all of you out there who work so hard that the skin on their hands is all rough, you can put a tablespoon of Epsom Salts into a bowl of warm water and soak your hands for about 5 minutes. This works wonders. I tried and tested it.
09 March 2010 21:22:17
Hope Mine Looks Like This Sometime
After making up my strawberry basket this evening, I 'puddled' my new Silver Birch, Laburnum vossii and Morello Cherry tree. Most important to keep it well-watered in its first season.
I have been soft-soaping Steve to do a bit out in the garden this coming weekend. I think my gentle powers of persuasion have worked. I requested him to make me 2, maybe 3 or more, shelving units. I caught him trying to sneak into the garage after work with a load of timber. ha ha. The first one is to fit under my garage window (the full width) and will hopefully have about 3 good sized shelves. This is to take containers that will have veg growing in them. I hope to tidy away a lot of my containers and actually plant things into the borders instead. I might have more time for entertainment if I didnt have to spend so much time on watering.
09 March 2010 19:45:40
Strawberries, potting on, and sowing
Well they were all coming out of the woodwork today. Ha ha. It was great to see so many people venturing out to the garden centre finally, after this long, cruel winter of solitude.
A word of warning to those buying bedding for hanging baskets though. I could not believe that they came in today. I had to print off a huge sign highlighting the fact that these plants were FROST TENDER. You have no idea how many people make up their hanging baskets now and put them straight out. Last night I left my Cos Lettuce 'Winter Density' out in the greenhouse. Went out this morning and it had all keeled over. However, luckily that was all I had out there.
This evening I gave my Rhododendron 'Gold Flimmer' a top dressing of Brown Gold and fed it with Sequestered Iron. Hopefully its foliage will improve dramatically over the next couple of weeks. Then I made up a hanging basket with strawberries. I have one from last year but it needs one or two more plants. Tomorrow I will buy more and make up the last two baskets. I have gone for 'Elsanta' , same as last year. I found them to be a fairly decent cropper.
I potted on Melon 'Yellow Gold', Brompton Stock, Marigold 'Colossus' (unfortunately I didn't sow enough of these so I will go again tomorrow), Night-scented Stock, Sunflower 'Pastiche', and Paquito Mix.
New seeds sown this evening were Larkspur, Night Phlox, and Sweet Corn 'F1 Swift'. This corn is supposed to be an early cropper. Should be harvesting from August onwards.
Very busy in work all day, muscles are aching from the huge delivery I took in. This is the beginning of the madness. Oooooh Can't wait!
08 March 2010 23:10:43
Caught a mouse in the garage yesterday. Set the trap again. This evening when I got in from work I went to check it. Gone. No mouse, no trap. Went into living room to check on seedlings and discovered that my RAT-TAILED RADISHES had germinated. Sowed 8 seeds. 100% germination.
Now, was it a mouse that ran away with the trap, or a RAT. Funny that!
08 March 2010 22:27:47
Now I am going to get thrown out of this house. Seedlings are taking over. Had seed trays in front room on windowsill, mantelpiece, coffee table, shelf. Dining room on bookshelf, windowsill, propagator and NOW I HAVE JUST TAKEN OUT A PASTING TABLE. It's not fully open yet, only using first half so far. If I have to open it out fully, there will be no room for the dining table. Oooh I need a bigger house.
08 March 2010 20:21:23
Home from work late today. Got nothing done in the garden. Happy enough with last week anyway. Bought 12 strawberry plants today (Elsanta). I had been considering trying to get my hands on some alpine strawberries, but I think you would have to have about 15-20 plants to get a decent crop on them. So I will have to be content with these Elsanta. Steve will be making me some frames in the greenhouse where I can hang baskets and the strawberries will go into these. I will plant up about 4 baskets. And I wont tell Zoe, or I will never get to see any strawberries. She rarely goes into the greenhouse.
So far to date my fruit and veg seed germination includes the following;
Cucumber 'Crystal Apple'
'Tumbling Tom' (Yellow)
Cos 'Winter Density'
Chilipepper 'Scotch Bonnet'
Cabbage 'Red Mammoth'
Pomello (Looking quite poorly at this stage)
I killed my first sowing of tomatoes 'Alicante'
+ some flower seedlings. My Begonias are improving very slowly. Cosmos are doing really well, as are my sunflowers.
08 March 2010 20:00:22
4 seeds sown, 4 seeds germinate. Now what?
