the flower-powered gardener....

A new blog all about my adventures in my new back garden and my fanatical love of all things floral....read it here and at....

 

https://www.gabrielash.com/gardeners-corner/author/andy/

 

August 21st 2017 #AutumnalAugust
 
Like most gardeners at the mo, I’m just a little bit miffed with our weather. I was hoping it was going to behave itself for what’s left of the season. However August is in full flow but most days it feels like a damp and chilly autumn is almost here. #OurWeatherIsProperNutsThisYear.
 
I decided it was time for a slight re-jig so I’ve been getting very jiggy-with-it, with lots of cutting back, re-positioning of pots, re-planting and of course LOTS of feeding and dead-heading, (although my Cosmos ‘Dazzler’ seem to keeping popping out blooms wether I get to them or not). 
 
Sadly the sweet peas had to go. The mildew looked so bad that I cut hard back and got rid. However they’ve been glorious for two full months and I’ve had masses of cut blooms. As I get  older my attitude to any plant coming to an early demise is more “Finally a space to grow some other little gorgeous thing that’s been sitting and waiting in a pot for weeks” and far less “Oh dear, what happened here”. #Ain’tNobodyGotTimeFoDat. So I’ve popped in a few free Thunbergia alata / ‘Black-Eyed Susans’ that my mate James gave me weeks ago. #Hurrah
 
But I’m not going to let this grey moist murkiness dampen things down one jot. The water troughs are brimming, #Yay!,  so let’s keep-on keepin’ on.  I’ve put my pots of Cannas all down one side of the back garden. They look like they’re having their very own Mardi-Gras parade with raucous red Dahlia ‘American Beauty’, Zinnia ‘Purple Prince’, tall shaggy tangerine Tagetes ‘Kees Orange’ and ‘Starship Pink’ Lobelia all jostling for position too. All that’s pumping lots of colour, (#ToASambaBeatInMyHead), and in the greenhouse the tommies are ripening nicely and at the back the long raised bed of dahlias is approaching floral supernova. #ItsJumpinUpInHere.

July 26th 2017 #JoysOfJuly

 

It’s not often I’m lost for words, but even I'm ever-so-slightly gobsmacked at just how utterly gorgeous my garden now is. I was hoping for this cacophony of colour by mid August, so to have this already is like some sort of magical and wonderful blessing. It’s quickly transformed into the utterly joyous flower jungle of my dreams. There’s nothing quite like it to inspire me to wake super-early at the moment. I’m up and out with the sparrows, dead-heading and dunking my two gallon can in finally full water troughs and sloshing around like a whirling dervish. I admit I am talking to my gorgeous blooms too sometimes, I’m just so in love with them all. Forgive me for lots of extra pics of delicious blooms, but I’m past the point of being able to help myself. All that's needed now is a bit of judicious tie-ing in and trimming of older foliage, and a regular generous drink with some tomato-like liquid feed mixed in to keep plants pumping out blooms for the next few months. After such a dry spring and then record breaking heat in June, it’s no surprise that some of my incredible edibles that I’ve mixed into the planting like Coriander, Fennel and Chard have bolted and gone straight to seed, and also that mildew has started to ravage my ravishing red ‘Scarlet Tunic’ and hot pink ‘Robert Uvedale’ Sweet Peas. However, even this can’t remotely dampen my spirits or detract from the #totalflowerfiesta that is already at full-tilt. I just can’t get enough of this floral fun fair happening right outside my door.

June 27th 2017 #SuperSizzlingJune
 
Forget flaming June, this is super sizzling Scorchio! I can’t remember a mid summer this hot since 1976. That year I got myself in rather hot water when I filled up my paddling pool and threw all my teddies and soft toys in it with me! However I was only 5 years old, and I was convinced they all needed to cool down. It’s been a challenge to keep plants cool and wet too, and I seem to be forever trying to keep up with watering on late evenings in the garden. My various water troughs installed to collect all the rain from my greenhouses have stayed empty, so it’s been a case of hose-pipe to the rescue. However, this incredible hot high-summer weather has meant that my plants are probably a good full month ahead of themselves, with hot pink Sweet Peas ‘Robert Uvedale’ already going completely nuts, Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’ well into it’s stride, my Martagon lilies (and a gorgeously sumptuous brand new variety called ‘Corsage’) bursting their buds, and even the very first heads of my ‘Harlequin’ sun-flowers and Cosmos ‘Dazzler’ popping all over the show. Normally this is unheard of in my garden until at least mid-July. The dahlias and marigolds are revving up nicely too, so it’s full steam ahead -  the #totalflowerfest has begun and I’m #lovingeverymoment.

