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!


Rock rose said...

I regret I haven't been to visit your garden in the homeland county for a while, but I am so glad you are having a warm April. Save some of the good weather for our visit in late May. I have joined the Royal Oak Foundation and plan to visit lots of NY properties.
Clever you rooting those pelargoniums. I am always thrilled when I manage to root cuttings and I must read your rambling rose post about training a rose. Mine may not be a rambler but it does need some attention, for it grows forwards all the time. I'm sure you advice will help. I am picking snow peas which is some kind of miracle as we have had incredible heat and no rain and will probably be burnt to the ground any day! Grrh, Texas!

Ruth said...

Thanks for dropping by, with all the activity in your garden I'm amazed you have the time! We're in for a very warm weekend, but it's not on your Texas scale!

Mal's Allotment said...

Going great, Ruth! Broad beans, peas ahead of me (mine still at home in loo rolls), but I have a week's holiday so watch out.

Now that thingamajig looks like a cordless thingamajig. That's what I need! How long does the power last?

Ruth said...

It is indeed cordless, electric battery which takes a couple of hours to charge and will do my whole plot 1.5 - 2 times if the grass isn't too long (long grass takes more power to cut). Not sure how long in time that is, probably 30 minutes or so? Got it from B&Q a couple of years ago.

Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog said...

I'm glad you are having a warm spring after last year's. Those geranium cuttings look great. I enjoyed reading your tour of Holker Hall Gardens. Another great looking English garden to put on my list. Did you know I met Jenny? I'm sure you know how stunning her garden is, and yep, it's twice that in person.

Ruth said...

Jean, yes I saw your visit to Jenny's garden, love the peony and other flowers (tried to leave a comment but it seemed to be misbehaving). Holker Hall is nice, the formal gardens are beautiful. Forgot to mention in the post they have a herd of deer in the grounds too!