It’s time to face facts, we have too many chickens. They are costly to keep, time-consuming and too many can turn the land sour. We love collecting fresh laid eggs from the nest boxes and seeing the hens running around the orchard but there are simply too many. Hens can live to about 6 years old but they lay most of their eggs in the first 2 years, they still lay eggs from year 3 onwards but just not as many. We need to be realistic, as much as we like the idea of a chicken retirement home, 30 older hens that aren’t earning their keep need to be re-homed. We think they are ideal in smaller quantities for families who don’t want 30 eggs a day and they make good pets.
A gardening list that is far too long
During the last four years we have been working very hard creating different areas of the garden, including a magnolia walk, a rose walk and a rose garden. These are now starting to mature and they now need constant work to keep them looking at their best. Every week we write a gardening to-do list and although we get lots of jobs done each day the list just seems to get longer and longer. So we have to work faster and harder and we have to prioritise what needs doing.
So we have made the decision to reduce the chickens down from 50 to 16, which is a much more manageable number and this will give us more time to concentrate on keeping the garden in tip-top shape.
The Moosbach Garden Plant Shop
Added to our already busy schedule is the Moosbach Garden plant shop, we sold a few plants last year but this year we thought we would expand upon this and we started stocking David Austin roses. In the last 3 months we have sold 50% of the roses that we initially brought in and now another batch of roses have been ordered to supplement what we have to offer. So we have 17 different varieties of roses for sale, as well as, delphiniums, Acanthus, Lupins, Lavender, Salvia, Phlox, Cosmos and Day Lilies.
In the next couple of weeks the 8 new varieties of roses will go on to the Moosbach Website, along with the 9 varieties already on there. We will add other plants to the online shop when they are available to buy. In May there will be some fantastic delphiniums available, as well as Lavender and Salvia. These combine perfectly with roses in a mixed border. There is however, limited availability on all of the David Austin roses and we are already down to the last 2 or roses on some varieties. If you visit us in June you will be able to see all of the roses in our rose garden, along with some stunningly beautiful delphiniums, which we grow from seed here in the Moosbach garden.
If you would like to see the roses that we have available then please click here and if you are interested in buying some chickens please email us.
June, July and August are the best times to visit the garden here, however, May can be good too depending upon the weather.
Peonies and Tree Peonies
We have been extending our range of peonies in the garden and have both the perennial variety and the tree form. There are many different varieties of both perennial and tree peonies but they must be treated very differently.
Both types can be grown from seed or purchased as mature plants, Perennial peonies can be treated like all other perennials and can be cut back in the autumn after the first frosts, Tree Peonies on the other hand should never be cut back, they do not respond well to being pruned and in some instances will even die. Tree peonies can grow to a height of about 2 metres and produce stunningly beautiful flowers, just be conscious of where you plant them as they need a bit of space to grow into. If you want to grow new plants from seed you will need to hand pollinate them and then protect the pollinated flower insects and bees.
Pictured about a Tree Peony flower (Left) and Perennial Peony flower (right).
With both sorts you need to wait until the seeds have ripened and the seed pods are splitting and the seeds exposed. Dry the seeds and store over winter, they need exposure to 3 months of cold temperatures either outside or in the fridge before sowing. With a little luck seedlings should emerge either in spring or in summer, you will have to wait about 3 years for the first flowers but I think that it is definitely worth the wait. Seeds that have been pollinated by insects will not be true to the parent plant but what is life without a little mystery?
New buds on one of our Tree Peonies, each bud will produce its own set of flowers and the plants are very hardy.
Perennial Peony shoots just emerging from the ground, this plant was in the ground for 2 years before it produced its first set of flowers. Please remember that peonies do not like have their roots disturbed so moving them is not recommended.
After what seems like a very long and very snowy winter lets hope for a glorious summer, we wish you a very Happy Easter.