All posts by Nadine Pierce

Living & working from the Pentland Hills just South of Edinburgh, a marketing professional with a love of running and the great outdoors!

Wherefore art thou Summer

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In need of a haircut!

What a miserable few weeks of rain we’ve had – the grass is going wild and I still haven’t had chance to try out the cordless strimmer that the lovely folks at GTech sent me a couple of weeks ago to review.

 

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Blackcurrants ripening up nicely

 

My soggy garden inspections are showing that it’s going to be a bad year for crops this year – we haven’t seen so much as a blossom on any of our apple trees, we have 2 gooseberries between our two bushes and no blueberries at all.

 

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Better late than never

 

On the plus side, our blackcurrants and rhubarb are both doing very well and it looks like we’ll be able to start harvesting some of early variety potatoes soon. The newly planted herb garden is doing well and we also have tomatoes growing nicely in the conservatory, despite everything being a lot later this year after the extended Winter.

 

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Beautiful Petunia Night Sky just started blooming

 

The chickens have managed to dig up most of the plants in our recently planted bed – periwinkles, tiarella, heucheras and helibores have all been tossed asunder by the naughty little beasts. We’re going to have to replant what we can salvage and then cane-off the bed until they’ve established themselves.

 

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The honeysuckle is looking great

 

Praying for some nicer weather this week as the to-do list is growing longer daily. I’ve been sent a self-watering hanging basket by Stewarts so I’m keen to see how that works and finally get to test the strimmer.

 

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Our other ‘surprise’ Rhododendron is out

 

I’m also quite excited to have been invited to RHS Tatton Park by Stiehl on the 16th and it looks like we’ll be in for a treat. Can’t wait to see the show gardens there.

 

 

 

 

Newhall Estate – Garden Open Days

The walled garden at Newhall is just lovely – I had serious veggie plot envy last time I was there, so I’m excited to see that it’s open every Wednesday between 2pm and 4.30pm until 27th July as part of Scotland’s Garden Scheme.

Entry £4 (goes to charity). Tea and coffee will be on offer.

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The History of The Garden

The Walled Garden was built about 1792 by Robert Brown. Originally such gardens were merely enclosed places in which to grow produce for the kitchen and flowers for the house, but they quickly evolved as places also for quiet perambulation in summer, and in winter to view the exotic fruit growing in the heat of the Glasshouses. The Walled Garden at Newhall has some remarkable features surviving from its earliest years, a heated Melon Pit, a beautifully built tunnel was discovered recently linking the nearby burn to the greenhouse for water supply.

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In the centre of the Garden is a statue of Adam, the first gardener, (made of Coadestone) ready to ‘delve’. You may also find – at the top of the Garden – the composite sundial, a round early 18th century table dial with a scrolled stone gnomon (or pointer) on what is probably a late 17th century pedestal of four figures of the seasons. The pedestal has been attributed to James Gifford of West Linton, a local sculptor and pre-dates the garden as it is thought to be from 1708.

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The cloverleafed pierced stones and another dated 1796 that you might find near the statue of Adam were brought here from one of Robert Brown’s outlying properties.

The twin busts of Pan and his mother on the South Gatepiers are probably early 18th century.They used to adorn the old entrance to Newhall House.

These are thought to have been cut by an Italian sent for and employed by the Duke of Hamilton and originally to have been on the gateposts between two Pigeon Houses that were once at the front of the house.

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Under the trees to the right of the South Gatepiers can be seen stones that originally formed part of a stone newel or spiral staircase from the old tower-house that still forms the core of Newhall House today. They were removed during the early 19th century extensions and alterations to the house.

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Newhall Estate is just off the A702 between Penicuik and Carlops.

Newhall House, Carlops, Penicuik EH26 9LY

F-off Fox! (So sorry Marge)

This morning we lost Marge to a fox. Our fault entirely for forgetting to shut them up in their coop last night.

 

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Marge checking out my office / Potting shed

 

Thankfully neighbours were woken by the noise and came to alert us at about 5.30am, they shoo-d the fox away leaving Marge dead by our back door, Rose missing (last seen in the fox’s mouth being taken down the garden) and Betty, alive but very frightened.

There were feathers EVERYWHERE all around the garden!

A few searches, after hearing a chicken down the bottom of the garden, and we found Rose, alive and well if a little ruffled behind our shed, she must’ve managed to get away -I can’t tell you the relief. Clever girl.

It could have been SO much worse, if it’d been dark and they’d been in their coop we’d have lost the lot and likewise, if the neighbours hadn’t heard and scared the fox off, the same result.

Clearly, we’re feeling pretty rubbish but we did bury Marge in a nice spot by the river and hopefully Rose and Betty will settle down (and grow their feathers back) soon.

Another sad day in our Pentland Garden.

Potting & Planting & Planting & Potting

After over a week of rain and fog, I finally got a couple of precious hours in the garden before it started to pour down again. I made good use of that time however and potted and planted out almost 100 plants.

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The chickens destroyed our herb garden so I used the opportunity to get a much better selection of plants that I would be more likely to use. We now have bay, sage, lovage, blue and white borage, lemon verbena, lemon balm, caraway, chamomile, rosemary, oregano, chives, thyme, fennel, and mint. I’ve also taken the precaution of sticking bamboo all the way around so the girls can’t get in and feast.

