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Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal April 2009

Last Post 3128 days 22 hours ago

Rapunzel's Forest

30 April 2009 19:49:24
Rapunzel's Forest

Rapunzel's Forest

In the original Rapunzel story, the prince jumps from the tall tower onto thorns, which pierce his eyes, and then he wanders for years in the forest, blind and lamenting his loss. They don't write stories like that nowadays but looking at the "problem area" in my garden this morning, I came to thinking that perhaps I have planted a forest like Rapunzel's.

The "problem area" is densely planted with Rosa Rugosa. I hate the thing and swear that I will never plant another Rosa Rugosa in my whole life! Before I can deal with the "forest floor" in my "problem area", I first need to be able to see it properly. That means I had to cut down the thorny Rosa Rugosa.

I used a telescopic lopper to cut the spiky rose stems a couple of inches from the ground. The roots will need to be dug out later so I need to leave evidence of where they are, hence my cutting a few inches up. The task took a while and was quite hard but it is now finished.

In the picture, the pile on the left is the pile of Rosa Rugosa branches which I cut from the "problem area". The "forest floor" of nasty perennial weeds is now exposed and so are several other bushes, which had been completely obscured. I had a little go at digging up some roots but quickly abandoned that task. That's enough for today, I think.

I added plenty of new pictures to my April 09 album, including a shot of the newly dug bed, but I neglected to add Rapunzel's forest.

Staking

29 April 2009 15:11:57
Peony & Nigella

Peony & Nigella

I decided to treat myself to some fancy stakes this year - the hoop ones. I was thinking primarily of my peonies as they often break over the string that I use to tie them to bamboos.

But I was shocked to note a whopping €7.25 was needed for each such hoop-stake. And since most of my peonies are grown from roots, they actually cost a lot less than €7.25 each, making it inexcusable to pay that sort of money to support them.

So I'm back to the home-made staking again this year. I experimented with a four-stake set up, wrapping string around the outside. You can see one such stake in the photo. Perhaps, when the rain lets up, I'll actually wind more string across the diagonal too to reduce the chance of breakage. 

Sweet Peppers

29 April 2009 13:06:48
Pepper Sweet Chocolate

Pepper Sweet Chocolate

This year I am growing sweet peppers for the first time. I am also using a greenhouse for the first time. I carried out some experiments to see how early I could move my house-germinated vegetable plants to the greenhouse.

On 28 February (see journal) I moved some sweet pepper plants to the unheated greenhouse. They came in again, for a few days, only once when the temperatures really dropped. Other sweet peppers were grown indoors on my window sill.

You can clearly see the difference in results from the photo here, showing pepper "sweet chocolate". The large 7" sweet pepper is the one that was molly coddled indoors. The smallest 2" one is from the greenhouse. The 4 1/2 inch one had a mixed upbringing.

Incidentally, my tomatoes, aubergines & courgettes were moved later to the greenhouse and the difference in size between these and their counterparts, still indoors, is negligible.

This is interesting in  light of last week's Gardener's World which claimed that courgettes needs a constant minimum of about 12 degrees to thrive. Not in Wexford, they don't!

Extended Border

28 April 2009 16:14:19
First Blood

First Blood

We started work with the digger today.

The first job was to extend an existing border. In the picture you can see I have removed a strip of turf to mark the outline of the new border for my husband when he moved in with the digger. First he scraped off all the grass and we took it in turns to cart the sods to the dump then he dug the border with the digger. I don't have the energy this evening to remove the roots and rake it over. If it doesn't rain tomorrow I will do it then. The grass is a wreck from the tracks of the digger but grass heals and I'm not very precious over my lawn anyway! It is looking good already. Sure beats the old spade!

Did a spot of weeding before the digger work got under way and cut back my penstemon. I hope this is the right thing to do but I fear they will become leggy like carnations unless I do so. They are re-sprouting from the base already so this would indicate that I am on the right track. I got a nice surprise after cutting them back because I found a collection of bearded irises planted behind them. I had forgotten about the irises. Now I will get a chance to see their flowers before the penstemon regrow and, when the penstemon regrow, they will cover up the wilting iris leaves. If I didn't know better I would think I had planned it this way!!!

My favourite tulip, Flaming Parrot, has come into flower so I have put plenty of photos in my April 2009 album. It seems that the mouldy bulbs I planted last autumn have actually come up. Now, who would have thought it?