08 March 2010 18:58:40
Melons are of the Cucurbit family. I bought a pack of Melon seeds in Lanzarote before Christmas. Instructions are very incomplete. However I HAVE grown melons before and I didn't find them difficult at all. I sowed these seeds on 5th March.
If you have an unheated greenhouse and your friends avoid you during the summer in case you give them more free tomatoes, why not grow melons.
Once the seedling has 2 true leaves, it is usually time to plant them out in the greenhouse. But this year with the severe cold nights I would hold off just for a while. Watering correctly is vital with melons. You cannot allow the actual plant to become wet. Insert a 3inch pipe into the compost and water in this way. Or you could sink an empty plant pot into the grow bag. However, this year I am not using growbags for ANYTHING in the greenhouse. They take up too much space. Over-watering can cause the fruit to split so keep compost constantly moist, but not WET. Pollinate with a paintbrush. Feed once a week. As soon as the fruit grows to the size of a tennis ball, you need to use string nets to support them. I find the nets that oranges come in are ideal for this purpose.
08 March 2010 06:49:45
False Sense Of Security
Yesterday I began the process of 'hardening off' with some of my veg seedlings. I brought out some sunflowers, cucumbers, gherkins, cabbage and lettuce to the greenhouse for daylight hours. Very heavy frost overnight so I am very glad that I had the cop on to bring all in, except Cos 'Winter Density'. I am hoping the name of this lettuce suggests that it is pretty hardy. The frost is so heavy here, that it really looks like snow. -3 in the greenhouse.
It just goes to show how we are all (well, ME, anyway) taking this fine weather for granted at this stage. I have been so lucky with my week off and this weather. Hopefully, the frosty nights are numbered, and we can all sleep soundly at night instead of worrying about our little tender seedlings.
07 March 2010 21:40:20
Yesterday evening I went out to the garage to get some pots and discovered all my bird seed and fat balls had been chewed through. Obviously we have mice. Ugh!!!!! He ate through the plastic bag and had a right old feast. It serves me right for not having them in an airtight container. And then I looked up, and he was scurrying up the garage wall.
Now I know you will all think I am a bit mental. But I swear by a tiny smidgen of raw Denny's sausage in the trap. I have tried different brands lots of times. But Dennys is the only one to work for me. This morning I went out to check on the trap. Gotcha! One down. How many more!!!
07 March 2010 19:35:05
Steve and I headed to one of my favourite garden centres this afternoon for a pot for my new Camellia. While there, I bought a tree for my garden. I don't have many. I wanted one that would provide me with a bit of height without taking up too much space. So I opted for a Betula pendula (Silver Birch). I bought a half barrel for my new Camellia. I also got some Convallaria (Lily-of-the-valley), and 3 packs of bellis perennis for just a tenner.
Got home and planted up the camellia. Also I gave my newer pond a bit of a quickie make-over. I planted the Convallaria and bellis perennis around it, and Dicentra 'Alba' Yea, I seem to be on a 'white' streak. A fern that I got from Fran late last year also finally got planted. It looks a lot better now. I dug up and potted some foxgloves for later swaps, and in that area down in my bed at the back wall I planted the Silver Birch, Laburnum vossii, and my newly-acquired cherry tree 'Morello'.
Steve was clearing out the pond while I was doing all that. I have to say it was good having a bit of company outside. He had to stretch across 2 planks of wood to get to the grasses at the back. And while he attempted to cut back the grasses, oops, down went the secateurs. Ha ha. I won't tell you the expletives he used. My only worry is that as the secateurs was open, it could possibly puncture the liner. Time will tell. Unfortunately the pond is too deep for him to stretch down to the bottom. It wouldn't have been so bad if it happened during the summer, but the water was ICY!
While I was paying for all my stuff in Ratoath Garden Centre, I remarked to the assistant about the beautiful scent. I thought it was the Convallaria I was buying. Wrong! Right beside me there was a Sarcococca Hook. humilis. The scent was just to die for. Had to buy that at just €7.99. But also, they gave me 15% discount, which made it all the sweeter. Planted the Sarcococca too, when I got home. All in all we had a very productive day. Now it's back to work tomorrow for a rest!
07 March 2010 17:54:46
Had a mini get-together today with Liga and Mairin. Mairin was very kindly giving Liga an Acer, and I was very lucky to get a really good sized Camellia. And all to make more space for further planting. Mairins garden isn't too big, but she has utilized every inch of space so wisely. She has a small shed, and I have never seen something so small and compact stocked so well with anything a gardener could possibly want or need. It was an eye-opener. Took the Camellia home and promptly planted into a half barrel. It looks great in situ. Thanks a million, Mairin.
