Knots and Bows

Having finished work on the bothy last weekend and prepared and posted a special post for 12 months of vases on Monday, I felt at liberty to get on with other tasks in the garden. This is a time of year when all sorts of loose ends can be sorted as part of a general tidying up and overview. Thus the jungle in the larger greenhouse had been attended to, the prolific tomato crop being halted whilst still barely past its prime, the remaining tomatoes frozen or spread out in the house to finish ripening. Despite making chutney for every month of the year 45 pounds of tomatoes is a lot for the two of us to get through…. The peppers and chillis await their turn, and I must remember to turn down the offer of chilli seedlings next year as I rarely use them and even then only mild ones. There have been great crops of peppers too, little orange and long red ones, from the same source.

knots&bows.1IMG_3457The smaller greenhouse has also been partially emptied, with as many seedlings and young plants being moved outside, either into temporary or possibly permanent positions. A corner of one of the cutting beds is a winter home to some of these outcasts, including the ‘Winter Moonbeam’ seedling I found in a pot of tulips, now joined by two fellows. I can only assume that I reused the compost from the original pot and they grew from seeds which had been lying dormant in the soil. They are most welcome guests!

Bulb planting is now about 99% complete, with the bulk of the tulips going in this week – it is not such an onerous task planting in an empty bed, and about  3 varieties of tulips were planted up in the new bold border, along with various alliums, centaurea and aquilegia grown from seed and some delayed flowering seedlings from my disappointing spring sowings. The recently bare bed is now a sea of plant labels with a sprinkling of young plants:

IMG_3458IMG_3452There are still narcissi to plant in baskets at the front of the house, along with winter pansies, but the petunias have decided to respond to the increased rainfall and are flowering their socks off again (despite complete lack of attention from me) so deserve to stay a little longer, and there is a similar problem with the 5 matching pots I see from the kitchen windows which are awaiting their new tulips.

There were a few flowers on the petunias in the big galvanised tank too, but not enough to merit their retention, so the tank was emptied and prior to winter planting I also got round to a Heath Robinson adaptation of the vintage weather vane I have had propped up in the tank – making it a concrete ‘boot’ so it will stay upright. It worked, I am pleased to say, and there are now mixed pink and purple tulips planted up along with ‘Cool Wave Polar Frost’ pansies grown from seed – sown at the end of August and showing flowers two months later. Very impressive (the pansies, that is, rather than the fact I have most satisfactorily grown them from seed)!

knots&bows.2I am sure the weather vane had an ‘east’ direction when we first bought it – but no chance of young men going either east or west now. As for me, I now have a lot of relatively neat knots and bows after tying up all those loose ends.

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25 Responses to Knots and Bows

  1. Cathy, how nice to be able to tie up those loose ends, that’s a lot! of tomatoes, you will have a beautiful display of tulips next spring, Frances

    • Cathy says:

      It has been a very satisfactory week for sorting out those loose ends, Frances! I don’t usually like mixtures, but the tulips in the tank are bargains from Aldi, and although mixed they are named varieties within the mixture.

  2. Julie says:

    You have been busy Cathy, I still have bulbs to plant and feel I am beginning to push my luck with the remaining daffodil bulbs, but this weekend they are going in. I tried a little, well minuscule effort at brick laying this summer I think you have a special talent, its not that easy and my husband thinks that too! Our builder took down my shoddy effort at sorting out the patio wall and relaid it, if thats the right expression. Love that feeling to of tying up loose ends, its very satisfying.

    • Cathy says:

      I am afraid I had to smile, albeit wryly, at your builder’s response to your patio wall efforts as it must have left you with no doubt as to what he thought of it! Thank you for your kind words about my own efforts – perhaps I had a previous life involving bricks! I love the immediate and very physical result it brings. SO pleased I have virtually completed the bulb planting – hope the weather is OK for you to finish getting yours in this w/e, although I suspect we are due more rain…

  3. I so desperately want a greenhouse; I really admire the design of the one you are using.

    • Cathy says:

      Our smaller one was bought second hand through eBay – actually another 6 x 8 ft one which we cut in half to fit the space. Sometimes I have seen them advertised for nothing, as long as people dismantle them themselves.

  4. rickii says:

    I’m impressed…and somewhat shamed…by your industry. I’ve moved on to Christmas shopping and that’s where all of my knots and bows will be found the next several weeks. I do all my shopping in little local shops, so it’s quite fun.