Hail

27 April 2009 17:11:32
Prunus Royal Burgundy

Prunus Royal Burgundy

It was a lovely sunny day today so in the afternoon I caught up on a bit of weeding.

Obviously, because it was so sunny, I decided to spend the morning frying in the greenhouse re-arranging my plants - duh! Timing isn't my thing! But I feel I have a better handle on what's where now. I have grouped all same plants together and sorted out a second batch for hardening off. The ones to be hardened stay on the floor as there is no space on the staging. 

So, I had put all the plants that I need to start hardening outside and the next thing -  hailstones. So I spent the next while dashing around like an eejit, closing greenhouse windows and carting my plants back inside. It's not easy being green.

Potting On

26 April 2009 19:55:30
Sam & The Tulips

Sam & The Tulips

Whenever I have a free moment these days I pot on some of my annuals. They are in 24 cell trays but need to be potted on individually into 4" pots. There are a lot of trays.

Today I had to go out to collect my eldest so, as a joke, I said to my husband to pot on some annuals for me. "Okay", he said and asked me to show him what to do.

When I came back from collecting the kids, I went to the greenhouse and was delighted to see a complete tray done, labelled and watered. Then I noticed the smell... The greenhouse smells like a brewery!!! Apparently my husband took a glass of beer with him to assist in his potting on task and somehow managed to spill it : )

First Flower

26 April 2009 10:16:54
White Peony

White Peony

The first flower to open in my new greenhouse greeted me this morning.

It is a peony which I grew from a root bought this year. In my experience, it is quite unusual for peonies to flower the same year but this one has obliged. I have put another photo of it in "the greenhouse" album, although it was very hard to restrict myself to one as the peony is so photogenic.

No idea of the name. It was simply labelled as a white peony.

Lavender

25 April 2009 16:34:17
Lavender

Lavender

I finally got around to weeding my lavender area today. The lavender (Munstead) is planted in a circle around my youngest son's tree. I grew it from seed a few years ago (before I had a greenhouse) and it is lovely when in flower.

The only problem is weeding. Grass grows up through the lavender so the whole weeding process involves climbing (behind it), bending and kneeling (very tiring). I guess this is why I postpone weeding this area. I gave it a little trim, when I was finished, just to remove last year's flower stalks and was rewarded with wafts of scent when I shook the trimmings off the plants.

I thought I should weed the lavender now -  in the wake of Bill's cheeky statement, during his recent visit to my garden, that he thought lavender was BLUE. He was commenting on the healthy yellow dandelions popping up among my lavender. Well, all the yellow is gone now!

I also weeded two other small beds, meaning I am nearly through lap one of this year's weeding circuit. You know what that means? Time to start back at bed number one!

Planting

24 April 2009 13:43:23
Planting

Planting

A soft rain is falling today. It was soft enough to allow me to leave my hardening plants outside the greenhouse for most of the morning but didn't really give me a good excuse for skiving off gardening today.

As the jobs are mounting up, I thought it best to tackle at least one. I decided to plant up the bed I had sought planting suggestions for on 22 March. A lot of people gave very helpful suggestions and advice so thank you very much. Some of the ideas I haven't used here, will be used elsewhere in the garden.

In the end I bought a Viburnum for the bed. I was looking for an evergreen one but was totally seduced by the scent from Viburnum burkwoodii Anne Russell, which was in flower and going for half price at a local garden centre. To form the other half of the screen, I chose Pittosporum tenuifolium Garnetti. In front of these two large bushes, I planted Pittosporum tenuifolium Tom Thumb (no garden should be without one) and two Yucca Gloriosa Variegatas. In addition there are roses to climb up the pergolas.

I started to remove the carnations from the bed but ended up leaving some in. It didn't seem the wisest idea to remove them from places where I have nothing to replace them yet. They do still flower. I also left in my Monkshood and the phlox as they are doing well. The Japanese Acer also remains.

Digging was hard. About a foot down, I encountered rock. I managed to chip it away with my spade but there was more below. I chipped away for another half foot but then had to call a truce. I put lots of compost in the holes and fish bone & blood (phosphorous for strong root growth) and willed my plants' roots to grow sideways, rahter than down.

Bigger photo in April 2009 photo album.

