Garden review: April 2018

Well, safe to say these ‘Garden review’ posts haven’t been as frequent as I’d have liked, but here we are, a year later and I’ll be honest… not a lot has changed. But, just in the last month alone, seeds have been sown and I’ve made a lot of progress with my garden.

The chooks

I’m happy to report that my chickens are still alive, and are now just over one year old! Where has that year gone?!

The bad weather we’ve been suffering through over the last few months really highlighted just how boggy the chicken run can get. So I bought 1m³ worth of wood chips from a local tree surgeon to cover the area. Not only does it now look tidier, but it shouldn’t get too muddy whenever it rains (a bonus for the welfare of my chickens’ feet).

Daphne proving once again that she’s the black sheep of the crew

I also want to try and grow some plants in the chicken run. Nothing too large or fancy, but just something to add a bit of character to the area. The main criteria for any plant that goes in the run is that it isn’t toxic for chickens. So far I’m trialling one tiny wee rosemary bush. A week in and it seems to be doing the trick. Plus, the chooks haven’t pecked it to death, which is always a positive. I’ll plant a couple more and once they’re bigger, in the summer they should also have the added effect of minimising smells and could help reduce some unwanted insects such as lice and red mites.

Flora and fauna

Last year none of the seeds I sowed grew to full plants. Just let that sink in. The girl with the gardening blog can’t. actually. garden… *sigh*. But wait! I’ve been inspired this year to try again, largely due to my new found love for houseplants (yes I’ve also jumped on that bandwagon).

I have re-sown a lot of the seeds I tried to grow last year, and I have good feelings for these ones.

Seeds in propagation tray

I’ve sown:

  • Rosemary
  • Gherkins (Venlo Pickling)
  • Cosmos ‘White purity’
  • Passionflower (Passiflora Caerulea)
  • Verbena bonariensis ‘purple elegance’
  • Catnip
  • Mint
  • Sunflowers

I know the list is pretty unadventurous, but honestly my goal this year is just to get some fully-fledged plants from these seeds. I have high hopes for the rosemary because I want to use it to replace the lavender in the front border, and I’ll dot a couple more plants around the chicken run too.

Part of this newfound energy for seed sowing stems comes from the fact that I did successfully take several cuttings from my Tradescantia Zebrina (also known as silver inch plant, or more regrettably ‘wandering jew’). I repotted them last week and now we just need to see how they turn out after another 1-2 months. Cross all your fingers people.

Tradescantia Zebrina cuttings

Speaking of propagation, I’ve also entered the aesthetically pleasing and very in-vogue world of succulents – and succulent propagation. It’s all part and parcel of the wedding planning situation I’ve found myself in; I want to give everyone succulents as favours. Spreading the joy of plants and all that. (Plus, it’s relatively cost-effective to grow your own favours). I’m only at the ‘rip leaves off’ stage, but if I’m successful I’ll write a whole post on the process.

What’s next

Well, I’m relieved to say that I’ve decided on a design for the garden! (Take that, new year’s resolution!). So over the next few months I’ll be doing some preliminary landscaping and research into the plants I want.

Now that the extremely long winter of discontent is over, I’m hoping these posts will be a bit more regular, and that I can get on with the ‘grand design’ of the garden, at last!

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