All posts by Jill Lambert

Alex’s Ramblings April 2019

April’s ramblings

 

Well, it’s nice that the clocks have sprung forward giving us extra hours of daylight and who knows, extra motivation to get out there into the garden and catch up on all those jobs we promised to do but never quite got round to. We had some lovely weather toward the end of March but as April starts, it’s almost back to winter with a very cold spell. Some parts of the country have even had snow! As I write this, it is raining heavily and vertically. Looking on the bright side, it will ensure the general purpose weed and feed I put on my lawns is taken up quickly, I can already see the patches of moss turning black so I know it’s working.  Looking at my last year’s records, we appear to be about a month further on than last. Daffodils were just emerging and we were looking forward to the tulips blooming. This year, my daffodils are finished and have been replaced by some fine tulip specimens although they did get damaged slightly by frost earlier this week

Temperatures are forecast to recover this weekend and a spell of more settled weather is expected. I have managed to get my tomatoes and cucumbers potted up and shall have plenty available for the plant sale on May 4th. I have also sown lettuce, leeks, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and planted onions, shallots and broad beans. I had hoped to get an early sowing of sweet corn by now but it was not to be. I shall be making multiple sowings of these and many other of my vegetable selections in order to ensure as long a harvesting period as possible. April sees a marked increase in sowing and by the end of the month I shall have beetroot, carrot, runner and French beans, mange tout, courgette and squash all sown. Those of you who grow potatoes will no doubt be getting them in the ground this month too.

In addition to my usual variety of French bean, I’m trying a variety new to me called Hunter. They look quite attractive and I’m hoping they may catch the judge’s eye at the show. After trying a dwarf variety of Brussels sprouts last year which turned out to be an absolute disaster I’m reverting to my traditional variety of Brendan.

In the decorative garden, tidying continues at apace, readying the borders for annual planting. Rose pruning is complete and an early feed applied. The dahlias I started into growth last month are shooting well and I shall be able to take cuttings from them in the next week or so thus increasing my stock. In the greenhouse, I will be sowing annuals for filling in those gaps in the borders.  If, like me, you have a glut of snowdrops, now is the best time to split them while they still have their foliage. Just dig them up and divide the clumps as you wish. Put the remainder back into the hole you made when digging them up and in a couple of years you’ll be looking to divide them again.

A week or so ago, I listened to an item on the radio regarding water or the lack of it. In essence, it was forecasting that there will be insufficient water to support the population within 25 years. As responsible gardeners, it behoves us all to use water judiciously and we can all play a part by storing and using the water that falls on our own properties. If you don’t have a water butt, they are an excellent investment.

Good gardening,

Alex

 

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Alex’ September Ramblings – last for the year!

The annual flower show for is over for another year and although I was elsewhere on the day, all the reports I am receiving, tell me that it was another excellent one, both in terms of quantity and quality. Hearty congratulations to all that entered. It is pleasing to see that we had a new winner of the Banksian Medal by a member showing only for the second time. The winner claims that until two years ago they were not a gardener! It just goes to show what can be achieved by determination and a little skill. I hope this will encourage more to participate. Continue reading Alex’ September Ramblings – last for the year!

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Alex’ August Ramblings

Well, what a difference 12 months makes. Looking back at last August’s ramblings, I was bemoaning the amount of rainfall combined with a drop in temperatures and the impact that was having on the growth of plants in the garden. This year we have had the opposite, little or no rain combined with exceptionally high temperatures. This has persisted for about six weeks and only last weekend did we get any relief in the form of a decent amount of rainfall. Although nowhere near enough to make up for that which we have lacked, it did serve to refill my water butts. Rainwater is much more beneficial to plants than tap water which has been treated with all sorts of chemicals. We are now told that temperatures are set to rise again with little or no rainfall in the foreseeable future! Continue reading Alex’ August Ramblings

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Alex’ July Ramblings

Last month I hailed the return of good growing weather in May. June turned out to be “Flaming June” and it appears there is no end in sight to the exceptional temperatures we are experiencing. Rainfall has and continues to be forecast to be extremely scarce. Gardeners will be spending many hours ensuring that plants have adequate water while hoping that no hose pipe ban will be introduced. Bristol Water has said that it is experiencing an increase of 17% in demand. It behoves us all to be judicious when using this precious resource. Having said that, my water butts are empty and I’m relying on mains supply. Continue reading Alex’ July Ramblings

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Alex’ June Ramblings

Well, at last we have had some good growing weather! I hope it has encouraged everyone to get out into the garden to try and make up for lost time.

I have just returned from a trip to the Loire Valley in France where the daily temperatures have been remarkably high. The Loire Valley is a very productive area gardening wise and I took the opportunity to visit a number of gardens attached to chateaux. They ranged from the very formal at Villandry to the fanciful at Rivau. This was my second visit to the Loire and the thing that is most apparent since visiting some thirty years ago is a move to organic regimes. Continue reading Alex’ June Ramblings

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Alex’ May Ramblings!

Well, April’s weather continues to frustrate gardeners with a very hot spell mid month which has curtailed the blooming season for some of my tulips and the remainder cold and wet so we have not had much opportunity to make up for lost time. I think we are still around five weeks behind where we might otherwise expect. Let’s hope that May turns out to be more favourable. Continue reading Alex’ May Ramblings!

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