Trees

23 April 2009 09:03:54
Crab Apple & Cherry

Crab Apple & Cherry

Inspired by Bill at our recent coffee morning, I decided to count the trees in my garden.

My garden needs height but this is chiefly because the trees are still small rather than the fact that I don't have enough trees.

I counted 92 trees and seven waiting to be planted. I didn't include...

a) trees planted by farmer to front and back boundary (Blackthorn etc)

b) trees on boundary with neighbour, planted by the builder

c) trees in pots - dicksonia, banana & small Japanese acers although I did count the medium sized acers

I wonder when my garden will ever be the leafy oasis I crave.

Mini Digger

22 April 2009 17:28:36
Mini Digger

Mini Digger

The mini digger has arrived. I've been given a lend of it to dig new borders.

The battery is dodgy so it has to be jump started each time it is needed but, hey, I'm not complaining!

As it may be on its last legs, I plan on digging all the borders I need in the foreseeable future as I may not get it again.

The process we used last year, and will use this year,  is...

1) I mark out the new border with a hose

2) I manually remove a strip of grass along the edge of the hose so the edge of the border is clearly visible

3) My husband scrapes off the sods of grass in the new border, with the digger, and deposits them in the wheelbarrow

4) We take it in turns to cart the sods in the wheelbarrow to the dump (this is the hard bit)

5) Once all grass is removed, my husband digs the border using the digger

6) I remove any perennial roots, level and rake it over

7) Finally, I do the Titchmarsh trot over the whole area to remove air pockets

It sure beats the hell out of manual digging!

Saved

22 April 2009 15:59:11
Saved

Saved

Today I decided to start tackling my problem area.

I dug up all the perennials I could find. That's them in the wheelbarrow there. I planted most of them just last year when I thought, mistakenly, I had addressed the weed problem.

I replanted all of them in other beds except the three anemones, which I put in pots.

That's the easy bit done.

Beans & Veg

21 April 2009 21:10:48
Beans & Verbascum

Beans & Verbascum

The husband was busy today digging one of our raised beds and he planted Lollo Rossa Lettuce, Rocket (thanks Lorraine) & Spinach Beet. He also planted out the Rhubarb we got recently.

He did a lot of raving about our home-grown compost, which he spread on the raised beds. Too good for flowers, it seems! This year we must break up the egg shells and cut the corn cobs before adding them into the compost ;-)

After potting on some perennials, I sowed some beans in pots in the greenhouse. We will plant them in the raised beds soon. I sowed Dwarf French Beans, Purple Queen (thanks Alison) and Broad Bean Supersimonia, which I bought in France.

Coffee Morning

21 April 2009 15:36:42
Hippeastrum

Hippeastrum

I was delighted to welcome Linda (Cooper) and Bill (Headgardener) to my garden today for coffee in the greenhouse. My Hippeastrum seemed to know they were coming because it opened for the occasion.

We had a great old chin wag and I got a lot of support and suggestions over my problem areas. But I was very embarrassed by the numerous cutting & plants I was given when I had not been so prepared myself. Hopefully it will be the first of many visits over the glorious summer, which we will surely get.

So, thanks very much Linda & Bill and a very Happy Birthday to Linda.

Cherry & Blackthorn

20 April 2009 18:03:09
Cherry & Blackthorn

Cherry & Blackthorn

My cherry tree is coming into flower.

It is, however, beautifully flanked by the Blackthorn hedge which the farmer in the field beyond has planted.

It is difficult to know which is the prettier.

By the way, who wants to bet that this is our summer - now! Remember how the two last years have gone weatherwise!

Morning Glory

20 April 2009 14:29:14
Ipomoea

Ipomoea

I spent a very fiddly morning transferring my morning glories to the greenhouse. The 25 plants have been growing nicely in the kitchen in 3" pots and reached the top of 1.5 ft bamboos. However some leaves are pale, even white! Has anyone grown this plant before? Are they supposed to be like this? Also, I noticed when transplanting that the roots are not very deep!

I had to unwind each plant from its cane and then the fiddly bit really began - putting up the string for them to grow up. I used tent pegs to secure the string in the ground (no camping for us this summer) and tied the top of the string where ever I could. After that was done it didn't take long to rewind each plant around its string.

