It was really lovely to receive an email this week telling us that our Pentland Garden Diary has been listed in magazine.co.uk’s Top UK Gardening Bloggers List for 2016. Amazing to see our humble journal being amongst some of the country’s gardening elite.
On top of last year’s listing in Vuelio’s Top 10 UK Gardening Blogs it’s really quite astonishing. A big thank you to anyone who’s ever stopped by and hopefully you’ll continue to enjoy our, more grubby than green, fingered journey.
I’ve unsuccessfully tried to keep a couple before but after a very long chat with a very enthusiastic member of the Scottish Bonsai Society at last year’s Gardening Scotland we came out with two lovely new Bonsai and a couple of pots, our only job was to keep them alive until March 2016 when we could then pot them.
March arrived and we only had one surviving Bonsai and looking at the size of the plant and then the size of the pot we realised that help was needed so we looked up our local Bonsai Society group in Penicuik – the next meet wasn’t until April, hopefully not too late!
What a lovely evening we had – there was some amusement at our specimen as it was overly-wired (not by us), unidentifiable, very very dry (but looking very happy on it), and with a huge root system. Basically, it was a rather unpromising start for our wee fella.
After much chat between the members they decided ‘surgery’ was in order and Dave, the organiser of the group got to work digging down and cutting back to see if there was any noticeable root structure (very important to have good visible roots in Bonsai) that would then define the front of the tree and then how it should be developed.
It was absolutely fascinating, some decent roots were found (things started to look up) and we now have what looks much more like a tree, some wiring was removed and some new wiring was added and some pruning took place and now there is hope!
We now need to let it recover from it’s ordeal (fingers crossed) and we’ve been advised to tease out the root system with a chopstick and then sit it in a pond basket along with bonsai grit (or Sanicat cat litter) and feed it (with Miracle-Gro) and see how the shape of it develops over the next few months.
Loved meeting these local enthusiasts, some of them are working on 50 or so plants of their own, very inspiring and I have a feeling that we will now also be on the look-out for some more to start nurturing and learning from. We’ll definitely be going back to the Penicuik Bonsai Society meet as well.
You can find out more about your local Scottish Bonsai Association groups & meetups here.
Meet the latest additions to our Pentland Garden – Ivy and Etta.
They are Maran chickens, Ivy is a Copper Blue Maran and Etta is a Copper Black with lovely iridescent feathers. They lay a dark brown coloured egg and they’d even thoughtfully laid one for us en-route. (We thought it’d be a nice complement to the blue eggs we get from our Cream Legbars, Betty, Marge & Rose).
Still being newbie backyard chicken-keepers we had a lot to learn very quickly when we discovered they were being delivered a few days earlier than expected. A mad dash saw a neighbour kindly bring us over an old dog box and run as we tried to cobble together a separate area for them from random materials lying around and about.
There was certainly a lot of noise from all of the girls to start with – there’s also been a lot of squaring up and pecking through the fence, hopefully it won’t last too long and they get used to each other quickly. Marans are a more docile breed so I’m assuming our girls, who are quite territorial, will stay top of the pecking order but we’ll see.
We had one escapee moment (I’ve now ordered a big fishing net for future chicken catching shenanigans) as well as raising the divider even higher. Have a feeling these two will be just as entertaining but in very different ways and who knows these ones might even be a bit more cuddly – would love a proper chicken cuddle (like in this cutest video below).
The lovely folks at Grow Wild UK are again giving away thousands of FREE wildflower seed kits to the people of the UK.
There’s no catch (this campaign is funded by BIG Lottery Fund) and it just takes a minute to register and you will be sent wildflower seeds native to your country that will attract bees, butterflies and insects and of course be beautiful too.
We’ve recently started heading down to the auction in Peebles, it’s great fun and there are some real bargains to be found. Previously we’ve come back with things for the house but this time around we went totally garden potty!
8 beautiful big blue pots, some with plants already in them (Lavender & Rhododendrons and something as yet unidentifiable) for £82 – considering we paid £100 in Dobbies the previous weekend for just 3 big planters (and they were all on sale) that’s an absolute steal! I was loving it when two folk were jealously watching us load the car – turns out they’d popped out for a coffee and missed the lots so apart from some online bids, we had no competition.
We also managed to snaffle a Victorian foot bath and a vintage watering can – both of these are also destined to become planters!
I finally found a really unusual plant worthy of putting in the lovely Kew Gardens pot that The Orchard sent me, a succulent called Sedum Cristatum, I think it looks like a brain and it’s hard not to touch it.
Next week I’m heading off to the Penicuik Bonsai Society’s monthly meet to see if they can help me re-pot the Bonsai we bought at Gardening Scotland last year – it was supposed to be done in March but hopefully it won’t be too late.
I was sent a review copy of Crops In Pots – 50 cool containers planted with fruit, vegetables and herbs by Bob Purnell which is being published this month. It sounded right up my street as I’m currently planning my veggies for this year and it didn’t disappoint.