End of Month View – March 2011

Having started my End of Month View in January, I didn’t want to miss out on March, so despite sitting here surrounded by tissues, full of antibiotics and drinking hot blackcurrant, I am writing my EMOV for March but not firing on all cylinders.   There is little desire to go outside and potter in the garden at the moment, a sure sign that I am not 100%.   The only good thing about being off work with a heavy cold, that has now developed into a sinus infection, is  that the weather outside is horrible – wet and windy – there is no sense of frustration of wanting to be out in the sunshine because it  isn’t very inviting out there.

That is enough about me, this is a review of what has happened in my garden in March.  Well, quite a lot really.  It is beginning to fill out and starting to look lush and green again.  The forsythia is coming into leaf and the flowers are dropping, so that will be due for a prune at the weekend.  The daffodils are almost over and I have one solitary tulip  in the south facing border.

One solitary tulip on the South facing border

The north facing border is always a problem, it gets little sun and the soil is heavy and damp.  A Victorian stone wall looks lovely but makes for a much loved home for snails, which means  with the combination of a luxury home and ideal damp soil conditions they are in seventh heaven on this side of the garden.  The hostas are beginning to poke through and the astilbe is going great guns. Fortunately the hostas tend to grow faster than they can be eaten, but it is a never ending battle.  It is usually when they are in full leaf that they are turned into hosta doilies.

The north facing damp side of the garden
Astilbe; Aquilegia, hydrangea to name but a few damp loving plants

My raised bed is blending in to the garden, or perhaps I am just getting used to it.  I have a plastic cover for it, so have been able to turn it into a little greenhouse and sow some seeds straight into the ground.  I squared off nine sections and so far have planted, Pak Choi, Spinach, carrots, broccoli and beans in the middle.  All, apart from the beans are showing signs of life. I used vermiculite over the seeds, as a little warm blanket.

Spinach seedlings
Raised bed doing its job

I am not too worried about the beans  because I have also sown some indoors.  This year I have gone for Cobra,  it’s a vigorous climbing french bean and I intend to grow them in the middle of the raised bed on willow stakes.  The indoor bean seeds are doing fine, as are the chillies, tomatoes and courgettes.  I have made the fatal mistake of not labelling the chilli seeds properly so will have to wait until they grow before I know what they are!  The tomatoes are Gardeners Delight and I will  be growing Sungold as well.

Beans - Cobra
Chilli seedlings
Gardeners Delight tomato seedlings

Back outside to the garden, I have started off my potatoes in their sack.  I chose, First Earlies – Duke of York.  Don’t ask me why, I just thought they would be different and seemed to be a good all rounder.   The first five chitted potatoes went in on Sunday and once the greenery starts grows through, I will put in the next five.   I have never grown potatoes before so this is my ‘experiment year’.  I have covered them with a wicker cloche to protect them from cats and foxes.

My potato experiment

Finally, there is always a Forth Bridge job in any garden and mine is the IVY!! Those of you who follow my blog will know this is a never ending task and the bane of my life.  I have cut back a lot from the south facing wall and most of the north facing wall, however there is still quite a lot to do.  My dilemma is that if I cut too much down I will make access into the garden easier for the foxes.  It’s a tough life being a gardener!

Still tackling the ivy

So there you go, that’s my March review.  It’s an exciting time and shortly I will be looking at the garden and wondering if I have room to shoe horn anything else in.  You will have to see if I have managed that in my April EMOV.

Garden, Photography

My three month anniversary roundup

My favourite Spring flower - the Forget me Not Photo taken 27/3/2011

Halfway up the stairs,  Isn’t up, and isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery, it isn’t in the town:
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head:
“It isn’t really anywhere! It’s somewhere else instead!”  – (A A Milne)

I love this little poem (only the second verse is above), although I always associate it with Robin the Frog singing it on Sesame Street (this link will take you to the song) and not Christopher Robin.  It is, however, a pretty good summary of where I am.

On 23 January 2011 I decided to make a foray into the world of Blogging.  I visited the WordPress website, chose a theme, and came up with the title “Hurtling Towards 60”.  The raison d’être was to chart my course in finding out who the real Ronnie is before I hit 60. This blog was 3 months old on 23 March 2011 and there is just over three months to my birthday hence the reference to “halfway”.

Clematis Montana Elizabeth. I love the delicate pink flowers and marvellous perfume Photo taken 27/3/2011 . See my post: "A short tale of a garden shed".

A short tale of  a garden shed

Over the past three months I have come across some wonderful gardening blogs.  Also at this stage, I must mention the great band of gardeners on Twitter.  I have become even more enthusiastic about my garden than before.   Those who know me will ask if that is possible, but it really is.  When I discovered the satisfaction I get from writing something people like to read, I changed the title to “Hurtling Towards 60 and Beyond”  because it was a pretty sure bet that I would be continuing after July. Why stop doing something you enjoy just because you are 60?

