Monday, 26 March 2012

Structure time

Went out with the intention of sowing lots of veggies at the allotment this weekend but never got out of my own back garden.  Instead got sidetracked into making sweet pea wigwams and laying foundations for a brick wall.  Just a little wide of my original plan...

It started out with a quick perusal of the cold frame.  Decided that some of the early sown sweet peas were starting to look a bit less green than I'd like - probably running out of nutrients stuffed into their soggy loo roll tubes.  This spurred me to take a gamble on this warm and sunny weather and get them into a more permanent and nourishing spots... which in turn led me to making a wigwam (or leaning tower of hazel sticks).

This wigwam is something I've always had good intentions of doing, but never quite got round to.  As I have a garage loaded with hoops made out of the clematis stems, I decided to incorporate them into my design.  Am quite pleased with it - much better than last year's last emergency version made out of thick tree boughs (and hopefully it will be more effective too!).  

I've also leaned some of the very tall, twiggy sambucus nigra prunings up against the evil thorny boughs of the rambling rose (Pleine de Grace - or "pleine de **&^%)* thorns" as I always curse it loudly each time I have to interact with it).  Have planted a few sweet peas at the feet of these too - a decorative barrier to stop me having to stoop anywhere near the clothes ripping claws which festoon the rose branches.

Gardening with a budding junior builder is always a good catalyst to make me do the hard landscaping jobs I'd naturally put off forever. So, having emptied the water butt next to the shed, I was able to remove the sagging stand made out of an old pallet, and begin the work to build a brick built platform topped with slabs to stand it on.  Out with the reference books, and in with the concrete into my self-built formwork (just as well my dad always salvages old timber from skips - knew it might come in handy one day).  Feeling very pleased with myself for expanding my skills -  until I discover unforeseen cockups in its construction.   I'll keep you posted as the wall gets erected!

Did manage to set out some lettuce seeds, and a bit of red Orach (my computer keeps changing this to 'roach' - annoyingly) which I hope will give me height, decorative seed heads for flower arrangements, interesting salad leaves and some lovely pinky purple colour in the borders.

More good news: the seed tray of verbena bonariensis which I'd despaired of (just one leggy seedling emerging after three weeks of taking up half my heated propagator) is starting to sprout prolifically in the cold greenhouse.  Not sure if the increased light levels have triggered it, or the cold nights, but either way I'm chuffed to be on the way to re-stocking my garden with one of my favourite plants.  Used to have forests of it ('The Scratchy Plant' as my children called it following various grazings from its sandpapery stems), but it has gradually dwindled over a few cold winters and is now down to about 4 self-sown seedlings.

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