Then we dropped Liga home to her place. Boy, she has so much space. And she very kindly gave myself and Mairin Pleoine orchid bulbs (or is it pseudobulbs?). And I also got a beautiful little primrose which I have never seen before. Let's hope I can repay their kindness at a later stage.
07 March 2010 07:53:16
Rhododendron 'Goldflimmer' in trouble
This morning I hope to be taking a trip up to Mairins garden to collect a Camellia that is being evicted from its present home.
I have 3 relatively small Camellias already in pots here. But now that my front garden will be getting a major overhaul this summer, I am thinking of putting all my acid-loving shrubs there. I have 3 Camellias, 2 Magnolias (Stellata and Susan) and also a Pieris and a couple of Leucothes. Oh and I also have a Rhododendron 'Goldflimmer' which seems to be suffering a bit. But I reckon its not because of the bad weather, it just needs a bigger pot, or the ground. Its foliage is a bit sparse this year. Just hope I don't end up breaking the pot while removing it, as it is a good sized pot. And it is glazed, so I think that is what protected it from the snow and frost.
It's a beautiful morning here. +2 but not a sign of frost and the sun is just beaming down. Good day to get things done in the garden.
06 March 2010 21:58:30
At the beginning of October, I decided to do something a little bit different. I bought some aquarium plants in a pet store and planted them up into this tall lily vase with coloured gravel and glass beads. Very low maintenance. I have just changed the water in it as the dust had collected on top. Still looks great though. And it's brilliant for a dark boring corner.
06 March 2010 20:31:03
Just sowed this seed on 28th February. Did someone say that they take a long time to germinate? However, the seedlings are so tiny that it resembles moss. I think I will be waiting a long time before I can pot them on.
06 March 2010 18:14:07
Marvel of Peru
Unfortunately I didnt get much of an opportunity today to be outside in the garden. I wasn't free until about 4 o'clock. You could feel the nip in the air at that stage though, and inside, the lights had to go on. A bit darker than most evenings this week.
However, I managed to pot up some of the perennials that I bought in Lidl and Aldi. I potted up Phlox paniculata, Eryngium planum (Sea Holly), Mirabilis jalapa 'Marvel of Peru', and my 2 packs of Nerine 'Alba'. All in the greenhouse now and will be hardened off over the next week.
I wasn't too impressed with what came out of the pack of Mirabilis. The 3 stems just looked like someone's chopped-off fingers, covered in muck. Don't hold out too much hope for this. Absolutely no sign of growth on them. And a bit squidgy.
06 March 2010 16:25:44
Sowed some cucumber seeds on Thursday evening. This morning, they had peeped up. Not bad.
05 March 2010 23:38:58
I am quite frugal in all things, I try to re-cycle as much as possible. I also hate waste. Until this time of year.
Wastefulness is: Using as much toilet paper as possible, until you have enough inserts to sow plenty of sweet pea all at once.
05 March 2010 21:00:59
Even though he is a muppet, wasnt it great to see the team back in action? So who is the biggest Galanthopile on this site?
05 March 2010 19:55:31
This is my first time doing gherkins. I am quite chuffed with them. They were sown on 21st February. Today I potted them on. Gherkins can be grown outdoors or in a greenhouse. It's going to be a long wait before I can harvest them. But worth it.
05 March 2010 19:01:45
Lycoris 'aurea' and Gladioli 'Mary Housely'
Up early this morning, and just managed to pot on 9 sunflowers, and 6 gherkins. Pottered around until 10.00 am and decided to go back to bed for a while. hee hee. OMG I slept until 12.00. What a waste!
Couldn't get much done outside. I needed to stay clean after my shower as I had to go visiting. However, when I got back I decided to pot up my Lycoris into one of the new aluminium containers. In the biggest of the 3, I potted up lots of Gladioli 'Mary Housely' which are going to look stunning on the patio. Will put these containers in the greenhouse at night time, while this cold weather stays a while, and then outside during the day. I still have one container left of the 3. Tomorrow is another day! I can't find my plant labels. Uhhhh!!!!
Just finished sowing seeds of 'Yellow Gold' Melon, 'Heatwave' Cayenne pepper (Hot!), and some more tomatoes; F1 Sweet Million (Cherry type), 'Tumbling Tom' Red, and 'Gardener's Delight'.
Just ordering a chinese now and chilling for the evening.
