About my garden

Monday 20 February 2017

In a bowl on Monday and positive pest ID!

Here is my bowl of flowers for Monday. I floated these Hellebores in water and added a few Heuchera leaves (Midnight Bayou) as there are still not many hellebores flowering. I think the leaves will probably sink but they look nice for a short while.
The hellebores last a few days in a bowl like this before they collapse and you have to scoop out the soggy remains. It's certainly the best way to show off the gentle colourings. 
The bowl is pale green, frosted glass and is another charity shop/bric a brac find. 

I managed to organise my son to set up the camera in the polytunnel (he'd borrowed it from work to test). It has a motion sensor which, when activated, takes a picture, there is then some delay before the next is taken. You don't get a continuous film of all activity but photo every so often, I'm not sure how long the delay is.  We got a fair few on the first night. I hope you can see the culprit here. Eyes shining brightly at the back of the photo.

There is no way of telling how many critters there are, I think I can see two in one photo, but mice are rarely solitary, as we know! It's either one with a large appetite or a whole family. This used to be a spinach plant which was about 30cm tall.
The next day there were no photos but I noticed he/they had move onto the purple sprouting broccoli in a different corner. We set the camera up again and sure enough:

I hope you're impressed by the addition of an arrow!  However, I'm not impressed that he/they are eating my psb. I only left it in there as a trial and it has grown huge and sprawled all over the place. I'm so looking forward to an early crop.
I know there is no way of keeping them out so I'll have to find deterrents and ways of keeping small things safe. Things grew pretty well last year so I hope I'll get most of the crops. At least it isn't rabbits!

Because of the mess of broccoli and other sprawly plants, my second, somewhat belated, year's resolution is - I will stake my plants properly. 
I'm very bad at it. It's quite hard to stake well, I find. Unless you want to spend a small fortune on fancy supports. There are ways to do it, though, and the earlier the better before the plants flop so I will do it!

For interesting and creative vases from around the world visit Cathy of Rambling in the Garden - In a Vase on Monday.  

Monday 13 February 2017

IAVOM - Perfect little gems

What else is the star just now but snowdrops?
This is our second winter in this house. We moved in summer so had a good idea what was in the garden but, of course, had no idea about what bulbs would come up in spring. It was exciting to see things popping up and wait to see what they were. 
These snowdrops are growing in an inaccessible hedge so picking them involved wet twigs snapping in the face but, I think you'll agree, was worth it. There are lots of them so I felt no guilt in picking plenty.
I believe them to be flore pleno but ready to be corrected by anyone who knows better. 
Shown here with Vinca minor. They are growing together so they must like each other. 
Their sweet, gentle scent is permeating the room. 

 I've taken my own advice and placed them on a mirror. My husband produced this from his car boot. It's a truck wing mirror which is scratched and can't be sold and it's perfect for showing them off. 

 Photography then becomes very difficult as everything is reflected in the mirror. Lampshades, windows, my own head!

We had a tiny sprinkling of snow on Saturday so I tried to photograph snowdrops in the snow. So many as you see, this is about a quarter of them.
I'm planning to dive into the hedge with a trowel in a few weeks time to move some elsewhere. There are plenty of places where they could be tucked in and seen more easily and without risk to health. In fact, I'd like them everywhere.

Here is a fun picture I took with my mobile phone. I think the flash went off, hence the strange light. I was holding it underneath to try and take a photo for identification purposes.I managed to get myself in some of these photos.  I'm new to this game but they are quite large flowers and I think are probably 'S Arnott'. 
I'm now thinking I'll need to get some more varieties!

I've discovered out local town is hosting a Snowdrop festival next weekend. Apparently breeder James Allen used to live here. He bred many new varieties some of which remain incluing 'Merlin' and 'Magnet'. Now I know, I'll have to get involved. 
Here are my broad bean seedlings (shown last week) romping away:

The yoghurt manufacturers have kindly re-designed the pots so they stack nicely inside each other and make perfect little plant pots. Take care to make holes in the bases before planting as it's much more dicey afterwards. Ask me how I know...
These won't be in the pots for long so are big enough. 
I've started some sweet peas in the same way. 

Furry pests:
I've decided the culprit eating the beetroot tops is probably mice. They have moved onto the spinach and I can see a hole going under the edge of the poly tunnel wall. It has been very cold outside to a meal provided out of the wind would be very inviting.
I dug up the beetroot and we ate them just to make sure nothing got to them first. They were very good, maybe some loss of flavour but certainly a treat in February. 

For fun and creative vases from around the world visit 'In a vase on Monday' hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. 

Ps. In the language of flowers, snowdrops mean hope, consolation and a friend in adversity.

Monday 6 February 2017

A vase and a mystery

We've had a change in the weather. I'm not kidding myself that winter is over but things are moving. 
Saturday was the first day this year I spent outside. The sun came out and it felt WARM. Previously I've run out carried out a job at high speed and run back in for a cup of something nice. 
I started clearing round the base of a hedge to remove competition and giving it a good  feed. The cleaned one side of the poly tunnel wall which had gone green over winter. Not the most pleasant of jobs as it involved water dripping down my arm but looks so good now it's done and so much more light is coming in.
Conversly, Sunday was very cold again and though I told myself I'd go out and get busy, it was back to dashing in and out. 

My vase this week is tiny but all silver and pink. 

Thyme 'Silver Posie, Lavender shoots and pink primula. I'm not really one for all the different colour primulas and polyanthus. This one, however, popped up in the grass in our last garden and was so pretty I had to move it to safety. Then it was one of the many plants which moved with us, now a large clump. It must have crossed with a primrose. 
I think it's because it's such a sweet pink and is a classic flower as a child might draw. 

They are not quite there yet but this is what they look like in full bloom.

I know I said I wasn't sowing any seeds until the middle of February, but broad beans are different!
I've used a technique I heard on the radio. UK gardeners may be familiar with Terry Walton. I heard him on the radio sharing his method.
I soaked the beans and then put them in a bag with some damp compost. This is after a few days:

and this about a week:

For the record, they all germinated.
I've potted them into small posts and I'm keeping them inside for now. I've had trouble with mice eating peas and beans so I'm taking no chances. They root out the pea and just leave a wilted shoot on the compost.
I think I'll try peas and sweet peas in the same way. I've germinated them on kitchen paper before but this is probably better.

Finally, a mystery. 
I had tucked some beetroot under the bench in the tunnel last autumn. I've never watered them as I wanted them to store. They did, however, grow leaves and I had picked a very few for salads. 
This week all the leaves have gone.

I don't know what has eaten them. I'm pretty sure it's not slugs and it was too much really for mice or voles. The leaves were 8-10 inches. I've never seen a rabbit in the garden (and don't want to) and there are no droppings,  but we have seen hares nearby and deer so I suspect one of them. The stems are cut off at and angle which is a sign of rabbits apparently.
One of the strangest things is that nothing else has been touched,yet. There is spinach, kale and a few lettuces which you'd think would be attractive. 
You can see new leaves are already starting to grow.  
Any ideas?     

For inspiring and creative vases from around the world visit 'In a vase on Monday' hosted by Cathy from Rambling in the garden.