A Little Dirt Never Hurt-Gardening 2020

jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
edited January 2020 in Heaven
Dirt and seeds and flowers and fruits and veggies! Share your successes with us, and if there is a disaster or two, we can commiserate together with you.

[edit-because I can!] MaryLouise posted on Annual thread title suggestions in All Saints. Therefore, I think it's appropriate to rename this thread as per her suggestion!
jedijudy-Heaven Host
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Comments

  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    My Christmas Rose (Helleborus Niger) is beautiful, with loads of buds still to flower. It didn't bloom at all last Christmas and instead bloomed in June, so I thought it was completely confused and wouldn't do anything this December, but it has! :smiley:
  • Oooh, dirty and seedy - right up my street!

    I'm busy dealing with recalcitrant bush again, matron. I've hacked and dug out all but the last leylandii at the bottom of the garden, and am now waiting for the neighbour to deal with the bit overhanging her greenhouse (ie if it falls on it, twasn't me!) so I can get the stump dug out.

    Then it's up with a panel fence, or possibly a pink half of the drainpipe, to keep the neighbour at that end happy, and it's schemeschemescheme time. It's going to be wildlife friendly (to cater for the birds that I've robbed cover from by shifting the leylandii), facing north which is a bit of a challenge, but I've got cotoneaster to spare for berries and I can put in miniature buddleia (which I cut back in May already for the late moths), variegated ivy for ground coverage, and a Maiden's Blush rose - because it's verging on the obscene in French and if there is such a thing as an obscene rosebush I want one! Then there'll be hellebores (nice to see I'm not the only lover of them), Bergenia, Sarcococcous for winter colour and nectar, pyracantha for berries...

    All I need is time, money, and the neighbours co-operation. Not much to ask for...

    AG
  • My parents are very keen gardeners but are slightly envious of the random hellebore I acquired somewhere a few houses ago, as it's a double one. It's more of an Easter Rose though.
  • I had several different kinds of hellebore in my last garden, but only brought a selection of the Orientals here when we moved. All flower approximately at Lent, but a new new I bought from a garden centre in June seems a bit confused. Still carrying flowers at the time I bought it but 'going over', or so I thought, it then produced a couple of new buds, and has flowered continuously ever since.
    Pretty as it is, I am a bit disappointed, as I do like my plants to flower at their traditional time of year. Then again, I like my seasons to change at the traditional time of year and am longing for winter to arrive. We have had one morning's good frost so far in this supposed winter.

    My original hellebores are now in bud, so I guess we are all a bit confused by the current weather.
  • Must have my fruitless mulberry trimmed, the quote this year was $500.00. I am going to keep looking. I can no longer feel safe on ladder doing it myself.
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    Making a garden is one of my favorite things. Visiting other ones is another. I garden in coastal California, across the bay from San Francisco. So weeds and pests don't take more than a short nap. It is cool enough today for a jacket and gloves, but the sun is shining so I'll be out there soon.

    I've only been to England once. Am I supposed to say Britton? I never know. Dragged the missus around to 17 gardens. Saw a lot of great ones. But my favorite was a private garden in Walsall near Birmingham. I just rediscovered them on Facebook and found this video posted by a local television station show. https://youtu.be/xSM66fgGgkc Their garden is a lot different from mine - and better! But I still love making mine too. They really are two of the kindest most energetic and creative people you'll ever meet. We met in 2008 after sharing photos on flickr for years and had the best time. Anyone else been there? They open it regularly for charities and such.
  • Snowdrops are coming out, yay, this is London, mid-winter. I saw one on Boxing Day, but more in Kew Gardens. And there are still some fuchsias out, very mild, Gordon Bennett, supposed to be bad for fruit bushes, which need a cold period. Next job, seed potatoes.
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    These are the snaps I took at Kew back in 2008. https://flic.kr/s/aHsiXHkQY9 The alpine area was pretty new then. I remember they had a walkway up in the trees. The place is enormous. Nice to live there so you can visit bits at a reasonable pace rather than trying the whole thing in in a day.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Nenya wrote: »
    My Christmas Rose (Helleborus Niger) is beautiful, with loads of buds still to flower. It didn't bloom at all last Christmas and instead bloomed in June, so I thought it was completely confused and wouldn't do anything this December, but it has! :smiley:

    So is mine!

