Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A lovely warm April...

After last year's cold spring, this April has been remarkably warm and pleasant. My last narcissus bulbs have just flowered - the small yellow ones you see mixed in with these white ones. Small, but very sweet smelling and as I type their scent is drifting through the open window. So early spring is coming to an end and I'm looking forward to the garden delights to come.
On the allotment, work has started in earnest. This weekend the grass got its first cut, using my trusty strimmer thingymebob.
And I sowed radishes and spring onions. I like radishes, and have found that a variety called Rudolph works well for me. Unfortunately, sowings after early May have a tendency to go to seed, no matter what I do or where I plant. I'd really like to get a longer radish season so, working on the assumption that it's the variety that's the problem, I've also sown Scarlet Globe next to it, and I'll repeat this double sowing through the season to see how they do.
These radish are next to the lettuce which I transplanted a week or so ago. The funny thing about Salad Bowl is that when they germinate indoors, the green and red varieties are both green. But when they go in the ground, the red immediately colour up. The little blue pellets are environmentally friendly slug pellets - among a few dead ones, I found one live and fat slug under the lettuce cloche. It wasn't there for long...
And speaking of cloches, I have whipped them off this bed - on the extreme right is a very straight row of weeds which mark the old edge of the bed, newly extended and awaiting weeding. Then (right to left) we have two rows of broad beans and two rows of peas. Lurking in the background somewhere are a couple of parsnips which I missed in the winter and which are growing on to provide next year's seed. This week's job is to get the weeds out and then my Other Half can do his favourite job - constructing a frame for the peas to climb. I will also do a second sowing of peas in the next week or so.

One month ago I took some cuttings from the white pelargoniums which I overwintered in the house. The parent plants went back outside a couple of weeks ago, and are filling out well. Meanwhile their offspring have been busy growing new roots, as you can see! Excellent growth on these little plants, they're now outdoors in a long trough pot on my sunny windowsill. If you want to practice growing cuttings, geraniums are a good one to start with.
Last summer I posted about the pruning of a rambling rose, and here is a picture of the result. A few months ago this plant looked rather straggly, but you can see how important it is to cut it back and tie down the long stems into a horizontal position; all those vertical shoots will produce flowers this summer. The plant is looking extremely healthy and pushing new growth out at the base, so I think it might be another good year for this rose.
And finally, a couple of weeks ago I posted about a packet of seed - Lobelia Cardinalis Queen Victoria. I was amazed to read on the packet that the seed could take up to 6 months to germinate, and thought I might be waiting a long time to see the plants! But fear not, the seeds confounded me and here they are, just starting to grow their first true leaves. It'll be a while before they're big enough to handle but I'm hopeful of getting some flowers this year.

Have a happy and sunny gardening weekend!
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