05 March 2010 08:43:12
Not an Artificial Flower
I have just potted on a few of my germinated sunflowers that have been trying to escape from the propagator. I just did 9 for now. It is quite difficult to find space for them. I think most of my house plants will have to go up to my bedroom for now. However, when I was moving a cactus I discovered 2 little flowers on it. This cactus is quite new to me. I hadnt seen it for sale here before so I had to have it. Can't believe something that is neglected so much has rewarded me with little flowers. And before anybody asks, THEY ARE NOT PLASTIC FLOWERS STUCK ON!
I can see more flowers appearing, so I think it deserves to go back to its original spot. :o)
04 March 2010 21:43:43
Looking very interesting!
I have never grown ornamental gourds or squashes before. I suppose there is a first time for everything. Today while in Lidl ( I think, or was it Aldi?) I bought 2 packs of seeds, one of ornamental gourds and another of squashes. With the price that they were offering them for, who could resist? The ones I want to talk about right now are Patisson 'Sunburst'.
These are a hybrid patty pan/scallop type of summer squash. They are a compact plant that bear 3inch round fruits that are scalloped, white-fleshed, glossy, bright yellow with a green button on the blossom end. They are best picked at 2-3inches. Days to maturity 50-55. Gotta be worth a try. I probably should have been growing these when my girls were small. But sure, better late than never. I have sown just 3 seeds, and they are now in my propagator.
04 March 2010 19:11:03
'Mammoth Red' Cabbage
Dave supplied me with some 'Mammoth Red' Cabbage seeds. These are an heirloom variety and grow to about 8" in diameter and can weigh anything up to 7 lbs.
I sowed some on 6th February and they did absolutely nothing. However, Chilipepper was advising me on the benefits of using seed compost instead of multipurpose compost. I didn't really believe it would make a difference. However, I bought some, and sowed more seeds of same last Sunday 28th February. I sowed just one seed into four pots and the compost seemed to be moist enough so I didn't even water them in. I just popped them into my new propagator. Dave, I am totally converted. I now have 4 'Mammoth Red' seedlings. Wahoo! It pays to listen to sound advice.
04 March 2010 18:47:42
Four O'Clock Flower
Just a little note on Mirabilis jalapa. Also known as Marvel of Peru or Four O'Clock Flower.
The curious aspect of this plant is that flowers of different colours can be found on the one plant. The flowers usually open from late afternoon onwards (Hence it being known as Four O'Clock Flower), and then it produces a strong sweet-smelling fragrance. It is a perennial.
04 March 2010 17:54:09
Myself and Gretta met up for lunch, and a spot of shopping. We haven't seen much of each other since she moved to Meath. We both ended up in Lidl and Aldi to check out all the bargains. The tent greenhouse in Lidl I decided against. I really don't have a need for it, as I already have a coldframe.
However, I got what I have been longing for (Thanks for alerting me, Krista) Nerine 'Alba', (I managed to get the last 3 packs). I also bought Lycoris 'Aurea', Convallaria, Mirabilis jalapa 'Marvel of Peru', and some gourd mixtures in seed form. Also a Morello Cherry (Bare-rooted) for just €4.49. Couldn't believe that bargain.
Oh and I also got those Aluminium Containers in Aldi (set of 3 for €24.99) I thought they would have sold out as they were last weeks offer I think, and a garden trug/bucket.
04 March 2010 06:39:10
I sowed some seeds of Rodochiton on 29th January. So far, nothing. How long do they take for germination? Fran, did you buy yours as a plant, or did you sow the seed yourself?
04 March 2010 06:07:02
There are seedlings popping up all over the place now. Space is getting more limited. Is it too early to start shifting some of them out to the greenhouse at this stage? Temperatures got down to -2 last night. I will be potting up my sunflowers today and need the kitchen windowsill for them. I have Cosmos seedlings, and Lettuce ready to go out.
03 March 2010 20:46:46
Gazania 'Sunshine Mixed'
While I was out briefly today, I picked up a copy of Amateur Gardening. Weekly publication priced at only €3.01. I always find very useful tips in this magazine. And of course another reason why I got it was that there was a free packet of Gazania seeds. Next to Sunflowers, Gazanias are another favourite of mine.
It also says that you should put your indoor forced bulbs such as Hyacinths out in the garden now into a fairly sheltered spot to allow the foliage to finish dying down.
Just look at the colour and form of these Gazanias. Will sow them tomorrow, with the four varieties of sunflowers that Gismo sent me yesterday, bringing my sunflower collection to 12 varieties. Hee hee. Oh Yea!