    I love hellebores.

    Today I did some sweeping and tidying. I’m planning to grow more than just flowers this year ‘tho I’m looking forward to my bulbs coming up.

    All my gardening is in containers but I’m hoping to ge=row some salad veg, beans and peas in containers.

  • MarkD wrote: »
    These are the snaps I took at Kew back in 2008. https://flic.kr/s/aHsiXHkQY9 The alpine area was pretty new then. I remember they had a walkway up in the trees. The place is enormous. Nice to live there so you can visit bits at a reasonable pace rather than trying the whole thing in in a day.

    Great pix. The snowdrops seem to come out early at Kew, sheltered maybe. Kew researchers have discovered a new species in Turkey, which flowers in autumn. It seems quite rare, so don't know whether it will become available commercially. (Galanthus bursanas).
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    edited January 2020
    The snowdrops seem to come out early at Kew, sheltered maybe. Kew researchers have discovered a new species in Turkey, which flowers in autumn. It seems quite rare, so don't know whether it will become available commercially. (Galanthus bursanas).

    Thanks. I'm sure they're great at unearthing (so to speak) new finds but what really impresses us over here is all the amazing hybridizing. It happens here too of course but not at the same scale. David Austin roses are pretty amazing too.

    If you're curious to know which gardens we got to on our trips the little write up I made at the time for my flickr friends (four of whom I got to meet while there) is included with this flickr collection: https://tinyurl.com/Our2007Trip


  • MarkD wrote: »
    The snowdrops seem to come out early at Kew, sheltered maybe. Kew researchers have discovered a new species in Turkey, which flowers in autumn. It seems quite rare, so don't know whether it will become available commercially. (Galanthus bursanas).

    Thanks. I'm sure they're great at unearthing (so to speak) new finds but what really impresses us over here is all the amazing hybridizing. It happens here too of course but not at the same scale. David Austin roses are pretty amazing too.

    If you're curious to know which gardens we got to on our trips the little write up I made at the time for my flickr friends (four of whom I got to meet while there) is included with this flickr collection: https://tinyurl.com/Our2007Trip


    Good grief, you have seen more of England than I have, over 70 years. We are very fond of Bath, lovely mellow stone buildings, and great crescents, and walks, plus gardens.
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    edited January 2020
    Well you should've gotten after it sooner. I know I've slowed down quite a bit at 66. Plus it takes a lot of regular work at the Y just to be able to stay moderately active in the garden and on walks with the dogs. But I sure do enjoy retirement. I've read more novels in the last four years than I have in the rest of my life combined. I used to only read nonfiction. Now I find I like a thoughtful story that gets you a peek at the world from someone else's perspective so much more.

    I didn't get the best light for photos at Bath, but it is an interesting garden. But I depend on luck and lots of snaps to choose from in order to get anything decent. I'm not very knowledgeable about how to get the most out of what a camera can do. I'm surprised I didn't take any photos in the town, certainly worth a visit in its own right.
  • I'm going to be getting to work on my garden again - it's had a couple of years of nothing but damage control, and not enough of that. I took a load of bramble along to the dump last week, and started a new heap of compost, which is going to become a bed for runner beans and peas, hopefully. My three bins are full, and not rotting down well. There's stuff in there that shouldn't be, but we don't have a food waste collection.
    Yesterday, I had a bit of a mystery. I have two bins in the garden in which I collect rainwater - not from gutters as I don't have downpipes, and one of them was nearly full again after the rogue gardeners had emptied it. Until yesterday morning, when I looked out to find it on its side, and empty. It is next to the bird bath which has occasionally had the top fall off, but I can't work out how the supposed visiting cat could have tipped over a nearly full plastic dustbin of water, even by trying to hang on to the side. We only have normal domestic cats hereabouts. No feral large dogs. The odd fox. There is a large dog one. My garden is surrounded on the non-house side by 6 foot fences. A human intruder would have made noises, possibly expletives, and the gate is locked., and blocked by a rambling rose. The bin would have had to have tipped at least a third over before the water would have helped it the rest of the way. Very peculiar. Haven't seen any badgers for ages, and no evidence of them getting in ever - besides which, if they wanted water, there are plenty of buckets and bowls about with the rain collection in.
  • Very good programme on American gardens on BBC, with Monty Don. This week, looking at prairie gardens. Fridays, and iplayer, I think.
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    Very good programme on American gardens on BBC, with Monty Don. This week, looking at prairie gardens. Fridays, and iplayer, I think.