By the time I was finished and giving the plants a water with tomato feed (maybe that will help the white leaves), I felt like I was suffering from heat exhaustion. It was 40º in there!?! And that was with everything open. I hope the nights are not too cold for the Morning Glories.

I continue to harden plants - shifting trays out and in daily. It has become obvious that I will need to transfer most of my plants from the 24 cell trays to little pots soon so I've started doing this. However, carrying 24 pots out and in daily is a lot more demanding than carrying just one tray!

View from Greenhouse(Cornus Controversa Variegata)

19 April 2009 14:32:04
View from Greenhouse

View from Greenhouse

Spurred on by recent conversations with James & Cooper, I decided to plant my Cornus Controversa Variegata. It will form the central element of the view from my greenhouse door.

I've done my best to explain this "view" here but I think you can barely read the yellow letters in the photo. I have put a larger version of this photo in "the greenhouse" album but there I can not put the text to explain the yellow letters. It's the best I can do.

A = Flowering Cherry (Prunus Shogetsu), which will eventually grow to obscure our neighbour's shed

B = Flowering Cherry (Prunus Pink Perfection), planted for same reason as above

C = Cornus Controversa Variegata. Small now - a beautiful green & cream tree

D = Copper Beech hedge planted in a semi-circle to echo the Cornus. Dark leaves will show off the pale Cornus leaves

E = Neighbour's enormous shed

F - Hypericum Hidcote hedge planted on the hill dividing our garden

Planting the tree was all I was able for today - and a spot of potting on.

The Job I've Been Putting Off

19 April 2009 12:35:04
The Job I've Been Putting Off

The Job I've Been Putting Off

Today I felt rotten. I have some sort of cold. My husband did the weedkiller thing which made me think of my problem area.

I need to start thinking seriously about the job I've been putting off - the bed that got away!

It's a large bed with a serious weed problem. Looking at this picture now you would never believe that I had it cleared of weeds last summer. Put there are large perennials, whose roots I am obviously not getting, including scutch grass. It needs to be sprayed. I partially sprayed last autumn but I think I need to spray more extensively.

Firstly I need to dig up any surviving perennials I want to keep - arum lily, two mums, some hostas, two Japanese anemones. I don't know if I'll loose them or not as this is not the time of year to do this kind of thing.

I think I'll leave the rhododendrons, camellia, artichoke, red hot pokers, potentilla and some of the bushes behind. There are too many bushes so most are for the chop, including the numerous rosa rugosa (what was I thinking). Then I will need to spray, protecting the remaining bushes.

Any words of advice? This is going to be a hell of a job.

Parrot Tulips

18 April 2009 17:30:29
Parrot Tulips

Parrot Tulips

I was spellbound to see how the sun caught my tulips this afternoon.

A few parrot tulips have opened and they always make my heart skip a beat. They are my favourite tulips and when you look at them you can understand how the Tulipomania Craze took hold in Holland in the seventeenth century.

I lived in Holland for two years (before I was interested in gardening) but stupidly never visited the Keukenhof. I even briefly worked in the Bloombollen fields, for God's sake. What a waste!

Radish Ice Cream

18 April 2009 11:25:19
Josh's Radish

Josh's Radish

The lads picked their first radishes from their own plots in the greenhouse. There was much excitement and a race to see who could get dressed and out there first.

The photo shows Josh holding up his radish. My photo album "The Greenhouse" has a picture of Sam's plot.

They even tasted the radishes and didn't complain!!!

Tonight we are going to try making radish ice cream.

First Harvest

18 April 2009 11:19:08
Lollo Rossa

Lollo Rossa

Today my husband thinned out the Lollo Rossa lettuce in the greenhouse.

These leaves are our first harvest of the season.

Even my two youngest, who won't eat lettuce normally, had a taste.

Goodbye Carnations

17 April 2009 19:48:08
Goodbye Carnations

Goodbye Carnations

I did very little gardening today. Just managed a spot of weeding. When I was weeding I got annoyed with my carnations. They have about 1 1/2 ft of dead stalk at the base and then re sprout at the tip. They really look disgusting, especially at this time of year when they only have a little grey foliage at the tip. I wonder should I have been cutting them hard back after flowering! Anyway they were annoying me too much so I pulled them all up. There thay are in the wheelbarrow - the deed is done.

