Thursday 14 May 2020

Gardening in lockdown

Hello from lockdown!

We have all been plunged into a somewhat crazy world. I work in a hospital and so things are now busier than they have ever been and I am super grateful for having the garden to keep me sane!
It is good to look for the positives and the lockdown has proven a great way to slow things down and appreciate all the tiny changes the garden goes through each day. I have also been on a role with my own painting which is great. More on this later….

I was lucky in that I had put in my big order for compost before lockdown and so the 50 or so bags I got came in mid-March at just the right time. Seeds went in a bit later as most seed companies seem to have been swamped. I had to keep logging into Chiltern seeds at odd times to try and catch when their website was actually open.  I was too late in the game to try and get some bedding plant plugs, queuing to go on websites ?!?! to see lists of everything that was sold out.

Another positive has been the restoration of my garden slaves. Unable to do any babysitting the upstairs neighbours have been able to do a lot of projects which has been super helpful. Their gentle pointing out of long-standing unfinished jobs or problem areas has been great to get things done. This has included finally edging some of the veg plots with Victorian rope tiles that have sat around for a couple of years. 

For the first time ever I think I am also on top of where I should be in the garden. Compost heaps have been emptied, seeds sown and pricked out, a new nursery bed has been created and I have even tackled the long-neglected bank in the front garden. After living here for 13? Years and looking at things I planted 12 years ago and thinking how they don’t work for most of those 12 years I have realised it is best to just bin/move them and start again.

The most major change to the garden has been the re-building of one of the major retaining walls between the two gardens. This long neglected Victorian wall collapsed during our really wet spring. We have been lucky to have a few builders in to re-build the mega expensive wall, but this has necessitated the destruction of one of the main flower beds in the garden.  

However, all is not lost! I have loads of Tithonia seedlings ready and waiting and plans to create an arid bed. This will include being brave and planting our my Puyas and agaves. Watch this space…

The wall when it had collapsed (above) and mid re-building showing the destruction 

The giant Echiums are amazing this year

The love affair with flag iris's continues, this one flowering for the first time was so much better than the common blue one that everyone seems to have 

Fatsia polycarpa throwing up new leaves...They seem to have being moved and this one is only just recovering after 3+ years of sulking and near death experiences

Yes the iris's were so good they have 2 pictures...

A surprise for the garden was coming across these amazing Rose Chafer beetles. About 2cm long and bright iridescent green 

Our sunken terrace has always been a haven for newts! this tiny one was under a pot

My beautiful growing area with edgings put in by upstairs. Big up to Steven who is becoming a vegetable growing expert and is watering daily. 

The greenhouse makes me feel like a proper gardener! trays of pricked out seedlings, lettuces in plugs and the last of the red bananas waiting to be planted out