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I got a total bargain of 36 perennial posti-plugs for 36p with my last Thompson & Morgan purchase so now have Erigeron Stallone, Armeria Ballerina, Echinacea Pink Parasol and Nectar Pink, Coreopsis Early Sunrise and Delphinium Magin Fountain so they’re all potted on and will be great additions for our new front garden when we’re ready to plant.

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Our long shady bed under the beech hedge has now been planted up with a selection of periwinkles, Tiarellas, Muscari, Leptinella and Heuchera, now just waiting on the Hellibores to fill the gaps.

 

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Courgettes coming on well!

 

I split the courgettes and tomatoes that grew from some ‘seed pods’ that I was sent – the courgettes look amazing, never tried them before but very impressed so far, and potted both of these on along with a sweet pepper. I also caned the blackcurrant and a gooseberry so they’re looking much tidier.

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The beauty of potting all these things just before it rains is that you can skip the watering stage – probably how I got so much done before the heavens opened again. Everything’s crossed for some better weather as there’s so much to do out there.

 

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our 2nd ‘surprise’ Rhododendron is pink – boo! Loved the yellow one.

 

 

Gardening Scotland 2016

Was I the only one who was disappointed with this year’s Gardening Scotland Show? Not at all by the sounds of it.

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We were so excited about going, it was amazing last year, but it turned out to be a little bit of a let-down. The show gardens weren’t that ‘showy’ (or that many either) and both the craft tent and the main indoor hall also seemed to be lacking in both the number of stalls and their ‘substance’ in comparison to before.

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There were still some lovely stalls in the main hall and we thoroughly enjoyed listening to Hamish from the Secret Herb Garden talk about weeds/medicines, and the weather was perfect.

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So although we had a lovely afternoon with our friends  and we did still all come home with armfuls of purchases (and some absolute steals from when the stands were being broken down) I think I’ll have to demote it back below the Royal Highland Show which is coming up in the next couple of weeks.

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Next year we’re going to try Chelsea instead. Maybe the shows are just too close together and people are choosing Chelsea over Gardening Scotland….

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These are a few purchases, we haven’t given up on the Bonsai and have even bought a couple of new ones too! Predictably a succulent and cactus also found their way home.

 

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Crassula Pelucida Marginalis

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Jade Bonsai (Money Tree)
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Japanese Holly Bonsai

 

For ‘Fox’ Sake – RIP Ivy & Etta

We’re just back from a lovely trip around the Highlands and sadly lost our two new girls to a fox while we were away.

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Ivy (L) and Etta (R) taking sentry duty

These things happen, but it does go to show that we really need to get the roof of the chicken run sorted, it collapsed under the heavy snow we had at the end of April and as the chickens are shut in a coop at night, we hadn’t quite gotten around to fixing it back up properly.

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I saw this gorgeous one in a gardening magazine a couple of weeks back but at £800 it’s a serious investment. Think I’ll need to hop onto Pinterest and see what else is around. In the meantime, we’ll have to make sure that both S and Cosmo are peeing in the garden to keep the fox away. Yes, it is true that male human urine is an excellent fox deterrent.

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In other sad news, the Bonsai that we recently took to our local Society  has well and truly died – they did warn us that as they’d cut away so many of the roots it might happen so RIP Bonsai too.

Looks like the nice weather is set to continue for a few days and I’m on holiday so itching to get back out in the garden.

Gardener’s Question Time Summer Party at The Botanics

This is VERY exciting, quick, get the 9th July in your diaries….

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It’s the gardening event of the year – and for the first time it’s coming to Scotland. BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time is celebrating the joys of summer by hosting its annual Summer Garden Party at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

The day-long gardening festival offers visitors the opportunity to meet the GQT team face-to-face, take part in recordings of the programme, enjoy horticultural walks, talks, plant sales and demonstrations happening right across the Garden – ranging from pest and disease clinics to tips on how to maintain a healthy and productive herb garden.

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The garden party will feature the pick of the crop of gardening gurus, including GQT’s Bob Flowerdew, Bunny Guinness, Matthew Wilson, Pippa Greenwood, Anne Swithinbank, Matthew Biggs and Chairmen Eric Robson and Peter Gibbs. They will be joined by Scottish gardening hero, and star of the BBC’s Beechgrove Garden, Jim McColl.

We’ll have live entertainment throughout the day, with hands-on activities, demonstrations, food, drink and fun for all the family.

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There will be two recordings of GQT at the garden party, and BBC Radio 4 listeners will be able to hear all the highlights on Friday 15th July at 3pm (repeated Sunday 17th at 2pm) and Friday 22nd July at 3pm (repeated Sunday 24th at 2pm).

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TICKETS and Times

Saturday 9th July, 10am – 5pm

Tickets (inc. booking fee): Adult £10.50, children (5-16 yrs) £5, under 5’s free. Tickets available to buy online HERE

Please Note: The ticket price gives visitors access to all the events happening at the garden party. However, entry to the main marquee recordings of GQT is limited and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis to ticket holders on the day.

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