Weed Free or So I Thought

Weed Free or So I Thought

I bet you spotted my weed as soon as you looked at the picture. ‘Where’s Wally’ you may ask, well he is the gardener that not only let the dandelion flower but seed as well. Back to gardening school. Depending how you look at it there has been a great profusion of dandelions this year but you just wait until next year. The ‘clocks’ have been distributed far and wide since the beginning of May, the breezes were light, the conditions just right and the air and ponds filled with seeds so dandelions are not going to be a threatened species anytime soon!

One dandelion may be excusable but what about your sweetpea zone you may be asking? My excuse for all the self sown seedlings  from last years dark purple poppies include that I found the poppy so entrancing. I fully expected to transplant them into a suitable area but tempus fugit (a good name for a weed). I have other excuses on request.

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Mixed May Month

Mixed May Month

I love Iris as much as Iris love sunshine so we are both happy with this May’s weather. The Thuja occidentalis conifer offers a cool photographic backdrop after coming through a frosty patch of weather in early spring

Lupins are not just for Christmas in fact they are not even for Christmas. They are definitely one of our families favorite hardy perennials for use in a mixed border.

How I regret not remembering the name of this bulb that I planted several years ago. Now it is maturing nicely with many flowering stems and is becoming a distinctive feature plant.

A hardy stand by Ceanothus that I propagate from cuttings. The only draw back for me is that other growth habits, including prostrate  and tree forms cannot be propagated from this one plant. (Clone is as colnes does). Ceanothus is also called or known asbuckbrush, California lilac or soap bush,

Azaleas in this gloomy corner have survived for several years and I keep promising myself that I will add some other varieties when can I find a place to plant them.

My wife would see the back of this Mahonia to make the space I crave for Azaleas (they both like slightly acidic soil). The sharp leaves ‘needle’ her but I like the all year round interest the plant provides.

The slabs of paving provide a path through a short Japanese section of the garden which utilises bark chippings rather than a gravel mulch.

Rabbits breed harmlessly in this part of the ornamental garden. A new acquisition last Christmas was the door as an entrance to the gnomes homes (221b Baker Street elementary my dear watsonnia – is that freudian or the name of my bulb in the third photo)

Having a Good Lilac Season 2020

Having a Good Lilac Season 2020


Sorry if this post is a bit repetitive from one at the beginning of May but my mind is socially distanced from my memory. My garden lilac has never smelt so good but I am sure the colour has been stronger in previous years.

The white lilac has been OK but lacks pizzaz despite the blue skies and strong sunshine. Perhaps it is a lack of focus and I should polish my photography skills.


The best varieties have been the darker purples which I have spotted on my lockdown compliant walks around the village. Ten years ago the gardens looked very different.

Indoor Primula Obconica Tips

Indoor Primula Obconica Tips

primula-obconica

We gardeners hopefully learn as we go along and this post is an update of a 6 year old report on indoor primulas.

‘Indoor plants that are in full flower in January include the strongly coloured Primula Obconica shown above. They look good in traditional blues, pinks and white with the new Twilly series including a strong red. There are plenty of long lasting blooms particularly if you pick off dead flowers. The hairs on the back of leaves can be an irritant so take care if you have sensitive skin, the plant is also known as Poison Primrose.

Plants at garden centers may have been grown specifically for a quick show of colour that makes them saleable and decorative as indoor plants. They are probably not frost free or very hardy.
Primula 011

Primula Obconica

  • Unlike other Primula obconica varieties, Twilly Touch Me is primine free, so causes no skin irritation.
  • Grown from seed give them dark to germinate. They flower the following spring/summer in the cool greenhouse or as a houseplant.
  • Primula obconica produce a dozen different colours of flowers.
  • The flowers last for several weeks if spent flowers are deadheaded regularly.
  • Do not let the plants dry out and the leaves become floppy.

Other species of Indoor Primulas include Primula malacoides a perennial plant for a heated greenhouse or conservatory. Also known as the Fairy primrose it is NOT hardy.

Primula sinensis the Chinese Primrose aka Primula praenitens is hard to obtain but the flowers look stunning so it is worth looking for.

Primula 003
Showing the soft fleshy leaves of ‘Twill Touch Me Series’ of Indoor Primula obconica. The Primula stem holds the flowers proud of the leaves.’

Lush Time in the Garden

Lush Time in the Garden

Where has all the rain gone? In winter there were floods aplenty so I was predicting water rationing by summer. Now it is mid May and the ground is parched and rock hard.

I was struggling to plant my dahlias when I heard my neighbor having even more trouble getting his spade in deep enough. I said I was worried about my next water bill and low and behold there it was on the doormat by lunch time.