    I can recommend some if you ever get over this way.
  • Viburnum ....beautiful scent! Must plant (many) more.....
  • I have bought my Thigh of an Aroused Nymph rose (yes, that's what Maiden's Blush translates out of French as)!

    The weather was shite, so I went and burnt my Christmas garden voucher. One obscene rose bush (bare root, oo-er), a couple of hawthorns to fill a gap, a nice little sarcococcus (Christmas Box) that will smell wonderful at this time of year, a dark hellebore, and a pink to make up the total later, back home...
  • No way of getting onto our small garden: lots of rain, clay soil. Things are beginning to bud and sprout ...
  • OMG, jealous. Ground is frozen rock solid, but the weather alternates between pouring rain and snowing. All of the perennials are pissed off; until the last few years, they could count on a gentle but firm covering of snow from December through to mid-March then they could have a right rest. The lake, normally frozen solid by Christmas, is open one day, closed the next.
  • Can't believe how many sweet boxes are in front gardens, so as you walk down the street you are flooded with odour of skin cream. We have one, and its flowers are tiny, but redolent. Very odd in winter, I think it's Sarcococca confusa, and easy to grow.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    @jedijudy, just saw this change of title!

    Blazing hot summer in my corner of the world and so I won't be doing any serious planting until after Easter and the first rains of autumn. Deadheaded agapanthus flowers and stalks around the garden, picked Cape gooseberries and watered all my planters of herbs and tomatoes. Moved a smallish groundcover of suurvygies (Carpobrotus edulis with edible fruits known as the Cape sour fig) and took cuttings of hardy spekboom.

    One major achievement: turmeric sprouting and leaves unfurling, hope for a large pot of tubers in about seven months time.
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    @jedijudy, just saw this change of title!

    Blazing hot summer in my corner of the world and so I won't be doing any serious planting until after Easter and the first rains of autumn.

    I think we must live in similar gardening conditions. I'm definitely in a mediterranean climate where it makes the most sense to do most planing in the fall before the rains. Winters aren't so cold as to kill things that are appropriate to our normal temperature range, though natural fluctuations can give us the occasional scare.
  • I've also finally shifted the lump of nuclear bunker-grade concrete that surfaced when I shifted the trees, which turned out to have a steel post down the middle and as such probably once held up a washing line. I assume it held up some very heavy washing as I had a job to shift it even with a pick axe for leverage! Still, it has now gone, and I just have an elephant trap to fill in in its place.
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    edited January 2020
    My most recent project has been the planting of my hell strip. The city recently came through and repaired curbs, driveway cuts and cracked sidewalk in advance of resurfacing the street. That all looks much better now. But they left out a couple cubic yards worth of soil along the curb in the 45 foot strip between the sidewalk and the street.

    So I took that as inspiration to bring in better soil and plant something other than the horrible stollonous grass my neighbor put in which ran everywhere. So I looked around and found several gift plants and bits of things growing elsewhere. Looks pretty empty out there now. But I have several Agave vilmoriniana pups, Dicliptera suberecta, a low growing aloe, a few other goodies and I want to bring in three Stipa gigantea. I want to keep it open and arid looking so people can get in and out of their cars without stepping on a plant.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    MarkD wrote: »
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    @jedijudy, just saw this change of title!

    Blazing hot summer in my corner of the world and so I won't be doing any serious planting until after Easter and the first rains of autumn.

    I think we must live in similar gardening conditions. I'm definitely in a mediterranean climate where it makes the most sense to do most planing in the fall before the rains. Winters aren't so cold as to kill things that are appropriate to our normal temperature range, though natural fluctuations can give us the occasional scare.