Sweet little violets, growing in the strangest places. Photo taken 27/3/2011 See my post: "Nature never ceases to surprise"

Nature never ceases to surprise

On my blog’s three month anniversary I had written 39 posts,  had 2,018 visitors and 192 comments left.  I like to think that is a pretty good count.  I have regular visitors, so the blog must be of interest, which is the whole point.   At this stage I would like to give a very big thank you to Patient Gardener who introduced me to Blotanical a collection of garden blogs.  I became a member of this wonderful website which is full of great blogs about gardens from all over the world.  I have also had some posts selected for Garden Grab.

My £1 Poundland stick, really is a raspberry cane.  Photo taken 27/3/2011                See my post:  ” Raspberries and Plasticine”.

Raspberries and Plasticine

Gardeners are also brilliant photographers – some photos are absolutely stunning.  It has given me another string to my bow, not only I am learning to write, in what I hope is an interesting manner, I am also learning how to take good photographs.  Although I am yet to understand why, if I have the macro selected, the photos are often blurred – can I really get too close?  No doubt someone will leave a comment below with this answer.  Gardeners are also an extremely friendly group of people, always more than willing to leave helpful advice on posts, and they give great advice on their own blogs.

A Flowering current.                Photo taken 27/2/2011

In three months, I have not only written about my gardening successes and disasters, but have also shared the terrible plight of my ex-husband’s dementia, and the turmoil of redundancies at work.  In short, it really is sharing my thoughts, my garden and my photographs with you.

Thank you everyone who has dropped by to read my posts and  the messages you leave.  This includes Karen at The Garden Smallholder whose post about raspberries was most helpful,  Janet at Plantaliscious who always manages to boost my confidence and Donna from GardenWalk Garden Talk just to mention a few of you lovely people in the gardeners blogging community.    Please continue to visit, enjoy and feel free to comment.


A blossom walk to work

We can all admit to driving from A to B and not remembering how we got there.  This also happens when doing the same walk every day.  We are so wrapped up in our own thoughts we take for granted what is around us and just do not notice it anymore.  When I did my Last Winter Walk to the Seaside with my camera it made me realise how lovely the tree lined road was and how odd the Olive trees were in the park.  Sometimes it is good just to stand still and look at a local scene as though you were a stranger.  You will be surprised at what you will see and what you might not have noticed before – what is the saying “looking at things through fresh eyes”.  

Following my pictorial walk to the sea, I do now try to be more observant when out and about.   Also I take my camera with me everywhere.  It is a little digital Fuji FinePix, nothing grand and I wouldn’t dare call myself a photographer, anymore than call myself a doctor just because I can remove splinters, but I am learning how to take better photos. 

This morning I took photos of all the different types of blossom I passed on my walk to work.  I didn’t have to go far, the first blossom was the wonderful Skimmia by my garden gate, I love the combination of berries and blossom.  The red, white and green always makes me think this plant would be better blooming at Christmas. 



 As I looked to my left, I saw the wonderful frothy quince blossom, looking fantastic this year.  I feel there will be a need to knock on my neighbour’s door and lots of quince jelly being made later.



 I did ignore forsythia and bergenia – sorry if you think these should be included in a Spring Blossom walk.  Although there is nothing wrong with them and they are all part and parcel of Spring I find them uninspiring and absolutely everywhere.   Having said that so is Ribes but that comes in different shades, such as this very pretty pink one.  I had a lovely Ribes once called “Porky Pink” I have not been able to find it again.

Pretty pink Ribes
I am useless at remembering when things flowered the year earlier.  Some people say with great confidence “Oh the blossom is much earlier this year” but if the truth be known, I haven’t a clue when it all came into flower last year.   I have noticed that the magnificant magnolia seems to be flowering at different stages.  The one by my mother is almost out, and the one I passed this morning was in bud, but nevertheless it is a great sight.
There were some other lovely blossom trees but they were in front gardens and at 8:30 in the morning I was acutely aware of:  “Daddy, there is a strange lady taking photos of our tree/house”, so I whimped out.
My last photo is of a blossom tree that appears to be in abundance in Worthing but it is pretty so I couldn’t miss it out,  it was in the garden of a block of flats so I felt a little braver.  I had to stop there it was getting late so I had to get a wriggle on.  I hope next time you go from A to B you remember and notice what is around you.
Photography, Seaside

A lunchtime by the seaside

I am not one of the lucky ones who can spend all day gardening, either through their work or leisure time.  I find that exceedingly frustrating, especially when the days are sunny and warm as they are at the moment.  It is only March still and the weather could very well collapse by the weekend and it has been known to snow at Easter.  We are not out of the cold spells yet.   However, I am lucky enough to live and work on the Sussex Coast.  This means, on lovely days, like yesterday (and hopefully today) I can take a lunchtime walk along the beach.  So nobody feels left out I took some pics yesterday to share with you.  I hope you enjoy them and can hear the waves on the shingle, the seagulls squawking and the warmth of the sun on your faces.