At the moment, it’s fair to say that every day is Garden Day. But on Sunday May 10, there is a national event to get everyone to make the most of their outside spaces. www.gardenday.co.uk is aimed at encouraging everyone to enjoy a few moments of calm, or just engage in some fun activities outdoors. The virtual garden gathering kicks off at 11am and there will be activities all day until 4pm. You can make a flower crown, create a botanical cocktail, cook with flowers and try some simple planting, sharing your projects on social media. Visit the website to find out more.
I’ll be in my garden today (unfortunately the weather is not as amazing as it was yesterday), potting up and potting on. The seedlings have had a boost with the arrival of my new greenhouse cupboards. I was running out of space in the house, and with a birthday in May, I thought a practical present would be best. I did only order one cupboard, but after a long delay and a misunderstanding, two have arrived, so I am keeping them. I’ve set them up in our parking lot at the back of our house. Eventually, when we extend our home, this will form part of the garden, but for now, it’s just a convenient space to overflow into. I painted them both in Cuprinol’s Black Ash. Ideally, of course, in my dream garden, I’d have a pretty little glasshouse to retreat into when everything becomes too much. In reality, that’s never going to happen, so my little cupboards will do nicely instead.
Everything is growing well, but the extra heat and protection provided by a greenhouse is guaranteed to give them all a surge. I’m sowing salad leaves all the time, so we have a steady supply. Here they are in various stages of progression. I had so many tomato seedlings that I was able to put some out at the front of my house for people to help themselves on VE Day. The rest are being sheltered until the last frosts around the end of May. Then I will plant them out in huge pots and growing bags and any vessel I can find. The signs are made from old floorboards and a lick of Cuprinol paint for the lettering.
Other plants that are doing well for me are my herbs from seed: I have oregano, basil and sage coming on. I have a good collection of zinnias, and some cosmos have just germinated in record time. I can’t wait to sow some painted sage, clary sage, one of my favourite ornamental herbs. It’s the most beautiful plant with coloured leaves of purple and blue. Perennials which are doing well in the garden at the moment are geums, another favourite, and nepeta, or catmint. I don’t think you could fail with that one. It creates clouds of lilac blue flowers and hums with bees in the summer. As I write, garden centres are not yet open, so growing from seed is the only option. It requires a bit of patience, but it’s so rewarding when the tiny plants pop out of the soil and start to thrive.
Nepeta, or catmint, in the background
I’ve said it many times on my blog, it doesn’t matter how small your garden or your budget, you can create a bit of magic. Painting fences, reducing clutter, or keeping the tools and empty pots contained in one area, really helps to let the plants take centre stage. It doesn’t have to look perfect, of course not, it’s a garden, not a house, but it’s much more relaxing to sit and wile away a few sunny hours in a space that is pleasing to the eye – preferably with some tea and cake. My neighbours left some lovely rhubarb on our doorstep the other day, so I made this delicious crumb slice, a brilliant recipe by Flora Sheddon.
We’ve been keeping up our regular walks and cycle rides through lockdown, and we’re really getting to know all the lanes and footpaths around our small market town. At the moment, I’m enjoying the horse chestnut trees with their candles of blossom.
A perfectly shaped specimen!
A medley of blossom and a garden gate.
The path to the river Welland.
And yesterday, after a marathon walk, we found this beautiful meadow of red and white campions.
I want to find out who planted it, and why? Is it a wildlife initiative, or a way of regenerating farmland? I’m not sure, but it was an unexpected gift while I was out on my birthday wanderings.