    If you're Australian, there are similarities, @MarkD . When I moved to this part of the Overberg in South Africa, gardens were very British/Cape colonial/ farm gardens with camellias, roses, vast swathes of lawn, Pride of India (crepe myrtle), oaks, buddleias and dahlias, stands of cannas, formal rose beds, not waterwise at all, not indigenous.

    After some years of severe drought, we've all changed. I do drought-tolerant planting, a food garden (mostly in pots and half-barrels), aloes and succulents, olive trees, pomegranates, quinces. If it can't make do with grey water and mulch, it has to go. Roses have hung on though, as have hydrangeas.
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    edited January 2020
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    If you're Australian, there are similarities, @MarkD. When I moved to this part of the Overberg in South Africa, gardens were very British/Cape colonial/ farm gardens with camellias, roses, vast swathes of lawn, Pride of India (crepe myrtle), oaks, buddleias and dahlias, stands of cannas, formal rose beds, not waterwise at all, not indigenous.

    Yes, South Africa, South and Southwest Australia and Chile in the southern hemisphere along with coastal California (where I am) and the Mediterranean basin itself share the pattern of summer dry and winter rain pattern, although you in Australia and those in South Africa seem to get the most summer rain. http://www.mediterraneangardensociety.org/climate.html

    MaryLouise wrote: »
    After some years of severe drought, we've all changed. I do drought-tolerant planting, a food garden (mostly in pots and half-barrels), aloes and succulents, olive trees, pomegranates, quinces. If it can't make do with grey water and mulch, it has to go. Roses have hung on though, as have hydrangeas.

    This is our solution too. Fortunately I like succulents but there are many other plants which handle our climate fine as you have found. Some do go dormant in the summer and I accept that in lieu of a blanket of snow in winter. There is a year around creek on my northern edge and one day I hope to draw water up from it at night to a tank to use for irrigating so my plot can reflect the riparian setting it would've been before urbanization. My place is the old warehouse shown here and the creek runs across the foreground of this photo taken when I first began planting our space. https://flic.kr/p/3XwUiE My garden was the natural extension of my prior hobby of keeping birds in outdoor aviaries, the white roofed outer flights surrounding the bird room in the lower left. At some point I started planting the out flights and then it occurred to me I live on a natural flyway along creek. So aviaries weren't necessary. Instead I would plant the property with birds in mind and let them make use of it as they choose, much less trouble than looking after birds twice daily.

  • Can't believe how many sweet boxes are in front gardens, so as you walk down the street you are flooded with odour of skin cream. We have one, and its flowers are tiny, but redolent. Very odd in winter, I think it's Sarcococca confusa, and easy to grow.
    This grows in our Meeting House garden; walking up the path the honey sweet smell surrounds you - beautiful.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    @MarkD, so interesting -- in South Africa, only the Western Cape is really Mediterranean, the Karoo is semi-desert, Gauteng (Johannesburg) has a winter rainfall, and Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KawZulu-Natal are sub-tropical. Within those broad definitions are many micro-climates -- so much depends on availability of water, as our boreholes and aquifers run out.

    I see your impressive planting includes many species I think of as originally South African, though hybridised internationally: black branching Aeoniums, tree aloes, plectranthus, tecomeria (Cape honeysuckle). Aeoniums are among my favourites, with echeverias, haworthias and various indigenous aloes. I also plant red-hot pokers (Kniphofia) and rare Zimbabwean grass aloes, day lilies (not South African), groundcovers, restio reeds to attract chameleons and a variety of agapanthus (I always overlooked them until I spent time in France and saw how skilfully the French used them in design). In shade areas, I have clivias and varieties of plectranthus.

    In years to come, I shall probably move more towards what you are doing because succulents, flaxes and grasses do so well in our hotter summers. I use more and more silvers and greys with helichrysums and Artemesia afra.
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    edited January 2020
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    @MarkD, so interesting -- in South Africa, only the Western Cape is really Mediterranean, the Karoo is semi-desert, Gauteng (Johannesburg) has a winter rainfall, and Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KawZulu-Natal are sub-tropical. Within those broad definitions are many micro-climates -- so much depends on availability of water, as our boreholes and aquifers run out.

