It’s been a cold week here in Shipka with snow and winds delaying some of the outdoor crop plantings we had planned. We’re still preparing orders for our final deliveries of the season next week and if the weather warms up we’ll finish the new shrub and tree plantings and push on with the annual gardens.
So here’s what we’ve been up to in the gardens this week.
Spring slammed on the brakes early in the week with a flurry of snow and sub-zero temperatures for a few days. It’s stopped snowing but it’s still plenty chilly out there.
Mahonia aquifolium – Oregon Grape in flower. These are great plants for shady areas and in the understory of a forest garden. They can spread quite fast via layering in some soils but can easily be controlled via pruning with the biomass used for mulch. Our plants seem to stay where they are in our garden.
I managed to photograph four species of pollinators feeding on the flowers within a few minutes. Mahonia aquifolium – Oregon Grape is a great plant for attracting pollinators early in the season and features in our early pollenizer polyculture that you can find out more about here.
Here you can see how we use Mahonia aquifolium – Oregon Grape along with a selection of other plants in our Early Polleniser Polyculture. We’re offering all of the plants in this polyculture from our online store that you can find here.
|Early Polleniser Polyculture|
the bees agree…
Phlox subulata – Moss Phlox a sun-loving ground cover with cheerful pink blossom on display in early spring. The plant can spread to form an evergreen cover in hot and dry spots around the garden. Plant out young plants approx. 40cm apart and they should form a decent cover in a few years.
Hippophae rhamnoides – Sea Buckthorn is one of the first deciduous plants to leaf out in the spring in our gardens. A hardy shrub/tree native to Europe, provides an abundance of highly nutritious orange berries in the autumn. A member of the Elaeagnaceae family, the plant associates with Frankia bacteria to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. Hippophae rhamnoides – Sea Buckthorn can withstand strong winds, tolerates drought, thrives in nutritionally poor soil and its thorny branches makes this an ideal plant for a windbreak or hedging.
Pruning the Grapevines
I normally prune the grapevines in mid-Feb so we’re running a bit late this year. Last year we had some disease on the vines so this year I pruned out a lot more of the new growth and second-year-old growth to leave fewer buds that should have more resources, less stress and therefore more resistant to attack. We’ll see.
Here’s a short video that Archie made last year on grape pruning and using the prunings for hardwood cuttings. It’s easy peasy. Loads more on Grapevines if you are interested in a previous post The Very Fine Grapevine – The Essential Guide to Everything you Need to Know about Growing Grapes
New Daily Video Series from Dylan and Archie
Dylan and Archie have been posting daily videos on what they are up to in the gardens.
Here’s a few from last week
Good luck everyone and wishing you well.