Friday, 30 March 2012

Cut flower inspiration

Receiving a bouquet of flowers at this time of year really is a wonderful source of inspiration.

My favourites, white parrot tulips, in a simple yet beautiful
bouquet with anemones and hyacinths from my mother-in-law
I absolutely must have anemones in the cut flower bed I'm growing this year!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Queen Elizabeth rose

I love roses, so it is a little strange that I don't have any in my garden. I did try, albeit rather halfheartedly, last year - with a bare root 'New Dawn' (now dead) and a potted 'Kronborg' castle rose, which appears to be alive, but I've planted it in a shady area of my kitchen garden, thus I'm not expecting masses of gorgeous blooms...

So I'm thinking I'll really make an effort this time.

I read the entire chapter on roses in my gardening bible, trawled the internet for ideas and decided on where to put it - a nice little rose-sized spot in the flowerbed next to the front door (recently freed from the clutches of the mega-invasive alchemilla (daggkåpa)) - and set off for the local garden centre

I felt like such an addict! :) Gently persuading the staff to open boxes of newly delivered plants and spending ages trying to choose between them all, while they looked on in amusement. Having eventually decided upon a Queen of Denmark, I quickly changed my mind in favour of Fantin Latour. This process went on for a while... Ho hum...

Happy however with my choice I made my way to the checkout, only to be stopped in my tracks by the owner, Gudrun, telling me my little rosebush was still hibernating. Gah! Back to the very patient staff... :)


I ended up with a nice little sprouting Queen Elizabeth. Which I'm really pleased about. Having now read up on this variety, apparently it's absolutely beautiful and flowers perpetually into the autumn.

Here is my little darling:

I'm hoping it's going to have room, having looked at lots of pictures on the Internet, I'm a little worried that it's going to grow a bit bigger than I originally thought...

And this is what (I'm hoping) it's going to look like :)

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Snow warning this weekend!!

For all you hopefuls out there, thinking that winter is over, a little warning for you.

SMHI is predicting heavy snow this weekend!! Get your delicates ;) wrapped up all warm on Sunday evening if you want to see them flourish this summer...

SMHI Göteborg forecast for Sunday 1st April

Baby tomato plants longing for the greenhouse

Look at these cute little tomato babies, starting to look a bit straggly and longing for the greenhouse.

But they're going to have to wait, 'cause this is what it looks like at the moment...

With this year's mild autumn/early winter I took advantage of all the
cheap tulip bulbs on sale. My little Holland project :) I've also sown
some early rocket, spinach & lettuce mix while I'm waiting...

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Spring clean - lots of bonfires & nice white(green)house

What a magical spring weekend!

Having spent three whole days building and burning bonfires, trudging around with barrowloads of branches, sticks, twigs and half-rotten logs, getting torn to shreds by brambles, being singed by all the embers and on top of that feeling like a bit of kipper with all the smoke, we're finally rid of almost all the ugly piles of wood and left-overs after this winter's tree felling. Hooray! Just one left (out of seven), which we're saving for Easter.

We started up this one at 3pm on Friday afternoon, and it's still warm...
on Sunday evening!

We sat guard over it until about 9 o'clock and were forced
indoors when the temp dropped to 2oC... Brrrr

Luckily the others weren't as intense, this one was over
in just a few hours.
Looking delightful :O in my bonfire kit...
Sunday afternoon, and the hubby wiped this one out all
by himself... while just a few meters away I... on with a job I've been dreading.
But what a satisfying job, it really was a very green house!
Now all the tough jobs are over, I've got lots of wonderful 'easy' gardening to look forward to.


Monday, 19 March 2012

This year's chillies

I'm really late with my chillies and tomatoes this year, having sowed the majority of them just last week (13th March).

Slow progress....

There is however some sign of life :) Look what popped up during the night.

Maskotka bush tomato babies.

Luckily I had the foresight to at least sow a few chillies in January.

Two Jalastar & One (surviving of two sowed) Chiluacle Negro capsicum annums.

My list of chillies and toms sown this year is:

2 Jalastar capsicum annum - after the heat of last year, I'm opting for milder varieties this year
2 Chiluacle Negro capsicum annum - only one germinated
2 Aji Colorado capsicum baccatum - our absolute favourite to date
1 Cayenne capsicum annum - after the heat of last year, I'm opting for milder varieties this year
1 Trinidad Scorpion capsicum chinense - sown for a curious family member - hope it survives the postal journey :/

2 Maskotka bush tomatoes
2 Supersweet 100 F1 cherry tomatoes
2 'supermarket' baby plum tomatoes - shop-bought favourite that I saved some seeds from - experiment

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Looking back... wasn't all that bad actually.

Funny isn't it how we gardeners perceive things to have been so much worse than they really were...

Here are some pictures I found of 2011's successes.

A selection of chillies for my mum: Trinidad Scorpion, Fatalii, Congo Black,
Aurora, Purple Tiger, Hot Paper Lantern, Cayenne, Aji & Bih Jolokia - hot stuff!!
Aji Colorado chillies - our favourite.
Parador courgettes - seeds from Annett Crane
One of my few potato harvests
Sunflower from a forgotten birdseed
The butterflies LOVE the globe thistles
These were thinnings, and one of my only harvests
as the rest were attacked by carrot fly :'( wasn't as bad as I remember...
Big funky heavy tomatoes - unknown sort
Trinidad Scorpion - one of my few mega successes.
Can't remember the name of these, but they were delicious!
Fatalii, another satisfactory result.
Blauhilde beans - seeds from Annett Crane
Don't know if you could call this a success exactly. Harvest-wise it produced
millions of these little cucumbers, but they were :P Sour and watery.
I always have my Stargazer lilies to cheer me up. Planted these
in the greenhouse in spring 2009 and they come back just as strong
& beautiful every year.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

I will succeed this year!!

Last year was a bit of a wash out, as you may have noticed from the lack of boastful entries, but that wasn't really my fault. We suffered a long, harsh winter, followed by a baking hot May, rounded off with a short, wet summer. Not the best growing conditions for a kitchen garden.

I cannot blame my failures entirely on the weather, however. I guess I could have done better, I didn't give my veg the love and attention they deserved, but gardening is supposed be a pleasure, not a burden. 

This year, though, I am determined to succeed in areas I failed miserably in 2011. 

Firstly, we (read: chainsaw-weilding husband) have chopped down 11 (!!) birch trees that were not only shading the vegetables, but dumping all manner of bleugh on them. Secondly, I am directing all my energy into growing stuff this year, instead of building. Last year I extended the kitchen garden with 5 new raised beds, more gravel and erected a deer fence; and turned the old veg patch into lawn. Plus we had major wild boar damage last winter, which we've been spared repairing this year.

Any finally, I'm not taking any chances this year. I'm giving all of my 2012 veg the best possible start. This includes my peas & beans. I've just sowed some mange tout, in toilet rolls :) because I've read that's what everyone else does...

Peas getting a sweeter start this year

I've also set up a nice little spot for them. No panic-supports this year! They're getting a proper, sturdy pea-wall!

Place for ma peas
I'm also going to try and train some sweet peas up the sides. It's going to pretty this year too!!

Fingers crossed...

Thursday, 1 March 2012

I'm back...

If you are one my very very few loyal readers, I apologise for my ever-so-very long hibernation.

But I am back and desperately ready for the spring!

I have just spent a couple of hours getting the raised beds sorted out and tidying up the herb garden. What inspiring work!