Archive for the ‘Flowers’ Category

This morning James and I took ourselves off to Morrisons bright and early to have a look at their bulb selection.

This year I have decided that rather than buy loads of plants to go in the pots on our patio, we will just buy lots of different types of bulbs instead, as if you bring the pots inside during the winter they can bloom again each summer.

We bought the following selection of bulbs:

Which came to about £15 in total as Morrisons were doing a 2 for £3 offer. We bought dahlias, gladioli, lupins and lots of lillies!

When we got home we set about potting up the bulbs:

The best way to pot bulbs up, I find, is to do the following:

1) Line the bottom of your pot with pebbles and stones, so that the bottom of the pot cannot be seen at all (this helps with drainage).

2)Fill the pot up with either shop bought or home-created compost (I.e from your compost bin!) and if you can, mix this with some of your regular garden soil.

3) Using your fingers or a little thin trowel, dib a hole in the soil to the depth that you need for your bulb (the instructions on the packet should explain this but if not, go for a depth of at least 7 centimetres). Drop the bulb in and cover with soil. You can often fit two or three bulbs in depending on the size of your pot and the spacing that they need (again, this will be on the bulb packet).

4) I am trying a new thing this year, which to cover the top  ofpots with a sprinkling of sawdust, just to protect them a little from any unexpected frosts.

In other news… James has started chitting some potatoes. This basically means laying out the seed potatoes on a layer of tissue or newspaper inside a cardboard box or egg box, storing them somewhere with plenty of light (ie a window sill or conservatory) and spraying them with water daily:

Once the seed potatoes have grown stalks which are about 4cm long, they are ready to be planted in the ground.

So we have had a very productive day today. The beds are now full of bulbs and our pots are too!

The next quest: find an old picnic bench that we can use as garden furniture!!!




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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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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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A Guilty Pleasure!

One of the things I really look forward to is receiving the David Austen rose catalogue.

I should point out that a) We have roses in our garden already b) I have always thought of roses as particularly difficult to grow and c) They are really quite expensive as far as plants go. Plus the fact that James isn’t particularly keen on them and my dad has put me off trying to grow them as he says they are difficult to maintain.

I do so love them though. This morning I have been browsing the David Austen website looking at all the new varieties for 2011. My particular favourite of this year’s range is the ‘Maid Marion’ variety, shown below.

My absolute favourite type of rose are the apricot colour varieties. My friend Lizzie is getting married in Sorrento this year and she is having sunny yellow roses as part of her bouquet, which I think is quite unusual but will look amazing.

There are some really unusual looking varieties of rose too, very unlike your typical idea of what one should look like.


I really really really love the ‘Lady Of Shalott’ version too, with its lovely orangey blooms. It also apparently has a lovely warm tea-rose fragrance.

Either way, I am not sure I can justify spending £15 per rose plant, but if I won the lottery I would fill my garden with roses!!

If you fancy treating yourself to some roses for your garden, have a look at the website: http://www.davidaustinroses.com/english/SlipGate.asp

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Planting the bulbs!

This morning we spent an hour planting our bulbs!

We read in our Royal Horticultural society book that it is recommended that you actually plant the bulbs in pots then when they begin to come through you can then transplant them from the pots into the ground.

We have decided to put our tulip and hyacinth bulbs in the now empty raised bed,as it is great soil in there and having the vegetables in there first will have really enriched the soil. We will cover them over with a cloche during the winter’s frosts and then when they have popped up, flowered and then finished,  we will move the bulbs into the flower beds!

Once the tulips begin to come through, I can then start off the seedlings of the vegetable plants. This kind of swapping over of plants and vegetables really does wonders for the quality of the soil.

I cant wait until their little shoots appear next year!

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As I think I mentioned, the people that originally owned our house actually ran it as a plant nursery. We are constantly finding new plants popping up here and there, and our rockery is the latest!
Seemingly overnight, some beautiful white and purple cyclamens have appeared from nowhere!!! Apparently they are bulbs, so they will continue to pop up each year, and they have added some lovely colour to the rockery!
I’ve decided that next year I want to fill the rockery with seeds, including wildflowers, poppies and sweet williams. I have also visited the garden centre today and they have some amazing hydrangeas for sale, in vibrant pinks, purples and creamy whites. I would absolutely LOVE a hydrangea bush in the front bed, we saw lots of them in Italy and I think they are so beautiful. The colour that they change into is very dependant on your soil type though, so I am extremely curious to see what colours we would get!

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Oh my gosh it really has been a long time since I have been on here!!! Well, we have had some successes and some failures over the ‘summer’ (If you can really call it that!!)

The raised bed has come along brilliantly and we have had some lovely yellow courgettes from the courgette plants that we put in  there. Our pumpkin is a MONSTER and is STILL growing!! By halloween it is going to be enormous!We also have some sweet peppers growing on the three pepper plants that we put in the raised bed, I cant wait to see what they taste like, we will try to leave them until they turn red but I’m not sure I will be able to wait that l0ng!!!

The giant sunflowers that we planted grew fantastically for a while but sadly one of them snapped in half when we had the bad rain. One of them is still doing well though and next year we will plant a whole row of these to hide the back of the ugly garage, as they look so cheerful!

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