Saturday, 30 March 2013

.......and on......

Everything in the garden is in a state of suspended animation. Although the snow has disappeared the weather has become a fixed pattern of sunny days and freezing nights, which, although good for general work on trees, hedges and shrubs and enjoying the spring bulbs, is no good at all for actually getting anything done! Twelve months ago we would have been looking at the early primulas coming into flower on the benches of the cold mini poly-tunnel which serves as some overhead protection for the early flowering plants that are grown. Primula frondosa below is the first of these, the plants shown are now planted outside in the border and remain in semi-bud form.

Primula frondosa (Farinosae Section) Europe.
 A member of the Farinosae Section, these are year old plants from a cold sowing, the flower stems of some of the less advanced plants have been removed to try and encourage growth and produce strong plants rather than allowing them to deplete their resources by flowering. Very highly recommended as it is relatively easy to grow as long as it is not allowed to dry out in summer. Found in Bulgaria it is a very close relative of Primula farinosa. Primula frondosa is to be shortly followed by the three other Farinosae Section primulas shown below.

Primula incana (Farinosae Section) U.S.A.

Primula halleri (Farinosae Section) Europe.

Primula modesta (Farinosae Section) Japan.

 All these plants have been grown from seed and although all are from the Farinosae Section they couldn't be more different in terms of distribution encompassing Europe, Asia and the Americas. When photographed they were all in plastic pots on a bench of a cold, well ventilated, mini tunnel in a moisture retentive gritty compost.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Winter lingers on.

The poor plants do not know what has hit them, over the last few weeks the weather has gone from warmish to freezing and back again several times, although mainly dry, there have been several days of rain or light snow showers. The main plant to suffer has been my only tree paeony which has had its new foliage and flower buds decimated by frost although several other plants have also put their heads above ground to a frozen welcome. The early rhododendron which featured previously has had any open flowers destroyed and looks worse than it did three weeks ago.

The usual suspects, spring flowering bulbs plus a few primulas, are still the mainstay of colour in the garden. 

Primrose type blue.

Crocus 'Snow Bunting'.

The ubiquitous Snowdrop.

Iris reticulata.

Crocus 'Zwanenburg Bronze'.

  Saw Prince Charles on TV the other day leaping down some poor kid's throat with "I hope that is peat-free compost". When are the 'Greenies' going to wake up to the fact that peat is not an endangered species unlike wind-farms which should be. If you don't believe me and want the true facts please go to the Glendoick Garden site for the most reasonably presented argument I have read. This should be mandatory reading for all those of the 'conservationist' persuasion. There is no doubt that, although the likes of the RHS try to avoid admitting it, all us older gardeners know there is no substitute for peat both in price and, what really gets to the critics, performance. I feel sorry for all the poor mugs driven by some kind of guilt and the emotional blackmail style of marketing who buy these overpriced composts for no proven reason. This goes hand-in-hand with such high priced luxuries as "Ericaceous Compost" which should be the equivalent of compost with extra peat, I must get round to reading what's on the bag sometime to see what is added to give it its premium priced acidity, probably bracken. I quite like Monty Don for my sins but as soon as he starts on about "peat free compost" I could strangle him!