It’s the first day of Spring so I thought I would document what was blooming on this day of 2019. Having such a hot (for Scotland) summer last year and another mild winter has had an effect on the growth of many of our favourite plants. We were all surprised to see the first heads of Red Hot Pokers already showing. There are two pink Camellias by the house and one is losing it’s blossoms while the other is just at it’s peak. The daffodils have been up for a while and at the big old pink cherry tree at the bottom of the house garden had never looked so beautiful. Spring is always an exciting time of year and despite having some pretty wild storms blowing through we have had some fabulously warm calm days in-between.
The beds around the front of the house take a real beating in the wind and lately the wind has been wild!
As an experiment I have decided to plant a low hedge around the bed under the front window to see if this will help protect the young plants as they begin to grow. Wind proofing has become a major job around the house and the veg patch.
While the ever-changing wild weather continues outside there is plenty of work to do inside. A newly order flat pack bee-hive has arrived and needed assembling so I go busy with that while the wind rain and sleet whipped around. Unlike Ikea furniture this did not come with instructions so a fun day and a half of figuring that out kept me busy. When there was a break in the weather I decided to get the digger over to the area that granny and I decided would be best for the bees and cleared back the surface. I also did a surface scrapping of the area just behind the tall hedge in front of the house where brambles and other weeds have begun creeping into the meadow. I will have to go in again and remove all of the for burning.
The area we have chosen for the beehive is in the wooded area across the meadow from the house so there is some wind protection and it is right on the meadows edge so the bees will have immediate access to a fantastic food supply. It is also not too close the the walkers path. We are hoping this will be a great place but we can only try and see.
I have also been very busy potting up all of the newly arrived root stock, running low on space already!!
We had a recently had a visitor who came to Rudha Mor and gave us some general advise and tips for the maintenance and development of the walk. As we were walking around she spotted a tree in the arboretum which looked a little unhealthy and she suggested that we cut it down. So this week James decided to take it down. It is always sad to see a tree go but of course it is for the health of the other trees and some of the trees in the arboretum are a little close so this may make room for moving a tree or two.
With James’ newfound love of Dahlias this time of year means digging up the dahlia tubers and storing them for the winter. We get large boxes and line them with newspaper and lay the tubers in them making sure they all have a little space. In the spring when they start sprouting you can then split them. At the beginning of the year we counted over 100 tubers so by next year we will have well over 200!! Slightly overwhelming but they do make great cut flowers for arrangements. We did decide to leave one small bed of tubers in the ground to see how they do, however the deer came along and ate off all the tops so hopefully the mice won’t also get at the tuber!
The repair to the main path between the garage and the barn is still happening as there was tremendous damage and with all the rain that we have had work is slow going but during the process a lot has been learned about the drainage system and how it has been changed.
After creating our fancy onion bed we decided that we would try it again on one of the first beds we made using old railway sleepers. I started by weeding it as it hasn’t had much attention since we pulled all the veg at the end of the year and I then filled it with some extra soil to bring the level right up to the top edge of the bed. I covered it in mypex and stapled it down but we will hold of putting any holes in it till we are ready to plant it out. The plan is to put purple sprouting broccoli but plans do change!
We started the week by finishing weeding the big bed at entrance to walk. Last year we dug up this whole bed and layered it like lasagna with cardboard, seaweed and compost. It was moderately successful but there were some spots where things didn’t grow so well which we think was because of drainage, on ongoing issue in many areas. We have now added another 800+ bulbs including alum, tulip and wild garlic which we are hoping will deter the deer from eating our plants. James scattered the seed of a small yellow poppy that grows outside granny’s bedroom window in the bed and it has really taken off. We salvaged all the poppies while we were weeding and replanting and have brought them to the front of the bed. On the other side of the path we planted in one row of daffodils that had been removed from the bed across from the house. This was a really big job and it took us a day and a half to finish it off but it should look really good this spring.
Another big project got underway this week with the new lean-to design coming together. This will be another area for growing plants.
Mum and I trimmed back the heather and other brush along the path edge leading to the arboretum viewpoint and gave the bench area a little tidy too. We then started collecting red dogwood and honeysuckle for making wreaths.
We spent the weekend away doing our first aid training with the coastguard and next month will be a bit more hands-on as we get in the sea for some mock rescue missions!
Sometime there is so much happening here we can’t even put it into sentences!
8 am meeting to plan the week
Both cars cleaned and washed
Collected water lilies from down the road and weeded the pond for them
Checked and dug out drain at the back of the garage, guttering needs replacing asap
New guttering on lower barn working well and keeping it dry inside
Sharpening chainsaws and organising wood store during heavy downpour
Check the otter camera, got some good footage, new position was better although otters did move it slightly! Battery power could be an issue there as not enough light for a solar pack
Checked the walk, paused took a break to soak up the awesome view!
