Thank you for all the comments about compost during the week; as with all garden problems, it is reassuring to know that many other bloggers have encountered poor quality compost at times too. Thankfully most of us in our blogging community will recognise that the problem is not of our own making (apart from the injudicious choice of compost), but inexperienced gardeners may not realise the individuality of composts and blame themselves for their failures. This batch of mine was either very variable or suited some seeds and seedlings less well than others – some were stunted but had good root growth, whereas others were sturdier but had very little root; the turning point for me, however, was a sudden failure to germinate, further delaying what had already become a delayed process.
My indecision was transformed to a pressing desire – NEED – for change, and a visit to the garden centre brought home a bag of a different compost (sadly high in peat), into which a fresh batch of a token number of seeds was made. In barely a day, zinnias were sprouting – no problems here, thank goodness, so I set about limiting the existing damage in the greenhouse, potting on wherever I could or re-pricking out in the fresh compost. Although the season will inevitably be delayed by a few weeks, all being well things should catch up in due course, and hopefully there will be evidence of growth and progress in the coming weeks to confirm this.
Meanwhile, I have 44 trays to wash…
There was just time towards the end of the afternoon to plant out my January-sown sweet peas, which have been hardening off outside for a couple of weeks; with two nights of negative temperatures forecast for early next week, I wondered whether to postpone this for another week, but was reassured by Monty Don on Friday night’s Gardeners’ World, who was planting out his own…I can always blame him if the frost gets to mine!
Inside the working greenhouse, just to the right of the sweet pea supports, are pots of dahlias beginning to sprout – this first sign of them waking up after their winter slumbers is nearly as exciting as the first seeds (successfully) germinating!
Other signs of growth include the seemingly sudden clothing of rose bushes in fresh new foliage – this is ‘Olivia Rose Austin’:
At the other end of the seasonal spectrum we have a late showing of blooms on Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’ which seems to flower whenever it chooses, any time from December to now – it is such a pretty pink, and I am happy to see it whenever it graces us with its pinkness:
Similarly finishing off the winter season is the annual cutting back of the three cornus at the end of the shrub border, a task I delay for as long as possible, sorry to lose their colourful stems till later in the year. It never ceases to amaze me how much growth takes place during the year, reminding me how reticent I was to cut them down in the early days.
Sneaking in as a cheeky seventh and spotted on my way back inside after taking the (strictly) six photographs shown above, is Clematis alpina ‘Constance’ which one could almost get away with saying was ‘open’: hurrah!
Thank you to the host of this Six on Saturday meme, Jon the Propagator, for hosting; please consider now visiting his blog to look at other Sixes this Saturday.