    I see your impressive planting includes many species I think of as originally South African, though hybridised internationally: black branching Aeoniums, tree aloes, plectranthus, tecomeria (Cape honeysuckle). Aeoniums are among my favourites, with echeverias, haworthias and various indigenous aloes. I also plant red-hot pokers (Kniphofia) and rare Zimbabwean grass aloes, day lilies (not South African), groundcovers, restio reeds to attract chameleons and a variety of agapanthus (I always overlooked them until I spent time in France and saw how skilfully the French used them in design). In shade areas, I have clivias and varieties of plectranthus.

    In years to come, I shall probably move more towards what you are doing because succulents, flaxes and grasses do so well in our hotter summers. I use more and more silvers and greys with helichrysums and Artemesia afra.

    Egad, it just occurred to me that you are on the burning continent! I hope you are safe where you are. California as well as the states above and to the east of us have burned a lot the past two years but not over such an extensive area as you seem to be experiencing this year.

    Your plans seem wonderful. Can I ask how long you’ve been gardening where you are now? The native flora of Australia certainly has caught my eye and just this past year I picked up a couple of plants I hope I can make happy. There is a botanical garden in Santa Cruz known for their Australian collection about an hour and a half south of me where I was able to get them. I look forward to following your garden making if possible.
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    I have bought my Thigh of an Aroused Nymph rose (yes, that's what Maiden's Blush translates out of French as)!

    The weather was shite, so I went and burnt my Christmas garden voucher. One obscene rose bush (bare root, oo-er), a couple of hawthorns to fill a gap, a nice little sarcococcus (Christmas Box) that will smell wonderful at this time of year, a dark hellebore, and a pink to make up the total later, back home...

    So much sensuality in gardening, from the dirt under our nails right down to the aroused nymphs.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    @MarkD, I'm not based in Australia where the most serious fires have caused destruction, but down at the foot of Africa. We do get veldfires, but our fynbos is low-growing and so we don't get tall eucalyptus plantations going up in flame with volatile oils.

    I spend some of my year up in Zimbabwe with family, usually after the rainy season in summer. Many of the wild trees and bushes up there wouldn't do well in the Cape. I began gardening down in the Cape in about 2003 and had an established garden wiped out by three years of relentless drought (culminating when Cape Town ran out of water in 2018 and we all learned to make dry compost toilets, harvest rainwater or let gardens die away).

    Originally I grew my garden for birds and wildlife -- the Cape mongoose, genets, small geometric tortoises, harmless snakes and agamas, platannas and river frogs, bees and many wild birds. We have many raptors in this area. Now I also plant human food gardens (Mediterranean) and what is called veldkos, indigenous edible plants once used by the Khoi and San peoples that need to be pickled or cured: num-num berries, wild garlic, dune spinach, purslane, amaranth, wild melon and horned cucumbers, tubers and sweet potato varieties, rooibos and buchu for teas. This 'slow food' movement is similar to the rediscovery of indigenous edible plants in Australia.

    You'll find an overlap between Australian garden practices and South African: many naturalised or hybridised proteas, leucadendrons, pelargoniums, clivias, kniphofias. We were once all Gondwanaland!
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    edited January 2020
    MaryLouise wrote: »
    @MarkD, I'm not based in Australia where the most serious fires have caused destruction, but down at the foot of Africa. We do get veldfires, but our fynbos is low-growing and so we don't get tall eucalyptus plantations going up in flame with volatile oils.

    I spend some of my year up in Zimbabwe with family, usually after the rainy season in summer. Many of the wild trees and bushes up there wouldn't do well in the Cape. I began gardening down in the Cape in about 2003 and had an established garden wiped out by three years of relentless drought (culminating when Cape Town ran out of water in 2018 and we all learned to make dry compost toilets, harvest rainwater or let gardens die away).