Drag wood over to chipping area
Cleaned the muck off the front gate from when the new cattle grid was fit
Moved Dahlias from the cold frame to outside granny’s bedroom window
Jane continued chipping
Lifted boat in boat shed to make room for local boats to be stored for winter
Cut doc and bog weed seed heads out of the meadow and put on the burn pile
Strimming lower two lawns, path to lower meadow and the arboretum
Started new section of wind fence around veg patch and planted out more willow along the back edge where we hope to create a natural wind fence
Salvage fence post from jimmy’s walk for new wind fence
Began to clear out and reorganise the greenhouse
Collected seaweed from beach for veg patch
Dragged more ponticum over to the chipping area for Jane
put in post for new wind fence
Cut bracken away in area separating the two upper fields
Rewiring the deer scarer
Today was a hot wet midge day starting with clouds of midges, the aim was to put the guttering on to the back of the barn. After washing all the old parts dug out of the dirt at the base of the barn we set to it with Cat standing in the hell hole of midges holding my legs so I could reach the top side of the roof slowly working our way down the side of the barn in the storm of midges but slowly getting the job done. Jane continued the chipping which seems like a never ending job but must be done.
After eating maybe a million midges and fixing the guttering back on we licked our wounds in the barn while I taught Cat how to replace and sharpen chainsaw blades. Finally found a replacement handle for the 20″ timber pro it seems fitting to get the rest of the chainsaws sharp and ready for the onslaught of timber prep as i’ve waited far too long for dry patch in the weather. Began clearing the backlog of wood in the wood store as we have a lot to bring in.
Today was a fishing day after a late call last night offering me a day out on the water bringing in as many prawns as fast and as effectively possible. Was a hard day of work but proves to me that if you want it then set it up right and focus everything you have on the goal.
After a quick tidy up after our BBQ from the night before I began moving plants that are garden ready or need to go into the cold frame from the polly tunnel. It is amazing how much better the polly tunnel is holding heat since I added extra plastic around the doorway which we don’t use. It’s all about seeding trays, potting things up and moving plants around at the moment as we still don’t have enough room indoors to get everything started under glass.
Clearing out the cold frame is another job, we seem to just need more space under cover but I am slowly letting plants experience the cold winds that we suffer from so badly. Did a quick run to Duncraig walled garden for soil to fill the polly tunnel beds with and trying to find somewhere under cover for the strawberries to go. Half the beds are loaded with soil and ready to go in the pollytunnel but space is definitely the problem.
During lunch my plant order turned up with a few extra goodies. I ordered 5 hosta, 12 astilbe, 8 lilly bulbs and 12 fuschia. In total 96 perennials plugs – 20 hosta, 18 astilbe, 8 lilly and 12 fuschia arrived. Cat and I set about potting up all the plants and labelling them with corresponding information in the notebook. We then made space for them in the vegetable garden and in the cold frame.
Space the final frontier!
24 + 4
Today has been a day of seeds and planters. It started with some frustration trying to make two-bed frames in the polytunnel, but with a little more space I soon got both together and in place waiting to be filled with dirt. Meanwhile far off at the start of the drive Cat has been busy working away making two little trenches for poppies and wildflower that we will sow some seeds into today. Fingers crossed the weather is going to hold and it will be a year filled with flowers at Rudha Mor.
After having a quick coffee break the delivery van finally turned up with the quad parts. Rushed off to the lower barn to whip off the old wheel and get the new one on. Turned the key and nothing! Checked battery and decided to put it on charge. Will need to change over the starter and will try to get it up and running by tomorrow.
Back to watering and planting out seeds using 6×48 trays. Did 4 of flowers and 2 of veg. Realising we are well ahead of where we were last year as the weather seems to be amazing, sun is out most days and hot for this time of year around 11-16C. Nights are still cold whitch is going to be my problem but working on solutions for that. We’ll steam ahead hoping that the weather keeps getting warmer and the ground dryer.
Cat and I head off to sow the poppy seeds and wildflowers. We also potted up two clematis and have placed them on either side of the drive about half way up where the tree came down a few years ago. Then we went for an explore to see if we could find any fallen trees. We headed off down Ian’s walk and then following the boundary line around and down on to the back of the property. Its really diffrent when you get down towards the water level here, we must be walking on a variety of bog and heather species. We find three trees down which will make great fire wood, it may be hard to get them out but now that the quad is fixed they will be manageable to remove.
PEOPLE ON WALK
7 + 2 local
Well for the second day of amazing weather, 13C by 10am, thank you. Into the greenhouse which needs much love as it’s just been waiting for some warmth. Potting things up that should of die months ago and increasing the size of others. Got my seeds into some order and still trying to figure out how and where everything is going to go, I will find somewhere. Moved a load of plants into the polly tunnel to make more room. Then had the mad idea to start getting seeds on the go so I’ve taken a random selection of seeds from food to flowers and lavender to test the water. Explained the plant journal to Jane.
Then Jane and I headed off to cut up the mass of fallen trees I found in the undergrowth. Making wood piles as there was so much brush and working out how to fit a path in between the trees if needed at a later date.
Over lunch looked over the mass of infomation sent out by SNH and saw £8.50 meter for deer fences which would mean it could be possible to stop the deer getting onto Rudha Mor all together. Will have to seek more advice about how possible this would be as my not be popular (or would it).
Anyway back to cutting up wood and dragging it out of the depths of Rudha Mor.
Had a little fire at the end of the day.
PEOPLE ON WALK
first person spotted 9:50 am
First Tic ofr the year!
Midges around but not bitting