Early bulbs

…..were on display  today at the Scottish Rock Garden Club’s traditional bulb day in Dunblane. These events attract  c. 200 enthusiasts and always have a guest speaker this year Johan Nilsson from Gothenburg Botanic Garden in Sweden. For photos of  the bulbs go to the SRGC Forum  and scroll down to shows & events.img_0878


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Keep watch on cold greenouse temperature

With the sunshine lately the thermometer in the cold greenhouse has registered temperatures over 20C even with the door open.16-feb-temp
High temperatures and good light will accelerate the growth of many of the bulbs so
I have moved some of the more advanced pots outside to the cool in the hope that it will hold them back a little.16-feb-goring-strong It is still some time until the Show in April.

The Hyacinths continue to worry me. 16-feb-hyacinthThe pink and blue varieties are definitely starting to show colour and there is continuing evidence that yet more bulbs have double flower spikes.


Hey Ho
More later

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Finishing off the fruit pruning on the allotment

Last Thursday the team finished the fruit pruning. They took some redcurrant cuttings for growing as cordons and had a bonfire to dispose of the waste.

The best of the new growth of the autumn raspberries were moved to their new spot and the old plants dug up. The posts for the new Tayberry and bramble were wired up. The old strawberry plants were taken out being four years old now and runners taken from them over the past two years are making the new bed.

The pak choi has done very well over the winter with no protection apart from the netting so a very hardy veg and a good choice for a winter green.

Pak Choi

Pak Choi

And finally Spring is coming to the allotment with the first of the daffodils out.



Jobs for next weeks

Carry on with the new raised beds
Plant the honeyberries
Start forking over beds


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Bulb Blog – 14th February

At the bulb lifting session on Saturday one or two folk asked about the progress of their Scamp Challenge bulbs, Gallipoli Dawn. I have grown it for the past two years and found it to be one of those reliable flowerers.


N. Gallipoli Dawn

Even pots that are just showing green shoots above the buds should flower in time.

This pot is not as far on as some of my others but I am confident that it will catch up in plenty time for the Show.


Many of the pots are well greened up now and it should be noted that none have had any added water since they were lifted.14-feb


I may start watering next week and feeding once a week with a weak high potash feed just to increase the intensity of the flower colour.

The Hyacinths are well greened now and the buds are showing signs of colouring up. They have a long way to go and again I am suspicious about the appearance of some as they might have double flower spikes. 14-feb-hyacinthMeanwhile The CALEY bulbs are quite happily sitting in the shade.14-feb-caley-bulbs



More later

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Caley bulb lifting day

Today all was revealed. It was CALEY Bulb lifting day when we removed the pots of Daffodils, Tulips and Hyacinths from the plunge bed.11-feb-lifting-the-bulbs

The bulbs were just pushing their leaves through the top of the plunge and ready to be lifted.11-feb

The pots were taken down to the shed and sorted out so that every participant had their
own labelled pots.11-feb-bulb-sorting

The pots will be cleaned up, some of the compost scraped off the top to allow space for watering later and then sat outside in semi-shade to green up before the serious business of preparing them for the Show.

Remember: I will not water them for the next 10 -14 days.


I will post a picture and comments each week now until the Show so that you can follow how they are progressing.


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George is watching the weather….




A faint dusting of snow on the car this morning


But overall the days have been mild and growth has progressed. It is difficult to compare this year’s bulb growth with that of previous years but already some of the early cultivars in the garden are showing advanced bud development. 10-feb-garden-buds-developing In the glasshouse the Hyacinths continue to green up and the flower buds are starting to show slight colour.10-feb-hyacinths-beginning-to-show-colour


None of the pots have been watered since they were lifted and washed down. I like to keep them on the dry side so that I can control their growth better once the better days appear. 10-feb-greening-up-and-drying-out



Even here some of the pots are showing flower buds.

In the garden the blooms of Viburnum X Bodnantense ‘ Charles Lamont’ have suffered a bit from cold winds and frost. Not much here for the bees now.10-feb-frost-damage-on-viburnum


More later

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Notes from the winter fruit pruning workshop


These notes from The Caley allotment crew about winter fruit pruning may help those who came to the workshop last Sunday and those those who couldn’t make it.  winter-pruning-cane-fruits

Pruning is important to remove dead, dying and diseased branches, allows light and air to the centre of the plant and promotes new growth. Lack of air movement encourages the growth of fungus and increases the chance of rotting.

Apples and Pears are best pruned every winter when the trees are dormant between November and early March. Trees that are not pruned become less productive and congested with old branches.

Cordon: should be planted sloping to the north, allowing sun along the whole of the tree. Cut off side shoots to 6 inches to encourage fruit buds near the stem. Aim for 6 apples per tree. One shoot will grow as the leader showing apical dominance. The vegetative buds are small and are at the top of the leader. Take the vegetative section back by about one third to about 6 inches. The fruit buds are fatter and grow on top of a wrinkly piece of wood.

Espalier: Cut off the tip of the leader. Cut off any branches which can’t be tied into shape.

Bush: Treat each branch as a cordon.

Soft Fruit

Gooseberries: Cut out dead and diseased stems and any crossing stems. Take back side shoots to 2 buds. [Pointy fat buds are fruit buds]. Remember to make space round each branch to get in to pick the fruit!
Create space in the middle of the bush. Cut off any branches too near the ground.
Gooseberries, red and white currants need a 6 inch leg to keep the fruit off the ground. Use the prunings as cuttings. About 8 inches in length – remove the buds from bottom 6 inches and insert in ground. When rooted, you can plant about 2 inches deep. The remainder will not shoot because you have removed the buds and will become the leg of the bush.

Red currants / whitecurrants are related to gooseberries so take back side shoots to 2 buds. Use prunings as cuttings by taking an 8 inch cutting and remove buds from bottom 6 inches.

Blackcurrants fruit on young wood of previous year’s growth so need a lot of young growth ie shoots from the base of the plant. Remove crossing branches and clear out the centre. Don’t tip prune unless the bush is much too tall
Use prunings as cuttings – about 8 inches long, insert 6 inches in ground. Leave the buds on the cutting – these will become shoots when it is rooted and can be planted at around 2 inches deep.

Summer fruiting: Remove all old fruiting canes. Tie in new canes to wire. 6 canes per clump. Best on slight ridge. Autumn fruiting: Cut down totally to ground in winter.

Loganberry, Tayberry, Brambles: Take out all old fruit branches to base since growth comes from ground. Allow 5 new strong canes per plant. Remove excess side shoots from new shoots and shorten if necessary. Bundle up loose shoots and tie to post or create a framework .

Less actioned need:

Plums and cherries: Only prune to keep within bounds. Prune thick branches in summer only but you can prune thin small branches in winter.

Blueberries: Need a very acid soil. Fruit on 2 and 3 year old branches so only remove branches that are weak, crossing or close to soil, or are 4 years old and over.

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