Friday, 27 April 2012


 Well that's it my poor greenhouse is saying "no more seedlings in here, please"

Here are just a few photos of the greenhouse that I had hoped had elastic sides alas it clearly doesn't :)

This rain everyday has definitely put the brakes on any ideas I may have had about getting these little babies out into the lovely sunshine. Maybe we have been spoilt by last year's April weather and were expecting just                                  
too much!

Poor Alfie doesn't know what he wants to do, he has decided that all this rain must mean it's winter so he's back to eating all day and all night and hiding out in the veg trug or greenhouse cupboard, silly Alfie.

Even though I really don't have any more room left I am still sowing seeds but in my head herbs don't count as flowers so that's ok, I am sure I will find a spot for them somewhere. later today I hope to have some Basil "Dark Opal," Coriander and Dianthus "Sonata" under way. I know I know, Dianthus are most definitely not herbs but I just love these fragrant perennials and they will fit in really well with the new fragrant garden area that I am planning this year to go near the swing. Lovely summer evenings, glass of wine in hand, the sweet smell of Dianthus, Nemesia and Roses wafting over me. Heaven :)  

Well I will leave you, wishing the sun would come out :)

 Happy gardening, or looking through the window

The Potting Shed


Monday, 16 April 2012

Useful tips

Over the weekend I thought it would be a good idea to take some photographs of the garden tools that I use and show you all how I use them. Hopefully they might help and inspire you :)

These three tools I most definitely could not live without. I can not in any way use secateurs, for years and years I tried but all I could manage was daft cuts that left stems hanging off the plant! Not a good idea.
The small pink deadheaders are just great for snipping off heads and taking cuttings. They are very light and even I can use them one handed, very very unusual for me. The slightly larger pink by-pass snippers are equally useful for those stems that are a little thicker and need a bit more effort. I have to use two hands here but as the blades are nicely pointed I can get them in between the stems easily as I can not hold whatever it is that needs a snip. Trust me I have tried to do this with the cordless electric secateurs in the picture and only just managed to avoid chopping off my little finger, the secateurs went one way and I went the other. With only three fingers I really don't have any to spare! :)

here you can see me in action, one handed  happily snipping the dead heads from my violas :)

Tulips need a bit more force so here I use the by-pass snippers, brilliant 
These cordless secateurs work a treat on those pesky tough branches and I can now prune much bigger trees and shrubs. Something I have always wanted to be able to do but could never manage it until now. My husband, James's face was quite a picture after I had finished pruning for the first time, the whole garden had become me sized!
My newest invention that came into being over the weekend is my new  mobile watering system.

After spending quite some time wondering how I could water the garden without trying to drag a hospeipe round the garden and getting very wet into the bargain I came up with this handy idea after watching James use his fertiliser/weed killer sprayer.
This sprayer holds 10 litres of water and fits neatly inside the shopping trolley. Once filled with water I can wheel the trolley around the garden, even across the grass and water away to my hearts content. I can even reach my beloved hanging baskets that used to wilt in the summer waiting for a water thanks to the handy wand. No heavy lifting of watering cans, not actually possible for me anyway and it also beats the hosepipe ban so it doesn't matter if you have a disability or not, everyone can water their garden easily.

I hope you have found some of my ideas useful

Bye for now


The Potting Shed :)

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

April...The Journey Begins

     April…. The Journey Begins

I wandered lonely as a … gardener searching for signs of life, new growth, old friends and a host of tiny seedlings. April is one of the most loved months in the gardening calendar. Blossom aplenty around nearly every corner, with its heady scent, plump Peony buds that look good enough to eat, awakening all the gardener’s senses. Spring is well and truly here. Many a happy gardener makes that welcome return to the weekend garden routine. It will be non-stop from now right through until the end of October. Mind you, if the end of last year was anything to go by, we will still be toiling away in December. I still had Gazanias in flower right up to the end of the year!

Gardening in some ways is very much like driving on a busy motorway. In the beginning there can be a faltering start, lots of stopping and starting before the road ahead clears, giving way to a mad rush with the occasional stop for sustenance. The height of the journey being summer and the mass of blooms, vivid colour, vegetables and abundant wildlife it brings. Then we rush off again towards Autumn and Winter until we get all snarled up, back inside, coming to a virtual standstill, with only the highlight of the enticing seed catalogue study whilst waiting for those signs of movement again and low and behold you are back where you started, and round you go again.

Trying something new

This year I thought that I might try some things that I have never grown before. My first idea was to be a bit more veg friendly and grow more than the usual suspects of onions, garlic and carrots. So I am going to try some Sweetcorn “F1 Sundance” variety which is meant to be easy to grow. Remembering to sow them under glass now as they love balmy weather and I am hoping this will help them grow more strongly when I plant them out. I am also going to try Runner Beans “Prizewinner”. I usually get my bean plants given to me by my mother-in-law, lovingly known to us as Granny P but this year I thought I would try from scratch. I bet you anything hers will be miles bigger, better and tastier than mine, but I shall bow to her far superior garden knowledge, after all she has been doing it for some forty odd years. Granny P knows best.

