Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Snow Way so much snow on a bank holiday

The Biggar hills looking scenic in the snow
Sometimes I think I shouldn't have called my blog the Quirky Bird Gardener and instead it should have been (deep breath) How to Run your own business and a house and a garden as fiancé to batman who works all sorts of weird hours with 3 grown lads, one of them with asbergers, two almost step kids, a collection of pets and a partridge in a pear tree (ok I was joking about the partridge). Life is busy and manic but that's good and sometimes it's an idea to take a step back and take an objective view at it all, re-adjust the balance if we can and move forward again. It helps to take some time over lunch, a coffee or driving to the nursery to chat about it all and re-access the next bit of the journey and we are pretty good at doing that, with two businesses between us and everything above we have to be. That's why it's important to take time out, a day off, do something different, a change of scene. go places we want to see, live life. It's important, one day we won't be able to and as long as we can look back and say we tried our hardest, we did the best we could and we made the most of everything, what we had and lived life as fully and as caring, well and happily as we could, then that is ok.

Biggar Hills 

The first two days (Wednesday and Thursday) of my weird working week were pretty much the same really, snow, cold winds from the north, trying to keep warm and trying to get on with all the tasks on the go at the moment. Although the snow is nice to look at and for photos it's doesn't encourage people to buy plants, it's the end of April for goodness sake! We had a wee boost with a coach tour stopping in at Whitmuir and they all enjoyed a wander through the nursery buying plants. Luckily they got a good weather window between snow and sleet showers!

Tulips for the cafe

I arranged some bright red parrot tulips for the cafe flowers this week, we all need a lift of cheery colour against the dull skies and poor weather. I've been sowing more seeds and am beginning to feel like I'm getting there with them, with over 400 packets to sow, its a task, but will be well worth it for stock in the coming year or so. I've also sown all the old seed that came with the nursery, whether it is viable or not, we will see. I am also getting there with the shade plants, down to "E" now, but given they were covered in two inches of snow on Friday, weather has stopped play, as they say. I really want to get them finished and moved so I can start on sorting out grasses.

Interesting clouds over the Pentlands

A different kind of April shower

The baby blackbirds are growing,
waiting on mum bringing back some food

Friday and there was a lot of snow overnight, at least 2 inches! Fortunately the roads were clear and it was relatively easy drive to work, but it's so cold and horrible for us and the plants, so much for May bank holiday weekend. I couldn't even work in the potting area as the snow was blowing right in to the back and over the potting benches. So it was an office day trying to keep warm and catching up on admin, blah. I was glad to get home and warm up, mainly done by baking some cupcakes and butterfly fairy cakes. It's a while since a baked and I don't seem to have lost the touch, thankfully or I'd be letting down generations of strong woman in my family before me who baked very well. 

As you can see the snow has invaded the potting area

Welcome to the May bank holiday

I felt the need for porridge on Friday morning, I wonder why

Just to prove I haven't lost the baking touch

The best way to disguise vegetables, courgette cupcakes
with cream cheese icing

Saturday again, already and it was youngest son and I in the nursery. The day was sunny and warm in the sun and we got lots of work done tidying and moving more shade plants. Dan was a great help working away at them and helping with customers. I got the tunnel watered and some plants brought back to go in the stock beds and cuttings for potting. It is always nice to have new customers and meet new people and to have customers come back to buy more plants and to enthuse about the plants they brought last time. We must be doing something right.

The last to fly the nest

I went to check on the baby blackbirds and the nest was empty, which was worrying until I heard Mummy bird calling her young and saw the last baby ready to take his first flight, here he is summoning up the courage, it's great to be able to see so much nature close at hand. The farm have also got more cattle after a break of a few years, they were a bit live wire when they got out the lorry on Saturday afternoon, hopefully they will calm down. After tea I managed to get an hour or so out in my greenhouses. I've finished re-potting the Pelargoniums and am working through the rest of the plants. It's good to give the greenhouses and plants a proper tidy up and get some propagation done both for stock for the nursery and to keep my plant collection going.

Primula auricula 'Callander Park' in my garden at home

Back to blustery showers on Sunday, but the sun did make an appearance once or twice and the temperature has definitely risen. David and Adam were in to help and worked on more irrigation both in the tunnel and new stock beds. It is great to have it all sorted out before summer and the warmer weather comes. Now the flick of a switch and turning a tap gets water everywhere in the nursery and tunnel.

I potted some plants and took cuttings from plants I brought in from home, this included root cuttings of Acanthus hungaricus and Acanthus spinossisimus Group, I've always found they come well from length of root places in seed trays and left to root and shoot They can then be cut up and potted up. I've reached "A" in the shade plants (working backwards), so nearly there. 

Despite the weather we had plenty customers wandering up and it was lovely to catch up with Colin and Deborah from The Lint Mill, the beautiful B&B and small holding they run near Biggar. You can see their website here.

Caltha palustris 'Flore Plena' at home

May Bank Holiday Monday, you can tell, the weather is bad again. There was a lot of rain over night and strong winds that persisted all day. We had sunshine and showers and some hail thrown in for good measure. David began dismantling pallets to make more sales tables while I spent the morning working in the tunnel. It was good to spend a reasonable length of time there sorting out plants potting up cuttings and seedlings, watering and sorting out plants to come back over to the nursery for stock beds and sales. I feel more on top of it now and hopefully the frost is now over I can move more plants out. The seedlings are popping through at speed and I'll need to keep on top of potting them up. It was cosy in the tunnel with the door closed and with the radios David was able to keep in touch with customer queries.

Potting up seedlings in the tunnel

Golden Saxifrage flowering  on the stream bankings on the farm

Fortunately the lurgy that has plagued me for months seems to have gone, hopefully for good. I don't feel exhausted all the time and am getting lots done once home in the evening. The usual domestic chores are done quickly and I've been working in the garden and making time for relaxing too. I'm sleeping a bit better too, but given my years of patchy sleep patterns that could all change! Dan and I dodged a rain shower to run around the garden with the dog and I got some photos of more flowers coming out in the garden as you can see below.

The mad mut being cute

Narcissus 'Delibes'

Primul auricula 'Blue Velvet'

Primula auricula cultivar

Rhodiola Rosea, Rose Root

Tuesday day off, the weather was a mixed forecast and we didn't fancy travelling too far, especially as survey season has kicked off for David. We've never got to visit the Kelpies in Falkirk yet, so that was our destination. A 45 minute drive saw us parked up and Bracken raring for a walk. We parked at the Helix park and walked up to the Kelpies which was a lovely walk through the wetlands on broad curving board walks. We were really lucky with the weather which set off the Kelpies beautifully for photographs. After visiting the Kelpies and walking around the Helix Park we went for lunch in the Kelpie cafe, the soup was excellent. We meandered home along the motorway towards Penicuik but David's car isn't finished in the garage so it was home for tea and some more greenhouse tidying.

Board walk through the wetlands at the Kelpies

The canal locks at the Kelpies

The Kelpies fro the canal locks

B&W Kelpies

The Kelpies

soaring high above the canal

Selfies at the Kelpies

Close up

Looking at you looking at me

You look this way, I'll look the other way

Another week done, they are passing so fast, hope your week has been good too. The weather forecast for next week is high temperatures and sun, lets hope it makes it this far north! Catch you soon, take care.




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