This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Ornamental Grasses - love'em or hate'em

Carex Bronze Buchananii, Black Mondo, Sea Thrift.
Who likes ornamental grasses? I'm not too sure about them. They became popular a number of years ago and I assume they still are fairly popular going from the displays in garden centres. I've ended up with ornamental grasses in two ways:

1. random purchases
2. plant divisions from others

I'm guilty of planting grasses quite randomly, and they happen to love a dry area in the garden and they're multiplying like crazy (as you will see in the photo comparison below).
Above: Photo taken 18 months ago (after my cordyline palm had died).
Below: photo of the same area, taken this month.
The photos aren't taken from the exact angle but you can see how the grasses and other plants have spread across the area. The crocosmia (orange flowers) looks quite grass-like too. The ferns have appeared on their own; they enjoy the damp edges of this area.
Apparently evergreen grasses need 'combed' with your fingers (like the one pictured above) so the old grass blades come out and the plant looks pretty again (like its gone to the hairdressers).
Below: a plant with old blades removed.
Above: Black mondo (Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrascens) is evergreen and multiplies like crazy in a dry area of the garden. Mixed with a variegated annual grass (name unknown) which also multiplies like crazy and is on my black list to only grow in pots in future. Both of these grasses are trouble in terms of stopping them!
Above: A non-grass plant, however, Kaffir Lily looks very grassy. Its an Autumn flowering perennial bulb.
More grasses. The gold grass dotted around is Carex Buchananii - it makes about 30 baby plants each year. The dogwood with the red leaves looks good this time of year. This was a piece I pulled away from the main dogwood shrub and stuck in the ground last year and it has rooted well.

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Sunday 21 October 2012

Tomatoes in October

It's well into October and I'm still getting cherry tomatoes daily. The plants seem to be doing well despite the light frosts we've had. I have eight tomato plants grown in an unheated conservatory that faces Southwest. I'm hoping the fruits will continue to ripen into November.

  • Tomato (Red Cherry)
  • Tomato 'Gardener's Delight'
Both varieties were sown indoor from seed in April 2012 and potted on (in a bigger pot) on 17 June 2012. They have remained indoor over the summer.

The only problem is I don't know which plants are Red Cherry and which are Gardener's Delight.

Here's hoping I'm still getting cherry tomatoes in November!

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Mid October Blooms

Its been chilly and a good few nights of light frost, however, there's still a good display of colour in the garden and only the hostas seem to be completely finished. Most other plants seem quite keen to keep going.

Here's a little snapshot of what's in flower for Blogger's Bloom Day, hosted by May Dreams Gardens.

Left: Aster with Sedum Autumn Joy.
Above: flower border with sedum, verbena, roses, and forget-me-not still in flower. I was hoping the geranium would show a 2nd flowering but most aren't accommodating this. Kale and leek mixed into the border.
Below: A closer look at the Forget Me Not (annual) grown from seed. The masses of green around the blue flowering plants are Poached Egg Plant which show some signs of flowering.
Above: Sedum Autumn Joy are spread throughout the garden. I divide plants and don't want to waste them so they get spread here, there and everywhere.
Below:  A closer look at the sedum and verbena.
Above: Nerine bulbs were divided this year.
Above and below: 
I always forget the name of this plant - schizostylis coccinea. I dug out half this plant in the Summer and this seemed to have given it a much needed boost as last year it had a poor show of flowers and this year it's looking good with lots of buds. 
Does anyone know another name for this plant (easier to remember)?
Above: Fuchsia Tom Thumb is flowering well and lots of buds.
Above and Below: A bit more Autumn looking - grasses and crocosmia. Crocosmia seem to flower forever. They multiply like crazy too.

Happy Blogger's Bloom Day!
Blogger's Bloom Day is hosted by May Dream Gardens and bloggers share their blooms from across the globe.

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Monday 8 October 2012

Oct Veg and Apple Harvest

I hit an all time record this year with my apple harvest: 15 apples! Doesn't sound like much but the apple tree is a small tree  grown in a pot. Last year I had 14 apples, so this year a slight improvement. No idea what type of apple variety it is. All I know is that it's a self fertilising tree and they taste slightly tart.

Still harvesting this month....
Above: I pulled a few carrots to eat over the weekend. Carrot seed sown in Spring were very slow to germinate and I had to resow, however, a good supply of carrots now.
Below: I'm still getting a bowl of cherry tomatoes every week which is just right for me as I'm not a big tomato eater.
The eggplant / aubergine really need eaten - all at the same time it seems!
Below: still harvesting beans.
Courgette / zucchini are still going strong as well.

View my seed list page for type of seed used and date sown.

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

October Reds (Dogwood, Sedum, Aster)

We've a light frost forecast for tonight which means the possibility of a lovely sunny day tomorrow. There's always a positive!

October is  a great time of year for red in the garden and the Cornus dogwood shrub is a fantastic Autumn/Winter plant. Its leaves have turned from green to red, and the leaves will soon fall off to show bright red stems, which bring a welcome splash of colour through out winter. You can see the bright red stems in the photo.
Above: this is what the dogwood looked like last Winter. 

Below: another red in the garden this month - Sedum Autumn Joy.
Above photo was taken 30 Sept 2012.
Below photo was taken 8 Sept 2012.
Its great to see colours change and become more vibrant this time of year!
Above: Sedum Autumn Joy, photo taken 28 Aug 2012 (only a slight hint of pink showing).
Below: Aster beginning to flower, and looks nice with the Sedum.
When to divide a Sedum - well when it splits like the one above. Of course with all the rain  we've had, the base of the plant is covered in moss!
Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.