  5. Cathy says:

    Certainly a good feeling to have those ends tied up. I was so relieved when I got my last packets of bulbs in! And although it’s still only November I can’t wait to see what comes up next spring – in your garden and pots as well as mine! 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy – me too. And I like to think I have put more thought into my bulb purchases after a year of vases, but I still see it as a learning curve. I have another pack of mixed tulips to decide on a home for – it said ‘dark tulips’ but it actually includes some T purissima which seems a bit odd.

  6. Christina says:

    A very satisfying feeling, I’m not at that stage yet I still have a lot of bulbs to plant but it is best to wait otherwise they start to grow to early and then they don’t grow properly later.

    • Cathy says:

      I had that one year when I started some off in pots in the greenhouse – when would be the right time for you? Bulb planting is definitely one of my least favourite gardening tasks – and yet with the anticipated results it should really merit more enthusiasm 🙂

      • Christina says:

        The nights are much cooler now so I can plant the tulips now. If you want early tulips you need to give them a period of cold and then bring them into the greenhouse to force them into growth early, I’m going to try this year, I’ve had some packs of tulips in the fridge since they arrived, I think really you should have them in soil but my fridge isn’t large enough for that!

  7. Annette says:

    That’s an amazing tomato harvest – we’re also still picking, mostly in the greenhouse but Matt’s wild cherry (which I secretely call Matt’s wild child because of its habits!) is still doing great outside. It’s certainly completely healthy and blight free. I’m looking forward to your bulb border. It’s nice to create a new planting scheme.

    • Cathy says:

      The tomatoes were a better crop than last year too – probably because the variety I was trialling for Which? Gardening was very prolific, although the tomatoes were not especially tasty. Ironically the bulbs were ordered before I had dreamed up that extension to the bold border, so there was no planned planting scheme – more a case of ‘those would be good in the bold border’!

  8. croftgarden says:

    Your tomatoes and peppers look extremely healthy for November, but you are right to call a halt and move onto other things. It’s dry today so I’m determined to get out, follow your good example and do some gardening.

  9. Pauline says:

    You have been so busy getting all your jobs done, unfortunately I am way behind as the main job at the moment is sweeping all the leaves up. Hopefully I will get everything round the house and anything I can see from the windows sorted out, then all snowdrop and hellebore areas will need sorting, maybe I will be ready for January when it comes.

    • Cathy says:

      My turn for leaf sweeping duty today, Pauline! One of the advantages of having little grass is that the garden is accessible whatever the weather and the leaves sweep up fairly easily from harder surfaces as well. I was well-chuffed with what I achieved, and probably no more than an our or two each day. I could do with adding some compost to my snowdrop border in preparation for their emergence – I noticed a shoot on Maidwell L today!

  10. Chloris says:

    Goodness, what a lot of tomatoes! I love it when I get a bit of free time to finish off all those jobs which desparately need attention. Like you, I have at last finished my bulb planting. What a relief. But there are still plenty of jobs that still need doing here. I never really catch up.

    • Cathy says:

      Things like bulb planting and cutting down tomatoes are always seasonal milestones but I suppose there were a lot of little jobs to be done too so it made it feel all the more satisfying. I am sure there are many more!

  11. CathyT says:

    Gosh – those tomatoes and chillis are wonderful. Wish I could grow them as well as that. Re the greenhouse, I’ve bought my last two like that (secondhand, cheap, dismantled myself). Unfortunately they don’t seem to go in for that kind of thing in France. What is ‘Winter Moonbeam’? It sounds delightful!

    • Cathy says:

      We are not chilli fans, although the friend who gave us the seedlings is saying how she keeps hers from year to year – not sure we will bother. Th peppers have been superb too, especially some little bite size orange ones. this friend keeps seeds from peppers and tomatoes that she has bought and enjoyed – seems to be very successful, and as I focus on flowers from seed I am happy to take seedlings from her. Winter Moonbeam is a hellebore with pretty mottled leaves – I am not sure the one I bought survived as it was competing with some hardy geraniums so these seedlings are little miracles!

  12. bittster says:

    I love the look of bright little chilis but I’m with you on preferring the mild ones!
    Good to see you having a chance to wrap things up. I spent most of the day doing the same here, and although I could use another two days to finish completely, things are good enough for any winter surprises that may shortly come our way.

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