Saturday 17 December 2011

Dying conifers?

We have an ornamental hedge with an arch made from conifers - not actually leylandii but similar. Last year one side started going brown We thought it might be because of the very dry conditions. But even with the wet autumn the brown patches have now extended to the other side. A single conifer bush also went brown and died two years ago and I noticed one or two other conifers in local gardens appear to have a similar problem.

Maybe related - but probably not since they are a different species:  in the spring of 2010 our prized Dawn Redwood failed to flourish. It's deciduous and it just produced a few stubby little leaves in the spring instead of the usual lush green needles then it died completely. I know the redwood needs lots of water so could be the result of drought. It is apparently not susceptible to diseases of conifers (which it resembles but isn't the same species).

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Spots of colour in the grey

It's been a mixture of bright sunny frosty mornings and grey damp afternoons. A few snowdrops are poking up under the lilac tree and in the lawn - a bit optimistic since they are forecasting snow. In February and March the lawn will be a carpet of white. There are a few bright spots in the garden: yellow winter jasmine, half a dozen pink roses over the arch, a few geraniums (which I'll bring into the conservatory at the weekend) and some yellow daisy-like flowers. I don't know the proper name for these flowers which are self-sown.

Monday 5 December 2011

Know your onions (and their predators!)

This is a photo of a fine specimen we grew in 2009. Last year we had no onions at all. All the onions (Ailsa Craig) and shallots (saved successfully for many years) went rotten and soggy. We put it down to the very cold and wet summer. We had plenty of leeks though. In previous years we'd had a really good harvest which kept us in onions all year. They kept really well hanging on strings in the (unheated) conservatory.

Thursday 1 December 2011

Even colder....

Definitely getting colder - but no frost I think tonight. However, I've collected some potted geraniums and put them inside the conservatory. They're fairly hardy with a slight frost but don't want to risk losing them. We bought 100 "plug plants" this spring and they've mostly grown up into nice plants and are still flowering to give some autumn colour in the garden.

I pulled the fleece over the late-sown lettuces which have only just got into their stride and are doing well in the kitchen garden. I picked 3 and put them in the fridge just in case!