Garden Journal 18.4.20

Tulips and poppy flowers
Hot colours from home tulips and work poppies…

Easter weekend seems like such a long time ago, as there’s been so much activity in my gardens. I remember finishing at Broadwell on Thursday prior to Easter and thinking how much I needed to rest up over the four day break. Well, I ended up doing so much from Friday to Sunday that my body cried “enough is enough” by Monday lunchtime, and I was forced to sit back and rest… but there was so much to do!

At home it’s all-a-growing, with seedlings shooting from a range of containers: standard seed trays and modules plus recycled tins, toilet rolls, paper pots and milk cartons – the recycled options not employed because I’m short of trays, just because I wanted to try some more ‘fun’ sowing with my children. It has certainly worked with the youngest, although as usual, I’m left to make sure the seedlings are looked after!

Tulip ballerina
Tulip ‘Ballerina’ in a container at home, defiantly shedding the rain..

All that is, except for two things. The first is a small biodegradable pot from the M&S Little Growers range, which my youngest lad sowed with the supplied beetroot seeds. He holds this pot dear, and it takes pride of place on the living room windowsill where he can check it daily. I was greeted by a very proud boy on Thursday holding aloft his tiny sprouted seedlings for my approval. Can’t wait to see if he eats it in due course, but sometimes, I guess the journey is more rewarding than the destination…

There are two seedlings there, honest!

The second is three pots with new strawberry plants that were bought in modules before the big ‘C-V’ kicked in. Well, I know it would be better not to let them fruit this year but again, my youngest is so keen to have home grown strawberries on his breakfast that we’re just going to let them grow and fruit. I’m literally moving the pots around the garden to make the most of the available light – willing them to grow faster!! “Grow you little b&%£@rs”, as an old head gardener I once knew used to say!

Welsh poppy, or Meconopsis cambrica
Welsh poppy, or Meconopsis cambrica growing happily in gravel…

At work, it’s been a short but very full-on four day week. Quite a range of tasks as is the way but a key one, sieving soil, gripped much of the week. Essentially, our mix of new and existing soil was found to be quite stony, and a few weedy roots also made it into the beds, it therefore became necessary to sieve the soil so as to give them the best start in life.

It was a steady old task, not helped by being force-fed radio one on a nearby radio but, by the end of the week I have five beds completed and ready for action. This early ground work, as hard as it is, is important for the ongoing use of the beds, and as such is a task well done – just wait until you see the rest of the garden!

Sieving for treasure, sort of…

Outside of those kitchen garden walls there continues to be flowers almost everywhere I look. Lawns are studded with speedwell, daisies, self-heal, and a stretch of woodland garden is carpeted with wild garlic, celandine and dancing wind flowers. Borders of tulips are coming very strong now too with each variety harmonising yet very different to its neighbour, and through the small orchard espalier pears have been flowering beautifully, whilst apple blossom is readying in the wings for their performance.

What an absolute treat to be amongst this beauty on a daily basis…

Lime tree reflection at Broadwell Manor
I couldn’t resist capturing this mirror-pool reflection of a stunning lime tree in the typically English landscape garden setting of Broadwell Manor.

In summary, my horticultural hit list for Broadwell and home this week has been: Sunday – planting 1st early potatoes (in pots). Weeding and planting container specimens into borders, including a baby Acer palmatum and seed grown guelder-rose . Monday – Rest day! Tuesday – Watering (!) and feeding containers. First day of soil sifting. Wednesday – Soil sifting. Thursday – Laurel hedge and yew topiary pruning. Weeding. Labelling tulips. Friday – Completed labelling. Mowing. Watering. Planted snakes head fritillaries. Shredded cardboard for compost. Sieved another cheeky raised bed before the rain came!

For now, I shall have to leave my journal there for this week… I hope you’re enjoying my words and pictures… Regards, Gary

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