I also made time to dead-head my daffodils. This is the first year I've done this and it actually really does make a difference. Areas which looked like they had completely gone over before the dead-heading, look good and flowery again after the dead-heading. Now who would have thought!

Pumpkin Atlantic Giant

16 April 2009 15:26:54
Rain

Rain

As it is such a wet miserable day, I decided to sow a few more seeds. Top on my list was Pumpkin, Atlantic Giant, which I bought in Springmount Garden Centre when I met up with Cooper there for the first time. Linda (Cooper) has plants at this stage yet I haven't even sowed my seed yet. I planted two seeds to each 4" pot, filling 11 pots. The pumpkins will go outdoors when the weather picks up and are destined for one of our raised beds. Maybe I could grow a single pumpkin plant in a giant pot in the greenhouse! Has anyone tried this???

I also sowed seven pots of Sunflower, Russian Giant, for planting outdoors. I have some nice little plantlets of this sunflower already growing in my greenhouse border. The newly sowed pots of sunflowers went in the greenhouse but the pumpkin pots are staying indoors.

Encouraged by the 100% germination of the Lion's Tail seeds I got from Bill (seed number 5 germinated this morning), I sowed the remaining Lion's Tail seeds in the same way, watering the seeds with a dash of tomato feed in the water.

And then, remembering this summer's motto - you can never have too may sweet pea - I sowed another 10 sweet pea. As some of my previous batches have not yet germinated in the greenhouse, I decided to keep this batch indoors until it germinates. I think I read on Lorraine (Casakelly)'s profile that they are having problems germinating sweet pea this year too.

Orchids & Glory Lily

15 April 2009 12:34:55
Orchid Cambria

Orchid Cambria

I adore Orchids although I don't have any of the really fancy kinds. Love the Slipper Orchid photo on Rita D's profile.

I am currently nursing four Orchids, hopefully back to flowering.

I noticed a few weeks ago that one of the three Phalaenopsis Orchids has produced a tiny red-tipped leaf, with two holes in it! Soon afterwards my Cambria Orchid produced a shoot, as pictured here. I am keeping them watered (but not sitting in it) and on the windowsill for full light.

This is quite exciting stuff as I've never had an Orchid come back from hibernation before and always thought they were too tricky for me. 

I JUST NOTICED FROM THIS PHOTO THAT MY GLORY LILY HAS FINALLY PUT UP A SHOOT (see it in the pot to the right of the orchid - I knew taking loads of photos would prove useful one day!). I PLANTED THE TUBER ON 6TH FEBRUARY AND IT IS ONLY PRODUCING A SHOOT NOW!!!!!!!

Rain

15 April 2009 12:06:59
Kitchen

Kitchen

I was delighted to note this morning that the mixed tulips in the bed seen from the back kitchen window have gained their candy colours. It's funny how such things can seem to happen overnight. Photos are in the April 2009 album.

Just managed to do a little bit of weeding, between the rain drops.

My kitchen is getting very crowded as you can see from the photo!

Snowy Mespil

14 April 2009 20:38:46
Amelanchier Lamarckii Ballerina

Amelanchier Lamarckii Ballerina

I noticed today that my smaller Amelanchier is in full flower. This one is called Amelanchier Ballerina and is a lovely little tree. I think the common name is Snowy Mespil.

I have added photos of the tree to my April 2009 photo album and have also added a new album showing the process involved in putting up my new greenhouse.

Veg

14 April 2009 20:32:11
Peppers, Courgettes, Tomatoes & Aubergines

Peppers, Courgettes, Tomatoes & Aubergines

Over the last few days I have potted on all my tomato, courgette, aubergine & sweet pepper plants into much larger pots.

As danger of frost in the greenhouse has not passed, I need to keep these plants indoors. But where on earth am I to put them!?! The photo shows some of the plants on my kitchen table!

I do have tomaotes and courgettes planted in the greenhouse border but I think I need to keep the rest indoors as back-up, just in case I loose the ones in the border to frost. I'm new to greenhousing so still finding my feet. I note that the greenhouse information on this site states "If not already done, greenhouse tomato plants, raised or purchased, can be planted in the greenhouse soil, also cucumbers, chillies, aubergines, sweet peppers and melons". I wonder is it true or does it just refer to a heated greenhouse???

