The Ice Saints, May 2020

Modern art, you may ask?

No, it’s a young Gingko tree, given to us by friends when we moved here, and wrapped up in garden fleece!

In Germany the final frosts of the year according to ancient folk sayings are mid-May, on the four Saint‘s Days from 12th to 15th May. And until today they are surprisingly accurate. Last night the 11th-12th was Saint Pankratius and we had a couple of degrees of frost. Tonight is Saint Servatius and temperatures could drop below zero again… a nightmare for gardeners who have been tempted by an exceedingly mild and warm April and early May to plant up pots of Pelargoniums and vegetables and sow annuals…

The Cold Frame

Thank goodness for garden fleece and various bits of packing materials saved for wrapping up sensitive plants. And for our trolley, which came in handy for gathering up these pots to put under cover for the night.

The zucchini and butternut are in pots this year as the ongoing drought deterred us from starting a vegetable bed again this spring. Maybe next year… In the meantime, it means wrapping up pots overnight. These looked a bit peaky this morning when I took the photo, but by the afternoon they had perked up, albeit with some slight leaf damage despite the fleece wrapping.

With our greenhouse plans also postponed for at least another year, I invested in this mini patio greenhouse. It has been worthwhile, with room for twelve trays. And with a bit of garden fleece it stays above freezing overnight. It was delivered in a trillion pieces though, so don’t ask how long it took me to put it together! 😫

At the beginning of our lockdown in mid-March I panicked a bit and worried I would not get any tomato plants, as even if our garden centres ever opened again there would be a rush for them. So I ordered a mix of tomato seeds from a Russian lady not far from us who has a private nursery and usually sells young plants in spring. They are all old varieties brought over from Russia by her parents, and so are not EU certified (so I can‘t eat them… 🤪🤣😉) and ALL of them germinated! So I now have 28 healthy young plants and cannot give them away as I can‘t visit anyone! I think I will be spending all summer watering…

Tomatoes, Tithonia, Sunflowers, salad leaves and a couple of leftover zucchini plants

Some dahlia tubers freshly planted in pots were brought indoors, as were my Lemon Verbena plants. I have been coddling these darlings, bringing them indoors every night.

I love lemon verbena tea and dry the leaves so I can enjoy it all year round. Last year my plants did not thrive and I had to ration my remaining tea. I hope this year I can refill my stock. 😀

The last of our Ice Saints is the dreaded ‘kalte Sophie’, cold Saint Sophia on the 15th, and it looks like that might be our last frosty night…. I do hope so as the wrapping up and unwrapping is getting a bit ridiculous!

How do you cope with late frosts? Is there a specific date for the last ones where you live?

🌷❄️🌷

In a Vase on Monday: Winky Pinky Whatever

I am pleased to be joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her regular Monday meme, as we start another weird week…

This rather pretty Aquilegia has a strange name, ‘Winky Double Rose and White’ but I am not going to discriminate it for that. 😉 I believe in freedom of the individual! And it has an upright and honest constitution.

It has set a few seedlings since last year but none of them are in flower yet.  The deep purply pink leaves of Heuchera ‘Forever Purple’ and the maroon Geranium phaeum are a little dark and sombre but compliment the pink hues nicely. There is a deep velvety red Viola tucked in tight somewhere too. I also added a Pulmonaria ‘Wuppertal’ (Lungwort) which is actually past its best but the freckled leaves are almost as pretty as the flowers. And it is a reminder…

To lighten things up a bit I added a wild strawberry flower and a white Allium cowanii as well as an Alchemilla leaf. The leaves had to be rinsed as they were still covered in pollen despite a fair bit of rain recently. It seems we are having another mast year and the conifers are pumping out pollen like there is no tomorrow. I wonder if they know something we don‘t….

The doiley in the photos was crocheted by me several summers ago as a kind of therapeutic exercise… maybe I need something like that now too.

 

Excuse my odd mood this week. No, I am not on drugs and have not started drinking. Perhaps I am going potty or losing my marbles. I think you can all sympathise though.

Have a good week, and stay safe sane.

😷🤪🤪🤪😷

 

The NGS and Tulips in Dunsborough Gardens

In the UK the National Garden Scheme has been raising money for health and nursing charities for almost a hundred years through the opening of private gardens across the nation. This year those charities are threatened with a drastic drop in donations as gardens are kept closed due to the pandemic restrictions. The National Garden Scheme website has therefore started a campaign to show videos of many of the gardens that were due to open this spring, in the hope that visitors may also consider a donation. 😉

Do explore their excellent website. It is glorious to see all those wonderful gardens in the spring sunshine, but there are also many stories surrounding the gardens and gardeners, as well as news, garden products and even recipes.

If you like tulips you will LOVE this virtual tour of the tulips gardens at Dunsborough Park, UK. Do visit!

Dutch masters; a virtual visit to the Dunsborough Park tulip festival