Sunday, 18 September 2011

18.09. The front garden

Hi, Sunday again and another week has gone, I didn’t intend for this to become a weekly blog, but the days are flying past me faster than I can catch up so this blog writing will have to be as and when these days. According to the weather forecast, the whole week-end was supposed to be a wash-out, and I didn’t think I was going to get to see my garden at all, but they got it wrong again; this time for the better :-)

I bought plants for the window boxes for my front garden earlier this week and had assumed the plants would be stored in my garden for at least a week whilst waiting for suitable weather, but hey, today came with sun and warm weather after all so I decided to give it a go. My window boxes are 7 years old and could do with being replaced, all of them, but I think I’ll have a good look around next spring to see if I can find some bargains. It’s going to be a fair amount to replace all of them, especially the deep one on the wall. So today I just replaced some of the compost with fresh, new compost. And guess what I found when digging out some of the old compost? Peanuts. Lots of peanuts! Here are some of them, and this explains why the squirrel has been here digging in my window boxes over the winter. This is obviously his winter storage, and every now and then he has been back to replenish his storage or remove some for a quick snack. The peanuts are not coming from me, so he probably finds them somewhere close by, in a bird feeder most likely. I just hope he isn’t coming back for his stash now that I have removed all of it, he will most likely end up digging out all the new plants! I have written about the squirrel here before, but if you haven’t seen it yet, LOOK AT THIS POST where I have a short movie of him digging in one of my window boxes, OR THIS ONE with a photo of him.

OK, back to the plants, nothing adventurous I am afraid, planting for the winter is all about planting for survival! If we are to get another winter like we had last year and the year before, it is necessary to choose wisely. Oh, maybe you didn’t know, but the plants I have planted in my window boxes today are meant to flower right through the winter, until May. And they do, they even did last winter, despite being frozen solid. So I am going for the same pansies as last year, but I have added some pink and purple dianthus, which are also winter flowering plants but perhaps a bit more delicate than pansies. Incidentally, on the label for both pansies and dianthus it says: winter flowering, outdoor plants, ideal for containers and beds, protect from frost. Protect from frost?? In the UK? And how am I meant to do that if the plants are to be grown outdoors? Anyone with a good, practical suggestion, please write in the comment box. From experience though, pansies need no protection at all, even with snow and ice cover they still survive and go on flowering. They really are quite suitable for the British climate.

And here are the window boxes on the wall close-up. I know the plants are not much to brag about just yet, but if the weather isn’t too bad for the next 6 weeks, the plants will double in size, be in flower and be just the right size to face the winter. I will be back with another photo for you by then, around first week of November or so. That is of course, if the squirrel has left the window boxes alone! Last year he kept digging up the cyclamens I put in, he actually took them, I don’t know where he brought them, but somewhere, in someone’s garden there is a stack of dead cyclamens that was intended for my window boxes! He left the pansies alone last year, so perhaps he will leave them alone this year too? Not sure if he likes or dislikes dianthuses so that remains to be seen :-)

I have done more work on my web-site, this time the summer photos on my garden section. You will have seen some of them here on this blog, but HERE YOU CAN SEE THEM ALL in the right order, well worth a visit :-)

That’s it for tonight, I’ve got a long night in front of the TV ahead of me; with Spooks and Downton Abbey starting again on the same day, at the same time….thank heavens for my recordable top-set box, but I don’t think I will be able to delay watching any of these until tomorrow, so I will have 2 ½ hours of TV tonight, starting in just over 1 hour. Better get dinner started, see you next time!

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