The Potting Bench Diaries – 12th April 2023

Last week I started by telling you how wet it had been and the past week couldn’t have any more different! Rain has turned to sunshine and that mix has brought the garden along in leaps and bounds, all in the space of just 7 days. The grass is growing, buds are forming and everything needs a good drink of water!

There’s no denying that the tulips are the highlight of our garden during spring and they really have my heart – I only wish that their season was a little longer than it is.

This season’s efforts are decidedly more kaleidoscopic than last years and no colour is off limits. That said, the majority are pastel shades, with a good measure of bold colours dotted throughout. There are a few stars of the show in terms of the early flowering varieties but Double Shake has to take the crown.

A pale pastel yellow / pink (which somehow comes out as a rather bold yellow in a photo) that perhaps isn’t done justice unless you see it for yourself in person.

A relatively ‘new to market’ tulip (as described on the Farmer Gracy website) but I do anticipate that this will become a staple in future years. A remarkably tall variety and one that appears to have multiheaded stems of gorgeous double blooms. One that has shot right to the top of my ‘tulips I absolutely must have again next year’…list and I’d highly recommend it for you for next year.

Sticking with bulbs again for the moment – well, actually – not bulbs, but corms (its all much the same anyway, kind of). Its come time to start planting Gladioli and my recent order from The Rose Press Garden has arrived. I’ve got 30 corms going in this week all in shades of pink, purple and white to create something of a new space in our humble plot.

We’ve got a tough little rockery area that gets sun upon sun upon sun, all day long so I’m hoping these do the trick this year for spires of lofty blooms through summer. Be sure to come back for an update on these!

All the warm and sunny weather has given me the chance to get some of the seedlings outside into the sun for some extra light (and they’re bound to repay me for it). Cosmos, sunflowers, tomatoes and chillies have all been basking in the glorious rays we’ve had this week and it’s been mesmerising seeing them leaning and craning for every last drop of sunshine.

The temperatures have been consistently high and I would be tempted to start leaving them out overnight but I’m just the tad too nervous to do it just yet…

And finally, another podcast episode is now live and this week I’m talking with gardener, writer, homesteader and author, Liz Zorab of
Byther Farm in Wales.

Liz has created a wonderful space, half way up a hill (or possibly a mountain…) that enables her to grow up to 80% of the food her and Mr J consume at home.

You can listen to the episode here now!

Although I’m not quite sure I’m ready to commit to creating a homestead just yet, this conversation has given me real food for thought for what we can achieve here. Starting with growing all the garlic we could possibly ever need…

See you again next week,

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