Sunday 24th April 2022 – dog tired

The Under-Gardener has had a lot to complain about: he’s exhausted from all the garden supervision he’s had to provide for the humans this weekend and he’s peeved that despite these being his notes, people haven’t seen much of him. So here he is, in his favourite occupation of sunbathing on the job. That ridge in the lawn is where Chief Engineer has uncovered the mole tunnels, packed them with chopped onion and replaced the turf back over the tunnels. It’s working so far… and I see next door have two fresh molehills, so hopefully we’ve pushed Moley over there for a bit!

It’s been a weekend of non-stop gardening and we were all exhausted at the end of it. I spent a fortune on replenishing my dahlia stocks and a selection of really beautiful tubers arrived on Thursday, so I potted them up at the weekend and already shoots are visible. I can’t wait for these – it’s going to be a technicolour explosion. I also bought a wisteria (which Chief Engineer kindly paid for half of, as it was rather more expensive – and bigger – than I was expecting!) I made very heavy weather of planting it and affixing it to the pergola, knocking off several buds in the process, which I am furious with myself for. The rest of the work was largely pricking out of seedlings and making successional sowings of veg. Chief Engineer netted the gooseberries (after I’d meticulously hunted down every gooseberry sawfly caterpillar and dispatched it with a squish) and he also netted the brassicas – not a moment too soon, as the idiot wood pigeons have finally found them and started tearing into them, plus multiple cabbage white butterflies have been spotted. I see that the nettles I leave to grow here and there are well munched by something, so I am hopeful that some of our more attractive native butterflies will also be seen in the garden before too long.

Chief Engineer at work. Buying this cage was a revelation after years of constructing ramshackle things from scratch using canes, string and bits of old net. This was well worth the investment and I’ll gradually buy more. So much quicker and easier and more attractive and effective, too.
It’s a terrible photo – I just never seem to be able to capture the apple blossom well on camera, but this is one of our best years yet for blossom and the bees are going wild for it. The apples aren’t great but they’re fine for cooking and the tree is well used by a huge range of garden birds. The tits in particular (blue, long-tailed, great, coal) all love to pick off aphids and other pests (and they are most welcome!)
Although the wind was quite fresh, the sun was strong. The Under-Gardener was grateful for a spot of shade. That lemon tree in the black pot – grown from seed! – is being munched. I think it’s the dreaded vine weevil – time for nematodes. Vine weevil nematodes are the only nematodes I’ve ever had any success with. Even then I still find the odd adult weevil (they are a lot crunchier than the sawfly larvae when squished!)
Planting out germinated peas. If I sow direct, the voles will take the lot. Sowing in guttering in the greenhouse has revolutionised pea growing for me – it’s so incredibly easy to plant out. Hoe a shallow trench and slide everything out of the length of guttering into it. I’ll never grow peas any other way again. Attributed to the late and utterly wonderful Geoff Hamilton, I think.
Here’s a curiosity – imagine my surprise when I opened this packet of carrot seeds to find they were a bright pearlescent green. Apparently they are coated with a “green, non-toxic, anti-fungicidal food dye to aid visual identification in the soil”. Well, I will say that it made it much easier to sow the seed thinly, but I am not sure I’d have bought these if I’d known about this. It’ll be interesting to see what the germination rate is like (and the quality of the carrots!)
An overlooked plant in an overlooked corner, this epimedium is flowering its heart out right now. I love its crazy jester’s hat flowers on delicate branching stems. An uncomplaining plant that thrives without fuss in difficult, dry shady corners. I’d actually like to get more of these in some different varieties.
Tulips starting to go over now (apart from new introduction Ballerina, giving welcome orange-red on the far left) but plenty of other stuff bulking up. the lupins seem particularly happy about the autumn manure mulch (unsurprising, since they are legumes, I think). I do hope this doesn’t mean they’re going all out on foliage at the expense of flowers.
The year’s first allium fixing to open! Every year I plant more, every year I wonder where they’ve all gone. Surely nothing eats alliums?!
The Under-Gardener wishes it to be understood that the snacks are closer to the top end of the path and Head Gardener should focus her attention this way.
First irises in the last of the evening sun. I shall take better photos of these in better light when more have opened. They are heavenly. I want to fill this space with them. They love the heat bouncing off the house and the patio.

Published by Notes from the Under-Gardener

Keen amateur gardener, tending a large home garden growing flowers, fruit and veg, ably supported by husband and dog.

3 thoughts on “Sunday 24th April 2022 – dog tired

  1. You have a lovely colourful garden, so nice to see garden views and so many tulips. I notice that the FMNs are succeeding in their attempt for world domination! How lucky are you to have not only an Under-Gardener but also a Chief Engineer.

    Liked by 1 person

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