Life in the Highlands

Hello and thank you for looking at my Blog...i hope you enjoy my site. I'm pretty new to this but hope to keep it all updated with the progress of my garden. I've really enjoyed being able to start everything from scratch and the hard work has been worthwhile. I hope you enjoy seeing my progress too! Feel free to leave comments it's always nice to get feedback.

Monday, May 07, 2007

May 2007

I was so excited having received several grasses and bamboos from fellow gardeners which they were thinning out. They arrived in the post and with no idea what lay inside i opened to see wonderful plants. I think you have to be a gardener to understand the sense of excitement of receiving plants in the post. Before planting i watered them and let them rest for 24 hours after the journey before setting them in their new homes. That's the thing about gardeners they are very giving people and like to share. Unfortunately my plants are not mature enough for me to yet share parts of my garden but i look forward to the day that i do. That said i have managed to share some strawberry plants so i feel at least that's a start.

Very busy in the garden of late getting things planted. We had a whole 10 days or more without a drop of rain but finally the skies opened and watered the garden nicely this weekend. You can feel the difference after rainfall the garden ready to gallop away again. We've another week of rain and then it should brighten up again but it will certainly give the new plants a boost.

Walking around the garden there's lots happening already, the strawberries are in flower and with promise of more to come it looks like a bumper harvest again. The gooseberries had been attacked by the gooseberry sawfly so i sat and handpicked off all the caterpillers and the eggs i could find. Having made several checks since it would appear that for now anyway i've done enough. The gooseberries have flowered already and i have small goosegogs already forming. The currant bushes are still in flower and will be a little behind.

These Nasturtiums were planted at Easter and have made great strides in growing. I find they grow better if you don't disturb them, they will grow on if transplanted but it really does slow them down so these days i just sow what i need where i need them. These are in pots either side of the arbour seat in the veggie garden. More have been planted but not showing through yet under the apple trees. The seeds for these Nasturtiums were given to me by a fellow gardener, Bob. For the small cost of postage he sent me loads of different seeds and i must say the germination rate is equal if not better to those i have bought.

Having made a good start by planting up twenty largish pots for starters, I've still got plants in the cold frame hardening off for pots so still more to do along with my hanging baskets and more plants waiting to be hardened off. I usually do five 14" baskets for the front of the house and usually include surfinias, geraniums and petunias. I used to add trailing lobelia but it's not very good when the weather dries out the compost so i tend to use plants that will stand a bit of heat and not go to seed just cos i'm a bit late with the watering. I find the trick is to keep deadheading and make sure you don't overwater them which is easy to do with baskets as i water them insitu. I tend to line the baskets with black polythene cut to size from bin liners and puncture a third of the way up the sides so that it only retains a reservoir of water in the bottom. To hide the black polythene i also plant the sides so that they are covered much quicker. I only need to water these daily usually in the evening and feed them once a week. Two of my neighbours have already asked me if i'm doing baskets again this year and when are they going up, but this won't be until June and they will stay there until the first frosts. Pots are hard work in keeping up with the watering in the hot summer sun but they are worth it. This year i've included fuschias too in the pots so will see how they do.

When i think of my garden as finished, if a garden is indeed ever finished, i always imagine lush green grasses and bamboos, interspersed with beautiful flowering plants with bright flowers that look naturally placed and complimenting each other...of course that is by day. I also would like my garden to look it's best at night when it's dark and really hanker after some sophisticated lighting. The garden at the mo is not mature enough to realise this dream but there are things that i can do now for the future such as planting the right plants. By keeping the palette light - i've planted lots of white flowers and those in very pale tints of pink or yellow that will glow at dusk and into the darkness. Many white flowers pack a double wallop in the evening garden: they're often more fragrant than brightly coloured (or even pastel) blooms. Some, such as nicotiana (flowering tobacco), release their intoxicating aromas only at dusk. Variegated foliage - striped, spotted or mottled with white - stands out at night in much the same way white flowers do. Any white flower looks good at night and you have hundreds to choose from in annuals and perennials of all sizes and shapes.

Add water in some form - a small pool, a fountain, even a birdbath. It will provide a reflective surface for moonlight and starlight, its gentle sounds lend a sense of tranquility to the scene and the extra moisture in the air further intensifies the scent of flowers. I have a birdbath sited amongst plants and also a water feature on the patio which i surround with big lush plants so that only the sound can be heard, this is quite effective and rather soothing. My larger grasses are illuminated using discreet solar uplighters and the larger ones are already quite effective at night, i plan to increase this through time and as the plants mature with downlighters. Solar lights give a soft glow at night and are very pretty. I also have solar lanterns on the fences too.

Of course, with lighting you are in control. If you have an ugly part in your garden at night you can ignore it... and only highlight the best bits. I recall staying in Aberdeen a few years ago and the restaurant next door had this wonderful garden that diners looked out on. They had mature trees with uplighters and the effect was really stunning. That image has stayed with me and one day would like to recreate that effect, of course my tree is only small at the moment but i can dream can't I?

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6 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

Your garden sounds wonderful! We have some solar lights, just enough to light the path at night. You paint a beautiful picture with grasses and shadows!

1:04 AM  
Blogger Ziggywigs said...

Thanks Chris, i love dramatic effects and architectural foliage; grasses create the drama with lighting and also give movement in the garden. My Miscanthus Sinensis Gracillimus is about four feet tall and is quite striking with just two solar lights uplighting it.

1:10 AM  
Blogger maggie said...

nothing in particular to say, i just love to read about your garden. And hey, the chicken girls are out now full time in their coop! Now chickens are a great way to liven up a garden!

7:56 PM  
Blogger Ziggywigs said...

Had a peek at your blog and had a laugh at your chucks antics...they sure sound lively. Thanks for stopping by.

9:59 PM  
Blogger RUTH said...

Lovely lighting. Lends a real enchantment to your garden.

1:52 AM  
Blogger Ziggywigs said...

Lighting really changes the garden doesn't it....i was out last night in the dark and the solar lights came on and just lit up a few plants...i must get more lights this year.

3:28 AM  

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