Archive for 07/01/2015

That Bloomin' Garden

Its time to plan garden classes

As I sit here from my office the rain is constant and my yard is looking like a lake in some areas. It’s a good day to do some spring planning. Last year I taught some garden classes and really enjoyed sharing my passion for gardening. Today I am planning more classes for other venues as the need is so great. The younger generation is eager to learn and last year they came to hear all about vegetables, herbs and seeds. I saw a few sparks of interest in growing flowers so I will be taking the leap and giving some classes not only in design but how to grow flowers. Yes, I know for most of us growing flowers is easy but with communities densifying gardens have changed. They are definitely smaller areas to plant and our young people may only have a small patio. They want plants that…

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I just didn’t get to spend enough time at the Huntington Library. We were probably there for only three to four hours total. The place is HUGE.

One of the massive buildings on the grounds of the Huntington Library. One of the massive buildings on the grounds of the Huntington Library.

Most of our time we spent at the Desert Garden. However, the grounds have 12 distinct gardens spread over 120 acres.

Versailles comes to Pasadena. Versailles comes to Pasadena.

Not everything was fabulous. This scene with the grassy sward and the statues seems very out of place, like an imitation Versailles. Plus, how much water does it take to keep this lawn so green, and isn’t there a drought in California? I do like the distant view of the mountains, though.

Sasanqua Camellias Sasanqua Camellias

There were a few nice Sasanqua Camellias in bloom. However, I had been hoping for masses of blooming Camellias. And aren’t some Camellias supposed to be fragrant? None of these were.

Rose Garden Rose…

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WP_20150107_11_25_59_ProIt’s early January and a perfect time to think about what you’re going to grow in the coming year, putting this down on paper (especially for food crops) look through your seed collection, and plugging any gaps. With not much to do in the garden at present, this is just what I’ve been up to in the last couple of days.

I’ve done what I usually do- slotted the packs of seeds I’m going to use into a weekly organiser so that I know when to sow them (always being prepared to adjust this if the weather doesn’t quite go to expectations where outdoor sowings are concerned), adding in a few more things where I want to grow more succession crops (e.g. carrots) or widen the range (e.g. squashes).

I’ve also bought some additional asparagus crowns to add to the bed I started last year (only a couple of plants came through their first season). As last year, I’ve been collecting seed from some plants and adding to my collection through purchases, including taking advantage of the RHS Members’ Seed Scheme where I can buy packs of 12 different seeds for just £8.50. I placed my order yesterday and look forward to receiving some interesting ornamentals to add to Old School Garden.

As far as food is concerned I’ve prepared a new plan for the Kitchen Garden and showed both early and follow on crops…kitchen gdn 2015Changes for this year include:

  • Relocating the three large pots of blueberries – I’m planning to partly sink these into the ground in a spot where I can more easily erect a bird proof cage over them and at the same time release some gravelled space next to the Greenhouse and Cold Frame where I can store pots and trays for ‘hardening off’ new plants.

  • Growing more carrots and parsnips in plastic dustbins, as my experiment last year worked quite well and provides some extra growing space when the rest of the garden is pretty well full.

  • I’ve substituted one Blackcurrant bush with a White currant to improve the balance of the fruit we have and bought ten raspberry canes (two varieties of summer fruiting to plug some gaps in the rows and hopefully improve fruiting).

  • I’m also continuing to install plastic hoops (I’ve used plumbing pipe available from DIY stores) over some more beds to enable me to use plastic/ enviromesh/netting to provide a warm micro climate and protection from pests.

Let’s hope for a productive year!

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