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Week five

Peg down thin, low branches of Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Half cut through on the underside, the wound being kept open with a matchstick. Dust with rooting hormone, keep this portion in contact with soil without disturbance for the next year before checking for root growth and severing from the parent plant to produce layered clones. February is a pruning month for summer flowering and species clematis.

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Gardening diary week 5 - beekeeping blog

Gardening diary week five Jan 28th - Feb 5th


February 3rd 2009 We have had snow, ice and frost in the last few days but today was sunny and clear. Although the ground isn't exactly warm at the moment it wasn't frozen solid and I was able to get on with rooting out the stinging nettles from among the snowdrops under the greengage tree. Judging by my photographs we had very similar conditions this time last year, although we didn't have several weeks of cold weather in January last year as we have this year and as a result the snowdrops were further advanced then than they are now.
As I was clearing the nettles out I decided to move a clump of snowdrops that were a bit of a mixture that I thought I would sort out. On digging them up I found that I had forgotten that these were planted in a flower pot when I left them a year or two ago (or was it three?). I was surprised to see how well they were growing in their pot and even though they had little room left to expand into they were thriving. However, it was time for a sort out and a move. I planted two rows of the smaller later flowering variety in the ground I had just cleared. I dug in some old wood that I hope will rot under them and give them something cool and damp to get their roots into. (see photos) The clump of a larger earlier variety I planted on the other side of the tree.
Saturday 31st January 2009. It was sunny and dry today but still the breeze was cold. It was too cold for the bees to fly. I spent some time in the allotment digging and I have started moving around the gooseberry bushes. I have sorted out a row that I'm going to grow as cordons and I'm pruning those on one long stem with small side shoots coming out from it.
I'm disappointed by the snowdrops under the greengage tree that I re-planted last year. There seem to be too many gaps and I'm not sure that I haven't lost quite a few of them. The stinging nettles growing there may have killed some of so I'm going to weed all of the stinging nettles out of that bed and keep them out of there from now on.
I'm not sure that leaving the snowdrops in one place for just two years is long enough and I may not move those under one of the large old apple trees this year as I had originally planed to do. I have some two-year seedlings that I could plant out and I think I will start a new bed for those under one of the small pear trees and I am going to move those between the cherry tree and the greengage seedling to the other side of the path.

Feb. 4 2008 The weekend's snow has melted and the growing season is approaching fast. I am moving and weeding the snowdrops and aconites in the allotment. I was weeding a new short row of summer raspberries that I moved last year and can't decide if I'm going to cut them down this year and forgo this years fruit in order to build up really strong plants for next year or to just leave them be. Today's pics

garlic Garlic. It's easy to weed the garlic at this time of the year when they are planted in my light sandy soil. It's a totally different job if you are growing them in a heavy soil.

A cold weekend Pictures

The allotment shed is now open to sell seed potatoes, shallots etc. I have bought some Early Onward peas, some new shallots, several packets of carrot seed and a packet of early Sprouts seed.


Sunday February 4th. The fog stayed all day there was only the slightest breeze from the south but not enough to make any difference. It was grey, damp and cool a very bad day in the allotment. I have had the worst argument at the plot with the head gardener so far. I shouted and swore (unfortunately that in it ‘self is not unusual) and said some hurtful things.
Raspberries and the different pruning methods for summer autumn raspberries was what brought it all to a head. I lost it completely after seeing the summer fruiting raspberry canes cut off and laying on the ground. The canes that have been growing since last summer. Canes that were fed and watered lovingly through last year’s draught. Canes that had been duly weeded. Canes of new wood that had been left after the old wood had been pruned out in the autumn. Canes due to bear this years fruit in just a few months time. Cut off in their prime. And it was all own my fault I had looked over and said yes that row without really looking or thinking. After all it was only yesterday that I had pointed out that the autumn fruiting raspberries could be pruned and weeded even though half of the ‘weeds’ were land cress that was growing very happily amongst them. As the boss was cutting them off she was saying this doesn’t seem right and I still didn’t pay her any attention until half the row had gone and when I saw them lying there I exploded like a Roman Candle all over her and anyone else in earshot. Not a pretty sight or a good day in the allotment.

Saturday February 3rd 2007
I have now moved most of the aconites from their old site under one of the large eating apple trees to their new site under the small eating apple tree.
The earliest of the plants to flower that were first moved close to the tree trunk have now finished flowering and have seed pods on already.
My time spent moving aconites and snowdrops around my plot is one of the things that has irritated the boss.


The weather has been cold, grey and dry for weeks - but we are beginning to see a change and the forecasts is for warmer weather in the next few days. The snowdrops and aconites are beginning to flower on very short stems and have still not really taken off or had a chance to grow.

I have finished cleaning up the asparagus bed and given it a generous layer of well rotted manure (from the load bought last spring). Now for the rest of the year all the care the asparagus will need will be the occasional good weed.

I have sown the first early carrots. The seed will sit and wait for a warm spell then they will germinate and up they will come.

I planted one more garlic saved from last year's crop. We don't, at this time of the year, ever seem to have enough of it, no matter how much I grow.

