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Archive for February, 2011

Well, we have made a good start on our gardening, the weather was lovely yesterday, do I spy the coming of Spring… I do hope so….

First up we checked the compost, which doesnt seem to be quite ready yet, boooo. Oh well, maybe next year…!

Next up, we planted the three peony bulbs, two in the front bed and one in the rockery. We dug a nice deep hole and popped the bulb in, with the fresh new shoots facing upward, and gave them a good water. I cant wait to see how these grow.We also raked up all of the leaves and twigs that had blown onto the vegetable patches. James raked and dug his vegetable patch ready for when the seed potatoes go in.

I meanwhile potted up seeds for: aubergines, two varieties of tomato (super marmande – big beefsteak tomatoes, and rio grande – plum tomatoes), giant sunflowers, romano peppers, sweet basil and lettuce (lollo rosso – red leaved variety). These will now stay in the conservatory and be watered each day until they sprout into little plants big enough to put into the ground. The sunflowers will be grown against the back of the garage to try to disguise it a little.

We also had a little walk around the garden and already we have snowdrops and crocuses sprouting through. The Helibores are budding and we have tulip and hyacinth bulbs coming through. The hollyhock and lupins that I planted last year seem to be doing well and shortly we will need to think about creating a new hanging basket for the front of the house. I might have a go at making one myself.

So all in all, a successful day, the next step will be chitting the seed potatoes ready to go into the vegetable patch. I will do a step by step guide to this when we start to do it.

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Well yesterday was definitely a day of two halves. We had a very successful day in the garden (more on that later) but it didnt start off too well.

Our house is not on mains drainage. which basically means we have a septic tank on our property that has a very infuriating habit of blocking. I can always tell when it has become blocked because I will put the washing machine on and halfway through a cycle, the drain for the washing machine will overflow. So we were getting our wellies on ready to go into the garden yesterday morning when lo and behold, we noticed that the drain was overflowing. ARGH!

So after a trip to B&Q to buy some new drainage rods and forty five minutes of rodding, pouring water into the tank and flushing the toilet repeatedly, we managed to clear it. Brilliant! I thought, now we can get on with the garden work.

So there we were, working away when from the field across the road from our house we could hear a lamb bleating. Nothing unusual there, except it continued for over an hour and steadily became more urgent. So I walked over and peered through the fence. There was a little lamb stuck between the fence and the stream. We dont know who  owns these sheep so I trudged round to see if I could get into the field to try to help it, turns out I couldnt.

Then just to top the day off nicely, on my way back I happened to glance down at the grass and found two young foxes lying on the ground having been shot with half of their insides hanging out.

Sometimes, I really hate living in the countryside.

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Peonies

I have been eyeing up some peony bulbs in my local Morrisons store for about a week now and today I bought some. I am really excited about planting these as I think peonies are sooooo beautiful! They remind me of our lovely holiday in Italy last year.

I got a bulb each of the following varieties:

Shirley Temple:

Sarah Bernhardt:

Karl Rosenfeld:

Sorry for the dinky pics!! A pack of three of these bulbs is only £2 from Morrisons, and each bulb grows into a peony bush which can grow to about 80cm tall, with beautiful tissue-y blooms! These need to be planted during February and can be planted in any soil or position, which excites me. I think I might put one in the back bed with the tulips, and one in the front bed (my Monet style flower bed!) I cant wait for James to get home so that we can plant them!! I just hope that the weather is okay.

Also – Black Swan is AMAZING, very dark and disturbing in parts, but also beautifully filmed. Two thumbs up, Natalie Portman for the Oscar!

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This week James is on a course and I have to admit I am getting a bit bored at home without him ( I am off out for dinner with my friend Holly tonight though, to see ‘Black Swan’ – I hope it is as good as the reviews say). However, we have lots to look forward to as this weekend we have decided to start work on the garden!

My sister gave a lovely present this weekend of some poppy seeds from the V&A museum in London, which are an orange, red and yellow variety, so I am going to sow these in the front and side beds mixed in with my red field poppies.

In my head, I want that front bed to look like a portrait by Monet, all bright smudgy colours! I am basically aiming to create this look, but with flowers rather than pre-bought plants and shrubs:

I also want to potentially start looking at potting up some vegetable seeds. I am going to read up a little more on this though as I dont want to start them off too early and then lose them if the conservatory becomes too cold. The weather ‘looks’ as though it is heading towards spring, but you just never know, plus there was a frost on my car this morning.

James will probably start digging in some of our homemade compost into the vegetable patches, in preparation.  We also need to tidy up the shed and prune the weeping willow which has grown into such a monster that we may need to call a Tree-surgeon in!

I also spotted some lovely rose shrubs and some bulbs on offer in Morrisons this week which I may look at purchasing. I cant wait!

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