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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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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Monthly Round-Up: August

August has been a long month, concentrating as we were on house and garden maintenance; not so much gardening, more prettifying the area around the garden by painting exterior walls and paintwork, as detailed here and here. A month that, as it neared the end, found us running out of energy and time to do the things that had to be done.

Tuesday last week found me painting the other side of the gate and the frame around the garage door, which I wasn’t looking forward to as it is fiddly to get at. The old paint was flaking off and required a lot of preparation before I could start. But it’s done now (though with the garage door half open I did spot a couple of patches where the brown paint hadn’t covered the blue; but they’re underneath the dips in the door and can’t be seen when it’s down. I can live with that for a couple of years).

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Six on Saturday: 7 August 2021

The week started with warm sunshine and cool breezes, Wednesday morning was spent at the allotment in sunshine harvesting my onions; Thursday, rain (as forecast) and a strong breeze (which wasn’t). Friday, sun. Saturday, rain (so far) and cool enough to require a lightweight fleece top – indoors!

Name that Plant – I found something online that looks very similar to this unidentified ‘ornamental grass’ my brother gave me last year it’s Juncus Effusus, the common rush. It likes moist, poorly drained soil so I’ve stood the pot beneath a drip from the conservatory gutter.

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Monthly Round Up: July

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To-Do List

Another tick on this year’s To-Do list. After the front path and drive (cleaned and sealed), the wall and gatepost (painted), I’ve had the paintbrush in my hand yet again – this time for the garage door! I can’t remember the last time I painted it but it’s been quite some time.

An up-and-over door isn’t the easiest thing to paint. I managed the top of the door (standing inside the garage with the door open) and the bottom of the door (standing outside on a stepladder), but I could only manage the lower half of each side due to lack of space inside the garage. It could probably do with a second coat (sometime) but it’s better than it was and I quite like the neutral brown colour.

I’ve still got to pain the white door surround. The paint here is flaking off so will need brushing and sanding, but that will be done at a later date, as will the door behind the brick arch (image 1 & 2). In the final image, the garage door looks blue, but it’s just the reflection of the sky in the wet (brown) paint – I haven’t “missed a bit”.

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Monthly Round-up: June

Peas and Sweet Peas

Are doing well. Not yet an overabundance, but soon, perhaps. And there are – finally – flower buds on the perennial sweet pea tower.

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Monthly Round-up: May 2021

This month has been a complete wash-out, literally; and when it wasn’t raining, we had overnight frosts. Everything is weeks behind and the soil is still cold to the touch.

First, a look at the saracennia (pitcher plant). This has been overwintering in the Potting Shed as it needs a couple of months of cold temperatures before it starts its new growth cycle. It’s been re-potted twice (July and November 2020) since I bought it in December 2019, in nothing more than the moss my brother raked from his lawn. Then, at the end of March, my favourite TV gardener said it was time to cut off the old pitchers to allow new ones to grow. So I did.

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Monthly Roundup: April 2021

Raised Bed preparation

Raised Bed A

I tackled this bed mid-month, hoping that we’d seen the last of frosty nights! The first thing was to clear away all the daffodil and narcissi pots to give access. Second – the temporary removal of the arch. Third, remove everything else and prune the fuchsia cuttings along the wall.

I rescued as many brassica leaves as I could (for our evening meal), then dug everything out, apart from the purple sprouting broccoli. I weeded, hoed to brake up the crust on the soil surface; added loads of chicken manure pellets; added the compost from five growing bags (my failed experiment to grow salad crops over winter), and raked and hoed everything again.

I’ve used a row of bricks to separate the fuchsias from the veg bed, added a ‘fleece’ layer (to start warming the soil) topped of with upturned hanging baskets to discourage cat activity, and replaced the arch in a new position – at the front of the bed where it will – hopefully – allow easier access to peas and beans (and provide some much needed shade while we have our morning coffee – once the beans have grown). All in all, a good morning’s work.

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