Got a great present of another rhubarb plant from my niece-in-law over Easter.

Shaken!

11 April 2009 19:20:18
Shaken!

Shaken!

I am still a bit shaken from this evening's experience.

My husband got a phone call from a neighbour who advised that she, and her visitor, would like to come and see my garden. They had just been to a garden centre so were clearly in the mood and when the visitor mentioned that she reads my column in the Irish Garden...

I will preface this with 1) I have never had anyone in to look at my garden before 2) I haven't yet finished the winter clear-up and 3) there is still sewage on my lawn from the sceptic tank disaster of a few days ago.

Anyway, the visitors came and were really very nice and apologetic and only had good things to say.

I do need a stiff drink tonight, however.

Palm Tree

10 April 2009 19:52:50
Palm Tree

Palm Tree

I managed a bit of weeding this evening and removed the "skirt" from my palm tree.

The skirt was composed of dead leaves from previous years' growth. I imagine they need to be removed in the same way as a Yucca's leaves need to be removed.I just pulled them off as it was quite moist in at the trunk.

Strangely the trucnk is narrower where I have just removed the dead leaves. Anyone got any thoughts on this?

Hardening Off & Datura Surprise

10 April 2009 16:03:19
Hardening Off Sweet Pea

Hardening Off Sweet Pea

It was a beautiful sunny day today so obviously the day to go supermarket shopping : (

I opened the greenhouse windows wide and even propped open its front door.I decided to start hardening off the Sweet Pea that have germinated so I left them outside the front of the greenhouse.

When I got back from the shopping I decided to tip out the compost in the pot where I had unsucessfully tried to grow Datura from seed. What a surprise to discover a single seedling pushing its way up. The pot had been discarded and hadn't been watered for about two weeks yet this seedling managed to break through. Maybe I was overwatering my Datura seeds. Anyway, I may well have a purple Datura yet.

Wind & Rain

09 April 2009 15:27:08
Pieris & Water Gun

Pieris & Water Gun

There's no gardening to be done today. It's horrible outside. The wind even blew over some of my potted plants outside the back door. I nearly lost a big Rhododendron. An inspection of the garden revealed one of the disadvantages of living in the country.

The sceptic tank has overflowed, spewing sewage onto the lawn. Lovely! My husband has a trick to unblock it, using a stick, so he was out in the wind and rain to do this. Yuck! New photos of the garden in the rain (not the sceptic tank) in my April 2009 album.

Rescuing the Rector

07 April 2009 18:19:26
Rescuing the Rector

Rescuing the Rector

My conscience had been bugging me about a Rambling Rector Rose I bought last year and planted against the native hedge on our property boundary. It was bothering me because I plan on getting rid of the hedge this autumn/spring and the Rector needed rescuing.

But where to put him? Such a vigorous climber would not be suitable for my new pergolas. In the end I decided to plant him to grow up the largest tree in our garden. It is a Cherry Tree, which is beautiful for about a week in spring but unnoticeable the rest of the year. It is about 15ft tall and strong. I dug a hole about 5ft away from the tree trunk and put farmyard manure, rose fertiliser and general purpose compost in the hole.

The rose was quite long and I managed to extract it from the native hedge without breakage although I did have to cut one of its roots. The rose stems reached to the tree and could be wound around it. I tied them all in securely just before the rain and wind came down in earnest. I hope it will take well and that I will have white roses to look at from my greenhouse this summer.

Sunflower Little Dorrit

06 April 2009 21:53:26
Little Dorrit pots headed for the greenhouse

Little Dorrit pots headed for the greenhouse

We planted 17 pots of sunflower Little Dorrit today. Two seeds per pot. It is not a tall sunflower but it has a big skirt of vegetation, according to the description. My daughter and her reluctant boyfriend helped.

Afterwards I planted a tray of Squirrel Grass (courtesy of Bill), the last of Lorraine's Cosmos, some more Dahlia seed (thanks again, Lorraine), Giant Marigolds and the soaked Bird of Paradise seeds from Germany.

I am now officially out of seed trays again.I only had spare trays because I gave up on two previously-sowed-trays which were reticent to germinate for me. Apologies to anyone I gave Helenium seed to - I don't think they were good. Did anyone have any luck with them I wonder?

