Blue tit nest (c) Rianne Mason

May garden journal

I’ve been dividing and planting out seedlings, pruning and admiring the beauty of nature (as always).

Thinning out begonias… so many begonias…

Begonia seedlings (c) Rianne Mason
Begonia ‘Summer Rainbow’ seedlings (c) Rianne Mason

I sowed these begonia seeds as part of my RHS practical course – where I put in a WHOLE PACKET of seeds. Looking back, I’m not sure this was the best thing to do, but I guess you never know how successful seeds are going to be! It has given me a lot of practice dividing seedlings and I’ve been able to give a lot away, which is one of my favourite things about gardening.

Watching a pine tree grow

Mugo pumilio seedlings (c) Rianne Mason
Pinus mugo pumilio seedlings (c) Rianne Mason

How cute is this?

Pruning a Barberry bush

Barberry bush clippings (c) Rianne Mason
Barberry bush prunings (c) Rianne Mason

This was my first try at ‘cloud pruning’ and I honestly have no idea if it was a success or not, but I really got into it! It’s definitely quite meditative looking for the right kind of branches to prune back to and you get a load of woody material at the end for your fire or compost!

My top tip – wear suitable shoes.

Sowing ‘Cobra’ French beans

Cobra bean seedling (c) Rianne Mason
Freanch bean ‘Cobra’ seedling (c) Rianne Mason

It seems there is one clear winner in this bean race.

Checking in on the blue tit chicks

Blue tit nest (c) Rianne Mason
A blue tit nest full of chicks (c) Rianne Mason

I have no words. The chicks are cute but also, check out the detail on that nest.

Sowing corn

Zea seed (c) Rianne Mason
Zea mays seeds (c) Rianne Mason

This is easy, just sow one Zea mays seed (corn kernel) into its own little pot about an inch or so deep. I did this for Inspire community garden because, sadly, their original seedlings were eaten.

Dividing petunias

Petunia seedlings (c) Rianne Mason
Petunia seedlings (c) Rianne Mason

This was for Inspire community garden in the hope that they can sell some. These seedlings were a bit vulnerable during the process because I wasn’t very shaded, but hopefully they’re doing well after I gave them a good water.

Planting out sweet peas

Sweet pea seedlings (c) Rianne Mason
Lathyrus odoratus seedlings (c) Rianne Mason

I can’t wait for the sweet smell of these. I made sure they have something to climb up!

Dividing clary sage

Clary sage seedlings (c) Rianne Mason
Salvia sclarea seedlings (c) Rianne Mason

These are from one of my favourite plant families – Salvia. They all smell so good and apparently this makes a great essential oil.

Dividing lemongrass

Lemongrass seedlings (c) Rianne Mason
Cymbopogon citratus seedlings (c) Rianne Mason

I haven’t dealt with the grass family much up until this point, and boy do they have a great set of roots! I’m still not 100% sure what I’m doing with this lemongrass but I figured the least I can do is give them a bit more space by dividing them into clumps of three.

Making a willow wigwam

A willow wigwam (c) Rianne Mason
Me and mum with our willow wigwam (c) Rianne Mason

I always surprise myself at how much I love building something because I rarely get to do it! But this was a lot of fun and I got to work with my mum on something that was new to both of us, which is also rare (my mum is a plant wizard).

Discovering aphids in the greenhouse

Aphids (c) Rianne Mason
Aphids on Sonchus oleraceus (c) Rianne Mason

My first reaction to this mound of aphids was ‘aagh!’, then ‘oh wow this is kind of cool’, then ‘I guess I should get these out of the greenhouse’. I don’t know… what do you do? I removed the entire nettle in the end, which was acting as an alternative host, but inevitably they end up on the lettuce too. So I think removing them is a good call.

Aphids cause damage to plants in various ways:

  1. They suck the sugary liquid from your plant (and your plant kind of needs that liquid).
  2. They transfer diseases.
  3. They excrete a ‘honeydew’ substance that can cover leaves and reduce photosynthesis.

I always advise natural methods of pest control where possible, because we like to look after all the wildlife and microorganisms connected to them. With any luck, the blue tits will start eating them as thank you for building their home 🙂

Taking care of dahlia and sunflower seedlings

Dahlia and Sunflower seedlings (c) Rianne Mason
Seedlings of Dahlia ‘Mignon Mixed’ and Sunflower ‘Little Leo’ (c) Rianne Mason

I only sowed these last month but they soon shot up. It’s time to give them a bit more room I think.

Discovering giant asparagus

Mature asparagus stalk (c) Rianne Mason
A very mature Asparagus officinalis (c) Rianne Mason

Couldn’t keep this to myself – it’s asparagus left to grow to retirement age. Turns out asparagus gets pretty tall.

Admiring succulent flowers

Echeveria setosa flower (c) Rianne Mason
Echeveria setosa flower heads (c) Rianne Mason

The best thing about succulents is that they take you by surprise with these beautiful flowers, that seem to come out of nowhere. These sunset colours always take my breath away. Thanks plants!

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