03 March 2010 18:39:35
Cucumber 'Crystal Apple'
Cucumis sativus 'Crystal Lemon'. Each fruit is the size of a small apple, hence its common name of the 'Apple Cucumber' - but as its fruit is a pale yellow in colour when ready to eat it is actually called 'Crystal Lemon'.
Reputed to be more digestible than many other cucumbers, this has a mild sweet flavour and is very juicy. Excellent for pickling also. As this is what is known as a 'Ridge Type' it is suitable for outdoor growing, frame growing, or growing in a polytunnel or greenhouse.
I just sowed Red-Leaved Basil (as a companion plant for my 'Minibell' cherry tomatoes), and thanks to Dave's generosity I also sowed Hamburg Parsley and Rat-Tailed Radishes.
03 March 2010 16:23:21
Room To Let!
When I was relieved of my grandparental duties today I got straight out into the greenhouse. How do I manage to accumulate so much crap into such a small space! Now all is done and dusted. Hopefully that will create much needed space for my seedlings. I have decided that I will be planting everything into pots. That way, I can squeeze more in without their roots being too congested in growbags. I also pruned back my vine by quite a bit. My strawberries got a bit of a going over too. Plenty of new growth on them, but the runners aren't so good. What the heck though. Plenty of time to root some more. I also had to cut back some ivy that was growing through the gaps in the panes of glass. I have been saying for years that I will get rid of this ivy but the gap between the greenhouse and the wall is quite small. It would be a really tight squeeze for me to get in there to cut it back.
I potted on some Cos lettuce 'Winter Density' and also sowed some Cucumber 'Crystal Apple'. My sunflowers are like ANIMALS today, and just bursting to get planted into something bigger. :)
03 March 2010 15:56:58
Just for Gismo!
I am only doing this as a special request for Gismo. I don't want to bore anyone with photos of my Grandson. He is gorgeous, though. Isnt he? ha ha
03 March 2010 09:07:17
I have a tray of Mimulus seedlings here. They are very fiddly and delicate looking. Should I try to pot them on NOW, or wait until they grow to a more manageable size before attempting this?
03 March 2010 08:17:17
Grand mild night. It has been a long time since we had a frost-free night. 6 degrees at 7.00 am.
Usually I only use the left hand side of the greenhouse for growing things, like toms, cucumbers etc as there is shelving (2 old 2tier greenhouses minus the plastic covers) on the right side. It's a bit of a waste of space. But today I will have to rectify that. All the shelving will have to come out to accommodate the extra stuff I will be growing this year. I might as well use the space wisely. Now to find a place for the shelving....... oh more problems. I suppose I can dismantle them and put them in the garage until needed.
However, this morning I will be babysitting for a couple of hours so it will give me more time to think about this. Dangerous!
02 March 2010 21:34:39
Tomato and Sweetpea
Bought Gardeners World magazine today only because they were giving away free seeds (Sweet Pea 'Tall Mixed' and tomatoes 'Minibell'), I have a lot more varieties of tomatoes on the go this year. I usually buy my plants in a garden centre. But this year all are coming from seeds sown. I confess I killed my 'Alicante' that were sown before Christmas. Found them dried out behind the curtain last week. So if I buy any from a garden centre this year, it will only be 'Alicante'.
The tomato seeds 'Minibell' free with Gardeners World, are a cherry tomato. They are not exactly trailing, but they would be ideal as a centre piece in a basket. I could grow a pizza topping by combining tomatoes with basil and oregano. Basil is believed to improve the flavour of tomatoes when planted together and also repels thrips, while oregano deters a range of pests including the dreaded aphids.
02 March 2010 21:00:50
I sowed 8 different varieties of sunflowers on Saturday. Today I noticed that 5 of them have already germinated. 3 days. The ones that have germinated are 'Pastiche', 'Tall Yellow', 'Russian Giant', 'Evening Sun' and another one whose name evades me right now.
Also my Hollyhock 'Nigra', Brompton Stock and Night-scented Stock. So delighted with my new propagator. Now comes the challenging bit...... finding space.
02 March 2010 17:43:59
First cut since beginning of October
When we got back from Brunch, I tackled the grass. It wasnt actually that long, just a bit untidy looking. The mower didnt seem to be cutting it too well. Mind you, it is so wet and soggy in places. There is a worn track down to upper pond where it is just mud. But now that it is nice and short, the sun will have a better chance of drying it up. Great sun these days.
