June 26, 2013
No doubt, you have been keeping notes of your garden this year – what you have sown, grown, planted and transplanted, be it flowers or vegetables, herbs, shrubs or fruit. Or a mixture of all of them, arranged formally or mixed together decoratively in a potager, or harking back to the increasingly popular cottage garden style. How have you recorded your successes and failures? Just as notes, or on a garden task board (very simple to make; visual and easily adapted to whatever you grow)? For the latter, all you need is an inexpensive pin board, some luggage labels, and pins upon which to hang the tags.
Garden Diaries, Journals & Jotters
April 25, 2013
At last I have been able to work in the garden; the soil is fit, the weeds have not yet overtaken me, and yet there is so much to reclaim from last year’s neglect. But my topic scheduled for this week is the importance of keeping records – not lists or charts or annotated plans, but diaries, journals and jotters. The former are of course vital, but when I came to sort mine from recent years, I realised that they in no way conveyed what I felt about the garden, my successes and failures; the feel of the seasons, the scents, colours and sounds of the garden. And good food enjoyed from produce we have grown ourselves.
Arrival of the snow
January 20, 2013
Hard on my decision to continue reclaiming the various mini-gardens within our acre of ground (as described in my ‘Plans & Dreams’ post of 29th December) comes the snow. Not as heavy here in our part of the Cotswolds as in other areas of the UK, but more is forecast with freezing temperatures and icy winds. I am pleased to have an adequate bird-feeding station within sight of the kitchen window, and a good supply of bird-food. And I am reminded that NEXT weekend is the RSPB’s ‘Big Garden Birdwatch’. Helping garden wildlife is fun – and it couldn’t be easier. Over the weekend of 26-27 January 2013, we’d love you, your friends and family, to get involved in the world’s largest wildlife survey! As an activity that started life as something for the RSPB’s youth membership to do in winter, Big Garden Birdwatch has grown into fun for all the family. All you need to do is count the birds in your garden or a local park for one hour then tell us what you see. Discover how to take part here.
As to my garden reclamation, I had actually already started work on the overgrown beds and have managed to clear one very small jellybean-shaped bed of nettles, dead sage bushes and a self- seeded elder and was ready to dig and enrich the de-natured soil to grow perennial onions – scallions (bunching or salad onions) which will overwinter. ‘Lilia’ is particularly good as you can use the tops as green leaf and leave the bulbs to swell. ‘Kaigaro’ is also worth trying and was outstanding in Dobies’ trials; it’s a mild-tasting, white bunching onion, with very healthy foliage (eat that, too), maturing 10 weeks from sowing.
Although I can’t be clearing at the moment, there are tasks that all gardeners should do in times of snowfall. When snow is forecast, ensure overwintering veg, potted plants and early hellebores are protected with fleece, netting or cloches, and knock snow off evergreens that will otherwise become misshapen from the weight (wear waterproofs or you will become soaked). Check that wild birds have water as well as food, and watch you don’t slip on icy paths and driveways – seems unnecessary to remind everyone of this but a fall now could prevent gardening for quite some while.
I’m making use of this enforced indoor time to organize my seeds – initially, I place them in a storage box with card dividers to separate the months; then each week, I check the monthly section and pull out the relevant seeds, for sowing outdoors, in the greenhouse, or on the kitchen window sill. And whilst I am waiting for the snow to go and the weather – and soil – to warm up, I am creating a new-style garden journal to record my sowings and plantings. The one shown above will be dedicated to my salad beds and the jelly-bean perennial onion plot. I take brown paper bags which I decorate with appropriate paper table napkins whilst the pages on which the records are to inserted are prepared with strips of decorator’s masking tape, coloured with water-soluble crayons sprayed with coloured inks for a mottled effect.
Discover More: To allow you to read the blog post without clicking backwards and forwards between the blog and links on the Dobies website when you want to discover more about a product or topic (and also links to other external sites), we are now listing the links at the end of the post. Any words that you see in bold type will have a link in the list that follows. We hope you find this useful.
Links for this post: ‘Plans & Dreams’ blog post; bird-feeding; RSPB’s ‘Big Garden Birdwatch’; salad onions; fleece, netting, cloches; garden journal instructions will follow in due course, other journaling ideas here.
And in general, check for all seeds, plants and other topics on the Dobies website by clicking on the generic links. You may particularly like: vegetable seeds, vegetable plants, flower seeds, flower plants, herbs, fruit and equipment. And don’t forget their regular mailings and special offers online. Just keep visiting so you don’t miss anything special.
Garden Journaling – jump-start
August 16, 2012
In the Dobies of Devon e-newsletter published last week, I referred to starting a garden- or nature- diary during the school holidays. You can’t say much in one paragraph, though I did suggest using an old map as a starting point, and sketching or collaging, adding napkin images; quite a lot of techniques in fact. So in this post are a few more prompts – visual images with explanations that should jump-start what you can do. Not knowing where to begin so often means you never do, or are afraid of that white page. Use offcuts of paper to sketch on, as I did above, when in the car visiting a National Trust garden somewhere.
Gardens on the move
July 31, 2012
My plan to blog live from Ireland was a failure as such WiFi connections as I was able to access were so slow and intermittent that posting anything more than a short email proved impossible. But that did not stop me writing nor my husband and I taking photographs wherever we travelled – 1,000 miles from door to door. So my ‘News from Ireland’ is a longer than normal post – two weeks rolled into one. It’s surprising when one is away from home how plans for the garden gel when the day-to-day tasks of sowing and planting and weeding are not uppermost in your mind. So we forgot how the grass would be growing out of control in the orchard, or that the veg would either be dying for lack of moisture or drowned in yet more rain. With little traffic on most Irish roads, we had time to enjoy the diversity of wild flowers – and likewise the insects they attracted. Even though our garden at home is part wilderness, the sight of such profusion reminded me of the importance of creating wild areas in even the smallest plot.