Life on Lottie 52a – 14/01/2019

After a good workout on the allotment Tuesday, the following day I succumbed to a nasty viral infection. You know one of those were you just feel totally crap (my GP’s description 😄) with a hacking cough, loss of appetite and just wanting to sleep. Today, in attempt to shake myself and get some badly needed fresh air, I paid a visit to 52a.

My plan is to turn the top two beds into a flower garden. Today I took up the path matting which was separating the two 1.3m x 3.3m beds, dug over the unplanted bed and top of the path, to join them and have put weed suppressant fibre down the middle which will be grassed when the weather is right. After digging the new bed, I ran out of energy so called it a day, frustrating but you have to recognise when your body has had enough. The soil is fabulous, easy to work and clearly has lots of goodness put on it. This is the benefit of taking over a plot immediately from the previous owner and not having to work on one that has been derelict for a while.

If you are new to the blog, and/or missed my A Sunny Few Hours on Plot 52a – 8/1/2019 post, above is my plan for the flower bed. The top bed apparently has always had perennials and it’s been difficult, now the perennials have died down, to sort out the plants from the weeds. I don’t want to dig up good plants, so have to leave most of it until spring, it’s all about getting the balance right when it comes to weeding.

I unearthed foxgloves, aquilegia, lots of verbena bonariensis and what I think is michaelmas daisy. Now I have to carefully plan what varieties of cottage garden plants I’m going to grow, along with the dahlias and roses I will plant. I’m not a designer gardener and have always bought and then found a home, often shoehorning plants in. Higgledy piggledy is more my idea of gardening, organised mayhem, isn’t that what a cottage garden is all about? Having said that my one rule is to always take height into consideration.

The next job on my list is the cherry tree and strawberry bed under it. As with strawberry plants allowed to go unchecked, they have spread into several beds. What I will do is pull-up the strawberries, level the soil and grass under the tree. I’m going to have to read up about pruning cherry trees, because I don’t want it to grow too big. The previous owner said it was bought as a very small tree only a few years ago and she had no idea it would grow so fast. It is nice to have a little height and shade on an open plot but I don’t want it so big it casts too much shade. A neighbour of mine when I lived in Worthing had an enormous cherry tree and I certainly don’t want it to grow that large.

I paid a visit to my local garden centre after leaving the plot, and made for the clearance section – always good value! For only £8 I bought a sedum ‘Red Cauli’, salvia ‘New Dimension Blue’ and Hemerocallis ‘Pink Damask’. All drought tolerant and ideal for the allotment, especially when I might not get there every day to water in the height of the summer.

I’m always happy for help and advice so please leave a comment.

Six on Saturday – 12/01/2019

I told myself, no matter what, in 2019 every week I would find six things for the weekly meme hosted on The Propagator’s Blog. Despite it feeling quite raw outside today and suffering from a cold (again!) I ventured out as far as my patio. There is a lot of sign of life in the containers which is exciting.

1. Pelargonium

Despite looking very dead around the edges, this pretty pelargonium, without a label so remains unnamed, is still flowering. I’m going to brave the cold this afternoon and tidy the dead leaves and take a cutting, just in case. It is right up against the wall so fairly sheltered and I am hoping if I put a fleece bag over it then it’ll get through any really cold winter snap.

2. Crocus

The crocus in all the pots on the patio are slowly popping through but this pot, filled to the brim with crocus bulbs in November is full of the promise of spring.

3. Tree Peony

My precious tree peony dug up from my last garden and brought here in April in a pot, struggled a little during the summer. I wrapped it up in a fleece bag recently opening the top up during the daytime and remembering to close it at night. It is looking extremely healthy and full of buds. I know they don’t like being moved which is why it was not happy this summer but I had hoped to plant it in the flower garden on my allotment, but it does mean moving it again.

ANY ADVICE PLEASE!

4. Patio Rose

This pretty apricot coloured patio rose is tucked away behind larger pots for winter protection. It is full of shoots, so maybe in its own little micro-climate it thinks spring is around the corner. I’ll keep a watch on the weather forecasts and rush out with some bubble wrap if it looks like snow is on the way, which I hope won’t be.

5. Hellebore

There are a couple of hellebores in one of my containers as I don’t believe you can have winter plant displays without them. When I bought them, late November, they were in flower and a very pretty white. They have now all turned green so the contrast with the Osmanthus which, although variegated, is also mainly green with just a few yellow tips.

6. Salvia – Love and Kisses

I planted a Salvia ‘Love and Kisses’ in my daughter’s garden which really took off and looked fabulous. Although some advice says it is hardy, I didn’t want to chance it so took a few cuttings. Without a greenhouse at the moment, I made a little bubble wrap house for it and left it on my patio. Unfortunately a tiny little slug also decided to take up residence and has been nibbling at the leaves, I’ve brought it inside now with the hope the central heating doesn’t upset it too much (it’s by the patio doors). As soon as I have my mini-greenhouse on the allotment I’ll move it. Maybe it might be wiser to leave it outside during the day and bring it in at night. Gardening is full of having to make decisions.

Made it – managed six! As winter continues I think I’ll have to be a bit more abstract with my Six on Saturday. Peep over the garden fence on The Propagator’s Blog to see what other gardeners have chosen for their Six on Saturday.