Thursday, 12 April 2012

Bursting buds!

I love this time of year - you go away for a week and come back to find your garden is 50% fuller than when you left. Boinging is occurring. The recent damp weather has done everything the power of good AND the water butts are all full again.

Since I went away, more tulips have come into bud, the pear tree has started to blossom (that was nearly 'plossom' - I quite like that typo), the guelder roses and actual roses are busting with new leaves and the clematis on the garage is hanging with fat nuggets waiting to open.  More fool the ones that do because I was reading a flower arranging book the other day which said that clematis make surprisingly good cut flowers.  Any flowers that were open this morning have been snipped and put into my latest bunch.

The greenhouse has had yet another reshuffle as more things that have germinated in indoor warmth are booted out to toughen up.  I just hope this -4 degrees which I heard rumoured in a recent weather forecast for the Midlands just doesn't materialise.  That's the only problem with early spring seed-sowing enthusiasm and an unheated greenhouse.  Still, the seedlings and plantlets in there at present are looking happy enough, if growing a little more slowly in the current shifting temperatures.

I'm getting very impatient with my most recent batch of dahlia tubers though - they are showing no eagerness to sprout nearly three weeks after being introduced to compost...  I'm going to start shouting at them soon to see if that works!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Rain at last

Just when my water butts were starting to run dry - it's rained properly today, at last.  Heard Charlie Dimmock talking on the radio yesterday and she made a good point about gardeners having to rethink their planting times in future years because of the dry springs we now seem to get regularly.  Must try to get myself organised to do more autumn sowings of hardy annuals this year - it does seem to make more sense as young plants can develop better root systems during wetter, cooler periods than in the warm dry springs we currently experience. (Imminent snow and sleet forecasts excepted!)

What with my lack of time and the lack of rain last spring, I barely got any annuals established - in terms of either flowers or veg.  Seem to recall a good beetroot crop from a later planting, but lots of other things struggled due to the lack of water in March/April last year.

Have now got more water collection things in place at the allotment, so that should make watering less of a chore this season.  Just have to get some guttering put on the shed to make it more efficient too.

Glad to see that my relaid patio also seems to drain away to the flower beds reasonably effectively and the lettuce seeds I've sprinkled about are also germinating during this cold snap, so there are some upsides to the plunging temperatures after all - even if my tomato seedlings in the greenhouse don't agree.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Rhubarb season arrives

What a difference a few pairs of extra hands makes!  On an overdue trip to the allotment yesterday, had 11 year old and husband constructing wooden frames to build a rudimentary fruit cage for the cherry tree, and my youngest picking rhubarb - thus leaving me free to plant potatoes, broad beans and various roots.  If it had been me single handed, I would only have got one of these many jobs done.

Mind you, the plot did end up festooned with shredded rhubarb as children discovered that uprooted sticks were good for 'sword fights', and that the metal edge of the compost enclosure was excellent for decapitating rhubarb sticks with one swift blow...

At least it kept them happy whilst I got some jobs done, and rhubarb is not exactly in short supply... now that it's started, we'll be cropping it for the next three months.  The kids are very excited about new supplies of rhubarb and ginger flapjack.  You can tell they haven't had it for a while.  (Ask them again in May and they may have changed their tune). Crumble, anyone?