Science Experiment

06 April 2009 21:39:49
Ishtar Disecting Nepenthes

Ishtar Disecting Nepenthes

I removed three withered pitchers from my Carnivorous plant to give my daughter something to disect.

I had read that you could see the skeletons of insects in the skin of the pitchers.

However, my scientific yet grotesquely inclined daughter did not find this to be true. Instead she did find two half digested insects in the liquid in the pitchers.The black bits in the photo are the insects.

What is it???

06 April 2009 14:17:05
What is it???

What is it???

I received some presents with my last plant order from Bakker. There were some bulbs and a cute little wooden tricycle which is used as a pot holder.

The biggest mystery, however, is the object pictures here. It was in a plastic envelope and was clearly marked as "gift". It is made of plastic, with an opening at the top. I have no idea what it is supposed to be. 

Does anyone have any thoughts?

Last of the Bulbs

05 April 2009 18:16:46
Dicksonia Antartica

Dicksonia Antartica

I potted up the last of my bulbs today - acidenthera murielae, oxalis deppei, triteleia fabiola, spraxis tricolor & regal lilies.

I also planted 80 Dutch irises in the border and did some more clearing and weeding.

Pots in the greenhouse are now also on the floor as there is no more room on the staging.

One of my two small dicksonias is unfurling a frond.

I've added a new photo album, April 2009.

Climbing Roses

04 April 2009 22:47:50

Bird of Paradise

04 April 2009 22:40:54
Strilizia Reginae

Strilizia Reginae

I opened the packet of Strilizia Reginae seeds I bought recently in Germany and was amazed at their wierd appearance, with bright orange fluffy bits! Photo to follow. I chitted them by filing with a nail file until a white dot appeared under the hard shell - quite hard work! I then popped them into warm water where they are resting overnight.

I also sowed more sweet pea. I have promised some to the local primary school as the teacher provided me with a bag of loo rolls in exchange.

I also sowed a tray of calendula candyman orange.

Eremurum Cleopatra's Needle

04 April 2009 22:35:00
Seedlings in the Greenhouse

Seedlings in the Greenhouse

 

I potted up the three eremurum bulbs I recently bought. They have good shoots developing already. I put them in a mixture of 2 parts compost 1 part cactus compost as I believe they need good drainage.

I plan on eventually planting them near some stipa gigantica as I think the combination is magical.

Agave Americana

04 April 2009 22:31:09
Agave Americana

Agave Americana

I potted on my agave americana today with cactus compost. I removed five small plants from around it and potted them up separately. It was quite nerve racking as I had to sever the connection from the mother plant to the babies with a bread knife!

My teenage son has asked for one of the "babies" to keep himself as he is quite taken with the agave. I will leave them in the greenhouse for a while first to make sure that they take proper root.

Here We Go

04 April 2009 10:24:02
Here We Go

Here We Go

Lack of pots had reached crisis point yesterday. My courgettes needed potting on, not to mention various perennials and even my tomatoes will soon need potting on. After some discussion, myself and the husband decided to plant some tomatoes & courgettes in the border in the greenhouse. We decided to do this because...

1) It seems criminal to waste all this beautiful sunshine

2) Even if I do loose them to frost, I have loads more plants to take their place.

3) The house can't take many more pots, especially not large ones.

So I planted out six tomatoes and five courgettes and even put down the French marigolds which I had grown as companion planting. But there was good luck on the potting front as my husband discovered a firm that supply pots wholesale so I'm back in business again...

Egg

01 April 2009 19:49:48
Egg

Egg

Here is my son, Sam, watering the ceramic egg I bought him in Germany.

It has compost and flower seeds on the inside.

Lets see what hatches.

Carnivorous Pitcher Plant

01 April 2009 18:16:28
Nepenthes Hybride

Nepenthes Hybride

Even though I flew Ryan Air/no baggage to Germany, I managed to bring back one plant with me. It is a carnivorous pitcher plant called nepenthes. It survived very well in my hand luggage bag and only one pitcher got dented. However, the pitchers are really tough, like they're made of plastic, so I just stuck a pen down it when I came home and popped it out again. My teenage son is dead impressed with my purchase.

My husband has rigged up a hose off the greenhouse to catch rainwater so that I can water it. 

Did some more weeding and clearing today and my husband potted on the coriander and basil seedlings. Finally cut back my three leggy buddlejas.

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