Steam turbine


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Growing strong


They’re all coming up now! I’ve potted up all of the cosmos and two lupins and 15 tomatoes; the Posh toms, chilies, and aubergines are also making an appearance. More pots and compost needed! More tomorrow…


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Reaping what you sow

Or sowing what we sow. All this week’s work paid off when I caught the last of the day’s sunshine while potting seeds in the greenhouse. The windows were rattling in the wind but it was lovely and cosy. The potting table made the job a lot quicker, and more comfortable for me.

For germination indoors (window sills clear), we’ve now got:


Aubergine ophelia x 6

Chilli pepper x 12

Tomatoes – Bajaja x 12

Tomatoes – Principe borghese x 6


Cosmos Purity – 1 1/2 trays

Delphinium – 1 tray

Poppy – 1 tray (in the greenhouse)

Nicotinia – 1 tray

Ben got to work on the raised beds, planting: Beetroot, broad beans, spinach. He also went to the tip (again), repotted the hungry jasmine by the front door, chopped more wood, repainted the wheelbarrow and much more.

I potted up the Cape Daisies we got at Crews Hill, moved the pansies into one window box, spread spent compost under the trees/shrubs, and washed lots of pots – though many more to come.

It is now 7.18pm and its still light. I’m looking forward to this year in the garden.




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So glad we made it

Yes, yes, yes … the bed is planted! All the plants are in, fed and watered and it feels great. As promised, here’s the list of what went in and will hopefully grow up. They came from Wisley, Crocus, Sunshine Garden Centre, and the Garden Club in Crews Hill; the source is shown in brackets because I think it will be interesting to keep track of what does best

The Asters

Aster novae-angliae ‘Violetta’ (New England Aster) – which has yummy deep purple flowers, or will have: an inch of it is showing above ground at the moment (Crocus)

Aster ‘Little Carlow’ (cordifolius hybrid) – softer, paler coloured flowers and a bit smaller than the Violetta. Also currently showing an inch.

Aster divaricatus (white wood aster) – white, as the name suggests. This one is for the shade under the bay tree. (Crocus)

The Heucheras

Heuchera ‘Green Spice’ (coral bells) – this is a pale green leaf with deep purple-green veins x 3 (Crocus)

Heuchera hybrida ‘Crimson Curls’ – deep red leaves x 3 (Sunshine)

The others

Acanthus spinosus – architectural plant with deep purple and white flowers (Crocus)

Aconitum ‘Sparks Variety’ – purple flowered Monks’ Hood x 3 (Crocus)

Cornus – I’ve mentioned the variety before x 3 (Wisley)

Dicentra spectabilis  ‘Alba’ – bleeding hearts – another white one, with pale green foliage x 3 (Garden Club)

Digitalis – Giant Spotted Foxglove x 3 – white and deep red/purple spotted flowers (Sunshine)

Dryopteris erythisora – a hardy fern (Garden Club)

Euphorbia purpurea – beautiful deep red/purple foilage with lime flowers to come! x 3 (Sunshine)

Hutchinsia alpina – also known as Chamois Cress, which is great – very low edging plant with white flowers, starting to come out now x 12 (Garden Club)

Hellebores nigres – white and flowering now x 5 (Garden Club)

Lysimachia ephermerum – should be tall with white flowers above grey-green spikes x 3 (Garden Club)

Iris ‘Cherry Garden’ – deep magenta flowers (Garden Club)

Nepeta racemosa ‘Walkers Low’ – catmint ground cover, with lavender flowers x 2 (Garden Club) I think these are in the wrong place..

Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’ – lungwort – bright blue/violet flowers x 3 (Crocus)

Phew, that’s 55 plants… going to have that bath now 🙂

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Potting cordylines in the snow

It was only a flurry, followed by a bit of sunshine, but it did snow when I was potting the cordyline ‘red stars’ in the pots on the lower patio this afternoon. Statement plants and they say ‘I’m looking gooood’. It snowed a bit when Ben was chopping up the logs, with the new axe, for the new wood store, which is now sitting next to the shed. But I was  smiling because it all started to come together out there. After more shopping (peat free compost, a pot and seeds from Sunshine Garden Centre, and the axe, more seeds, bark chipping and a potting bench from Homebase) we could put things in place.

I set out all the new plants in the patio bed – which Ben had dug over. There are more than 50 of them and I haven’t totted up the full cost yet, though I think it is getting near £300 (Wisley + Sunshine + Crocus + Garden Club).