    Originally I grew my garden for birds and wildlife -- the Cape mongoose, genets, small geometric tortoises, harmless snakes and agamas, platannas and river frogs, bees and many wild birds. We have many raptors in this area. Now I also plant human food gardens (Mediterranean) and what is called veldkos, indigenous edible plants once used by the Khoi and San peoples that need to be pickled or cured: num-num berries, wild garlic, dune spinach, purslane, amaranth, wild melon and horned cucumbers, tubers and sweet potato varieties, rooibos and buchu for teas. This 'slow food' movement is similar to the rediscovery of indigenous edible plants in Australia.

    You'll find an overlap between Australian garden practices and South African: many naturalised or hybridised proteas, leucadendrons, pelargoniums, clivias, kniphofias. We were once all Gondwanaland!

    I'm a member of the California Horticultural Society and have seen many programs devoted to your area. People rave about it. We also have superblooms in California but the exotic (to my eye at least) plants from your area knock my socks off.

    My introduction to gardening was digging holes for my wife's roses. While doing so I'd make a point of reminding her that whether they lived or died was now in her hands. Other than that my contribution was to knock the weeds back occasionally. Gardening, to my eye, always seemed like a prissy thing compared with nature itself. But then I visited this place just ten minutes from me, and that made me want to make a garden. So basically gardening to give a sense of stepping into nature when one stepped into his garden. Not geographically pure though, in fact plants that excite are definitely preferred. But experience teaches not every plant can be the star of the show, some need to harmonize and provide for wildlife.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Habemus hortulanum!

    Chap(s) will come next week with a van and a skip and a glint in the eye and wage war on the weedy desolation. Everything bar the hedge, cotoneaster, rosemary, lilac and the apple trees to be dug out. The top right quarter, which is the redoubt of the bindweed, to be paved and gravelled. As for planting - a couple more little apples of old Scottish varieties to go with the Hawthornden and Lemon Queen (I fancy a Bloody Ploughman). Flowers - not many: informal drifts of monbretia and spring bulbs. The main vegetation to be meadow grass and wildflowers.
  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    Firenze, that sounds divine!!
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    Habemus hortulanum!

    Chap(s) will come next week with a van and a skip and a glint in the eye and wage war on the weedy desolation. Everything bar the hedge, cotoneaster, rosemary, lilac and the apple trees to be dug out. The top right quarter, which is the redoubt of the bindweed, to be paved and gravelled. As for planting - a couple more little apples of old Scottish varieties to go with the Hawthornden and Lemon Queen (I fancy a Bloody Ploughman). Flowers - not many: informal drifts of monbretia and spring bulbs. The main vegetation to be meadow grass and wildflowers.

    I am green with envy. So nice to get the right tools and power in play.

    I've only ever brought in help for a couple projects. The time I brought in three huge stones to a spot where a machine couldn't be used I got a crew of four very strong young men who used ropes and pry bars to move them about 50 feet. They were able to move the ones that weighed about a ton but I had to get dirty in order to move the largest one in place.

    I've got a few trees that I need to reduce in size or remove. Definitely looking to bring in someone with the right tools for that one.
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    edited January 2020
    @MaryLouise I just attended a very interesting program last night about the flora of your region at the tip of South Africa and mine in California which I'm sure you would have found fascinating as well: https://calhortsociety.org Both the speaker and the president of our society have collected seeds in both regions many times and the speaker brought a lot of spectacular photos.

    Both regions are among the richest in diversity anywhere in the world and home to the most endemic plants. While the mediterranean region of California is at least 10 times as large, South Africa contains almost twice as many species, and a higher percentage of endemic species as well. The habitats are similar but differences in the richness of the soil has a number of effects. For one, but regions have large areas of chaparral. But while those regions are almost impenetrable in California with almost no understory plants, those regions in South Africa with its poorer soils is more open and very rich in understory plants. Both of our regions have spectacular superblooms. Apparently the reason why California and Australia have been subject to such huge fires of late is that both have practiced strict fire suppression for many years and as a result built up huge amounts of fuel. Apparently fires are common in your region and important for propagating new generations of plants which bounce back almost immediately after a burn. Like you we have nearly exhausted our aquifers though we are fortunate in having high mountains in the Sierras east of us which collect large snow packs most years which serve to provide us with substantial fresh water except in severe draught years.