 The other thought I had was to trial an Alpine area, it is only small with six plants in at present, including, Pratia County Park, a ground cover alpine with pale blue flowers and the beautifully formed Mazus which has dainty orchid like purple flowers.
Trying out new plants that prefer dryer conditions might be a useful experiment for potentially changing planting schemes in the future. The inevitable hosepipe ban is just around the corner for many of us poor gardeners so if you don’t have any already maybe now is a good time to think about getting a water butt or two (and hope for April showers) Unless of course you are disabled then the ban (in most areas) doesn’t apply, so for once I am quite happy to be in this category!

Ideas for Pots

As I garden mainly using pots and raised beds, due to not being able to bend easily and there is no way I am getting up of the floor without help, I decided to include some ideas for pots and raised beds. Space can at times be an issue, but it doesn’t need to be. How about companion planting? Not only does this look amazing and adds interest all round your garden, some planting combinations benefit each other and help repel pests into the bargain. Here is a short list of some you might like to try:

  • Chives with carrots, tomatoes, broccoli or cabbage (Brassicas) can repel carrot fly, cabbage worms and aphids.
  • Geraniums with peppers, grapes or even roses. Act as a trap crop, attracting pests away from your most prized possessions.
  • French Marigolds with Tomatoes will emit a strong odour that can repel greenfly and blackfly.
  • Nasturtium planted with melon, cucumber and squashes (cucurbits) can deter aphids.

April then is a time of pleasure, preparation and forward planning. You can begin to imagine how your summer garden will look and have many hours of enjoyment to come. Yet the worry of “will there be a frost?” “Shall I risk planting out just yet?” still linger in the back of the April gardeners mind. Enjoy the extra hours of daylight; soak up the delights of spring, after all it will soon be June.

Jobs for April

A little list of things to be getting on with in April.

  • Pinch out Fuchsias …….. this will ensure a lovely bushy plant, pinch out regularly to encourage side shoots to get a stronger stem which in turn supports the flowers. ( on young Fuchsia wait until 2 or 3 pairs of leaves are established before pinching out)
  • Dead head spring bulbs
  • Sow hardy annuals directly where they are to flower
  • Any emerging shoots on Delphiniums and Lupins might need protecting from snails and slugs. Try copper tape or egg shells. If they are in pots rub some vaseline around the pot, the pests can’t crawl over it.
  • Take any cuttings from new growth on Dahlias, Pelargoniums and Fuchsia (late April)

Greenhouse Jobs

  • Sow annual climbers such as Morning Glory (Ipomoea)
  • Cup and saucer vine (Cobaea) and Nasturtium
  • Pot on any rooted cuttings
  • Start to feed your young plants..3 to 4 weeks after they have been re potted.
  • Pop your tomato plants in grow bags or large pots (late April)

Veg and fruit

  • Sow Sweetcorn…under cover now for planting out in June (not before, it is still too cold for Sweetcorn)
  • Feed any fruit trees or bushes
  • Maincrop potatoes can go out now
  • If it stays warm then here is a list of things to sow..
  • Beetroot, salad leaves, cauliflower, peas, cabbage and spinach
  • Feed Strawberries with a high potash feed, tomato food works well (late April)

General garden Jobs

  • Check for plain leaf growth on variegated plants, snip any plain ones off
  • If conditions are dry enough mow the grass, on a high setting if it is a bit long or damp.
  • Clean up your patio so it doesn’t get slippery
  • Treat moss and weeds in the lawn (late April)
  • Rake out any dead grass (put the grass in your compost bin)
  • Why not make a bug habitat out of old branches you may have lying around or even use an old slab, raised in a corner for frogs and toads to shelter under.
  • Honeysuckle, Leycesteria
  • Hedges (check for nesting birds first)
  • Early flowering Clematis such as Montana, needs a prune after flowering to keep it under control.

April 3rd,handy tips

Morning all.

Today I thought I would do a brief post about the handy things I have and share some ideas on how to keep on enjoying your garden if you have a disability, back problem or any health issue really :)

Firstly a photo of my newly raised cold frame. My lovely husband, James put my cold frame up on large shelf brackets. My first idea for this was actually to reduce the risk of frost damage to my tender seedlings, but once it was up and I went to put everything back in I was amazed at how much easier it was! No bending right to the floor and having to drop the tray that last few inches :) Not a good idea as this has potential to damage my lovingly sown seeds. No more struggling to straighten up again. Wonderful. I can highly recommend making your cold frame higher, its a life saver, not only for your back but for your plants :)

I have also recently invested in a potting table. Which has a handy hole in the front so you can sweep away the left over compost into a bucket underneath, no waste. It is the perfect height to pot things on whilst sitting down, singing away to the radio. Absolute 80's radio for me. Again this reduces back and hip ache no end. Everything is to hand with no awkward twisting or bending. I could pot on here all day and that's saying something as I find it really hard to get comfortable and have to forever shift about. Being here sitting on my beautiful pink office chair is just about one of the best places to be. The chair is soft and comfy and can be adjusted to the perfect height, I can spin around if I need something behind me and wheel it away when I am finished. Brilliant. A simple yet perfect solution.

I hope you found this interesting. I am off to take more photos of all my useful tools and will be back.

Love from The Potting Shed