Cost of filling the bed;

  • Wisley (the Cornus) was about £35
  • Sunshine in Feb was about £65
  • Crocus was £129
  • Garden Club was about £90
  • Sunshine (again – the compost for the Cordylines) was £8

Equals about £330. Yikes! That is a weekend break – add in the cost of the log store (£80?) and we’ve got a week in a cottage paid for. But this is an investment – an experiment, a risk! And it looks impressive already and that’s with all the biggest plants being the smallest – the monks head and anemones and asters are barely breaking out of their pots and all should reach more than 1m. It will be interesting to see them race past the smaller ones – I hope!

I will create the full list with pics when we actually plant them tomorrow – its supposed to be the ‘warmest’ day of the bank holiday weekend. 🙂

I also started washing the flowerpots for reuse – there’s a few to get through but there is something pleasing being sat in waterproof trousers, wearing rubber gloves, getting last year’s mud off what will be this year’s pots. I was using hot water from the tap: I’m not a complete masochist.

Just looked back at my blog this time last year – it was the first time I’d needed sunscreen on in the garden….

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Sunshine at Crews Hill

I had to take my hat off at Crews Hill yesterday, and my gloves and scarf; it was sunny and warm (relatively and briefly). And it was much busier than the last time we went, with lots of couples packing their trollies with bedding plants then heading for the cafe to cash in their hot cross bun vouchers.

I’ll do a full list of our purchases when I plant them, with pics, but its mainly perennials for the patio bed – hellebores, dicentra, an alpine for the border – with white being the common theme (Crews Hill seems to stock a lot of albas). Should we go for a Vita Sackville West Sissinghurst look?

Also got a bargain pot and some pot feet (frost protection) and a drug.

Then finally got down to it; Ben fixed the spring into the greenhouse window and then filled up the patio bed ready for planting. I did some tidying up in the front garden – repotted two of the fuchsias. Not sure how well two of them are… no signs of life yet while the other one has buds coming.

A bit more sunshine today, so better get out there – need to buy some potting compost from Sunshine to plant out the white and purple marigolds. And maybe we can part out the patio bed!

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Not as many layers as Tuesday…

It is sunny! The sky is blue! It is still about 4 degrees out there but we need to consider the positives.
A quick catch up: we have built the greenhouse and it looks splendid (though Ben still has to attach a spring that has been chilling in the fridge to create the correct level of tension), we have marvelled at the industrial expanse of the Garden Club in Crews Hill, we have bought £130 of plants from Crocus (I will attach the list later) and moved some of the new soil we’ve got to plant them in. And its been cold, really cold; spring has been kept at bay by a persistent Easterly wind which has kept the temperature below freezing at night.
We have ‘manned up’ and I’m trying hard to imagine what it will look like when everything has grown and is flowering. Asters, Monks’ Hoods, Anemones, Lungwort (already out, bless them).
Better get out there before the elusive sun disappears.


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Purple sage, purple sage

We didn’t buy any purple sage in the end – though it looked lovely and did provide some song-based humour (think Purple Rain and Purple Haze both work). But we did buy quite a few other plants; the Sunshine Garden centre 20% offer for ‘friends’ was too good to miss, especially as all of our beds are empty.

So on a very cold Feb day, which saw flurries of light snow, we bought:

3 x rosemary – to replace the scrappy lavender by the front door (£4.99 each)

3 x giant spotted foxglove, to go under the bay tree in the new bed (£3.99 each)

3 x Heucherra hybrida Crimson Curis (£3.99)

3 x Euphorbia purpuera x 3 (£8.99) – these are lovely

2 x Cordyline Red Star (£4.99) – for the new pots

That stung a little, though we saved £14 thanks to the offer. What stung more was putting them in the back garden, to shelter for a week before we can plant them. They seemed to shrink, filling about a 20th of the new bed.

I am going to do a seed audit, to see what colour, or just greenery would be fine, that we can grow in the other beds while we pay to fill the new one! I want to get going with the chillis and toms too, and we need to get the greenhouse, and, and… as Ben says, it’ll take as long as it takesImage

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Promising year ahead out there

New patios, new base for a greenhouse and lots of empty beds to fill – bring on the longer days!

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Little piles of rubbish

Lots of chillis growing now, and some baby tomatoes. I can begin to tell from which set of seeds they grew – plum cordon or cherry bushy.


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