May 29th 2017 #MuchAdoAboutMay

 

It’s been such an unusually mild and dry May this year in my normally cool wet Cheshire garden, and my plants have been happily galloping away. I’ve been planting-out like there’s no tomorrow, and I’m thinking if this continues I’ll be reaching full-on flowery Nirvana in no time at all. Plants like my Cosmos ‘Dazzler’ are budding up nicely and all my various Marigolds, Zinnias, upright Lobelias and Dahlias are starting to look super stocky, like they are ready to rock some serious flower-power in a few weeks time. With the RHS Chelsea Flower Show coverage all over the telly, the end of May always feels like someone has fired the starting gun, and there’s lots of fresh new lush green foliage from plants like Carex elata ‘Aurea’ (Bowles' golden sedge), dreamy Alchemilla mollis and ever increasing towering whorls of deep green lily leaves too. In my patch my rather fabulous pink and cherry-red Lupins ‘My Castle’ are the floral rockets that to me are shouting ‘Wohoo! Let’s get this party started!”. We’re off and it’s just going to get better and better!

April 29th 2017 #SeaOfGreen

 

Where does the time go? After a few rollercoaster weeks when temperatures have dipped and peaked from almost freezing to hot summer sunshine, we have finally levelled out and breezy mid spring is in full flow. I'm buzzing around my garden and greenhouses like a bumbling bee trying to keep on top of pricking out and potting on a huge amount of plants. I think it's fair to say those gin and tonics may have meant I got rather carried away and will possibly have enough plants on my hands to plant up a garden three times the size of mine. At the moment my priority is to get my young plants out into the fresh air so the wind can work its magic. Something called 'thigmomorphogenesis' can be really important right now if you want stocky healthy specimens and not tall weak lanky lush growth.  'Thingy-mo' (as I call it) is the response of plants to mechanical sensation which alters their growth patterns, (so in my garden it's all about exposing my young plants to the subtle effects of wind, raindrops, and the occasional brush past by a sniffing Jack Russell which causes them to wave about and grow strong and sturdy). April and May is also 'pelleted chicken manure time'. I like to sprinkle just a few around plants right now as it's that time when they're hungry for extra nitrogen and there's nothing like these stinky pellets of goodness to give plants that extra punch. I'm itching to plant out too, but first I want to 'place' rather than 'plant' and get my super flower-powered display fully colour co-ordinated using my four favourite colours of rich red, tangerine orange, golden yellow and hot pink. Now this is when the fun really starts.

March 18th 2017 #TotalFlowerFest

 

In the words of Karen Walker, my favourite comedy character from Will and Grace - “What’s this? What’s happening? What’s going on?”
Well I’m Andy, and I’m a self-confessed, card-carrying, guilty-as-charged flower-a-holic.
I live in green and gorgeous Cheshire, and this year I have not one but two new and rather lovely gabriel ash greenhouses to play in. In my town garden in Crewe I’m planning on a floral smorgas-gorge this summer. I’m delving deep into the wonderful world of growing flowers, mostly from seed, cuttings, divisions, and the occasional bit of layering or whatever other means of propagation necessary. This year I want to cultivate and revel in my favourite blooms like never before. I'm hoping my new back garden will become an energising, flower-powered space that’s super-charged with colour and vibrancy. So over the coming months, I want to open up my back garden and share with you my trials tribulations and triumphs. It’s going to be a veritable flower fantasia. I’ve been super busy already. I’ve potted up an obscene number of dahlia tubers, sown sunflowers sweet peas and Cosmos, divided and potted up Alstromerias, Cannas and Starship Lobelias, planted bulbs of lilies alliums and Mexican Tiger Flowers, and as soon as it warms up that little bit more towards the beginning of April, I’ll start sowing even more tender and half-hardy blooms. Somebody stop me!

So if you fancy some fun and a bit of colour, pour yourself a large G&T and join me on my quest for a #totalflowerfest in 2017. Cheers!

 

 

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