Author: Christine

Visits to Bristol and Oxford Botanic Gardens June 2013

As I have a particular interest in herbs and a growing interest in plant families, we decided that we would visit some Botanic Gardens this year; so Paul and I visited Bristol and Oxford Botanic Gardens. Our own nearby Botanic Gardens at Ness is much bigger than these and so I enjoyed visiting two gardens which are smaller in scale, highly labelled and less commercial in nature. Bristol Botanic Gardens Bristol Botanic Garden is in the suburbs of Bristol close to the University Halls of Residence. It is quite small at 1.77 hectares, but contains a variety of collections – Evolution, Mediterranean, Local Flora and Rare Natives, Useful Plants (including Chinese Medical Plants). Paul was very interested in the Evolution of Plants, and I spent a long time in the Useful Plants, looking particularly at the medical herbs. The glasshouses were also interesting and it was good to see this wonderful resource being a part of University life. Also, the lady in the shop was really friendly and helpful – so nice to find nowadays! I also bought a gigantic pot of Aloe Vera for £1, yes £1 !!! I have divided the plant up into a number of smaller pots, which was quite a prickly undertaking. Oxford Botanic Gardens A few days later we visited Oxford Botanic Gardens. These gardens are very much in the City Centre and so it is quite tricky to park. Again the gardens...

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This Week… 22 March 2013

The snow has gone, the winds have died down so it’s time to take stock of what needs doing in the garden. The weeds are coming up so it really is time to get some mulch (cover) onto the soil. I ordered some manure and some bark chippings form a local charitable organisation (Dale Farm Heswall). We still need to sort out some of the borders though, so we’ll have to get going. We have daffodils, but not many tulips. We went on a long anticipated trip to Amsterdam last weekend, but sadly no tulips. I’m getting a bit fed up of them now as they are quite expensive to buy and usually last only one year before they go downhill. They are so lovely though!! Wildlife issues are starting too. We have jays nesting in the garden again, but are not happy as they will be happy helping themselves to the eggs and babies of our garden birds. Should we get rid of the nest before they lay their eggs? Hmm…. We’ve added ourselves to We’ve also added ourselves to Garden Directory The UK’s most exclusive garden directory only containing hand picked quality...

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This Week… 15 March 2013

Tulips from Amsterdam All of the family set off for Amsterdam last weekend, with the intention of going to the famous Keukenhof gardens outside Amsterdam. Sadly it was not to be because there were no tulips at the gardens. We decided not to go to Keukenhof, but stay and look around Amsterdam instead. The only tulips we saw were in containers in the city itself – see photo – and there weren’t many of those. Lots of daffodils though. We went to the Botanical Gardens which was very pleasant. It was disappointing for us, but this weather is playing havoc with everything. I noted in last years diary that the daffodils were out in mid March and most of the tulips were out too. My garden is also full of daffodils at the moment and the tulips are just starting to appear – a full month later than last year. Mina Lobata This is a vigorous yellow/orange annual climber. I grew some last year but they didn’t like the horrible summer and were quite poor I decided to give them another go this year, so I soaked them the night before last and sowed them at 7.00 p.m. last night and put them in the kitchen (they need warmth to start off). Imagine my surprise this morning when I picked the pot up and saw three shoots emerging from the...

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Spring 2013

Hurray, spring is on it’s way! I am beginning to  re-awaken after my Winter hibernation and  am venturing out into the garden. I am definitely a fair weather gardener. Seed sowing has now begun in earnest, but I am now behind having been struck down by a horrible virus – not a good time of year for it! Things I really should do! One of the things that I need to do, is keep a proper list of all the seeds that I sow, and the date sown. I do try to do, but usually end up with scraps of paper scattered about, wet record books (wayward watering with the hose), lost pencils and pens so can’t write what I have done. Luckily though, I remembered that my daughter did a spreadsheet of all of my seeds a year or two ago, so I have printed these off and am determined to keep a record of what I am doing – watch this space! Sowing and Planting Undercover Our greenhouse is about 10ft x 8 ft and has raised  wooden beds on one side, which are divided into three sections. We  bought some large bags/containers from Marshalls Seeds  which fit exactly into these  beds and we have used them for growing tomatoes in previous years. As I am once again embarking on a healthy eating programme, I decided to...

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Wildlife in the garden

After all the rain and winds that we have had in June, I’m relieved to see that some of our birds have produced young. I know that we had some long tailed tits nesting in the wild garden. I am pretty sure they have fledged now but I haven’t seen them around so I hope they have survived.  On a good note, we have baby great tits in the garden – one flew into one of our windows yesterday, but luckily revived and flew off — the dangers of growing up! There is also one baby blue tit who sits beside the bird feeders and  demands lots of food from a very active parent – only one fledging though. Quite a few sparrows are  nesting in our nest boxes and hedgerows but I haven’t seen any young yet. Two weeks ago we were getting pots out of our plant pot store near to the compost heap when a robin flew out of one of the pots. There were tiny eggs in a nest in the pot, so we  left this area alone as much as we could, and happily a brood of chicks has survived and are now in the garden. Such a pesky place to nest though! It has been such a difficult Spring and early Summer that I am concerned about our bird population. At the moment...

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