Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Garden and studio work in January 2009

A few sunny days has allowed a bit of gardening between snow showers.

Feed the Ground
Weeds and old leaves have been tidied up and bush and climbing roses pruned to allow me to spread compost on the ground where the spring bulbs will soon be appearing. This also makes the soil quite dark and helps to make the coloured stem border stand out better. This winter garden has Cornus, Leycesterias and Kerrias and is underplanted with drifts of crocus species, and snowdrops for February colour to be followed by tulips in May at which time the shrubs will be pruned down to the ground.
Roses start early with a warmer climate in Scotland, so pruning which used to be a March task now is better done in January.
I keep two compost heaps going so one has now been used and the other has been turned over to allow better rotting down of material. It should be ready for spreading in late spring.

Winter planting
I have been in the fruit garden digging out old redcurrent and blackcurrent bushes, manured and dug over the ground, which now gets planted with a batch of nine blueberries grown from seed saved from some berries purchased for eating several years ago. It will be interesting to see how they perform. The ground was previously prepared with leafmould dug in and a generous sprinkling of sulphur chips to acidify the ground. To help this acidification the plants will only get fertilised with sulphate of ammonia and sulphate of potash, both of which will help keep to heep the pH levels on the acid side.

Allotment planting
I also grow the Scottish Blaeberries, Vaccinium myrtillus on a prepared patch in my allotment fruit garden. These plants were also grown from seed collected when blaeberry picking on Alyth Hill several years ago. These blaeberry fruit can be as large as the highbush blueberries when given good growing
conditions, though the bushes only grow about a foot

Back in the Studio
Snow showers h
as got me back indoors at the easel.
I have pulled out a few still life paintings that I was unhappy with and decided to rejuvenate them. It was mainly the backgrounds that let then down, so they have now been repainted.
My art classes have started for the winter session finishing just before Easter, and I am now looking for those interested in an outdoor art holiday workshop painting the Scottish mountains, glens and
lochs based at the Four Seasons Hotel at St. Fillans on the banks of Loch Earn.
To enrol see information at
Paint Scottish Lochs and Glens

First Spring Flowers
Although it is still mid winter by the calendar, the spring bulbs are now coming into flower. aconites, snowdrops and hellebores have not been detered by the snowfall or frost and are now
for attention.

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