Lush is as Lush Does

  1. To me green is the lush colour for all seasons. Other colours supplement or provide great highlights but the framework is green.
  2. Evergreens are therefore a mainstay of my garden particularly the 50 plus evergreen conifers that look lush through the year.
  3. It seems sad to eulogise dying foliage but this year the daffodils and blubells have clung on to the strappy leaves and provided some ground cover until I can get some annuals ready.
  4. The water table and morning dew has been enough to keep the grass green and I am resisting the temptation to cut too close.
  5. Two water barrels are not enough to allow me to water lavishly and 2 outdoor taps are a temptation. I and the garden will survive the rest of the year even though I predict summer floods.
Plant Viruses and Viral Infections

Plant Viruses and Viral Infections

Plants in your garden can suffer from infections caused by many different viruses. Once a plant is infected there is no chemical treatment that will destroy the virus without also killing the plant.

Signs of Virus Infection

  1. Irregular white or yellow mottling on normally green leaves such as rings, mosaic patterns or other mottling.
  2. Distorted leaves with curling and or crinkling
  3. Malformed flowers, damaged fruit and early leaf fall.
  4. Once a plant is infected the plant may be stunted and unable to produce flower or fruit.
  5. Some plants are just carriers and do not demonstrate symptoms other suffer from wilt disease.

More About Viruses on Plants

  1. Viral infections are generally transmitted from plant to plant by insects such as aphids, thrips, whitefly, eelworms, and some beetles.
  2. Some control can be provided by keeping these pests at bay.
  3. Viruses can be prevalent and long lasting in soil.
  4. Each virus is plant species specific and some varieties are more prone than others. Potato blight decimates crops, tomato mosaic virus damages fruit, cucumbers suffer as do many flowering plants e.g. carnations, roses and chrysanthemum.
  5. Plum pox potyvirus  the variants of which causes Sharka the viral disease of stone fruit crops.

Other Plant Health Problems

  1. Fungus and fungal infections
  2. Virus and Viral diseases
  3. Bacterial diseases
  4. Pests
Pelargoniums Planted in Pelargonia

Pelargoniums Planted in Pelargonia

I have flirted with geraniums for several decades but never achieved the full satisfaction of a great display. Now I have a new plan to dedicate an area in the garden, dare I call it a zone? to some of these colourful plants. To give me an incentive to dedicate time and effort I have given it a name Pelargonia as I thought Geraniumistan was going to confuse the issue with cranesbill geranium or hardy geraniums.

As you can see from the search link I have blogged on 67 occasions about pelargoniums and geraniums over the Gardeners Tips years.

Frost Tender Pelargoniums

  1. After several good years I got careless one weekend and lost some good growth and suffered several set backs after an air frost. A similar event took place 6 years ago and that was at the beginning of June.
  2. Remember if your pelargonium stems get frosted then the plant will die and not recover!
  3. In the North of England there can be frosts late in May and early June. In Scotland and on high ground keep your thermometer handy whenever frost is threatened.

 

                            My flikr selection -hover & press the arrow

Zonal geraniums are more accurately called ‘Pelargoniums’. The zonal is named for the distinct bands of colour around the leaf. On the example below 3 distinct shades are obvious even in a black and white image. These distinctive colours and patterns are quite sought after and some varieties are grown for the leaf shade alone.

Engraved Zonal Pelargonium

Pelargonium House Plants

  • If you are worried about frost, geraniums make fine house plants. They can be kept in flower throughout the year and the flowers can be picked for a small vase. If you time it right when several ‘pips’ are showing full colour they can last a couple of weeks as the other pips keep opening.
  • Regular weekly feeding of high potash feed with an occasional nitrogen booster will grow a substantial specimen.
  • Pinch out the growing tip in April and June to get bushy plants with more flowers.

Regal Pelargonium indoor pot plant

Ideas for Better Garden Photographs

Ideas for Better Garden Photographs

Compose your photo shot with care to get the image you want and only that image. In this photo the moss and drainpipe do not add anything to the desired result so they need to be cropped out for the next image where ‘Carols’ bucket takes center stage. If the original has been taken with high resolution the cropped image will not suffer. The spade could have been aligned better to show the handle.

Know your cameras capabilities and take several shots until you find an image you like. Be self-critical of your work and regular practice will help to get better results next time

Despite standing on the low wall to look down on the garden only the crazy paving benefited and I should consign this to the compost (I mean the recycle bin). The aim was to have a foreground that didn’t compromise the key middle ground and then a background that didn’t distract. Shame that this photo failed on all aims with the neighboring houses standing out and catching the eye and the key middle ground achieving nothing much.

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Gather Lilacs in the Spring

Gather Lilacs in the Spring

It looks like a good year for ‘Blossom Dearie’ and no more so than with Syringa the various Lilacs in the varied shades of lilac and white.

  1. Renown as a tall shrub or small tree  there are also dwarf lilacs amongst the dozen of so species and sub-species.
  2. There are some hybrids with double flowers.
  3. Lilacs are most justly famous for their perfume from the conical flower heads that is redolent of spring.
  4. The variety Charles  Joly is almost purple.
  5. For Lilac growing hints and tips
  6. For photographs of more blossom