Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Sunday 27 May 2007

Bank Holiday Weather

Filed under: Maths,Progress — Helen @ 7:55 am

In preparation for tomorrow’s Bank Holiday, the weather has turned very anti-gardening. It has been raining since before 7 a.m. today and floods are forecast. Fortunately I took some notice of the forecast and pulled up 400 weeds yesterday, as well as filling up my council garden waste collection bag with cotoneaster. (I am surrounded by the stuff – I have it on both sides of my house). The rain gives me time to formulate a new maths problem, which should be solvable by anyone who is very good at AS level (first year sixth form) maths.

A gardener has a patch of weeds. She pulls up 600 weeds every morning. Every afternoon the number of weeds goes up by 10%. After 10 days she has pulled up all the weeds (so she pulls up 6000 weeds altogether). How many were there to start with?

I will publish the answer in a week’s time, unless the rain stops.


Thursday 24 May 2007

Endless weeding

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 12:51 pm

Today I took a day off work and pulled up 600 more weeds. I am going to take a picture when I’ve finished.


Tuesday 22 May 2007

Will I or won’t I?

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 10:40 am

The peony which I dug up and stuffed in a pot earlier this year has produced two buds and has been sitting there holding them up for some weeks now without any discernable inclination to unfurl them into flowers. I can read its mind: it’s thinking, “She doesn’t deserve any flowers after digging me up when everyone knows you’re not supposed to move peonies. On the other hand, if she can be cruel enough to dig me up, goodness knows what she’ll do next year. This could be my last chance to start a family.”

Peony trying to decide whether to flower or not

Yesterday I managed to mow both lawns and pull up 200 weeds from the annual seed bed before it started raining. Today there is no sign of rain, and I have pulled up 600 weeds. I also repotted a few plants, including my climbing hydrangea from Wilkinson’s, which is putting on a good amount of growth. I am continuing to harden off my tomatoes by putting them in my sheltered front porch by day and taking them in at night. Some people have put their tomatoes out already, and I probably could have got mine out this week if I had started hardening them off earlier, but I don’t think it really matters, as they will catch up. Anyway, if all goes to plan, next year I will be able to put them in the greenhouse and start them off really early.

Just after I finished writing the above, my order from Crocus arrived. That was quick! I only ordered the plants on Sunday. I ordered a Cornus Alba Sibirica and a Campanula portenschlangiana. They both turned up in excellent condition, looking none the worse for being put in a cardboard box. The Campanula portenschlangiana looks familiar. I think I used to have one, some time ago, but it got smothered by a more vigorous plant growing next to it. I shall make sure I grow it on in pots before I plant it anywhere this time. It was one of the ones recommended by Yvonne, and I can see that it would make excellent ground cover between stepping stones.

So Crocus join my list of good guys, and I would definitely buy from them again. Their only fault is that they don’t have any plain elaeagnus x ebbingei (they only have the variegated version).


Friday 18 May 2007

Nice weather for grass

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 2:56 pm

After a very hot and dry April, we have had huge amounts of rain in May. Today, at last, the heavens closed and I enjoyed a sunny morning in the garden, weeding again. Unfortunately I found that my water butt was completely empty, despite all the rain, because the downpipe was blocked. I had to take it off the wall and empty it into the compost bin.

However, the grass seed I planted in April has really benefited from the cooler, wetter weather. I was lucky there, because I did plant it rather late.

New grass growing

I have pulled up 600 weeds from the annual seed bed, and I estimate there are about 6000 left. And that’s just in that area of the garden. The weeds are growing very strongly in other areas, particularly around the pond. If you are wondering how I know I pulled up 600 weeds, it is because when I have a huge amount of weeding to do, I pull up 100 weeds and then go and do something else, and then come back and pull up another 100 weeds, and so on. At least that way I can count my progress, even if I can’t really see it.

In the raspberry bed I am planting golden marjoram. I am hoping to cover the half nearest the house with marjoram, because it keeps the weeds down. It also smells lovely. In the half of the raspberry bed furthest from the house, I am pleased to see that the geraniums and phlox that I bought last year are taking over. So there isn’t such a weed problem there.


Monday 7 May 2007

The weed bed

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 11:27 am

Today we were supposed to have rain, since it is a Bank Holiday, but it was only splattering slightly so I went out to survey my annual seed bed. Oh dear.

Whole annual seed bed on 07 May 2007

Here is a close-up of part of it:

Part of annual seed bed on 07 May 2007

You can just about make out some of the annuals trying to grow in a straight line as instructed in the book, but there are also totally unreasonable quantities of forget-me-nots and bittercress, together with a few other weeds whose names I don’t know.

So I got on with it, and pulled out about 10% of the weeds and none (I think) of the plants I actually want, and then decided to go indoors for lunch, and a good thing too because the rain has now properly got going. We could do with it. In the parts of the garden I haven’t been watering, the soil is as dry as dust.

I am pleased to report that the Waldsteinias are producing new leaves, which is a good sign that they aren’t upset about being chopped into pieces. They haven’t gone as far as flowering, though.

The grass seed I sowed on Friday, ten days ago, has suddenly germinated. It definitely hadn’t done anything yesterday morning, but this morning the ground was covered in little shoots. Now all I have to do is to keep it watered, and it should grow beautifully in that lovely soil.