The Red Current that I bought at the Easton College open day some years ago is growing into quite a sizable plant and has cropped well in the last few years. Even so it still needs only the minimal amount of punning and this was the first year it produced surplus strong straight growth suitable for striking cuttings from.

Bought four bags of seed potatoes from the allotment shed


February 3rd 2005 As Bernie commented you wouldn't have complained about the weather today in the middle of summer. It was warm. The bees were flying and visiting one snowdrop and aconite after another. My crocus are not out yet -- I'm not quite sure why, maybe I still don't have the earliest varieties planted. I have a mixed collection of snowdrops some taller and earlier flowering than others but I don't feel at all confident in identifying them. Apart from sorting them by size and single and double flowers I'm stumped. The Sam Arnott are growing in a separate container so I can identify them.

Sunday 30th January 2005 It was warm enough for the bees to be flying this Sunday and some of the bees in most of the hives took advantage of a chance to get out.

I sowed the first carrots of the year.

The allotment shed opened for the first time this year and I bought four sacks of seed potatoes, although I wasn't very adventurous in my choice and bought the same as last year. I also bought the first packets of seed (carrots, radish, cabbage) both red and white onion sets and a bag of blood fish and bone.

I am looking forward to seeing my new snowdrop' Sam Arnott' in bloom. The first one has started to flower already.


We have had a thick fall of snow since last weekend although the weather had turned much milder by Saturday and not sign of snow was left. Fortunately the snow came down fast and the small lettuce planted out last weekend seemed to have survived the cold

All four hives in the two allotments had flying bees this weekend - a very good sign that they all could have come through the winter OK and all have laying queens at home.

I have purchased yet more seed potatoes and now a 3kg bag of Maris Bard - early, Wilja - mid season, Kestrel mid to main, and Romano a red main crop. I have bought a bag of red onion sets and some more shallots.

John was working on the greenhouse when I arrived at the end allotment and between us we have now put in the glass. It just needs some staging at the end and that will then be ready to move into.

Moved scaffolding poles with Fergle to make a runner bean support across his plot.

Continued the once a year cleanup along the bramble boundary - the snowdrops put in last year by the greengage tree seemed to have survived the long hot summer. I will put some more in next to them in the coming weeks.

Fed the spring cabbage with liquid feed

2003 Everything is under a thick coat of snow

2002 Feb. 4/5th

It is, I know, mainly laziness that has prevented me getting up to the allotment until this weekend for the first time this year, although I blame it on the pressure of work - of course.

The weather has been so warm just recently that again it is not at all like winter. The work that is awaiting me on the plot is plentiful. I have yet to prune the fruit trees and gooseberries and as the weather is warm there is plenty of digging to do. On this occasion I dug up some remaining potatoes cleaned the area of spear grass (when it goes through a potato you can see why it called spear grass) and planted out some shallots in the clear area.

I know that by the book I should have dug the potatoes up well before Christmas and it is true that I have lost a small percentage to frost damage. We had a hard frost around the Christmas break that managed to penetrate where there wasn't a covering of grass keeping the potatoes warm. If my soil wasn't so light and sandy leaving potatoes in would an open invitation for slugs eating them underground. Fortunately that isn't a problem.

Where I had dug the potatoes up in the Autumn and cleaned out the weed gave me space to plant out the shallots on the traditional shortest day of the year. To be pedantic I actually put mine in the day before because the weather was so fine. You can't see the benefits of this early planting without digging one of them up and inspecting the root system. Those planted before Christmas have a well established root system as compared with those that have just been planted that of course have none. It pays to plant shallots before Christmas.

The allotment shed was busy selling seed potatoes and onion sets plus the usual packets of seed and all the other gardening sundries. I bought some blood fish and bone to feed the spring cabbage, some onion sets and a packet of carrot seed. The potatoes will have to wait until next week.

Next week will be the time to get seriously busy on the onion front. Not only do I have a bag full of onion sets to plant out but two rows of Japanese seedlings as well. I made the mistake of leaving the Japanese Onion transplanting too late last year so I am remembering the great crop I had in the 2000 and intend to get them moved in good time - next week!


Weekend 29/30 planted more shallots. Pruned apple tree. Planted autumn raspberry canes (a gift from Jeff) hoed the autumn sown broad beans.


The beginning of February

I gave the lawn some attention after it's winter weeks of neglect. It should of course still be the middle of winter. Ten years ago the ground would have been covered in snow possibly for weeks on end at this time of year. But for several years now we have had fairly mild winters or low nighttime temperatures but none or very little snow.

The lawn certainly looked somewhat better for good raking over. The worm casts were spread a little thinner too.

The Clematis also seem to feeling that spring is not far away. I pruned mine this weekend. I also pruned the Buddleia and a silver leafed Holly. I've discovered that Buddleia make excellent pea sticks lasting several years longer that Hazel or Plum that I also use.

I emptied the Blue Tit's nesting box of last years nest and resolved to do it much earlier next year.


Urban Jungle Sell exotic and jungle plants including cannas, gingers, bananas, tree ferns, palms, bamboos and aroids by mail order and from their nursery in Norfolk.

Email Patrick for further information or telephone 01603 617632