  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    Sorry for the typos but I get a message that I need Vanilla.Comment.Edit permission even though it says I have three more minutes. Oh well, hopefully comprehensible.
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    We are very excited to have two large balconies at Rouge Heights. Spring is around the corner and we want to grow things on them.

    The one hiccup is that 25 floors up and close to the river, we get a LOT of wind. Any ideas for what can we grow that won’t mind being in an occasional hurricane?
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    @MarkD, yes, our phoenix fynbos and proteas, wild seeds that germinate by smoke from veld fires. Out here, the care of Cape flora is careful and good -- but the unseasonal aridity and heat in recent years have taken a toll.

    @la vie en rouge you'd be looking at low planters with broad bases, no trellises or uprights! I've had a balcony like that high above Kloof Street in Cape Town and I grew rosemary and lavender bushes, ornamental grasses (restios, a kind of reed), tubs of bright pelargoniums. I know friends who plant low stands of bamboos that sway in the wind and can be cut back hard.
  • Very thankful for young man who will come next week and help me get my front yard back in shape after winter rain growth spurt. A lot of trimming of shrubs needed before spring. His rates are very reasonable, another reason to be thankful.
  • I feel the beginning of the growing season is just around the corner now - today I went to a Potato Day and chose 8 varieties (only 4 of each) plus a greengage tree (makes a change from regular plums which the allotments have in abundance). So now I suspect there will be snow, just to remind me we’re still in winter and not to get too excited about seed sowing.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    The gardening chaps have been doing an amazing job, including toting several tons of gravel that way, and several tons of bricks this way (all involving stairs).

    But jings I will be glad when they finish and we can close the front and back doors.

    That should be tomorrow, once the new fence is in.
  • Saw the 3 spring flowers all at once, snowdrops, crocus, daffodils. It's still winter, but their twinkly little faces give me hope. Although it's been ultra-mild, bad for fruit bushes.
  • I still have a little hope for a frosty February.
    I really should not have moved to the very edge of the south coast and still expect East Anglian winters.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Getting my food garden ready for autumn and winter here in a very hot Cape: planted out seedlings of chard and spinach, rosa tomato bushes for the last of the summer (usually I pick in May if it is a mild winter) and the popular fiery Uyababa chilli pepper. After Easter I shall put in Chinese greens and mustards.
  • Pangolin GuerrePangolin Guerre Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    I'm looking for advice. I'd like to do some vegetable planting, but the small back yard is mostly slate patio. Along two sides of the patio there are arable stretches, each about 7m long by 1.5m wide, that get some but not a great deal of sunlight because of the house's shadow and the height of the fences. Toronto's planting Zone is 5 or 6 (or 7 for the optimistic) in Canadian terms, Zone 5 in USDA terms, Köppen climate classification Dfa. I once spent a glorious summer on an island in Lake Ontario where I had a real bounty - pepper, courgettes/zucchini, aubergines/eggplants, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, tomatoes, beets, cantaloupes (only OK), onions all flourished without pesticides or fertilisers. Only the lettuces (three varieties!) defied me and died. Anyway, I'm open to suggestions as to what might succeed, as I'd love to relive my edible Eden.

    ML - Off topic, we share another connection. My stepfather was born in Ndola but lived in South Africa, and an uncle (not his brother) was from Chingola. Small world!
  • The sun is going to be your limiter, I'm afraid. What veggies grow in the shade?
  • Well, that's what I was wondering. The cucumber did quite well in the shade of their leaves, but the leaves were getting the full blast of the sun. That wouldn't be the case here.
  • Yep, it's the leaves that need it. You wouldn't be happy with ornamentals rather than food plants? Or maybe grow some veggies in pots in a sunnier spot, if you have one?
    From googling, it looks like the leafy vegetables are your best bet for shade. In my experience, people underestimate the amount of sun a plant needs when they're motivated (either to buy or to sell!) so beware the optimistic sales people and temper your own expectations too. (Don't mind me--This might all be the bitter maunderings of a disappointed gardener who tried to put tomatoes near the house--where a giant catalpa tree hogged half the day's sun.)
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