Summer Time in the Garden

Over the past few weeks we can all agree that the weather has been not quite ‘Summer’ weather. We have had a few great days of sunshine here and there, but when it has rained, well it has almost been like the heavens opened and flooded us all. 
This mixture of warm and wet weather conditions has been perfect for gardens. As I walk around my parents garden and also my own I can see how all the plants look brighter, full of life – nature at it’s very best. 
This photo of the perfect bee accompanied by the lovely ladybird, is one of the few shots captured around the garden. I feel there is something very special about this picture.

All of the following pictures are taken with just a camera phone. Some of which can be very good these days for capturing those precious moments.

This gorgeous pink rose is one of my favourite colours. The petals are very pretty and perfectly formed.
One the slope part of my back garden, this type of reed plant has started to grow all by itself. It fits in perfectly with my other shrubs so I have left it where it is and weeded around it. The type of soil in my garden is clay so its always wet most of the time, especially with our damp climate in Cornwall. I’m assuming that these conditions are perfect for this type of reed, hence it growing very fast!
This gorgeous yellow flower completely brightens up the garden – reminds me of the sun.
I hope you have enjoyed my little tour of the gardens, you can keep up to date with future posts by following me on Facebook Twitter and bloglovin
Rachel xx

7 Hints and Tips on Planting and Caring for Azalea’s

This is one of my azalea shrubs out in bud. It’s a gorgeous red colour and stands out well in my back garden against the barked area. My back garden is sloped into the hill, so I have found that azalea’s are perfect for bringing colour and interest to this drab area.
           
The azalea’s I have are very young plants, so I am looking forward over the coming years to see them grow and develop. This is my white azalea below, it’s very forward compared to the red one above. They have such beautiful spring blooms and bring joy to my garden. 

So as you enjoyed my other hints and tips post’s here is another 7 Hints and Tips to add to the series. This time on how to plant and care for azalea’s. 
  1. Appropriate Location – choose a location that is not in direct sunlight. Azalea’s prefer the morning sun and afternoon shade. My shrubs have the morning sun and are shaded by the house in the afternoon due to them being planted in the slope. Azalea’s grow well when planted under shady trees
  2. Soil Conditions – Azalea’s love well drained acidic soil. My garden has a very high clay component in the soil, so to get around the drainage problem, I loosened up the soil with lots of compost and other organic matter. Another way to get around bad draining soil is to plant the shrubs in pots or raised beds. 
  3. Watering – When newly planted, azalea’s need to be watered every 2-3 days until the roots are established. They need to be kept moist, not wet or dry. Too much water is just as bad as too little. 
  4. Mulching – Azalea shrubs like some sort of protection around their roots. This can be pine bark, pine needles, wood chips or something similar. This helps to keep the roots warm in winter, retain moisture around the roots and keep weeds away.
  5. Pruning – To keep the shrub full bodied, you can prune azalea’s after blooming. Prune no later than 3 weeks after the blooms have died down, otherwise you will be cutting off next years flower buds.
  6. Fertilising – I think the best time to feed your azalea is after blooming. Only use a little as they are light feeders and only require a small amount of feeding, otherwise you could burn your plants. Do not use any fresh manure on your azalea’s as it is too strong, and could kill your plant.
  7. Common Diseases and Pests – Insects that can affect azalea’s are lace bugs and spider mites. Lace bugs are more prone to attack your shrub if it is grown in full sunlight. They attack the underside of the leaf sucking out all the chlorophyll, leaving the leaf a grey-white colour. The azalea can be treated with sprays which you can buy from your local garden centres who can advise you on the best course of treatments. 

   

I hope you enjoyed this post and find it very useful. You can follow me here on Bloglovin Twitter and Facebook
Rachel xx

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It’s Here! Spring has Arrived!

On the 20th March the Spring equinox arrived! An equinox is when day and night are equal in length. So from Friday onwards the day is longer than the night! yippee! We will have much lighter evenings for those BBQ’s and drinks after work in the garden! The most important thing is that as Spring is here, Summer is just around the corner!
For a gardener like me this is a very exciting time of year, there is much to do in the garden to prepare for some wonderful growth, like making sure flowers are prepared to bloom to their maximum and fruit growing to their full potential. The first jobs to do are to tidy and weed the garden. Prepare any raised beds you may have by turning the soil and adding manure/rotted compost ready for planting.
Yesterday my husband and I spent a couple of hours weeding and tidying our 15m x 3m rectangular back garden. That might not sound too bad but I omitted the fact that its on a slope of approx. 45 degrees! I have lots of evergreens and shrubs planted on the slope but hope to eventually construct a rockery there also. There are 30 steps that lead down from the slope garden to our patio, this is where I have all my containers with various fruit bushes and flowers. Its a gorgeous sun trap in the afternoons.
The flowers below are some of my favourites. As you know from my previous gerberas in bloom post gerberas are my all time favourite flowers, primroses are next. They come in many different bright colours, blue being very striking. I had to post a photo of the beautiful daffodil as this time of year they are in abundance on hedges, roadsides and fields. I have no idea what the flower in the bottom right of the photo is called! Its very pretty and was taken by my good friend Caroline. If anyone knows what the flower is, please let us know in the comments!
I bought some little herb plants in Homebase to plant in a container I’ve had spare for a while. You can never have enough fresh herbs, perfect for cooking. I chose oregano because it’s smell reminds me of pizzas! chives and golden thyme, they will come in handy once they grow a bit more.
On my steps leading up to the top slope garden I have various tubs, a couple of these contain coloured heathers which brighten up the area. I bought these last summer as the top photo shows what they looked like then. As you can see now as we are in Spring they are beginning to bud into flowers as shown in the bottom photo. The colours on the heathers will eventually fade as they were dyed.
I would love to hear in the comments about any spring/summer plans you have for your gardens.
Rachel xx

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