Spring Bulbs

I don’t usually bother planting bulbs each year. Those in the front garden – crocus, grape hyacinths and dwarf narcissi – have been there for several years, with the addition of alliums and nectaroscordum in autumn 2020.

In the back garden, I have daffodils and narcissi rescued from various borders and dumped in pots. Apart from an all too brief few weeks in spring, they live at the back of the garage. The only things I took any trouble with last year were my four ‘Blue’ pots containing Pickwick crocus, anemone Blanda Bleu, and grape hyacinths.

This year, however, I ordered some new bulbs (snowdrops x 50, anemone Blanda Alba x 20, and white fritillery x 15) which arrived on 6 October and had to be dealt with. (I’ve just noticed that the anemone is ‘White Splendour’ but have no idea if they are the same as ordered or a substitution, not that it matters. A white anemone is a white anemone is a white anemone!)

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Six on Saturday: 16 October 2021

Unless you want to see wall-to-wall white cosmos or arty shots of colourful leaves drifting silently to the ground, you’re stuck with what I’ve been able to scrape from the bottom of the gardening barrel, which isn’t much (and some isn’t even from my garden). But they are all I have to show for this week’s Six on Saturday hosted by The Propagator.

Raspberry ‘Yummy’ is still bearing fruit in mid-October (of which two were eaten by me literally the minute the shutter had clicked); which still begs the question – is it summer or autumn fruiting, and when should I prune it?

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Six on Saturday: 9 October 2021

Good morning from a very grey and drab part of North Wales though not foggy as I believe it is ‘down south’. Showers are forecast for later in the day so we’ve taken a chance and hung washing out. I doubt it will be there for very long. My husband will have to keep an eye on the weather as I’m about to start the second week of my course as soon as I’ve posted this week’s Six on Saturday, courtesy of The Propagator.

Welsh onions – aka Japanese bunching onions – my red onions have finally grown to a reasonable size; the white remain tiny, like spring onion seedlings. Unfortunately, my brother failed to listen to instructions for the two clumps I gave him – separating them out into singles rather than planting each clump as it was – and he’s now complaining that they’re not bunching!

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Six on Saturday: 2 October 2021

I don’t believe it! One (maybe more) of our local garden centres has already put out their Christmas decorations this week. Anyone else spotted similar activities? Me? I take my optical fibre tree off the top of the wardrobe on Christmas Eve and put it back the day after Boxing Day!

A very quick SoS today as the second year of my OU course officially starts today so it’s heads down and no talking in class!

Fuchsia hedge doing its thing and brightening a shady corner. I don’t want to prune it while it is still producing flowers.

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Monthly Roundup: September

Compost Corner

Not strictly September but on the last day of August, I emptied Compost Bin 2 into old growbags and compost bags – eleven in total – ready to take to the allotment to help improve the soil in my bed. So while Bin #1 does its thing over winter, I can start a new batch in Bin #2.

I could, however, have done without the eight-and-a-half-hours in A&E with chest pains that followed; and the potential diagnosis of angina following two ECGs, four blood tests, and four hours on a cardiac monitor. I am now on one low dosage aspirin a day, have a GTN spray for when the pain starts. BUT, after a chat with a cardiac nurse on September 10th, it MIGHT NOT be angina after all. Further tests are being arranged.

Gardening, apparently, is the best exercise; though I doubt she meant lugging great pots of compost around and stretching across raised bed. She probably thought I meant a little gentle pruning and a bit of weeding!

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A Hero going Home

When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home. 

(Mohican Chief Aupumut, 1725)
 

I rarely share personal stuff on this blog, but today I celebrate the life of a dear friend and former work colleague. Steve was a trade union activist, hard-left socialist, environmentalist, smallholder, home-brewer, traveller, and dedicated horiculuralist and gardener. He returned to higher education after retiring from work in 2019 after forty-years in the civil service, and was just about to start the final year of a Modern History degree.

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Six on Saturday: 25 September 2021

This week’s featured image is an Elephant Hawk Moth. I first saw one of these ‘live’ on 23 August 2020, and my second last Tuesday (21 September). Remembering someone said they ate fuchsia, I encouraged it onto a plant saucer and placed it under my newly established fuchsia hedge at the back of Raised Bed A. The hedge needs a good trim so I can spare plenty of juicy stems/leaves for such an exotic creature. Without further ado, here are my Six for this grey and murkey Saturday, shared with a wide-ranging group of gardeners around the globe via The Propagator.

Verbena bonariensis – the final curtain? I’ve already take some of the faded flowerheads and sprinkled them along the front border in the hope they will self-seed and grow.

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Your Starter for Ten*

What is this? Or, possibly, what are these on a post in the Potting Shed?

So far they could be – according to Google:

  • Bagworm egg cases
  • Bee moth cocoons
  • South African praying mantis eggs (not in North Wales surely?)

They are smallish – larger than a 1p coin, smaller than 2p – made of sawdust probably scraped off same pole; and rock hard (I hit one with a long metal pole and it didn’t make a dent). They remind me of limpets at the seaside!

Ideas please in case I have to protect my shed from wood boring insects, or ourselves from something bitey or stingy and very angry that I smacked it.

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Six on Saturday: 18 September 2021

Another bright and sunny morning. We’ve had good weather for a few days now – warm enough to sit outside for coffee. And I have been walking round with a big smile on my face since Thursday evening when I overheard my neighbour discussing his trees with The Gardener. I think it will be a few weeks before we see any action (waiting for the leaves to fall), but at least – finally – there will be daylight!

So lets get on with this week’s Six, courtesy of The Propagator.

I’ve been calling these plants begonias, though I’m not sure if they are or not. Online research suggests they are wax begonias, so if anyone can confirm one way or another, I would be grateful. These were one plant from our charity pot bought summer 2020 – no labels provided. I split it in two and kept it ov erwinter in the Tiny Greenhouse (watered sparingly – when I remembered). I shall do the same this year.

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Feathered Friends

Last year, we replaced one of our bird boxes. Though blue tits expressed great interest in it, they showed just as much in the broken one we’d removed but left nearby.

As far as we know a blue tit pair started a nest this year but abandoned it before laying eggs.

Today, we have moved this bird box and the one we made to encourage robins to nest in my Potting Shed. They are now more sheltered from the wind, higher up than previously, safe from cats, and close to where the bird feeders will hang,

Fingers crossed.