My Myosotidium hortensia (Chatham Island Forget-Me-Not) is coming to life. I had been afraid that its new growth would be sheered off by slugs and snails but so far, no sign of the dreaded molluscs. Also I noticed a couple of crocuses in my grass. I swear to God I didnt plant any there last week. The ones I planted were all up close to the house. And I spotted my Aquilegia 'Winky Blue' coming to life. I spent a bit of time tidying up and re-arranging pots. Was going to keep the frost damaged pots for crocks. But in all honesty, that is how I end up with a load of crap in my garden. I am a hoarder. Out it went. Don't need crocks. Especially when I am one myself. lol.
All in all, happy with the bits that I accomplished today. Getting cold again now. But it looks like another sunny day tomorrow.
02 March 2010 17:03:57
Zoe, David and myself went off for brunch this morning. While we were out I nipped into Aldi and bought some boxed perennials for €1.29 and €1.49. I got Phlox Paniculata, Hosta, Hemerocallis and Eryngium planum. I also got a bag of 40 Gladioli. That is sure to boost the garden with much longed for colour. I think that's what's wrong with all of us here right now. The winter has been so long and cold, and so colourless, that we are trying to boost our colour intake to make up for the long long winter. I think it is justified.
I could really get used to this 'staying at home' .
01 March 2010 22:14:25
Gardening in a Small Space
My greenhouse is only 6x8. It fits 2 growbags next to each other on one side. So in effect, that means 6 tomato plants. The other side of the greenhouse is taken up with smaller decorative plants and shelving. However, this year, instead of growing the one type of tomato, I will be growing maybe 6 or more. But I feel that the usual growbags for sale are too flat. Also I think that if I were to plant my toms into tallish pots, they might do better. I think I read somewhere that tomatoes appreciate a good deep root run. And by planting in this way I think there will be more space to accommodate these different varieties. In the greenhouse, there will have to be room for 4 peach trees, melons, grapes, gherkins, sweet peppers and strawberries.
The chilipeppers will be grown in the small porch. Four different chilipeppers, Scotch Bonnet, Lemon Drop, Hungarian Hot Wax and Hamik.
01 March 2010 20:20:23
Especially for Steve.
Sowed these just 7 days ago.
Steve doesn't often request anything for me to grow specifically for him. However, this year he did. And thanks to Dave for locating and sending these for me to grow.
01 March 2010 19:08:37
Clean V Dirty!
My sister went on back to Tralee on an earlier train today, so that gave me a better chance to get out and do a bit. Firstly, I dug over my small veggie bed and gave it a good weeding. I love the look of freshly-turned soil. And my friendly robin was all over the place snatching bit fat juicy worms.
I got into the greenhouse for a tidy up. I was going to bring all the plants outside while I did the windows. But why put extra work onto myself. There is plenty of room inside since I threw out lots due to the bad weather. OMG the dirt of those windows was unbelievable. I have the greenhouse nearly 10yrs and this was the first time I actually cleaned the windows. Usually I just hosed them down and basically gave them 'a lick and a promise'. The difference was amazing. Yea I know, I should have done them before. But I didnt! I will do it regularly now though. To think that I have been depriving all my babies of essential light all these years.
At 5.00 the temperature was still at 13 degrees, I ended up in my T-shirt in the greenhouse. But by about 5.30 it had dropped to about 7. When I had finished outside, I potted on some Mixed Lettuce, Cosmos seedlings, and also started again with my Mammoth Red Cabbage. This time I used Seed and Cutting Compost instead of Multipurpose, so fingers crossed. Thankfully I am feeling a little bit better this evening. But I think I will still take a couple of hot whiskeys, just to be sure! :)
01 March 2010 10:23:34
Aldi Next Week
Check out photo album '7th March Aldi'. Lots of bargains. All of these offers are for Sunday 7th March.
Now I'm off to have a slap-up fry. What do they say, 'Starve a fever, Feed a cold'.
01 March 2010 07:52:58
Bore Fabily Cobbitbents
Feeling worse today. However, I promised to take my sister out for breakfast. She goes home on the 5.30 train. Dont get to see her too often.
This morning I am heading over to work to check on my seedlings, (I sowed runner beans and peas into big containers, and Lettuce and Peppers for the GIY thingy in the summer) and to buy some seed and cutting compost to try my Mammoth Red once again. Hopefully they will germinate. I have never bothered with this compost before. First time for everything. After Penny heads off I hope to get stuck in as buch as possible (with the help of one or two bore hot whiskeys). Ah ah atchooooo!!!! Good job I have the week off! It looks like it is going to be a lovely bright and dry day. Better make the most of it. Dinner is all prepared.